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Myths of Selling to Government
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Myths of Selling to Government

Author: Rick Wimberly

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Selling to government is, well, different from selling other markets. But, many of the myths about government selling are simply not true. In the Myths of Selling to Government podcast, we reveal the secrets about selling to the government that only top performers know. Myths of Selling to Government is designed for busy sales professionals of all levels who seek success selling to local, state, and federal government. Episodes are released every other week and are no more than eleven minutes long. Each episode provides clear guidance and stimulates thought. The podcast is hosted by Rick Wimberly, co-author of Seven Myths of Selling to Government ( example, we’ve learned over the years that, despite what a lot of people think, government business isn’t driven by RFPs, bids, and other procurements. It’s driven by relationships! And, there are special techniques for building relationships in government business development. We talk about those relationship-building techniques and much more in Myths of Selling to Government.
14 Episodes
Almost anyone who's done any type of sales has been taught closing and objection-handling techniques. That might be fine...but, you're in the big leagues now - government contracting.  Whether local, state, or federal government, business development for government contracts requires a heck of a lot more than learning those closing and objection-handling techniques.  In fact, they simply don't work in government sales and government contracting. In the Handling Closings and Objections in Gov Sales episode of Myths of Selling to Government, brought to you by, we talk about why these techniques don't work and what you should be doing instead.
You might think that getting to the most senior leadership will make your government selling more successful. That's not necessarily the case. In this episode of Myths of Selling to Government, Rick Wimberly tells a couple of stories about getting to the top of a government organization...the very top. It just didn't work. We had missed an important lesson about getting buy-in up and down the ladder.
In this episode of Myths of Selling to Government, we take on the myth that cold-calling is king. It's not. But, content is, particularly when spread under your personal brand. If you do it right, you can be a rock star in government sales. We provide four steps for building your personal brand, then specific actions for spreading the word. If you follow the steps, you can have prospects come to you! 
Rick Wimberly reviews the busting of the myth that government sales is about relationships. Wrong. Top performers know that relationships really drive government sales. It's those relationships that open the door so you can identify problems that you can really solve. If you're not by nature a problem-solver, you probably aren't going to make it in government sales.
Most people structure their presentations all wrong. They bury the good stuff and save pricing as the finale'.  Good presentation lessons can be learned by going to concerts. Yep, concerts. (Remember those?)In the Freebird episode, we poke holes in the typical structure and provide an alternative that gets the audience engaged quickly and ends on a high note. We focus on public sector, SLED and other government markets, but the lesson from the rock gods applies to any presentation.
One of the strategies for building those, oh so important, relationships in government sales is minimizing perceived selfish behavior.  Government prospects aren't really looking for a new best friend; they know you're paid to be nice to them. However, a line can be crossed where the prospect believes the salesperson's only real interest is himself.There's a simple way to do this, covered in this episode of Myths of Selling to Government with host Rick Wimberly.
In order to establish the trust that's so important in government sales, communications needs to be strong. Government buyers are going to need a lot of info, thus communications, from you, but they don't need to be deluged.  The keys:  relevance, timeliness, and reliability.
What possibly could tuna have to do with selling to government?  In this episode, we talk about the most wonderful time of the year in government markets...the time of the year when government buyers go into a frenzy to spend what's left of their money.  We tell the story of a government sales colleague who mastered Tuna Time, and always came through for us at the end of the year.  But, the real story lies behind what happened throughout the year to make sure Tuna Time was really a good time.
When you finally win a cherished government contract, you don't want to lose it. And, frankly, your government customers also prefer that you don't lose it. They work hard to build relationships with vendors, and don't like it when the relationships go sour. In this episode, we provide steps for keeping those termination costs high, and relationships strong.
When selling to government, you're probably going to be dealing with three types of people in the buying process: procurers, influencers, and end-users. Each has their own needs, and even quirks. Failing to understand them all will leave you wondering why the federal, state, or local government sales opportunity never closes.  In this episode, we talk about each of the three and how you understand what they need from you can tailor your approach. Top government sales performers know this understanding can lead to loyal, long-term government customers.
With the need for trust and relationships in selling to government established in earlier episodes, we share the key steps for building those relationships.  There are certain best practices, even some rules, at play.  There are also definitive steps you can take to help your prospects see the benefits of having a relationship with you. It's work, but the rewards can be very nice.
One of the key steps to establishing relationships that can result in government sales orders is to build trust. Easier said than done. In this episode, we talk about the benefits of establishing trust in government markets and lay the groundwork for strategies for building trust and, yes, commitment. Top government sales and business development performers know how important this can be. We'll share how to do it.
Some people believe the key to success in government selling is responding to lots of bids, RFPs, solicitations, etc. In this episode of Myths of Selling to Government, we debunk that idea. We tell the story of one client with an 80% record of winning RFPs and another with an 80% record of losing them. The 80% winner has figured out that, in order to win an RFP, you need to have established a relationship prior to the solicitation. It's not as easy as it may seem, but it's the focus of this and many other episodes of our podcast on government sales and government business development.
Selling to local, state, and federal government can be lucrative, but it can also be mysterious. In this episode, we summarize the myths of selling to government to be covered in our Myths of Selling to Government podcast series. We’ll set the stage for exploring them all by covering a few  biases and four underlying beliefs developed over years of success (and, yes, failures) selling to government. We believe they are fundamental to becoming a top performer in government business development.
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