Category: Investments
Air Date: 02.02.2020

Your LinkedIn profile is a priceless capital raising asset. And with few live events happening, LinkedIn is becoming the dominant platform to build relationships with investors. Today we speak with LinkedIn marketing expert Yakov Smart about how you can use LinkedIn to attract high net worth investors. After chatting about Yakov’s start in the industry, we reflect on how LinkedIn has replaced many offline networking opportunities. Yakov then shares insights into why LinkedIn is so valuable for networking. We dive into Yakov’s best practices for adding value and finding investors while also filtering out the prospects that don’t fit your needs. Yakov discusses the top ways to create your network, touching on the differences between LinkedIn’s free and paid accounts, using search functions to your advantage, and how you can build rapport with new connections. Later, we talk about what you can do to make your profile stand-out before looking into the key metrics that will help you measure your progress. LinkedIn has become an easy and efficient way to attract high-end investors. Tune in to hear how you can take your LinkedIn marketing to the next level.


Key Points From This Episode:

  • Introducing today’s guest, LinkedIn marketing expert Yakov Smart.
  • Yakov shares his background and how he built his LinkedIn networking empire.
  • How LinkedIn has replaced conferences for networking opportunities.
  • Why LinkedIn is a better networking tool than other platforms.
  • Yakov’s best practices on targeting and marking with intent.
  • Hear the top three ways to give value through LinkedIn.
  • The importance of creating an attractive LinkedIn profile.
  • Exploring ways that you can search for connections on LinkedIn.
  • Why Yakov rarely posts on LinkedIn.
  • Advice on making stand-out LinkedIn profiles.
  • How you can narrow down your search and start building a list of people to contact.
  • The need to know your key metrics and measure your progress.
  • Hear Yakov’s answers to our Keys to Success segment.



 “I realized I could reach decision-makers directly on LinkedIn, and it was much more effective and streamlined than making a bunch of cold calls.” — Yakov Smart [0:02:48]

“Building your network over LinkedIn is about delivering the right message to the right person in a way that it gives value.” — Yakov Smart [0:12:35]

“People are going to do business with you more because of who you are than what you do. Your LinkedIn profile needs to reflect this.” — Yakov Smart [0:23:47]


Links Mentioned in Today’s Episode:

Kent Ritter

Yakov Smart on LinkedIn

Yakov Smart LinkedIn Webinar

Disrupting LinkedIn on Amazon

Linked Lead Enterprises






Starts With Why on Amazon

Hustle Harder, Hustle Smarter on Amazon

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Interested in Investing Alongside me in our next multifamily deal?

Contact me at

My operating partner, Birge and Held Asset Management has a twelve-year track record creating sustainable wealth for over 2000 investors through high-quality multifamily investments.

Thanks for listening!

—Full Transcript Below—


[00:00:00] YS: Right. So if you know, for example, you’re in a certain industry that’s experiencing this sort of problem right now and they’re probably at least to where they need to fix it. It’s asking a question about the problem. It gives value because they’re struggling with it and you’re coming along. You’ve got a solution or you’ve got something they should at least consider.

[00:00:21] KR: Welcome to Ritter on Real Estate, the show about how to passively invest like a pro. On each episode, I interview real estate experts who give their top investing advice, strategies and tools and I break down their insights into practical steps to avoid the pitfalls and make better investments. I want to help you passively invest like a pro. This is Ritter on Real Estate and I’m your host, Kent Ritter.


[00:00:43] KR: Hello, fellow investors. Welcome to Ritter on Real Estate, where we teach you how to invest like a pro. I’m your host, Kent Ritter and today, we’ve got a special guest. His name is Yakov Smart. Yakov is considered to be one of the leading experts when it comes to attracting high net worth investors and raising capital on LinkedIn. And I think generally, just building your network on LinkedIn and attracting the type of people that you want to build an informal relationships with. He’s the author of Disrupting LinkedIn and Yakov is a proud leader of a business called Linked Lead Enterprises, where his webinars, on-demand training program and strategic consulting helps people get the tool to grow their techniques on LinkedIn and transform their LinkedIn profiles into priceless capital raising assets.

