Tips and Tricks for Getting a Meeting with a Decision-Maker in Croatian Government
1) Preparation makes perfect
Addressing the key person in the administration is the first challenge. A lobbying professional in Croatia should be aware that meeting MPs is generally easier than meeting government officials, and that the government officials would rather meet with diplomats than private sector representatives. In any case, always do your research in order to understand fully the platform of the decision-maker with whom you are trying to get a meeting and how your organisation can help him/her. A decision-maker will not agree to meet with you if your proposal does not hold a potential benefit for him/her. When you finally get the meeting, make sure your appearance reflects the nature of your business and goals. You only have one chance to make a good first impression, so don’t blow it. Business casual is a must, but a suit shows that you’ve gone the extra mile and you’re serious.
2) Write a properly structured and professional introductory email
The tone of the email should be formal and polite, and it should be personalised to the person you are contacting. Make sure to introduce yourself and your company properly at the beginning of the email. Say what you do and in what sectors your company operates. The introduction should be followed by a paragraph in which you clearly lay out your goal for the meeting. At the end, don’t forget to propose a date and venue for the meeting.
3) Organise a small-scale event
A working breakfast or a workshop goes a long way in terms of establishing contact with the decision maker, because it keeps the encounter both casual and inexpensive. You will have to select a topic that will attract other stakeholders within the decision maker’s policy area. This way you can establish yourself as an authority in the area in the eyes of the decision maker, and also establish new contacts among other stakeholders.
4) Attend events related to your agenda
Keep track of upcoming conferences, business lunches, workshops, soirées etc. and attend those where you are certain the decision maker will be present as well. Usually, the ‘mingling’ time that takes place before of after the event is your opportunity to approach the decision maker or his/her colleague, and try setting up a meeting.
5) Socialise beyond work
Being a professional lobbyist is hardly a 9-5 job. You need to be involved in different business associations, clubs and even NGOs to expand your network of contacts. This requires devoting your limited free time to people you don’t know. However, you never know if one of those people will become your desired decision maker, or a person who can help you get to him/her.
By: Nikola Zubalj, Account Support & Marketing Specialist at Vlahovic Group LLC