The Contracting Officer (CO)
The Contracting Officer (CO) manages the competition and contracting process, including publication of the solicitation, and has legal authority to sign your contract with the United States federal government. The CO’s job is on the line to ensure a legal, fair & proper process selects the right vendors for the job.
Again, if your questions show you know how this Agency usually buys, and the programs they manage that might need the kinds of things you offer, they’re much more likely to open the door to someone you really need to meet, especially the Program Manager.
Meeting the Contracting Officer (CO)
Come prepared to discuss (and bring a capabilities statement including):
- Your core capability: Once again, what’s your Unique Value Proposition -- your sweet spot, the thing you do that sets you apart in the marketplace? That helps focus your meeting.
- Your credentials and relevant past performance: Edit to focus on past work similar to what the agency needs. Bring that same capabilities statement that you prepared for the Small Business Specialist. Include the contract number, value of the whole project, and, if you were a subcontractor, your contribution. List the prime contractor point of contact. During the meeting, highlight your past experience in providing relevant services.
- Boost confidence: Include details of your project management skills, lines of credit, bonding, performance guarantees and working capital. This information raises the CO’s confidence that you can perform the work if you win the competition.
- Include basic information: List your GSA Schedules and other contract vehicles, certifications and recertification dates.
- Ask about specific projects: By now, you should be focused on specific forecast opportunities that this contracting officer handles. Ask about upcoming opportunities that might be candidates to become set aside, and fit your capabilities, experience, performance and financing.
- Ask for what you want: That can include help getting an appointment with the relevant Program Manager.
- Stay in touch: After this first meeting, build the relationship and follow-up!