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Unsolicited Proposals (Podcast Transcript)

Unsolicited Proposals (Podcast Transcript)

federal sales proposal writing Sep 22, 2022

                         [01:12] Richard C. Howard: Hey, guys, Rick here with government sales momentum podcast. Today we are going to talk about unsolicited proposals and why you should never send one. So look, unsolicited proposals, I've received a few questions on them recently, had a customer that thought it was a potential great idea. And by the way, this customer had a great idea, great technology, a great solution that they wanted the government to purchase and like, hey, we're going to go in unsolicited proposal. They're not even asking for this. That's the plan. I'm not here to tell you that you can never win an unsolicited proposal because people have. I've just never seen it. It is not something that happens very often. In fact, it's often that there is a real requirement in real funding and even an acquisition shop willing to put everything together and a contract still doesn't happen. So when you send this unsolicited proposal forward, you might not have any of those things. So you send an unsolicited proposal to the government. Let's say you've done your research and you send it into a contracting shop, a program office that actually works in the area of your solution. Let's say it's an It software suite and you send it in there. Someone has to review that. And so immediately you're probably irritating someone who already has enough work to do with this thing that they don't have funding for and they don't have a requirement for, and now they have to review it and most likely tell you no in an official response. Just not a good way for you to get your solution to the government because remember, if you're going to go on contract, there has to be a requirement, there has to be funding, and there has to be an acquisition shop that agrees to take that on, whether they're told to do it or whether they on their own agree to take that on, put the company on contract.

                If you put an unsolicited proposal, and let's say it is a great idea and there is funding, let's say the shop actually manages to find funding for it and maybe some type of requirement, that doesn't mean they can issue you a sole source contract. If there's anybody else out there, any other companies that say they can do something similar, they have to compete it. So that doesn't mean you're going to get a sole source contract because you put the proposal in. I can think of 1000 reasons why your unsolicited proposal is going to fail. And I'm not here to be a negative Nancy, I'm here to tell you how to really do it right. So if you have something that's truly unique, a truly unique technology, because there are other podcasts you can listen to, there's language in the Fire that covers unsolicited proposals. But essentially, if the government's ever solicited for your type of whatever you're proposing, your unsolicited proposal is dead before it starts. What you're looking for with your unique, your truly unique technology, your truly unique solution is a program or a way for you to get that in front of the government where it's going to tie those pieces, the requirements piece, the funding piece, the acquisition shop piece together for you, make it a lot easier to go on contract.

                         Now, there are several ways you can do this. One is relationship based, where you develop your relationship with an appropriate program office or requirement generator and demonstrate your solution to them and see where they think it may fit in. It may fit in under a requirement that already exists or there may be funding that they can shake loose to get you going. Another way is the FBI program. And that's a particular favorite of mine because and I've talked many times about this topic in this podcast, you can go back and look at other episodes that cover SBIR in detail. But if you have something that fits a certain category on a SBIR window, you can put a proposal in on that. And what that does is you don't have to have the funding, the requirement of the contracting team because it's all wrapped up in decipher, right? Let's say it is very specifically looking for an It program or It software suite that you provided. In the unsolicited proposal example, you meet all the criteria for phase one. You don't even need a sponsor. You can just put a proposal in, send it in. Now you have a team of acquisitions professionals that are waiting for these submissions because it's an official program, there is funding, there's SBI, our funding for this, they're the contracting shop that's going to put it on and they're going to help you find someone that might have a requirement for this. So you can see it ties all those things together.

                         Even better is the director. Phase two, you can go out and find a user in the government who usually probably doesn't have a clue about how to put you on contract. The user of whatever you sell, no means to put you on contract unless they're using a contracting officer in most cases. And they probably don't have the money or the requirement either. But what's great is if you have something unique and you get in front of the user, all they have to do is sponsor you for the phase two. Meaning they have to say, hey, we think this is a good idea. We don't have any money to put towards this. In most cases, you can check out another episode about how a sponsor might fund something, but there's very little commitment that they need on their part, except for saying, we think this is a good idea. We recommend this for maybe a direct to phase two, SBIR. And then it's up to the Silver program now to award that. If they think it's a good idea, they talk to your sponsor, they look at their MOU, maybe letters of support. They think this is good, they award you with that directive. Phase two, you're being funded with SBIR money. It's the requirement under SBIR. It's the contracting team over there that's doing this for you. So you have all of these things in place, and it makes it a much smoother way to get a new technology product, etc., to the government. So anyway, I hope that helps. You can send and there's always stipulations and unique circumstances. So, I mean, if you do have one of those and you're interested in unsolicited proposals, feel free to shoot me an email, schedule a consultation. The team will talk to you about that. Probably going to tell you not to do it. But look, every situation is different, right? So there may be a situation you're in that this doesn't apply to you, but I think it's good general guidance. When you're looking at unsolicited proposals to say, hey, this is probably not an option for us, let's look for something else, another means to get on contract with the government that could be more favorable. Okay, guys, hope that helps. Don't hesitate to reach out to us at and we have a lot of free resources there that you can use. You can schedule a consult with us, videos, links to other podcast episodes. We'd love to talk to you and looking forward to our next episode.

                         [07:35] Richard C. Howard: All right, take care. I hope you enjoyed this episode of government sales momentum. If you did enjoy the episode, please subscribe to the podcast and leave a review. It's very much appreciated. If you're interested in selling products and services to the Department of Defense, I have something for you that you're not going to find anywhere else in the world. The team and I created a program that takes everything you need to win defense contracts and put it into one place. Up until now, only large defense companies and a small amount of people in the know have had access to how products and services are really sold to the Department of Defense. I've taken all of that information and put it in a step-by-step training module that shows you how to consistently sell to the US. Military. If you join our membership, not only do you get the model, but you get weekly sessions with former DOD acquisitions officers for training and guidance to answer your questions. In a community of like-minded business owners that want to partner on different opportunities to bid for subcontracting and teaming or just to discuss general strategy on how to sell to the DOD. You'll have access to every course I've created, every coaching session I've ever recorded and every interview with an acquisition professional that I've ever conducted. And we cover topics that range from defense sales planning and competitor analysis to spa foreign military sales. The list goes on. Go to if you are interested and I would love to see you in the membership. Thanks.

You can also check out Foreign Military Sales (FMS) w/ Bill Mooney where we went in depth with foreign military sales, direct commercial sales and selling to partner nations.

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