GSA Cancels GSA Show for Second Year in a Row – Now What?
By: Eileen Kent, the Federal Sales Sherpa,
GSA released the news recently that they have canceled the GSA show for the second year in a row, which in the past has peaked over 10,000 attendees including agency and military contracting professionals and 1,000 GSA schedule holders featured as vendors in the exhibit hall.
The reason, they say, is “In the current fiscal climate, agencies and businesses alike continue to make tough spending cuts and operate under reduced travel budgets. After careful review of projected attendance and continued travel budget reductions, GSA has made the decision to not hold an Expo in 2014. GSA remains committed to addressing the need for training and will identify the most effective way to offer Expo 2015 to deliver better value and savings for our government partners, our vendors, and the American people.”
So what is a GSA schedule holder to do with the $5,000 – $50,000 budgeted on a booth, drayage, 10,000 give-a-ways, travel and time?
As your Federal Sales Sherpa, here are a few fresh ideas which could keep your name brand in front of your client – and your message.
- Research Where the Winners are Closing Deals, Build an Action Plan and Execute It: Instead of waiting until May when the GSA Show normally happened, to build a lead list, why not perform a competitive analysis? A competitive analysis, which is based on real contracting data (aka the truth) can give you a great picture of what has been happening in your industry on GSA schedule – and off GSA schedule, who is buying from whom and where are the hot spots. This way you can focus your efforts on the exact buying offices and agencies who are spending money on your type of product or service. “Whether you hire someone or do it yourself, it’s a great benchmarking exercise and you don’t have to wait until May(when the show normally happens) to build an federal sales action plan. That’s right, a plan to focus your efforts to make the calls, send the emails, perform webinars and present capabilities briefings. In other words, instead of designing a booth and traveling to the show, you will be spending time building relationships with the right clients – right now.”
- Build Your Brand through Ethical Email Blitzing:Instead of spending money on Trade show trinkets and literature – Consider building a regular, strategic emailing campaign with a weekly article utilizing the latest software and “landing page” techniques. This way, you can track your results and click-through rates – and sales – weekly.
- Create a Video – Featuring Your Products, Services, Best Values and Your Story: Instead of building a booth this year, develop a video for your website – featuring your products and your services. “But don’t forget the story of your business – which the government is very much interested in if you are 8a, SDVOSB, Woman Owned, Disadvantaged, Veteran Owned or HubZone. “Imagine a government employee needing services/products like yours – they can quickly watch a demo of your product or an introduction to your key subject matter experts showing their knowledge, past performance or capabilities – right at their desktop or even better – on their phone!”
Consider these three steps in 2014 to focus your sales efforts and overachieve your sales goals without the GSA show. Whether the show comes back in 2015, or not, you’ll be ahead of the game by building a personal relationship and a brand with wour focused customer base right now – so when the big proposal comes out, you have a much higher chance of winning because you know the client and better yet, they know and trust you.
For further information on training, a competitive analysis, a federal sales action plan, an email campaign or a video, contact Eileen Kent, the Federal Sales Sherpa at 312-636-5381. Federal Sales Sherpa is a brand of Custom Keynotes, LLC.