Who is a Participant?
A participant is anyone who attends the event either as a speaker, exhibitor, or attendee.
Who is an Attendee?
An attendee is a participant (see above) who does not have any physical space (i.e. a booth or table) at the event. Generally, these are small businesses who want to be able to be involved in MatchMaking meetings and workshops, but do not want a booth.
What is a Prime Contractor?
A prime contractor is a large business that actually contracts with a federal agency (generally receiving contracts over $100,000 on a regular basis). These are the companies that small businesses should be talking to regarding sub-contracting. Examples of prime contractors are GE, Boeing, Gulfstream, and Novartis.
What Is Included in a General Registration?
Typically, general registration includes entry into the event and the exhibit area, entry to all workshops, four pre-scheduled matchmaking meetings (with the potential to schedule more on-site), and lunch.
Are There Shows in Other Regions?
Yes, we organize several events a year. Join our mailing list or review the Events page to see upcoming events.
Will I Come Away with a Contract?
We can’t ever promise that. Making a new connection at our event or participating in a 15-minute meeting does not make a complete relationship. After the event, pursuing leads, continuing relationships, and procuring a contract will be up to you.
Who Will Be Staffing the MatchMaking Tables?
Most likely, the actual buyer will not be in attendance. They rely on their Small Business Liaison to find their suppliers and be on the front line. The representatives should be able to provide you with contacts or at least departments that you can market to.
They Want Me To "Register on Our Website"
Right, that is the first step to qualify you. Keep in mind that you need to continually market to these agencies and prime contractors so that they will recognize your name when something comes up.
How Many Meetings Can I Pre-Schedule?
It depends on the number of "Hosts" that plan to attend. You will see in your MatchMaking Schedule how many time slots are available. We lock-down the final number approximately 1 month prior to each event.
Attract Buyers – Exhibitor Tips
Prepare For Success
Remember: This is not your typical trade show. Standing in your booth and waiting for someone to sell your product or service to will not work Be on your feet. Visit your neighbors. The other exhibitors are your potential customers too
This is your opportunity as a supplier to identify potential new contracting sources and network with buyers and other attendees. Do your homework before the show. Use your time wisely at the show. Most importantly, remember that the fortune is in the follow up. Schedule time in advance to follow up with everyone you meet
This is a “Reverse Trade Show.” You will be selling to the attendees, but they will be marketing to you, as well. Be open to that.
Advantages to exhibiting:
You will meet every Participant that comes in the door including Government Agencies and Prime Contractors.
You get double the number of MatchMaking meetings.
You can leave one person at your booth and have the other person go to workshops, visit other exhibits, and attend your scheduled MatchMaking meetings.
Your booth display provides a visual to potential buyers or partners. We remember 10% of what we hear, and 80% of what we hear and see.
You can bring potential customers to your booth to actually see what you offer.
Before the event, you can send an invitation to visit your booth to participants who you want to meet with using the MatchMaking schedule.
To find exhibitor details for your specific event, please visit your event’s details page. Upcoming events follow-up don’t drop the Ball The work begins
Everyone is very busy and we need to keep our name in front of contracting officers and SBLO's so that they look for us when a bid comes up.
If the recommendation is to sign up on vendor and supplier diversity websites: Do it These agencies and Contractors are vetting you, and this is one way they can tell you are listening
Send a note - handwritten is best - to those that you met with.
Access the eGuide (available to you before and for 6 months after the event) for other attendees that you were not able to meet with. You never know when you will need their assistance and expertise.
Check back with your contacts every few month. Don't give up.
Make an attempt to connect with your contacts at other events.
Always respond to an enquiry, even if it is to say, "Sorry, I am not able to bid on this project, but please keep me on the list for future projects."
Obviously, government contracting does not provide instant satisfaction It takes work and we small businesses need to be at the top of the list when a job comes up
Remember, The Fortune is in the Follow-up
Get More MatchMaking Meetings at the Event - Tips
You can still get MatchMaking meetings on the day of the event. There will be openings throughout the day. Watch for a red card to be raised by a buyer. Please respect others’ time and wait for that signal before approaching a MatchMaking table.
Stay all day. Some of the best MatchMaking openings are at the end of the afternoon.
Once registered, check the exhibitor list. Note that some agencies and prime contractors may have a booth as well. This means that you won’t have to stand in line waiting for a red card opportunity.
Be polite and considerate. Please try not to overwhelm MatchMaking hosts, but allow them time to request a new meeting.
Networking - Tips
Sit at industry specific tables during the continental breakfast and lunch. You might meet someone you can work with in the future. Strategic alliances are the focus of the day.
Be polite and considerate. Please try not to bombard the MatchMakers, but allow them time to breathe.
Visit all of the exhibits! You never know where you will find someone to partner with.
Please thank our sponsors: sponsor signs are at each round table.
PowerPoint presentations that we have received will be on our website within a few days
You will be sent a survey next week. Please take a few minutes to provide some feedback!
Visit us at the Registration Desk if you have questions.
Prepare for a Workshop - Presenters
Thank you for taking the time to prepare a presentation for this event. The participants are looking for ways to grow their business! This is the question they are asking is “How do I get business?” We hope you will target your presentation toward that topic.
Here are some notes that will help you to prepare for your workshop!
Each room will have a laptop, LCD projector and screen available for you.
A technician has been hired to make sure all works well.
We recommend having at least 50 hand-outs ready for your workshops.
Please email the latest version of your Power Point presentation (if you have one) to us by the day before the event. We will have your presentation loaded on the laptop in the meeting room. It is OK if you would rather not, but that service is available to you. We also recommend bringing a copy just in case!