Really excited to have you today, Yakov. I mean. I’ve seen you speak. I’ve seen you on LinkedIn, definitely have valued your advice and used them to build my own network. So really excited to have you here to help my listeners just do better networking, I would say, right? Especially in this online world we live in now, I think it’s so important. So excited to have you on the show.

[00:01:50] YS: Hey, happy to be here. Thank you for having me. 

[00:01:52] KR: Absolutely. We always like to start at the top, why don’t you spend five minutes or so telling the listeners about who you are and how you got started in the business that you’re in.

[00:02:02] YS: For sure. I got started in internet and online marketing, actually, as a college student. My very first online business opportunity was, I thought it’d be cool to write an eBook for college students on how to succeed in college, my senior year. I did that as a business opportunity. The book is still actually on Amazon. That was really my first adventure out into creating an info product and offering it to people in a way that it provides value and in a way that it can facilitate a transformation — facilitate results.

That’s when I really got started on online business. Fast forward a bit, graduated from school, I was living in Vegas, I was doing SoC for sales at the time. When I got into marketing on LinkedIn and building relationships on LinkedIn was that I realized I could reach decision makers directly and it was much more effective and streamline than having to go out there to make a bunch of cold calls. Around the same time, speaking of building networks, I was out in Vegas, networking in person, it was several years ago. Casually, I would mention some of the types of success I was having on LinkedIn — and I was networking with small business owners. They looked at me and they said, “You mean to tell me, I could use LinkedIn to generate leads and build those key relationships?” So I said, “Well, if I can do it, I can probably show you how to do it too.”

That’s when I started taking on clients and building this new business and got into it full-time a few months later. Where the bread and butter was really working with small business owners, showing them how to build those key relationships using LinkedIn. Whether it’s finding potential clients, strategic partners. A number of different ways to leverage the platform for those key opportunities. Then, more recently, obviously, COVID hit and what I saw was, especially in the area of real estate, especially in building key investor relationships that there was an opportunity that was going untapped. Because of the caliber of people on LinkedIn, but also because the in-person networking that you skipped on at these huge in-person conferences and events. It no longer existed, so people needed a new way to do it.

I created a program where specifically now, we work with — we still work with a few different types of business owners that are primarily working with people who want to build key investor relationships using LinkedIn.

[00:04:24] KR: Yeah. I think that’s incredible. It’s really interesting. I mean, I think the evolution is fascinating. Then it’s just such an inflection point, right, with COVID and everything happening, everything going online, the need more than ever. I mean, I felt it in my own world, raising capital and trying to meet investors and attract investors. I would, in a normal year, I would go eight to ten conferences a year and all of a sudden that stopped, right? So you go online and you find new ways to do things. So more than ever, what you’re talking about is so important. Again, excited to have you here, excited to dig in a little more to help the listeners learn some of the techniques that they can take away to start better networking.

[00:05:03] YS: Definitely.

[00:05:04] KR: You touched on it a little bit, but there’s a lot of platforms out there, right? There are platforms with more users in, LinkedIn, you have Facebook, there’s Instagram, whatever, you know, all the platforms. Why LinkedIn? Why did you focus there and why have you built your business around that single platform?

[00:05:20] YS: Well, it’s a much more professional platform. I mean, compare it to other social media, Facebook, Instagram, TikTok. There’s a lot of entertaining cat-video type stuff.

[00:05:30] KR: Sure.

[00:05:31] YS: I think especially now that a lot of sort of movers and shakers, high value, high net worth type of professional bloggers, entrepreneurs, people who are brokers in real estate deals, you name it. Major investors, tech founders. LinkedIn has become their platform of choice and it’s a shift that’s happened in the last few years, partly because a lot of people are tired of the BS and drama of other social media. But also, because LinkedIn and the intention of people there is to build key relationships, and it’s to learn and to grow. So it provides value in a whole different way than those other platforms. 

Even in the recent couple of years when Microsoft purchased LinkedIn and they completely revamped the platform to make it more user friendly, to make it more of a social platform — as evidenced by the fact that in 2020, conversations on LinkedIn grew up by 55%. That’s a large part of digital networking online relationship building. So that trend is going up, engagement on content is going up. The average household income of a LinkedIn user is $115,000 dollars, so people on LinkedIn tend to be higher income earners. They’re more affluent. I think there’s something like 61 million top corporate decision-makers on LinkedIn — I read a state like that the other day.

