Young AFCEAN Webinar Summarizes Sales 101

April 12, 2016
By Katie Helwig

The next webinar is planned for April 28.

The Young AFCEANs from AFCEA's NOVA Chapter recently sponsored a webinar, "Capture strategies in constrained timeframes." Jeffrey Shen, vice president and general manager at Red Team Consulting, provided a one-hour briefing on the basic sales principles in determining whether to pursue a business opportunity. Here are some lead-off questions businesses need to ask themselves:

  • What do we know about the customer?
  • ​Does the customer know us?
  • How is the government going to evaluate?

Shen touched on basic principles that seem to get lost in the frenzied sales procurement environment and offered some advice:

  • Understand the lay of the land.
  • Start influencing the customer.
  • Identify key decision makers.
  • Identify individual pain points.
  • Identify the person responsible for outreach.
  • Set a timeframe for outreach.
  • Look for the obvious to determine if you will bid or not bid.

The main difference between commercial and federal sales is the opportunities to get in front of the customer. You cannot call up and offer to take a government official out for coffee. What do you do? Shen advises to use requests for information (RFIs) to create an initial connection with new customers. "It may seem like a waste of time and resources, particularly for a small business, but it provides a reason to call the customer to discuss the feedback submitted," Shen advises.

The next webinar, titled "Preparing compelling proposals in best value environments," takes place on April 28 from 1 p.m. to 2 p.m.

Happy listening!

Katie Helwig is manager of small business programs at AFCEA International.

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