Hosting a legislator for a site visit is one of the most effective ways to influence policy decisions and build long-lasting political relationships. These visits, which involve minimal planning, offer quality face-to-face time with elected officials and allow you to showcase your business and tell your story.
When a legislator pays a visit to your business, you are building a personal relationship with that legislator – a relationship that can lead to access and influence. When, for instance, a Congressman is deliberating over a particular issue, 100 identical form letters from random individuals will not be as powerful as a phone call from a trusted confidant back in the district.
Close, personal relationships are what continue to move the needle in both Washington, D.C. and the state capitals.
Scheduling your Visit
Your first step is to reach out to Auto Care's grassroots manager, David Pinkham, at
firstname.lastname@example.org to get the most up-to-date contact information for your legislator's district or state office. Once you've reached out, you will likely be connected to the office scheduler who will then report back with the elected official's availability.
If the legislator is unable to visit your facility, you may be offered the opportunity to travel to their office for a sit-down meeting. If you are open to making the trip,
do not turn down this offer. These meetings provide the same meaningful face-to-face time and can lead to a highly successful site visit in the future.
View the complete step-by-step instructions for scheduling a meeting with your legislator.
View a sample invite.
Preparing for your Visit
Once you have established a date for your visit, you can begin to plan out the visit and decide what topics you wish to discuss. These visits typically last an hour and include one or more of the following agenda items:
- Policy discussion with company management
- Q&A with all employees in attendance
- Guided tour of your store, warehouse, factory, etc.
While it is imperative that you prepare and fully understand the issues you'll be discussing, these visits tend to be casual events. Your primary responsibilities are to showcase your business and serve as an industry resource, both during the meeting and through any sort of follow-up correspondence.
View the full list of "dos and don'ts" when meeting with a legislator.
After the Visit
Send thank you notes to the legislator and any staff in attendance a day or two after the meeting. Be sure to mention the issues you discussed and your company's positions on those issues.
Just like any personal or professional relationship, legislator relationships must be nurtured. Semi-regular phone calls, emails and in-person meetings with that legislator and/or their staff are essential to maintaining that relationship. Stay on the lookout for fundraisers, town halls or local business events where you can show your face and reconnect with them.
View a sample thank you letter.
The Auto Care Association government affairs team is here to assist you every step of the way. Contact David Pinkham at
email@example.com or 301-654-6664 with any questions or concerns.
Photos of Past Site Visits