How to Get a Government Contract
Businesses large and small depend on skilled contract managers to obtain and manage government contracts. The knowledge you’ll gain from training for contract management certification gives you a significant advantage when competing for contract manager jobs.
Required Skills and Training for Government Contract Managers
When interacting with high-level government procurement officials, certain skills are essential, including:
- Professional conduct
- Excellent communication
- Understanding of contract, federal and commercial laws
- Effective listening
Many government contract managers pursue formal contract management certification training. Typically, these programs prepare participants for National Contract Management Association (NCMA) certification – the most respected in the industry.
Certified Federal Contracts Manager (CFCM) Training
CFCM contract management training teaches the ins and outs of government contract procurement while preparing students for contract management certification. Training and certification will position you to compete for high-paying jobs, because companies looking to secure government contracts seek professionals with CFCM designation.
Working With the Government Differs From Other Industries
Government contract management differs from commercial contract management on a variety of fronts:
- Accountable to Taxpayers: Because they are paid for with taxpayer dollars, federal government contracts are highly regulated and tightly controlled. This means a company’s proposal must contain all mandatory elements and be submitted on time.
When a company is awarded a coveted government contract, the contract manager must ensure it’s not cancelled due to failure to submit required progress and accounting reports. Professionals can learn how to stay on top of this complex and demanding process through contract management certification training.
- Longer Sales Cycles: Government contract managers know the typical government sales process is longer than in the private sector – so one needs perseverance and patience to work through the extended timeframes.
- Strict Processes: From initial requests for proposals to follow-up and reporting, the government’s strict processes must be followed without deviation. Certified contract managers possess the knowledge to comply with government processes.
- Stiff Competition: It may seem futile to submit a proposal when competing with large, more experienced companies. But proper contract management certification and training can prepare you to compete for and win government contracts – and become even more valuable to your company.
How to Get in With Government Contract Decision-Makers
A successful government contract manager has excellent interpersonal skills – and uses them to meet and influence the people who can advance his or her career. Networking is one way to procure more government contracts for your employer – and increase your professional worth.
Five Steps to a Government Contract:
- Start locally. Make a list of municipal agencies and organizations that might benefit from your company’s goods or services.
- Familiarize yourself with the agency’s work. Gather all the information you can about the agency’s responsibilities and issues. Determine how your company can assist them in meeting their objectives.
- Learn who’s who. Reach out directly to the individual responsible for awarding contracts, and find out how that person prefers to be contacted. Email may be a better option for someone who has an administrator field incoming calls.
- Ask for a meeting. Here’s where assertiveness comes in. The idea is not to be pushy and insist on a meeting, but to share how you can help the agency, based on your research.
- Follow up. After the meeting, send a follow-up letter or email to the prospective client. Be sure to reiterate the ways your company can help them, with the assurance you can do so under any deadlines they face.
Additional Skills That Can Help Government Contract Managers Succeed
Estimating Bids: There is a fine line between winning a contract and keeping your company profitable. Contract management certification demonstrates to any employer that you have the knowledge to submit profitable bids.
Negotiating With Government Agencies: At times, government procurement or contract officers award contracts using competitive negotiation. This puts the burden on the contract manager to negotiate successfully.
Contract management certification training usually includes a negotiation component, covering such topics as the role of negotiation and its basic rules.
Access Superior Contract Management Certification Training With Villanova University’s Master Certificate in Government Contract Management
Expand your knowledge and enhance your skills with Villanova’s Master Certificate in Government Contract Management, which prepares you to pass the CFCM certification exam from NCMA. Ranked the #1 university in the Master’s category/North region by U.S. News & World Report, Villanova features 100% online courses and an advanced, video-based e-learning platform. Gain your edge in the highly competitive world of government contract management with Villanova’s specialized contract management certification training.