28 May Time to “Sell” To Your Elected Officials
When you are selling your company to a client – isn’t your story – your brand – part of the sell? It is time to take those selling techniques and use them with your new “client” – your elected officials. 2 letters ago, this was the opening to my letter to my elected officials:
″Believe me,” said Horton, “I tell you sincerely, my ears are quite keen and I heard him quite clearly. I *know* there’s a person down there. And, what’s more, quite likely there’s two. Even three. Even four.”
Why do I start with a quote from Horton Hears a Who by Dr. Seuss? Because, I am a Who. I belong to the motorcoach industry and I feel the need to shout, “We are here, we are here, we are here!”
Would this opening work for you? Maybe not. I was an elementary school teacher for 18 years. It works for me because it is my voice, my story to tell. While the form letters carefully crafted for us have been wonderful, I found it time to really let my voice be heard. This was how I needed to do it. How will you tell your story?
Still with me? GOOD. Because now I will talk about WHY you need to tell YOUR story. We can’t just be some number plastered on the side of a bus. We can’t just be some number in a form letter. In order for us to become real, we must BE real. Which commercials do you remember? The ones with a story. The ones that tug at your heart strings. The ones you can connect with. It is up to YOU to connect with your elected officials and make the motorcoach industry REAL to them.
Is this easy? NO. It isn’t. I won’t sugar coat this. But, nothing worth doing well is ever easy. First, I found the key staff member’s email address for each elected official. I had these from past fly-ins, and I contacted my American Business and Industry Association in Iowa. They gave me those I still needed. It takes some research, but you will get connected to the right people. Second, I crafted my message. It took me 3 hours to craft my 4th letter and send it out. (Yes, I said 4th). That seems to be about the amount of time it takes. Third, the follow up emails take time. And, finally, when you get to schedule a call – that takes time. But, each and every time I do this, I am told, THIS is what our industry needs to be doing. We all need to make ourselves real to those in Washington D.C.
Where did I start? I started with the form letter carefully crafted and added in my personal numbers. Letter 2 – same format. BUT – in letter three, I had a light-bulb moment. 3 weeks from the date of that letter I was to be in Washington D.C. for the Industry Fly-In. Last year, every elected official from Iowa (or one of their staff members) met with my husband and myself. So, why can’t they meet with us now – on the phone? That was my BIG ask.I had 3 calls scheduled within a week. The 4th and 5th call took a bit longer to schedule. Only ONE has not responded in ANY way at all. 83% response – my closing ratio in sales is around 45%. I was SELLING it!
AND – it gets better. I have now had a SECOND call with 4/6. (Follow-up is important.) Email responses from the 5th. That 6th one – still NO response. 2 of our elected officials signed the Dear Colleague letter supporting our industry (7% of those signing were from Iowa. We are a state with under 10 companies. Imagine what your state could do?). 2 of them have tweeted out support on their accounts. One did an interview for a local Iowa paper where support was quoted. That’s 4/6 support. Iowa companies are rocking it! Do you have documented support of 67% of your state’s elected officials? IMAGINE what our industry could do if we did.
What will I continue to do? I will continue to update them on my company’s fate. I will continue to send them industry spotlights in the national news. I will continue to advocate for our entire industry – sharing the statistics. My husband will continue weekly emails with one of the Senator’s staff members. I am now following each official’s twitter account. I will ask for a 3rd call when the time is needed. I will NOT give up.
Afterall, isn’t that what you do as you sell your company to your clients? Do you give up or do you keep going after new markets. This is just a new market, but a market we need to support us for survival. Never before has it been more important to sell your company. So, go out there and SELL it!
Kim Grzywacz, CTIS