"I don't know you" is a valid response to Social Networking invitations

Mortgage and Lending with Crescent Bank & Trust

I've read several conflicting opinions in AR about responding "I don't know this person" to requests for links / connections on Social Networking sites. It appears that a significant percentage of networkers believe in simply going for the big "connections" number. In my opinion, the appropriate term for that type of networking is "A mile wide but only an inch deep".

Early in my banking career, a customer who was a retired real estate broker taught me Dale Carnegie's technique of "carrying a compliment", which is significantly more effective than complimenting someone first-person. In other words, "My banker, Clark Blackwell, speaks very highly of you." is much more effective and smacks less of blatant flattery than "Based on your reputation in the community and your obvious business acumen, I'm interested in being your Realtor.".

Carrying that concept into Social Networking, we can and should send raw leads to anyone and everyone, but none of us are able to provide / receive a genuine referral except to / from those we trust.  Almost anyone can build rapport with me; few are capable of earning my trust. Like it or not, we are judged by those with whom we associate.  If I view your 548 connections and see that more than one is someone whose level of service or integrity I have personally been less-than-satisfied with, I will view you in the same manner. Conversely, if several people whom I know and respect do business with you, that indicates to me that you share that person's integrity, work ethic, and sense of urgency.

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Does this mean we should only link with people we already know? Not at all, since that would be a complete waste of time & technology.  We should link with those we don't know who are linked to those people of integrity we DO know, selectively leveraging the power of "degrees of separation" since none of us can ever know everyone else. If all of us are going just for the numbers (inch-deep, mile-wide), the whole process becomes as time-wasting as doodling on a desk.

As the old HR saying goes, "I've never read a bad resume'". I'm certain that many networking sites specifically advise only linking with people you know and trust. It's sound advice.


Posted by

North Metro Atlanta community banker, Woodstock, GA

Comments (10)

Cindy Edwards
RE/MAX Checkmate - Johnson City, TN
CRS, GRI, PMN - Northeast Tennessee - 423-677-6677

This is very i9nteresting.  I especially like the "carrying a compliment"  I had never heard that before, and it makes sense.

Mar 03, 2009 12:51 AM
Clark Blackwell
Crescent Bank & Trust - Woodstock, GA

Cindy, Thank you for reading my blog! The gentleman I mentioned passed away a few years ago, but his sound advice lives on. My wife grew up in Tullhaoma (near Chattanooga) and her parents retired to Coker Creek. Go Vols!

Clark  Blackwell, Commercial Real Estate Lender, Woodstock (Cherokee County), GA

Mar 03, 2009 12:59 AM
Zilkia Olmeda-Martins
RE/MAX North - San Antonio - San Antonio, TX
GRI, Realtor, San Antonio Texas Luxury Homes

Hi Clark, I really enjoyed reading your post.  I am new to social networking and I guess it's a quality vs quantity issue.

Mar 03, 2009 12:59 AM
Clark Blackwell
Crescent Bank & Trust - Woodstock, GA

Zilkia, Thank you for reading my post! Actually, it requires a little of both, but with an emphasis on quality. At one time I was part of a local BNI chapter which was very restrictive and paternal about referring only to other BNI members. Problem was, at least three of the other members of our particular chapter were quickly earning a lousy reputation for providing poor service, which began reflecting badly on all the rest of us. It was an eye-opening experience, and I'm now pre-disposed to view "virtual" networking in the same light. I probably should have mentioned that in the original post.

Do you have any listings in Canyon Lake / New Braunfels? A former co-worker lives in Canyon Lake & partially due to its proximity to San Antonio but more so because of the beauty of the Hill Country, that's exactly where I'd want to live if I moved to TX.

Mar 03, 2009 01:41 AM
Li Read
Sea to Sky Premier Properties (Salt Spring) - Salt Spring Island, BC
Caring expertise...knowledge for you!

Excellent post!     Hope everyone reads it.     Trust is the foundation of all good business.

Mar 03, 2009 02:41 AM
Brodie Brown
Browntree Home Inspections - Marietta, GA

Good job Clark! The student has now become the Master! :)

Mar 03, 2009 04:09 AM
Clark Blackwell
Crescent Bank & Trust - Woodstock, GA

Li, Thank you for reading my blog, and for your kind compliment! I wish I knew a way to get everyone to read it. Obviously I still have a lot to learn about AR!

Brodie, Thank you for the feedback, my friend. You REALLY taught me everything I know about Social Networking. Thanks. I'm really enjoying it.

Mar 03, 2009 05:52 AM
Lynda Hester
Prudential Georgia Realty - Rabun County, Ga. - Clayton, GA


How timely for me to find you rpost.


A person I never heard of sent me a 'friend' request on Facebook recently.  I asked my daughter if she had any idea who the person is and she replied, Oh, yes.  She is a nice girl, but spends lots of time on the computer and she is kind of a 'FB slut'.

And what , pray tell, is a 'facebook slut'?

Somebody who is going for the numbers. 

I have no idea what she may get out of being friends with me, but my daughter told me it is considered rude not to accept all offers of friendship that are extended.

Well, just count me rude.  I am tired of having to look at a face on my 'friends' list and think, 'Who's that?'

I recognize my friends and am happy to meet others, but don't want to be friends with everyone in the entire facebook circuit.

How 'bout you?

If you ever drive up to the NE Ga mountains, stop in and say 'Hi'.

Mar 05, 2009 08:29 AM
Lynda Hester
Prudential Georgia Realty - Rabun County, Ga. - Clayton, GA

How about, 'Not only do I not know you, I have no interest in getting to know you.'

Or, 'I knew you years ago and didn't like you then.  What makes you think I want to share my facebook page with you now?'

Would that be considered rude?


Mar 05, 2009 08:31 AM
Clark Blackwell
Crescent Bank & Trust - Woodstock, GA

Lynda, ROFL! Thank you for reading my post but most of all, thank you for making me laugh out loud. I intend to look you up next time I drive to Brasstown Valley.  If you have clients moving to the N Atl area, buying commercial real estate in this area (or if you have a reason to be in Cherokee County), send me an email. The deals I look for are owner-occupied commercial, but I've always enjoyed handling residential Construction-Perms.

Great photo!

Mar 06, 2009 01:47 AM