Just reading the headline here likely gives some readers dark or interesting ideas about where this article is headed.  We’re not going there.  Instead, it is vitally important to remember that Congress can do things to you or for you.  Here are three steps every federal contractor should take to ensure that their elected officials know about their business.

1.  Establish a Relationship:  This is actually easier to do than most people think and it does not require a trip to Washington.  Did you know that every Member of Congress and every Senator have offices in their district or state?  They even visit the main offices regularly.  Call or email the scheduler and make an appointment for when your official is in town. Most elected officials want to hear from you.  Does this mean you’ll end up on their fundraising list?  Probably, but that’s a concern for another time.

2.  Tell Your Company’s StoryDon’t assume your elected official knows about your government business.  Even if they have an idea that you sell to federal agencies, they certainly will not know how many jobs that represents or what the overall economic benefit is to their state or district of your federal business. This absolutely applies to larger companies, too.  Many assume that, because of their recognizable brand name, that elected officials know everything about their business.  No one knows unless you tell them.  Keep your message simple and straightforward, but make sure the official knows that your business is an important part of the local economy and that too many rules can cause real pain at home.

3.  Be Consistent With Your Contact:  A trip to the Representative’s office is not a one-time deal.  Companies need to be consistent with their messaging, weigh in on legislation that’s important to them, and broaden their contacts in the official’s office.  It’s tough to always see the official, but it is not as difficult to see their senior staff.  Most legislative staff are in Washington, but the state or district director for your official will have the ability to understand your message and ensure that it is properly conveyed to the member or the staff in Washington.  Most successful sales require more than one visit, the same logic applies here.  Many government contractors never think of contacting their elected officials until there’s a crisis.  That puts you behind the curve at a time when you need help.  Consistent Congressional contact should be a part of every contractor’s federal business plan.