How to Get Started As A Government ContractorWritten by Cheryl Antier
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7. First Meeting: Your objective here is to LISTEN to your prospective client. What does she/he think are their most immediate problems and pressing needs? (From research you've done, you should already have a general idea of what they're looking for, and what their needs are. Now is your opportunity to get "inside scoop.") Ask intelligent questions, and give basic information about your company, your abilities and your products or services. Just remember - this meeting isn't about You, it's about THEM! Make sure you ask any questions you've still got about application process, and what you need to do in order to put in a bid. Leave information with your prospective client, and tell them what you will do next. If you set a time to follow up, DO It. If not, you're going to follow up anyway, but more about that in a minute. 8. Follow-up. After meeting, put together a plan of action. Create at least three solutions to your prospective client's problems, but make it something unique that can only be done by your company. If you sell a product, perhaps you could provide a free training workshop, to get users up to speed more quickly and efficiently. If you provide a service, offer an additional incentive, or extra component that either solves another problem or provides added value and benefit to client. Then get it to person you saw. For example, you could send a simple letter…"Dear Fred, Thanks for meeting with me last Friday. After we talked, I started thinking about what you said about …, and came up with …" Don't be afraid of giving him your best ideas. You want him to understand that you can solve his problems. You don't need to go into details about "how" you'll accomplish it. Just let him know that you can. Make sure that you follow application process completely, and turn it in before deadline. 9. Network, network, network. Don't stop now. Who else do you know who can help champion your cause? Who is your local city council person? Other elected representatives? You don't have to be a major contributor to ask your representative for assistance. Most politicians are more than happy to help local businesses succeed. Getting word out about who you are and what you can do is just good business. Talk to your local chamber of commerce, or small business development center. 10. Be professional. Above all else, you want to project an attitude of competence and professionalism. Go extra mile. Make sure that your client is more than satisfied by doing business with you. And once you've got one government client, it will be easier to convince other agencies to do business with you.
Cheryl Antier is the President and CEO of Dream Weaver Enterprises, a business and fundraising consultancy firm that helps small business owners and nonprofit organizations “weave their dreams into reality” by helping them find the funding they need. Microenterprise can help small business owners get the start-up capital, training and technical assistance to start, build and grow their business. http://www.microenterprisesuccess.com
SWAP MEETS - A FUN WAY TO MAKE MONEY ON THE WEEKENDSWritten by Darren Hendricks
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Depending on meet, you may need to bring all or some of following:
1. At least one folding table.
2. A cash box, with some small bills and change.
3. Folding chairs.
4. A clean tablecloth.
5. A large umbrella, tarp, or other type of canopy to protect your customers (and you) from sun.
6. Some clear plastic to protect your merchandise if it rains (obviously, this applies to outdoor meets).
7. Plenty of business cards.
8. Some catalogs, brochures, New Arrivals fliers, or other giveaways to help promote further sales.
9. Your Yellow Price List, so you know your bottom line when it's time to haggle.
10. An order book, so you can write receipts and capture names, addresses, and phone numbers of all your customers.
11. A calculator.
12. A rubber stamp for endorsing checks.
Do everything you can to capture as much information about each customer as possible. Along with name, address and phone, try to get an email address, (if you have email capability), a fax number, or even (especially) a credit card number, assuming you have a merchant account
THE BIG DAY ARRIVES ...
If you're well prepared, day of meet should go pretty smoothly. Sure, you'll have some work to do, but it'll be a lot of fun, too - especially when you start making some sales and putting some cash in your pocket! Here's what you have to do on your first swap meet day:
1. Turn off alarm, get up, shower and get going (well, we told you this was a step-by-step guide, right?)
2. When you arrive at meet, find your space and set up. Rehearse your set-up at home, so you can plan most attractive display before you're actually at meet. Your program video offers some examples of display do's and don'ts
3. Decide on your "bottom line;" that is, lowest price you'll accept for each item. Our Business Coaching staff recommends one & a half times your cost as a good guideline.
4. Be prepared to take checks. Many of your customers will prefer to pay this way, and sellers report only a very small incidence of "bad" checks. Verify that address and phone number is current, and it helps to write a driver's license or ID number on check.
5. Remember to record name, address, phone number, fax number, and email (as many of these as possible) of every customer.
6. You might want a partner along to help manage cashbox while you handle sales.
WHILE YOU'RE COUNTING YOUR MONEY ...
There are a couple of important things to do after one Swap Meet ends, and before another begins.
1. Build your mailing list - Add all customer names you collected to your customer mailing list. Over time, these will be an important part of your follow-up marketing efforts.
2. Plan/Implement mailings - Depending on size of your list, you'll want to start sending your customers some follow-up mailings.
That pretty much covers basics of Swap Meet Marketing. But main thing is, have a good time. Many sellers like to involve family, (including kids!) and turn weekends into quality time, with everyone working together toward a common cause. Swap Meet marketing is enjoyable, highly profitable, and can be done successfully by devoting just a few hours a week. A number of sellers combine business with pleasure, and travel country from Swap Meet to Swap Meet. They use revenues from each weekend to pay for their trip, and for more merchandise to sell at next meet!
Darren Hendricks has been involved in marketing in one form or another since 1979. He has owned or co-owned 3 successful companies. He is currently owner of Far Horizons Home Based Business Program