National state government affairs (SGA) lobbying initiatives can succeed at least 70 percent of the time when designed, implemented, and managed around the concept that lobbying is legislative sales. I say this even amidst the swelling and profound politico-cultural differences among red and blue states. There remains too much national commonality and consensus as to the processes, procedures, and personalities to conclude otherwise.
I led an industry SGA effort that lobbied successfully for a favorable national regulatory environment for spent cordless electronics. Conflicting state environmental statutory and administrative initiatives were impeding their shared objective, that is, the removal of waste electronics from the municipal solid waste stream. Severe application of these laws in time could have solved the environmental problem but at the unacceptable social and economic cost of phasing out cordless consumer electronics.
Over my eight years of direct multi-year lobbying in 12 US states, coordinating SGA in many others, assisting our federal affairs team in Washington, D.C., and provincial and federal advocacy in Canada I learned that lobbying is basically the same everywhere because lobbying is legislative sales.
The threshold question for any kind of sales is, why would a potential customer buy my product rather than that which my opponent is selling? Some of the procedural answers are found in this free download Effective Lobbying Is Getting Votes: 27 Fundamentals for Successful Lobbying.
So when single-state lobbyists tell me that their state is so different from the rest of the country that an out-of-stater cannot succeed there, I know from first-hand experience and a stream of Lobby School students they are just plain wrong. It’s because they are wrong that well-planned and skillfully executed national SGA programs can succeed.
In an upcoming series of blogs, I will examine why and how national SGA programs can do well 70 percent of the time. While expanding cultural differences are profound among red and blue states, we will start our series optimistically by acknowledging the US is a procedurally uniform environment.
Opportunities flowing from procedural uniformity will be the topic of the next installment.