By: Hank Blank, Director of National Accounts, Univest Capital, Inc.
Many sales people do not understand the municipal market, so they just shy away from it and target the traditional commercial business-to-business prospects they are comfortable with. However, that leaves significant opportunity on the table. Sales professionals who are willing to get out of their comfort zone and invest their time to learn the municipal market can find success.
Want to get started targeting the municipal market? Here are some tactics I have found successful.
Establish a relationship with local purchasing managers.
Educate them on your company and the products you offer. Once a purchasing manager feels comfortable with a company, they can start to write their requests for proposals around your company’s products and services.
Network with municipal associations.
The National League of Cities is a good place to start to find meetings and regional shows. Time spent at these regional shows can really pay off in the long run. Municipal government purchasing agents are a tight group. Once you help one town acquire your product with a municipal lease, they will share your name with their colleagues in other towns.
Build a solid reputation
Keep this old saying in mind, “No one has ever been fired for buying Xerox.” You need to make yourself and your company easy to work with and reliable.
Offering true municipal leasing options with each RFP (Request for Proposal) will help close more sales. Remember, to qualify for a true municipal lease, your product must be “Essential Use” which means the equipment is essential to the operations of the municipality.
Targeting municipalities can be a profitable new market to sell more products. If you invest the time and make it easy for the purchasing agents, you will be rewarded.
Univest Capital Inc. is a subsidiary of Univest Bank and Trust Co. Equal Opportunity Lender.