In the first post of this series, I discussed why you should consider subcontracting with other government contractors as a way to increase revenue and jobs, as well as to network with other professionals. In this post, I’ll cover how you can market yourself so that contractors know of your specific skillset and can easily find you if work comes up that you’re qualified to help with, beginning with communicating your unique qualifications.
Start with Cold Calls
If you don’t yet have a network of contractors who know to hire you, you’ll have to start at the beginning. Look at the firms who are consistently winning government projects, as well as others that are frequently in the news. Send a letter of introduction or make a phone call and introduce yourself. Mention a project you saw the firm involved in, and explain why you’re interested in connecting.
Make sure to mention your unique qualifications–those characteristics the contractor might not have on his existing staff. Emphasize the skills that can help them do more on government contracts. Perhaps you have learned a skill that isn’t common or have worked on LEED certified projects, as an example. Whatever your selling point, make it clear in your letter or call.
In addition to talking about what makes you stand out as a subcontractor, you’ll need to provide proof. You do this by giving references from past projects who can speak to those unique qualifications, and providing details about past projects you’ve been involved in. If you’re an architect, provide professional photos of projects you’ve designed.
Get to Know the Customer
If you’re pitching a contractor to work on a specific project, do your homework on the agency the project is for. Find out everything you can about how that agency works and what it likes, and then figure out how your skill set can complement those customer needs. When speaking to a contractor, he’ll be impressed that you took the time to know his customer.
Also, get to know the prime contractor as a customer. Find out what the firm’s weaknesses and strengths are. Tailor your pitch to fit around those needs. Remember, you can’t coerce someone to want to work with you, but if you’re an obvious fit, the decision to give you the green light as a subcontractor will be easy to make.
Become an Expert
Marketing goes beyond presenting your skills to a contractor. Zero in on those unique qualifications and promote the heck out of them through a company blog and social media. Taking your expertise online means that when a contractor Googles your name, industry, or your area of expertise, he finds you and your company, as well as ample instances of you sharing that knowledge with others online. And you’ll stay sharp if you’re constantly reading and writing about your area of expertise!
Sharpen Your Skills
In addition to flaunting your existing skills, you can also sharpen them and expand upon your expertise. Take online courses for certification, attend seminars and webinars and read books, blogs and magazines to stay on top of your industry. Knowledge is power, as they say, and it will help you land the subcontracting jobs that you want.
Stay tuned for my next post on how to network with contractors! Also, share your experience in the comments section below. How have you successfully marketed yourself as a government subcontractor?