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Networking Fail: How Not To Connect For Business

By June 23, 2017January 15th, 2019No Comments
J. Kelly Hoey - Build Your Dream Network


Mulling the follow-up email from a person whose email signature line reads “business development” and scratching my head. Not sure where or from whom this person learned their craft — because the messaging is connecting with me like a lead balloon. Actually, I’d prefer a lead balloon dropping in my lap than another sleaze-ball email from this person. And the really sad part is the service / product being offered is one that should spread through word-of-mouth referrals.

Instead, it’s the fodder for Kelly’s weekly rant.

Listen, I get it, when you’re in business development aka sales, you’ve got to swing big, make cold calls, ask, persist, ask again…however, from a relationship builder a little feedback on the strategy and execution (note: the sender of the emails offered “abuse” as one of the potential responses to the first email, which I take as an offer to help them improve their business development outreach efforts). So, Business Development Manager this is for you:

  • First: Your sourcing strategy for potential clients (reviewing speaker lists for conferences) is a good one, and clearly you’ve spent the time not only gathering names but also hunting down speaker contact information. Take your research a little further by going back to the beginning (aka the conference and it’s purpose) and use this information to customize your messaging. By way of example, if the conference features a lot of experts on stage who are women talking about their subject matter expertise, chances are they don’t want an email telling them how attractive their headshot is, followed by a smiley face emoji.
  • Second: Humor can be an effective sales tool — and to build rapport with someone as well — however, remember what is funny at home may not cross other cultural borders. Heck, those who know you well may get your monocle joke but as a first impression, well, falling flat would have been positive outcome for that joke in New York City.
  • Third: You’re trying to sell me something — I knew that from the minute I saw your subject line — and after two emails, I still have not seen an example of the work your company does (other than send ridiculously repulsive sales emails). Why not include an example of the “awesome slide deck” work you’ve done for a client in the emails you’re so good at sending? Come on! Make it easy for someone like me to see the quality of the work you’ve produced, so I can decide whether I want to take you up on the offer to treat me to a Skype.
  • Fourth: Read my book. You’ll find it on Amazon in the U.K. (and likely other fine booksellers across the pond).

AND dear readers, if you’re not speaking at Inspirefest and have been spared the emails I’ve referenced above, don’t worry, I’ve shared them for you in their entirety below (with the name of the not-so-innocent removed):

Hi Kelly,

You’ve never heard of me before. But I did notice you’re scheduled to speak soon at an event — I love your headshot by the way, very dashing! 😉

Anyway Kelly, I set about extracting your email using my super-powers, in order to email you and pitch my offering. That’s right, pitch. I might as well just address the elephant in the from straight off the bat.

I hope my email is not too presumptuous (isn’t cold email always presumptuous?) but, how are you going with preparing your presentation for the event? As a specialist presentation design agency, we can help you represent with a highly engaging visually stunning presentation that blows the audience away.

We’ve helped speakers from some huge brands shine with an awesome slide deck.

We’re loving the feedback we’re getting, and I know you’d love what our services could do for you and too… I mean who doesn’t want to crush their presentation?

I’d love to treat you (lol) to a 15 min Skype call. I promise to be somewhat entertaining. You never know, I may even wear a monocle.

So, from here you have three choices:

  • A) Abuse me for invading your inbox with my unsolicited email — I’m used to this.
  • B) Lock-in a time for a quick chat.
    OR *GASP*……
  • C) Have yourself eradicated from my list & all future correspondence by clicking here

Have an absolutely wonderful day.

Thank You,

Business Development Manager


Hi Kelly,

I have not heard back from you yet, this tells me that:

  1. You either accepted Elon Musk’s one-way ticket to Mars and don’t care about what I have to offer anymore.
  2. You are interested but have not had time to reply.
  3. You are not interested, and if that’s the case please let me know so I can stop bothering you.

Whichever one it is, please let me know because I’m starting to worry!

Warm Regards,

Business Development Manager

Need another reason to pick-up a copy of #BYDN….

J. Kelly Hoey

Networking Expert + Career Transformation Coach + Author + Speaker, Kelly Hoey looks at "networking" through a new, modern, fresh lens, offering you (who are pursuing and perhaps struggling with your big ambitions), advice on how to connect for success in a hyper-connected world that is woefully short in its attention span. Her network-building advice is relatable, instilling confidence with actionable insights and practical information.