How to sell training to the public sector w/ Peter Smith (Part 1)

Peter Smith Author of Bad buying public sector procurement
Peter Smith Author of Bad Buying – Image copyright Peter Smith

Are you currently a training supplier to local, state, national or federal government organizations?

Have you bid on any public sector training contracts recently? Maybe you plan to do so in the future?

When I first sold training to the public sector at the IPA (Institute of Public Administration) in Dublin, I made some basic mistakes.

  • Firstly, I didn’t understand how the RFP process worked.
  • Secondly, I overestimated the importance of price.
  • Thirdly, I underestimated the value of trust and reputation.

So the first thing is to learn how local and national government decision-makers buy from. people like you and me.

Today’s guest is Peter Smith, previously Procurement Director for the UK’s Department of Social Security and NatWest Group.

Peter is also the author or co-author of 4 book, including ‘Buying Professional Services: How to get value for money from consultants and other professional services providers’.

So if you want to hear from an expert who advises government bodies on how to buy training and consulting from people like you and me, you’re going to really enjoy this week’s episode.

*There are two parts to this episode* so tune in next week for part 2 (episode 188).


Public sector training procurement - Photo by fauxels:
3 Questions to ask yourself so you understand public sector procurement

Understand the procurement process

Very often, small training contracts are not advertised.

If the value of the training contact is below $10,000, the buyer may look for two quotes but they may not make the contract public.

LEARN MORE: Find out where your whitespace business opportunities are. You could be leaving money on the table without realising it..

“It’s really important to build relationships with someone who has the power to hire learning and development contractors like you.

Sometimes you might be asked for a quote just so the buyer can say that s/he has approached followed official process.

That has happened to me as a consultant. It’s hard to know.

If you are approached by a public sector organization, don’t be afraid to ask questions..”

– Why have you come to me?
– Where did you find me online / on LinkedIn?
– What are you looking for from a training provider?

The one good thing that you can say about the public sector procurement process is that they generally try to be unbiased.

“They use various factors and weightings to decide whom to shortlist.”

“If you follow the guidelines and get professional help from a bid writer e.g. on LinkedIn, you could have as good a chance of winning the business as the more established providers.”

“Many government bodies encourage tenders from smaller training providers.”

“But you really have to do your homework. People who buy consulting from training companies are protective of their reputation”

“You just might find that addressing their personal goals and concerns is a good place to start.”

Listen to the episode now!

Take-aways you don’t want to miss

  • What procurement is
  • Where you can find listings for training contracts
  • What an RFP / RFI is and what the difference between them is
  • How you can know if it’s worth applying
  • What the role of procurement is
  • How you can make a successful bid
  • When the best time to get training budget is

Some resources for you

Buying Professional Services: How to get value for money from consultants
Bad Buying: How organizations waste billions through failures, fraud and f**k ups
Procurement with Purpose: How organizations can change the way they spend money now
IPA – Institute of Public Administration Dublin Ireland

Check out the episode now!


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