Usually, the companies that win a significant number of federal contracts will work on capturing a program starting 12 – 18 months prior to release of the RFP. The up-front work they do focuses on getting to know and winning the confidence of key people who will influence the selection of the contractor.Typically the key people include the technical / managerialoperations personnel; and the contracting personnel. Vendors find that, when they get to know the key people inadvance of the RFP release, they can accomplish two things:
(1) win the confidence of the decision makers; and
(2) influence the writing of the SOW / terms that will be in the contract solicitation.
They influence the formulation of the contract specs through things such as:conferring verbally and submitting literature that educates them about the technical problems they are facing and, at the same time, bends their thinking toward your solution.If you can focus on a program forthcoming 9 – 15 months from now, that will hopefully give you the time to do the up-front work that puts you in a position where a good proposal can win the program.
I think that, even with your very good reputation in the industry, they will probably not be comfortable in selecting you until this type of “mating dance” is completed. Much of this you will need to do yourself. However, if we could assist in any way with program / product / market research, please let me know. We have in our database a number of personnel with USPS connectivity, including the gentleman you met, some personnel retired from the engineering group, and at least one high level consultant currently serving them.