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How To Find Out About Industry Days

December 7, 2022 | Business Development, Government

Photo by Jose Vazquez on Unsplash

One tactic to meet government buyers and learn about the agency they serve is to attend industry days. Industry days are organized by government agencies, and they often include discussion about business opportunities and more information about the agency as a whole. Agencies also use industry days to solicit feedback from experts in the areas in which they are looking for products or services.

It takes some searching to find when these events are being held and it’s rare that your company would receive a personal invitation to an industry day. Therefore, it is imperative for government contractors interested in doing business with specific agencies to seek out information about industry days. Here’s how to find them:

  • Set up a search on SAM.gov. Often, industry days are announced on SAM, but they don’t always have a NAICS or PSC Code assigned to them. Therefore, they may not be discoverable through a search of those codes. As an alternative, set up an “industry day” specific search. You may get announcements for industry days you’re not interested in, but in my experience, it won’t take long to sift through the results to find relevant events. I would recommend searching the exact phrase “industry day” and limiting the notice  types to “special notice” and “sources sought.” Review these daily over your morning cup of coffee. 
  • Check the OSDBU/OSBP websites for specific government agencies. Office of Small and Disadvantaged Business Utilization (OSDBU) and Office of Small Business Programs (OSBP) websites provide information on how they work with small businesses, including their contractor engagement processes. This sometimes includes assistance with the procurement process and information about industry days. 
  • Create a Google Alert. Google Alerts scan the Internet for news and changes to web pages. You can set up a Google Alert to search for the phrase “industry day” and it will return all new results. Visit Google.com/alerts to get started. 
  • Call the Contracting Officer. I encourage my clients to call the contracting officer that buys what they sell, but I’m often asked about the next step: what to say when you get in touch with the person you want to reach. A good icebreaker is to ask when they are having their next industry day. Checking in on this question from time to time is a good first step to building a relationship.

One additional recommendation: be open to attending industry days even when they’re not specifically aligned with what you sell. Don’t take this too far, of course–don’t attend an industry day for weapon systems if you sell medical supplies, to cite just one example–but you can use these events to strategically build relationships. Look for adjacent opportunities that may get you in front of the right audience or their influencers. Buyers may reward your persistence by referring you to others who may provide you with immediate selling opportunities. Also, stay in constant contact with the small business representative(s) for your target agency. This will position you for even more work down the road.

There’s one more way to learn more about industry days: connect with me on LinkedIn or at [email protected]. I’m always looking out for opportunities for contractors like you, and I’m always happy to answer questions. Please let me know how I can help your company.

 


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MYTH: Doing business with the government does not rely on relationships and does not require any marketing. All that is required finding opportunities on web sites and responding with quotes/proposals.

FACT: Having great relationships with government end users can provide more opportunities beyond RFQs/RFPs posted to government web sites. Some opportunities do not even require the government put it out for a competitive bid process so knowing someone could present more chances to do business. Furthermore, relationships also help build positive past performance history which is critical to winning future opportunities.

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