Are you joking? Oh. You don’t joke. Well, why didn’t you get it? Oh. You don’t know. How come I didn’t get a undeliverable notice? Oh. You’re not sure. What can I do to guarantee that you get them in the future? Oh. You have no idea. We spent 3 weeks working on that proposal, close to 30 man hours putting our pricing together, paid for a $300 bid bond and we submitted it 3 days in advance. Can we still submit it? No. No, we can’t………….. Has this ever happened to you? If it hasnt, most likely it will. There are solutions. First, Stop pulling your hair out. Take a deep breath. We can prevent this from happening.
There’s not 1 single solution for this issue because it’s not always the same issue causing the problem. Heres 5 solutions which used accordingly or in conjunction can resolve these issues.
1) Call the purchasing agent and ask them if they have received the email or the fed-ex, etc. I wouldn’t recommend this all the time because it’s time-consuming for both you and the purchasing agent. It’s also intrusive to the purchasing agent. My opinion, I wouldn’t suggest this at all. Because the purchasing agent may see you as a “pain” and not award the contract to you for fear that you will call them all the time. Some purchasing agents do not list their phone numbers and only allow you to contact them by email.
2) Pre-mail the purchasing agent with a blank email (nothing in the body). It’s extra work for both you and the purchasing agent but it’s less intrusive than the phone call. Just put in the subject line “Name – Regarding sol #XXX-XX-XXX-XX Small business Setaside for WHATEVER IT IS. Proposal email with attachments to follow. Thanks.” This lets them know that they should be expecting an email with attachments. If they are not getting your emails then there is no assurance that they will receive this “notification email” but with this “notification email” being blank, there’s less opportunity of it being blocked. That brings me to my next solution.
3) Clean up your email. I wrote an article last year about the BBB (Better Business Bureau) and federal purchasing agents. I took a large poll of purchasing agents and asked them if the BBB was ever a consideration. ALL of them replied, “No.” The government does not use the BBB to determine if you should win an award. If you have the BBB logo on your email with a “hot link” to your BBB rating on the BBB website, that link could be the sole reason why your email is being blocked. The government does not care if you are a member of the BBB. They don’t care if you’re a member of Joeys List or the National Blah, Blah, Blah Association. Twitter, Facebook, SnapChat, even your own website link can get your email blocked. This is my signature below. Notice, no hot links, no twitter, I don’t even list our website. All the info they need is in your proposal, on your cover and signature page. My signature, Raw text.
Don’t use fancy backgrounds and pictures of your kids. Purchasing agents don’t want butterflies and kittens, they want raw information. They don’t care if your kid was president of the Breakfast Optimus Club or citizen of the month.
BTW. There are federal contracts at Pelican Bay Penitentairy. I have clients that have been awarded them.
4) Simply ask the purchasing agent to “Please reply “RECEIVED” to this email so we know that you have received it. Thanks”. This also is relevant to whether the purchasing agent receives the email at all. If you use this solution post that comment in the body of the email, not in the subject line. Your subject line should always look like this:
You can use the purchasing agent’s first name. I don’t suggest Mr. or Ms. because in today’s world of eccentric names, sometimes it’s hard to tell someone’s sex by their name without hearing their voice and sometimes even after hearing their voice it’s difficult to guess their sex. Besides, most people are not bent on being called formally these days. Many times I have had female purchasing agents say “Don’t call me Ma’am”! I always reply: “Sorry, I even call my 4-year-old daughter Ma’am, just a habit.” CAKE PLEASE!
It’s acceptable to be a “LITTLE” personable with your content. Notice I referenced “We look forward to working with you.” It’s personable and suggestive in a positive way. Also, notice I said “We” and not “I” and I said “Thanks”. “We” suggest that we are a big company that can handle anything versus “I” sounds like a “One-Man-Show”. Finally, ALWAYS say “Thanks” because purchasing agents don’t get a lot of appreciation. You get more flies with sugar.
5) Use the “Delivery Receipt” and “Read Receipt” options on your emails. This is not full proof but I took a large poll of purchasing agents regarding if they excepted delivery and read receipts and all of them said they do or at least they don’t deny them. If you use a combination of these solutions depending on the situation I feel very strongly that the problem can be avoided in the future. I had a client ask about fed-ex or hand delivery requiring the purchasing agent to sign for the package. I have had purchasing agents tell me that they will not accept a package if it requires a signature so stick to a delivery confirmation that does not require a signature. Thanks! (See how that works)……… As always, your ideas and comments are more than welcomed and if you have a better solution, please, do tell!