Don’t Write A BD Email This Way

What’s On My Mind

Fun conversation this week!

He stopped me mid-sentence and said…


Did you just say, “don’t give them a reason not to respond?”

I guess I did.

That’s brilliant!

You’re probably wondering–what were we talking about?

​First, let me give you some background; then, we can dive into the learning.

​I was leading a GrowBIG Training this week, and at that moment, we were covering how to follow up right after a big meeting where we met someone important for the first time.

​Early-stage relationships are important to focus on, especially when you really want the relationship to stick.

​The right way to follow up:​

  • Quality: Always be helpful
  • Quantity: Have several interactions spread out over time
  • Short: Have relatively short messages to make it super easy to get into a fun back-and-forth response

​What’s the flip of these?

​What nearly everyone does!

  • Selfish: Email covering only commercial opportunity, which sends the message it’s all about you
  • One follow-up: An email sent the day after the meeting but little else beyond that except for “did you get my email?” messages
  • Long: The email is massive, with every single follow-up included, like the seven main points of the meeting, a PowerPoint deck, two white papers, three questions, a link to that fancy restaurant in Greece you talked about, and a joke in the p.s.

Quick question.

What do you do when you get a long email?



​Defer again.

​Feel guilty you haven’t responded.

​Weeks go by…


That’s the problem with the ka-thunk huge email the day after the meeting.

It gives the person a reason not to respond.

​Here’s a better way.

In the meeting, write down everything you notice you can follow up on.


  • The analysis you might be able to do that would be super helpful to them​
  • The fact they’re working to become more agile as a team.​
  • How they love Ultimate Frisbee because clearly, they’re an awesome person.​


Write it all down.

Write down hirable things–ways you can follow up with your great content.

​And write down human things–ways you can follow up on their personal passions and interests.

​Write them all down. Look for commonality, because it’s correlated to likeability.

The key is to document potential follow-ups in the meeting and, at the latest, in the 10 minutes right after the meeting.

(The next day doesn’t work. You’ll forget all the nuance.)

Then, when you get back to your desk, prioritize and organize it in priority order. Important goes first, of course, but go further…

Plan your Campaign Of Helpfulness over a few weeks.

Drip. Drip. Drip.

​Show them you listened.

​Show them you’re helpful.

​Show them they’re important.

​Follow up over time in short spurts. Vary your communication medium across physical mail, email, phone, Zoom, WhatsApp, and anything else appropriate. Keep your emails short.

​Stay in touch over time.

That’s how you’ll win someone over.

Let’s all make a promise.

​Let’s abolish the massive, ka-thunk follow-up email once and for all.

​And instead…

​Let’s keep adding proactive value so…

We give them a reason to engage.


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