“Can you tell me where in the FAR it says that TSA can only buy from Who’s down in Whoville?”  This is the type of question government contract consultants get every year around this time as companies try to close as many deals as possible.  Ordinarily sane people ask this sort of question now, though at any other time they would know that a statement like this is an indication that they aren’t going to get a particular deal.  Sorting reasons from excuses saves you time and enables your firm to better focus on projects that are actually winnable.  It is tough to sort them out sometimes.  Allen Federal was once told by a government official, “We’ve been told we have to buy from HubZone firms no matter what because we didn’t make our goal last year.”  This may actually be a bona fide reason, though a frustrating one.  In cases like this, you either find a HubZone you can team with or move on to the next opportunity.  A good general rule is that any statement from a prospective client that seems totally off the wall is most likely an “excuse” and any sales pro will tell you that excuses are more difficult to overcome than reasons.  For that matter, a reasoned approach to your year-end business minimizes the chances of wild goose chases and keeps your firm focused on actual business.  Happy selling.