You have to do this with every new idea, but it's especially difficult with government agencies:
- Persuade them that they have a problem or opportunity that they want to solve;
- Persuade them that there are solutions (and recognise that they will look for alternatives);
- Persuade them that the payback from the possible solution(s) is worth the effort economically, managerially AND politically (the biggest challenge for novel ideas);
- Persuade them that your approach to the solution (not necessarily your particular product/service) is the right generic solution;
- Finally, win the RFI/RFP/tender/negotiation (they will seek alternatives to your great idea).
My advice: learn to live with it, but qualify all prospects ruthlessly on the cost/reward and likelihood of success at all stages, and price accordingly; ie. government business needs to be high customer value AND high supplier margin, or it's not worth it to both parties.
First published 17 November 2011