5 Important Ways to Determine You’re Hiring the Right Lobbyist
Hiring the right lobbyist for you is as crucial as hiring the right lawyer. You wouldn’t hire an immigration attorney to help you start your first business. It probably goes without saying that if you find a lobbyist who claims to do it all, run as quickly as you can in the opposite direction. Like with any massive undertaking, you want to do your due diligence in making sure the person you work with is the perfect fit for your needs.
Here’s a handy checklist of some major points you want your lobbyist to have:
There are many paths to becoming a lobbyist. Some work their way up while others make the switch from another senior-level role, oftentimes from the political sector. Some come from a background of law, politics, or specific trades. Having enough experience could not only indicate competence, but it could also be helpful if they have a broad network of connections.
It would be most useful if your lobbyist knows the ins and outs of your industry or the issue at hand. Depending on their background and experience, if they’ve worked in your industry for a substantial amount of time, worked with legislation that involved your industry/issue, or advocated for related/similar issues, they should have comprehensive knowledge to tackle the issues you bring to the table from all angles.
☑ Track Record
Does your lobbyist have a history of being effective at their job? Ask how many bills they have gotten passed or for the average number of bills they get passed per session. It’s also important to keep in mind that it’s easy to kill a bill, but much more challenging to get a bill passed. They may not have a lot of cases on their track record, but it’s about quality not quantity. Having lots of success stories is a great sign, but also know about the type of cases they took on, how far they have gotten, and the strategies they used to reach goals.
☑ Network Connections
Networks are a lobbyist’s lifeline. It would be immensely difficult for them to do their job if they didn’t know the people who can make a difference. Afterall, lobbyists are also known as government relations professionals, they should have good relations with those who will make or break your goals.
☑ Manages Expectations
Through their knowledge and experience, a lobbyist can weigh the challenges of your goals. She or he is realistic about the chances and timeline of a positive outcome, and will communicate such expectations to you early on. It’s important for clients to understand that the legislative process is a lengthy one, that it actually is quite difficult to be successful, and that anything can come out of left field destroying all the hard work even if the finish line is in sight.
☑ Bonus: Shared Vision & Passion
Are they aligned with your vision? Ideally your lobbyist will personally want to achieve the same things you do and have a passion for making it happen.
In some cases you will need more than one lobbyist. Large corporations usually have a team of lobbyists spread around the country. Depending on where you are in the process, different needs may arise that require different expertise or connections that will help further along your issues.
Because of the dedication, length of time, cost, and other factors of working with lobbyists, it is essential that clients find the right person to work with. Finding the best fit for you will be worth investing the time and effort.