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Thursday, October 04, 2007

Linking and SMPS

Image from Bobby Darnell's Construction Marketing Consultants website in Atlanta, GA.

Things got rather busy last night about 11:30 p.m. Just as I was about to shut the computer down and pick up a book for some bedtime reading, my email pinged. Bobby Darnell of Construction Marketing Consultants in Altanta, GA had responded to my request for permission to quote from an email exchange via My question posted on that networking site:

I wonder how many of you are also members of SMPS, and whether you find advantage in relating the two networks.

Darnell's response:

I have been a member of SMPS and find it a useful organization. Like any tool or organization or piece of exercise equipment, it is how one uses it that determines the result.

The times I have been active in SMPS, I found there are definitely people there that knew and understand how to get the benefits from that group. At the same time, I found people who were just selling their "resume" in case they could find "a better gig".

I have just recently dusted off my membership here on LinkedIn and already it is paying dividends. Though I am not actively seeking new clients one never knows when that may change. I have found that LinkedIn can be an asset if for no other reason than when I tell someone about it, who has no previous knowledge; they appreciate me for just telling them about an opportunity to network. (Much like the very simple question, "Tell me, what is a good lead for you?"

I love networking and have connected with several people from years ago who are still in my industry and have found LinkedIn to be like a treadmill, the more I use it, the more positive results I gain.

I hope this helps... Bobby

Beyond the refreshing candor, Darnell's response outlines the basics of great networking; you 'get' by giving -- and solid networking relations can last a long time, and reemerge seemingly out of the blue sometimes by fluke but usually because there is a valid reason.

I first met Bobby when we launched an ill-fated publication in Atlanta, as part of our ill-planned U.S. expansion about five years ago. The local publishers we hired never really connected successfully within the community; and after a promising start, the paper fizzled. I recall a lunch with Bobby, when we discussed networking and I thought "wow", he'll be able to refer some business our way, without realizing that this stuff really only works if you put aside the "he'll be able to refer some business" and focus simply on either his needs or larger projects for the joint good.

So here we are, a few years later, and I've posted a question on Linkedin asking about whether we can link the networking site and SMPS through a Linkedin group. Now the story is not about "finding business for me" and is very much about "finding business for everyone."

Of course I must also respect SMPS -- I am certainly not in a position to speak for SMPS, or for that matter. At present, SMPS members effectively network within local chapters, as well as through regional and national conventions. SMPS members also use an email Listserve to deliver questions and answers across the network. I think a link between SMPS and through a Linkedin group will add value, and, if no one objects, will start one within the next few days.

So why do this? Where is the business advantage in providing these services and connections? In the short term at least, we aren't planning to restart our Atlanta business, and I certainly don't expect to be paid for my time in connecting the Linkedin and SMPS networks.

Well, just a few seconds after receiving the email from Bobby Darnell, I received another email thorough requesting permission to make a connection. The person who wanted to link with me is, from our business perspective, a highly qualified lead.

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