Do you think you’ve got your permits in the bag? Think again.
There are three mistakes developers make when seeking approvals to build shopping centers and other commercial properties. The Three Biggies are:
- Trusting the decision makers’ promises: Decision makers can cave in the face of opposition, despite their promises and their desire for the benefits your retail complex provides. But opponents’ presence and vocal disapproval will spook even your most ardent allies. Solution: Give decision makers Political Courage by connecting them to supporters, i.e. positive community partners, former elected leaders, and other influencers.
- Trying to convince opponents: The opponents don’t want your retail complex, for many different reasons. Some of those reasons make sense, some don’t, and some are based on manufactured “facts.” After people have declared their position against a proposal, trying to convince them will most likely make them become more entrenched in their opposition. Solution: Listen to your opponents and extend them courtesy and respect to minimize outrage, but never try to convince them.
- Timing support-building efforts too late in the process: If you want to build a base of supporters, you need to start early on, well before your public hearing is on the calendar. An enthusiastic group of supporters could very well be the one element that makes or breaks your project — and determines whether you get your permits. Solution: Target potential supporters, develop real relationships, and partner with them in the community to “do good.” Those interested in volunteering to improve the lives of other human beings are the most reliable community partners for your purposes.
Avoid the Three Biggies by preparing to give the decision makers the input they need at your public hearing so they can honor their promises; by not wasting time trying to convince opponents; and by giving yourself enough time to build enduring, mutually beneficial relationships with supporters in your community.
Get the results you want by providing decision makers with simplified, repetitive and emotion-based information that is presented in a visually compelling way to activate their political courage. Get your copy of “Yes Vote: The Public Hearing Plan for Developers” free (just pay S&H): https://go.yesvoteplan.com/book.
— By Katie Coates, APR, Fellow PRSA is the author of the Amazon international bestseller “Yes Vote: The Public Hearing Plan for Developers.” Developers who follow The Approval Plan have a 95 percent or better chance of securing decision maker approval at their public hearings.