Selling to the City from a Supplier's Perspective

City Images As public employees and purchasing professionals, we owe the We actively encourage participation from all businesses, large and small as it is our policy that everyone who comes to sell to the City be given every opportunity to do so if the need arises. We place high value on friendly, personal contact with our suppliers and potential suppliers. It is our hope that a visit to our purchasing office will be both informative and mutually beneficial

  1. Examine Your Strategy
    Here are some fundamental questions to ask yourself:
    • Is there a NEED for what you offer?
    • What is the LEVEL of demand within the City government?
    • WHO can use your products or services in the City?
    Can you identify them? Make sure there is a need, and an infrastructure to support the solution which you are proposing or providing! Do the users know about you? Do the right people in purchasing know about you? Who are your competitors?
    • What is your competitive advantage?
    • Unique Technical Knowledge
    • Unique skill
    • Price
  2. Learn How the City Works
    There is someone somewhere in a department who takes the City’s needs and converts these needs into specifications for buying the goods or services which will satisfy the needs. Get to know the departments who prepare the specifications. Go out of your way to learn and to teach your people how the City works.
  3. Learn How The Process Works
    Most of the City’s Procurement is done through open bidding. Learn how this process works as it relates to your products or services. Get to know the buying department. Identify the key individuals, as they relate to your business. Make sure they know you and have current information about you, your business and your products or services. The buying department is not necessarily the specifying department.
  4. Work With the Manufacturer
    The Manufacturer can afford to spend more time educating the users because “all roads lead to Rome”. Regardless of the reseller, the Manufacturer will eventually receive the order. They should be willing to undertake or participate in the cost of marketing with you.
  5. Know the City's Standards for Approved vs. Non-Approved Products
    For example, if you sell Packard Bell computers and the City’s standard is Compaq (which does similar work), make sure your promotional effort has a fair chance of success and the potential returns of your investment of time and money are worth it.
  6. Learn our Accounts Payable Process
    You must learn how the Accounts Payable process functions in the City.
  7. Be Well-Informed & Comply With Terms
    You must read every document, such as a purchase order, very carefully and comply with its terms in order to get paid quickly. Have a realistic expectation for receiving payment. You must have the financial wherewithal to survive longer than the 30-day payments. You must have adequate cash flow reserve.

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