It’s very easy to get caught up in national politics and what the Republicans and Democrats are saying about each other. Networks like Fox News, MSNBC and CNN have made a FORTUNE over the years feeding the public the mud that is constantly being slung in either direction. The fact of the matter is, no matter how right or left you are, national politics very often has little effect on your daily life. Another reality is that one person cannot influence the outcome of an election or a stance that a politician takes on the other side of the country. The more local the politics, the greater effect it has on your daily life AND the possibility of you affecting those politics are greater.
This lesson was no more glaring than during the COVID pandemic. Many businesses were at the mercy of local, not national, officials. Fortunately for the powersports business, the public demand for our products surged and the industry was strong. Not all industries were are as fortunate as ours. In many cases, it was not the President or Congress that were making decisions, it was city, county and state officials that were picking winners and losers. We were lucky this time, but we cannot take that for granted in the future.
If you don’t agree with the President or your US Senator or Representative about an issue, good luck picking up the phone and having some influence. You can, however, pick up the phone and have some influence on your City Council members or County Commissioners IF you have built a relationship. It’s sales 101, build a relationship with the customer because their patronage can affect your business. In this case, build a relationship with a person who can make decisions that can affect your business. A quick meeting and a little follow up can go a long way if you ever need to make that call. It’s much harder to say no or disagree with someone you know as opposed to a stranger. You want those officials to recognize your name AND recognize that you are a business owner that has employees and generated revenue and collects taxes for the city or county.
Even if you live in a large city, most counselors are local to an area of town. Involvement in the local Chamber of Commerce can be another way to keep your name fresh in local official’s minds. You have invested a great deal of time and money into your business and that investment helps the local economy. Be sure to leverage that investment when needed to help influence issues that will affect your, your business and your employees directly. Another important group are elected State Officials. It is important to invest the time and effort to make sure they, or members of their staff, know who you are.
Most of the work that the TMDA does is at the state level and the more influence that we can have as dealers on our elected officials the better our chance for success. Make a point to meet your state senator or representative and let them know who you are, what you do, and what your business does to contribute to the economy of Texas. These relationships are important so you can have some influence when the TMDA calls on you to contact these people about an issue that will affect your business. The first, and most important, step in any sales process is the greet. Consider investing some time in “greeting” these local and state elected officials that are available to you. Like any sales process, the better the greet, the easier the close.