These presentations will also be on the website after the event, so please let me know if you do NOT want yours to be posted.
Please Note: Internet may not available in every room.
Check the event schedule on the event details page to see when your workshop is scheduled.
Create Better Capability Statements - Tips
We sent a survey to all of the MatchMaking Hosts across the country who have participated in Alliance events and asked them what they need from a capability statement. 42 responded and provided the following tips.
Your one page (never more than 2) capability statement should include:
Description of services or products. Be specific. “We are the best at making you look good, ” isn’t adequate. Answer these questions:
What do I do?
How do I do it?
Why am I the best at it?
Bonding capability (if appropriate)
Other items that could be useful:
What do you specialize in?
Where can you do your work?
Examples of work (i.e. past experience)
What are MatchMaking Meetings?
MatchMaking Meetings are face-to-face meetings that are invaluable in forging alliances between small businesses and government agencies and/or prime contractors. Each meeting opens up endless business opportunities by providing small business owners with one-on-one exposure to potential procurement officials/buyers.
We like to think of MatchMaking Meetings as “Business Speed Dating!” Just like a first date you have a short amount of time to get acquainted and make a memorable first impression. A certain amount of courting is involved. Dinner, flowers, and chocolate are not required but professionalism, patience and persistence are.
Who Hosts a MatchMaking Meeting?
MatchMaking Meetings are hosted by procurement specialists and sometimes buyers from local state and federal government agencies, prime contractors, and major corporations.
MatchMaking Meetings are not hosted by small businesses.
How Do I Prepare for My MatchMaking Meetings Prior to Arriving On-Site? (Sellers)
Step one is to register as soon as an Alliance event opens or as soon as possible. MatchMaking Meetings are scheduled on a first-come-first-serve basis.
Don’t just show up. Do your homework! Research the Agencies and Primes. Visit their websites. Try to determine if they can incorporate your product or service on a larger contract. Please honor all special requests in the MatchMaking preferences section of their profile and if they are specifically not interested in what you offer, please do not schedule a MatchMaking appointment. There is plenty of time to meet with them during our lunch break should you have questions. Remember that you have contact information for all attendees, including MatchMaking hosts, in our eGuide. Not sure if you should meet with someone? Email them pre-event and ask!
Target agencies that may have a need for your product or service. If the host has told us what they are looking to contract, we have listed it on our website. We also encourage each host to tell us what they are NOT looking for. No agency buys everything! Know that you are bringing the host a product or service they can use! If you have something that the host does not buy do NOT schedule a meeting. Don’t waste your time or the MatchMaking host’s time.
The more you know about each agency and each opportunity, the better chance you have of building a relationship with the agency.
Prepare a line card (standard letter size 8-1/2” x 11” page). Highlight your company’s qualifications and unique product or service. Emphasize your niche. Show a track record of outstanding service. Make sure you list any certifications on the top of the page. (i.e. 8(a), Service Disabled, etc.)
Who Schedules My MatchMaking Meetings?
YOU will schedule your own MatchMaking Meetings but you must be registered first. Scheduling priority will be based on the date of your registration. Approximately two weeks before each Alliance Event, you will receive an email reminder to schedule your meetings.
Each participant may invite others to meeting or receive invites. You have the option to approve, decline, or cancel meetings and invites.
How Do I Schedule My MatchMaking Meetings?
This event is unlike other procurement fairs. You will pre-schedule your own MatchMaking Meetings. Every registered participant will get the opportunity to meet with whom they most want to talk to.
Be sure to check the schedule of workshops so you don't miss important information.
Determine who you really want to meet. Review the list of participants and their MatchMaking preferences. If they indicate that they are not interested in what you offer, honor that.
Do your homework and be prepared.
As you look through the list of participants, there may be several that are of interest to you. You can invite them to meet you. A participant has the ability to decline or cancel your invite. You can only invite for times open on the schedule for both of you. Check the participant’s profile to see what times are available for them. Check your own MatchMaking Schedule to see what times are open for you.
Note: We reserve the right to add or subtract meetings to your schedule based on information about opportunities or requests. We will make a concerted effort to inform you of changes prior to the event day.
What Can I Expect from a MatchMaking Meeting? (Sellers)
Expect to get your questions answered.
Expect to discover if your product or service is of value to the agency or prime. Expect to find out whom to talk to.
Do not expect to get a contract or to meet the decision maker on-site. There is no possibility of every buyer being on-site.
What Do I Do to Prepare for My On-site MatchMaking Meeting? (Sellers)
Come prepared. Write down any questions you have after doing your homework.
Be on time and dress appropriately.
Bring the right person that can answer any questions the procurement officer may have.
Each meeting will be approximately 15 minutes. Make a strong connection and demonstrate the value your company offers.
Present your line card and business card. A brochure will work as well.
Spend the first few minutes introducing your company overview. Include any certifications.
Spend a few minutes describing your products and services and your unique niches.
Spend a few minutes on your track record and successes.
The rest of the meeting can be spent on interacting with the buyer to find out about opportunities, what the next step is and how you plan to follow up.
Demonstrate to the buyer how your company can provide a valuable service that they need.
What do I do after my MatchMaking Meeting and the show is over? (Sellers)
Have an advance plan and implement the plan.
Be proactive. The agency or prime contractor will not come knocking on your door.
No matter how many T’s you have crossed an I’s you have dotted you won’t have a chance of getting a contract if you don’t build a relationship. Make the connection with the right person. Remind them of who you are, your track record, solutions you have to problems they have, the prices you charge etc.
Be patient and be persistent.