Mail to the Government
Tips For Catalogers Selling to Uncle Sam
By Mark Amtower
Selling to the U.S. government, which includes federal, state and local governments, can be a sweet deal for a cataloger.
There are more than 70,000 government jurisdictions in the United States, and they buy $2.5 trillion for goods and services each year!
The funds usually are spent through specific contracts, or they constitute discretionary purchases. The latter is spent on small purchases (called micropurchases) through purchasing, field and regional offices. It's spent by government credit card users (Federal government and some state governments), and others who must acquire goods quickly.
The use of SmartPay, the federal small-purchase credit card (formerly known as IMPAC), for instance, was $13.9 billion (with 25 million transactions) in FY 2001 and is expected to approach $15.5 billion in fiscal year 2002. We project the credit card will account for more than 98 percent of all purchases of less than $2,500 by the end of fiscal year 2002.
The SmartPay card is simply a Visa or MasterCard corporate card, so no extra steps should be needed to accept it for payment.
How to Increase Your Sales
The federal government buys all legitimate business products and services. Following are some strategies to help increase your market share in the vast and often-misunderstood government marketplace: