Podcast Episode 328: Yonah Weiss, Cost Segregation Expert, Madison SPECS
Crushing LinkedIn to Find Real Estate Investors
Yonah Weiss is a self-described, "powerhouse" with property owners' tax savings. Through cost segregation (which you can learn all about in the videos below), Yonah has assisted clients in saving tens of millions of dollars.
Yonah is a Cost Segregation Expert at Madison SPECS, which has done over 14,000 cost segregation studies covering all 50 states. The result of this effort is a whopping savings number, currently totaling over $3 billion.
But Yonah isn't just a cost segregation expert, he's also a LinkedIn guru who has carved out a very successful niche for himself on the platform.
Today, Yonah and I chat about the opportunities LinkedIn affords real estate developers and how we can ll get in on the fun. If you're looking for best practices, how to use LinkedIn to connect with potential investors, or hoping to understand the LinkedIn post algorithm, you've come to the right place.
What You're Going to Learn
* What Cost Segregation Actually Is
* How to Use Social Media (Especially LinkedIn) to Build an Audience
* Three Best Practices for Your Social Media Strategy
* How to Leverage Your Online Presence So Investors Will Know, Like, and Trust You
* How to Use LinkedIn to Make Real Connections with Potential Investors
* Why Some Posts Perform Better than Others on LinkedIn
* Five Things That Will Make Your LinkedIn Profile Stand Out
And much, much more.
Listen To or Watch the Full Podcast Here
What Is Cost Segregation
Yonah: In a very brief and probably the most concise version I've ever said what cost segregation is - in 30 seconds or less, okay? If you want to learn more, by the way, just check me out on LinkedIn. I got some great videos there and great longer podcasts that I've been on, specifically dealing with this.
In a nutshell, it is a income-tax-savings tool for commercial real estate investors; multifamily ... Doesn't matter what type of property, as long as it's an investment property. There's a way to, what's called, accelerate depreciation to take a normal tax deduction called depreciation, which, in itself, is incredible and accelerate that and get huge amounts of tax deductions to basically pay zero income tax and keep your cash flow. That's what it is. How we do it, the details of how it works, that's for a different time.
Adam: Perfect. Let me ask you this: who specifically is your ideal audience?
Yonah: People who are real estate syndicators, real estate investors, business owners who own their own property that they work out of; for example, a doctor, a dentist, or something; they own their own commercial space. Anyone who is investing in real estate over a million dollars and up, that's really where this makes the most sense.
How to Use Social Media to Build an Audience and Educate Your Prospective Investors
Yonah: I'll tell you this story. Actually, I only got involved in social media less than two years ago. I had zero social-media presence whatsoever, about two years ago. How it came about was I had a LinkedIn account for about 10 years. I had logged on to try to search some people, and I noticed that, on the newsfeed, there was- something had changed from the last time I'd logged in, probably a year or two before that, which was that there was a lot of original content - either videos or people just writing long-text posts that seemed very intriguing, very interesting.
It kind of caught my eye, as opposed to people just posting or sharing articles from The Wall Street Journal or whatever that they used to do. It was actually people writing their own story, or writing their own ideas, or sharing a video with original thoughts. That, to me, was totally new. I'd never seen that before on LinkedIn. I think it was brand-new to the platform at that time, about two years ago.
I started following a guy called- by the name of Eli Hochberg. He's a digital marketer. He's an incredibly smart young man, and he was doing something at the time called the 30 Day Social Challenge, which was take kind of leveraging the fact that LinkedIn had shifted from being just a place to post your resumé and to get a job into becoming this social-media-engagement platform. He was levering that to teach people how to actually do that. He challenged people to post every single day for 30 days, and he provided education of different types of posts. He told you all about how the platform works, et cetera, which, to me, was all news to me. It was all new.
I'm a very fast learner, in general, and I think my greatest skill is to be able to pick up new ideas or new things very quickly, integrate them very quickly, and act upon them. I took this, and I just literally, within like a week of logging into LinkedIn, I saw this; I saw a couple other people posting this 30 Day Challenge thing. I'm like, "Hey, let's go for it. Let's see if it works."
From there, I realized that my business, what I do - and I work for a very large national company, Madison SPECS ... I'm not an individual. I'm really an intrapreneur, if you will, because I work for a very large company. Within that, I figured, what am I doing to try to drive business more in this niche service of cost segregation? What I found was that I'm spending most of my time on calls or on meetings just educating people about what this is.
I realized that the best way to educate people is if I can do it on a larger platform, as opposed to just on individual calls and individual meetings. It kind of fell in my lap - an invitation to a podcast by Adam Adams to Adam "AAA" Adams out of Denver, Colorado, the Creative Real Estate Podcast ... Incredible podcast. He invited me to share my "What is cost segregation?"
I went on there, and I was just like a natural at it. I have a background in teaching, so that's really where I have that ability to teach, and to give over interesting concepts, and keep it engaging, keep it that people want to listen. I loved it. I just literally got a number of invitations after that. Since then, about a year and a half ago, I've been on about 50 different podcasts, just teaching about cost segregation.
That's kind of the story behind it; the background story, and how I started getting involved in using LinkedIn as a platform to connect with other people, to engage them, and to share this knowledge that I have. But, at the same time, adding value on multiple, multiple levels.
Three Best Practices for Your Social Media Strategy
Adam: Let's pick the top three lessons that you've learned, as you've honed your messaging over the three years. One of the things that you've talked about is value, for example, giving value. Tell me what you've learned about what's effective.
Yonah: Sure. The three things I can think of, off the top of my head, are, number one, you have to be consistent. Posting on LinkedIn, for example ... I'm going to use LinkedIn. I got recently involved a little bit more on Facebook and very active in BiggerPockets, which is a whole 'nother- a whole 'nother beast. I'm going to focus on LinkedIn today because that's, I think, you know, become my specialty. I have a lot of knowledge about that platform just being involved on a daily basis, every single day. One thing is being consistent every single day. It takes time. It takes effort.
Number two about adding value is really the main thing - you cannotapproach social media like you would any other type of business. You really have to focus on it and treat it like networking; not like a cold call or just reaching out to a prospect thing, like that. That's not what it is. It's about trying to connect with other people who are like-minded, who may be in your same industry, and see how you can add value to them. Never asking; never selling ...
Someone said the other day, "Selling is smelling." It's not good. It doesn't work. It's really not what it's based on. It's not what you would do, when you're just networking; when you're going to a networking party or networking event and just meeting people. That's what it's about. LinkedIn is the ultimate networking event. It's a 24/6 ... Because I keep the Sabbath ... A 24/6 networking event, and that's how I see it. You want to get to know people. You want to see how you can help other people. In business, in general, that's been my experience - going out of the way to help other people and see what you can do for them, as opposed to what I can get out of it for myself.
Leverage Your Online Presence So Investors Will Know, Like, and Trust You
Adam: If I'm a developer, my business is not chitchatting, or building a network, necessarily. That's the drag, actually, of having to raise money, right? It's just all this time you have to spend doing that. If you're having to do that on LinkedIn, instead of in person, then I'm not sure what the benefit is. How do you leverage your time to be effective on LinkedIn, do you think?
Yonah: I think it's really a paradigm shift because, especially nowadays in the digital age, in this digital/social-media age, it really is, more than anything, where is your time being spent most wisely, obviously? You just said, if you're a developer, you don't want to be spending all that time on social media, because it's not effective use of time, because you could be doing other things, or real work, whatever you want to call that.
Now, if you were to be able to get results from the social media, more than the results doing something else off social media ... For example, if you have an investor list, or you're trying to build your ... Obviously, you said, that's an important aspect of any developer, any syndicator. You need to have investors. If people don't know about you, they're not going to invest with you. They invest with people, number one, they know, like, and trust.
The first thing is know. The more you're out there, the more you're putting yourself out there, and the more that people are seeing you, they're connecting your personal brand - whatever you decide that to be; whatever you create that to be - and they're connecting that with what it is that you do.
If I were, for example, to start a multifamily syndication ... Let's say I did, and it's actually in my mind to do that. I haven't started yet, but if I were to, because I've already created this very engaged community, I could be able to raise funds from them, because people already know me, like me, and trust me. Now, instead of building ... Having phone calls and going out to meet people, I'm doing that a couple hours a day or whatever through that social media. Like I said, it's just a matter of leveraging time and seeing what works.
Using LinkedIn to Make Real Connections with Potential Investors
Yonah: Let me kind of shift that, and I'll tell you how I use LinkedIn. This is a big ... Not a secret, it is ... Most people don't know what to do with it. When you're posting, let's say you post something and, out of the blue, you get 100 people liking your post; let's say 10 people, okay? Now, if you don't know who those 10 people are, and just randomly, they like your post, or they comment on your post, I see that as an opportunity. A like is a lead ...
Using the direct messaging to now connect with those people and say, "Hey, thanks for liking my post. Hey, what do you ... I see your profile ..." Take a minute to get to know what they've posted about themselves. Take a minute, look at their profile, and say, "Hey, I see you're a real estate broker. Tell me about what you're doing." That just creates a conversation. Someone will say, "Yeah, hey, I'm a broker, but I actually just closed on my first deal, myself." Now you have someone who's engaged, who knows who you are already - they've liked one of your posts - and now you can have a conversation. That conversation can move to a phone call. That's really how it works.
