Automotive retailing is one of the most heavily regulated businesses in America, and Congress has significant control over the laws and regulations which govern your dealership —from taxes to laws that impact your F&I office to environmental regulation.
To ensure the decisions Congress makes are fully informed, dealers need to educate their elected officials about how automotive retailing works. Dealers can help by participating in grassroots advocacy.
Getting Involved Makes a Difference
One of the most effective ways to educate lawmakers is to invite them to your dealership for a visit, tour, and discussion. When members of Congress learn about your business first-hand from a dealer, they become better informed about how their votes affect your business, employees, and customers. Dealers can also advocate for dealer legislative priorities at a district office meeting with the lawmaker.
How to Get Involved: Making the Grassroots Connection
By participating in NADA/ATD’s grassroots advocacy, you can educate lawmakers about dealer issues, and show how their decisions in Washington affect your dealership and employees.
Select a Meeting Location
There are four places you can schedule to meet with your legislators.
At Your Dealership
A tour of your dealership allows a legislator to meet your employees and learn about dealers’ legislative priorities. Congressional dealership visits are an excellent starting point for building long-term relationships with members of Congress. Building these relationships is critical to helping dealers achieve their legislative goals.
Contact Patrick Calpin at 800.557.6232 or firstname.lastname@example.org to coordinate scheduling your Member's visit to your dealership.
Work with NADA's Legislative office to ensure you maximize the impact of your Member's time at your dealership.
A visit/tour usually takes an hour and should include all departments and meeting your employees.
Conclude the tour with a discussion about key dealer policy issues.
At a Legislator’s District (or State) Office
These meetings usually are informal and relaxed.
Call the district or state office, and ask to speak with the district director or scheduler.
Ask to schedule a 30-minute meeting to discuss key dealer policy issues.
At a Legislator’s Washington, D.C., Office
NADA/ATD can help set up these meetings, which require more planning and are often just 15 minutes. Be sure to educate the legislator’s staff—who usually attend such meetings—since they advise the legislator on policy positions.
During the Meeting
Legislators average a dozen meetings a day, so remember the three Ws to make the meeting most effective:
Tell a personal story about your business. Legislators are more likely to remember a compelling story accompanied with facts.
Describe how many employees you have, how long you have been in business, how much you pay in taxes and contribute to local charities, that you are a member of NADA or ATD.
Be clear and concise. Focus on just one or two important policy issues.
Listen, even if the legislator's perspective is different from your own.
Explain what you would like the legislator to do and ask for a response. (For example, you may ask the legislator to cosponsor legislation or support a specific bill.)
Where can I find NADA/ATD’s top legislative priorities?
You can find the top legislative priorities on the NADA/ATD Legislative Affairs page, where we share the latest issues, talking points and printable handouts. Our you can call 800.557.6232 and ask to speak with someone in Legislative Affairs.
If I don’t know the key legislative issues, can I still host a member of Congress?
Yes. You don’t need to be a policy expert. Members of Congress want to stay in touch with their constituents and find out how they can assist you. A dealership visit highlights the jobs and economic opportunities you provide.
How much time does it take to prepare?
NADA/ATD staff can help you be well-prepared for the meeting. NADA/ATD has talking points for dealers to use at these visits.
When should I host a dealership visit?
Often the best time to meet with a legislator is during a congressional recess when the legislator is back home. NADA/ATD can provide a list of upcoming recess dates to help you plan ahead.