For any business this year maintaining sales in the federal market have been unsteady, we asked our Federal Sales Sherpa, Eileen Kent, how she would handle communicating and selling to federal customers this holiday season.

She said, “We are all in this time of tight budgets – together. While our customers are trying to make every tax dollar stretch, we’re trying to keep our bottom line from dropping out. With that challenge, we need to come together, help our customers with their needs, and express our gratitude for their service.”

Since the government employees are facing a great many challenges in 2013, Kent says it is time to show our government customers our gratitude. “This year, more than most, our government customers need to hear our appreciation for their public service. Therefore, we need to stop the mass mailing, customize our expression of gratefulness and deliver it personally.”

Kent suggests hand written letters and cards to our customers expressing our appreciation, while the owners of our companies write personalized letters of commendation to our customers managers, superiors and commanders on company letterhead, hand signed with a copy sent to our customer.

“If there is a time to be generous it’s now with appreciation, recognition and praise,” says Eileen Kent. “You can’t buy them a gift, but a letter complimenting their superior service will mean more than gold to our government clients. This affects their reputation and it means the world to them and to their future. It will not only go in their personnel file, it will be posted on their refrigerator door. They’ll never forget you and your kind words. If you think everyone is doing this you’re wrong. Only one percent of people reading this article now will act upon this suggestion.”

On top of that appreciation and praise for your customers, give them new ideas on ways to perform projects faster, more efficiently and with better technology, Kent continues the generosity by reminding vendors to recommend one another.

“Be generous to your own network and introduce your teaming partners to your clients if you truly believe they can solve a critical challenge. This referral will be the gift that keeps on giving,” says Kent.

We agree with Kent’s advice. Generous appreciation, referrals and praise will get you everywhere.

Eileen Kent specializes in customizing your federal sales action plan and has personally sold to FEMA, DHS, DoD, GSA, FBI, Department of Agriculture, USDA, GSA, PBS and many more. Call her at 312-636-5381 or for your competitive analysis and federal sales action plan for 2013-2014.