Working with Lobbyists: 5 Steps to Success

Working with Lobbyists: A Five-Step Process 

Lobbyists work to facilitate the process of change and improvement in a variety of different environments and circumstances. Whether it be on a government, community, business, or personal level, they help the common man’s voice be heard. 

While it can appear daunting to begin working with a lobbyist, the process of collaborating with a lobbyist can be broken down into five simple steps: identify the problem and desired solution, find an experienced lobbyist, collaborate on a plan, establish a price agreement, and carry out the plan.

Now let’s take a closer look at each of these steps. 

Step One- Identify the Problem and Desired Solution  

Asking yourself questions such as, ‘Why do I need a lobbyist? What do I hope to accomplish?’ is a productive and essential first step to any correspondence with a lobbyist. Before seeking out a lobbyist, it is crucial that you have a clear idea of the problem or policy you want to address, as well as what you hope to achieve. 

The most common reason for working with a lobbyist is that there is an immediate problem in the government that needs to be solved. However, there are a variety of needs and situations in which having a lobbyist proves beneficial and worthwhile. 

Beginning the process with a clear goal in mind will promote efficient communication when collaborating with your lobbyist; it will increase the productivity of your efforts and decrease the possibility of misunderstandings.  

Step Two- Find the Lobbyists That are the Best Fit For You 

After you have established your goal, it is time to find the lobbyist that you feel will best represent and understand the issue that you would like to address; your issue becomes their issue, and it is just as important to them as it is to you. The more exposure the lobbyist has had to your type of issue, the more productive your work will be. 

While this may sound easy on paper, it can sometimes prove difficult to find a representative that meets these requirements. There are various means that you can use to find the lobbyist best fit for you. Some of these methods include referrals from associates and acquaintances, online research, and various forms of social media, verbal, and other forms of self-promotion. 

Step Three- Collaborate with the Lobbyists to Assess the Scope of the Work 

The next step when working with a lobbyist, and one of the most important steps, is assessing the issue you want resolved and the goal you hope to achieve with your selected lobbyist. 

Once again, you see an instance where it is extremely beneficial to already have a rough plan formulated. It provides the lobbyist with a foundation that they can build upon, making common ground easier to find. 

Mutual understanding is imperative when first meeting together. Establishing your work on level ground allows for the lobbyist that you have selected to construct their argument and actions on a sturdy foundation for the work that you will do together. 

Taking the time to go through these establishing steps will increase the probability that you will achieve the goal that you have in mind. 

Step Four- Draft a Price Agreement 

Once the blueprints have been drawn out, the lobbyist and you will discuss the estimated price to complete the scope of work that you have laid out to be accomplished. This action and cost agreement is then memorialized in a written agreement to establish the work that has been and will be done and at what cost. 

Step Five- Carry Out the Plan   

With the necessary steps and cost solidified, it is time for the lobbyist to carry out the plan that you have erected together. 

Now that there is a solidified plan, there are a variety of ways that a lobbyist can assist in this process of achieving success.

One environment in which lobbyists are able to do this most effectively is by working with varying levels of government, including the federal, state, county, municipal, and local level. Other common ways in which the lobbyist carries out the plan is through promotion of your case or opposition towards the cause of the problem. 

Whatever your plan or purpose may be, the lobbyist’s job is to take what’s been discussed and make it a reality. 

Keep in Mind

Even the most detailed and effective plans do not always reap the desired results. While they understand their purpose to achieve the desired goal and find a solution to the problem, it is prohibited by state law that lobbyists are paid based on the results of their work. This is yet another reason to seek out the lobbyists with the most exposure and experience in your field. 

Choosing a Lobbyist: The Lockhart Group, A Clear Choice for Success

The Lockhart Group is a lobbying firm with extensive experience in Utah. Stan Lockhart has served on the Utah Board of Education and worked closely with educational institutions including charter schools and school districts. He has also worked with tech companies such as Micron. He helped negotiate two of the largest tax incentives in state history. Stan views lobbying as solving people’s problems with the government. He will work with you to determine the root of the issue you are dealing with and then help find a solution. Stan views solving problems as an opportunity to help both groups. He will work to understand the concerns of the organizations that you are struggling with. Then he will find common ground to negotiate. 

The Lockhart Group is Utah’s Lobbying Experts and can provide customized, strategic guidance to help you as you find solutions to issues. Contact us now so we can craft a solution with you.