Why Some Posts Perform Better than Others on LinkedIn
Adam: What have you found have been the most effective forms of communication? What I mean by that are written articles, podcasts, your own self-created videos, posting other people's content, et cetera. Tell me about the content aspect of what you've discovered.
Yonah: Absolutely. There's really a hierarchy. The algorithm on LinkedIn favors some things over others. The goal in being seen a lot - which is really the goal of LinkedIn - like I said, if this is your goal of being seen, of creating content, of becoming a kind of leader in your space, whatever that is; you're a niche market ...
Like, I am the cost-segregation person in the world, through LinkedIn. That doesn't happen overnight. It happens through every single- daily, consistently building that personal brand, building that network that people don't even know that I work for a company. They think I'm just the guy, myself.
But that happens through the various types of posts; being seen. Written articles get seen by almost no one. It's very, very little views. Sharing articles from third-party posts, or resharing content from other people does not work on LinkedIn; almost never; very, very little.
So, if you may see somebody, and they have that Share button - 'Share this post to your feed' - people do it all day long. I'm frustrated when I see it, because, you see, there's almost no engagement whatsoever on those types of posts. There's a reason for that, because the algorithm is not pushing it out. It's not being shown by- not being seen by anyone.
If you do want to engage with someone's post; if you like a post ... Let's say someone did a post, and you really like that. Liking it and commenting on it is really going to help that person's post be seen by more people than by hitting that Share button. It actually like buries it, when you hit that share button.
Original video or original ... When I say original, I mean actually being natively uploaded to LinkedIn, as opposed to a link to a YouTube video, because links to third-party sources in the post actually get very much less views than just the post without that or a natively uploaded video.
Five Things That Will Make Your LinkedIn Profile Stand Out
Adam: What makes for a good LinkedIn profile? You've got a really, really thorough one, so I'm interested to know what you've found works, actually, in the profile itself.
Yonah: Yeah, the profile has to have really five main points to make it a key, stellar profile. One is your profile picture has to be- It should be a professional-looking picture. That seems like it's a no-brainer, but most people ... A lot of people don't have that. They'll have an old picture; they won't have a picture at all; or they'll have whatever, a picture of them at the beach, or with their friends. Take a little time to get a professional headshot.
Then, the background picture. There's a banner that's behind you. If you don't have anything, it has like that green kind of squiggly lines. Don't do that. It's just- it's a waste of real estate. That is such precious real estate right there. Anyone who sees your profile, even if they see that in the feed or anywhere, they click it, they'll see that. You can put anything there.
You can create your own. I created my own profile banner on Canva. It's a free app; a Google app. Took me 10 minutes to put together a professional-looking ... I put my phone number, my email there. You could put anything you want. If you've been a speaker, you can put a picture of yourself, public speaking, or whatever. You can do anything, but it should relate to your personal brand, whatever that is. That's two things.
The third thing is your tagline; the line that's directly under your name, which not only shows up on your profile, but any time you comment or like any post, that's what people see. So, you want that to stand out; not to be what your title is, not what your profession is ... If you're a CEO. Don't put you're a CEO. No one cares.
What that should do, and so, too, with your summary, that tagline and your summary should have two main purposes. Number one, it should be catchy. It should stand out. People should be like, "Whoa, what's that?" An emoji, I've found to be something that actually makes it catch the eye. I put a couple emojis in there. Not because I'm a big emoji person, but it stands out. It catches the eye. I don't care if people some people think it's unprofessional, because it catches the eye. Think what you want. That's one thing. It should stand out. It should be catchy.
Number two, it should tell the person who's looking at it how you can help them; not about what you do. You're a CEO, that's great. Doesn't help the person who's looking at you. It should tell the person who's looking at that - and your summary, as well - I'm looking at this, "Oh, wow, this guy can help me. This guy could do something for me ..."
You want to create a call to action in your summary, as well, so that people will not just look at who you are, or what you do. Describe what you do as kind of a story, or, at least, describing some pinpoints of who you're helping, but also have a call to action there; whether it's 'sign up for my newsletter,' 'sign up for my webinar,' or 'here's my phone number,' 'sign up, schedule a call ...' I put that on my top line, "Schedule a free ..." and I have a Calendly link right there on the top line of my profile. I have random people scheduling calls with me that I've no idea who they are, just because they found my profile, and they clicked on the link over there. It works.
That's four, right? The other thing is make sure that every section of your summary is filled out. Don't just put a line there. Write a couple of things about each job that you had; write a couple lines about what you did there, about your schooling, what you did there. If you have any specific skills, you can obviously put that, as well.