It’s just a higher caliber pool of people you can connect with and grow relationships with. There’s definitely an opportunity to stand out too when you position yourself the right way, when you have the right messaging, where you’re not just seeing someone who’s super boring in corporate and stuffy because it’s not a stuff you resonate well or more. The other extreme is the people, we get these messages all the time, right? The people that try to just spam their way up on LinkedIn. 

[00:07:14] KR: Sure, a lot of that.

[00:07:16] YS: There’s a sweet middle there.

[00:07:19] KR: Yeah. I think that sweet middle is what everybody is trying to find. Just from my own personal experiences of sending out messages and things, it’s always out in the back of my head of like, “Oh God, I hope this doesn’t come across as spammy. I hope that people don’t feel like I’m just hitting them with sales offers and things.” Yeah, I think it’s a tough middle ground to find and to kind of to tread. Like you know when you see one. You see some pretty cringe-worthy stuff out there. I think today, you can help us avoid some of that and tell us what not to do as well, right? We’ll get there. I think that’d be awesome.

Make sense why it’s the platform of choice. It is my preferred platform as well. As I interact on all the major platforms and I personally have seen exactly what you talked about, that the engagement on LinkedIn is just more thoughtful, it’s more positive. People just in general are more engaged. Yeah, I think some of that is like, you mentioned intent, right? People are on LinkedIn to network and to build relationships, not necessary just for entertainment value, right? Where you may be on Facebook or Instagram or one of those others. You can definitely see that difference I think in the interactions. I think it’s been easier for me, at least, to kind of spread the message as well through those interactions versus the other platforms. Yeah, I think for all those reasons, definitely enjoy being on LinkedIn.

You mentioned a couple of big changes, right? You mentioned in general just the more social aspects of it, and come changing from the stuffy resume platform it was to be more of a social network. I mean, is there anything else people should be aware of, any tips or things that have changed on LinkedIn.

[00:08:51] YS: Yeah. Well, and I think this is a good segue into what we’re going to talk about next is the targeting and the intentionality. I think this is an interesting thing to think about for people, whether they’re using it to find investors, whether they’re using it to build relationships or use it to expound and expand their sphere of influence. Because a lot of people on LinkedIn and on social media in general with their marketing aren’t being as intentional as they need to do. I’m big on intentionality, I’m big on reverse engineering and having something that’s trackable and data-driven. 

It’s important to think about things from that standpoint. And the middle-ground between beings stuffy and spammy, let’s call it that. I consider myself to be a direct response marketer. What that means is, any time we’re interacting on LinkedIn, we’re giving that value. And there are few different ways of giving value that are probably a little contrary to what people prefer. I’ll go over those in a second. But the way to look at it is, you’re offering value, okay? If the person doesn’t want to receive the value, great. That’s fantastic. That’s phenomenal. You don’t want to waste their time. You don’t want to waste your time, right?

For example, if you are looking for someone who might have capital to place and that person doesn’t have $100 to their name, you don’t want to go into a three-hour meeting with that person, where they just pick your brain. It’s not the best use of your time. What that allows people to do is it allows people to self-select, and raise their hand and say, “Yeah, I’m interested in finding out more. Let’s take this relationship beyond LinkedIn. I want to see what you’re about and your experience.” Or “No. You know what, this isn’t for me but thank you. Maybe I got something valuable.”

The ways to give value, number one is asking questions. Questions are amazing because they get us to think differently. They get us to open up to new possibilities, so asking a question that’s specific to what’s happening with that person — to what their experience has been like, or maybe a specific issue that they’re facing or goal that they have. I’m not saying go super personal at the beginning before you know the person, I think that would be silly, but it’s something broad, open-ended. It starts the conversation. It’s a great way to do that. It’s a great and genuine way to do that.

The other way, we call it problem awareness, right? So if you know for example, they’re in a certain industry that’s experiencing this certain problem right now, and they’re probably at least to where they need to fix it. It’s asking a question about the problem, okay? It gives value because they’re struggling with it and you’re coming along. You’ve got a solution or you’ve got something they should at least consider. And that third way is offering a resource, offering an informational, educational base resource, something like a PDF, cheat sheet, a video series. There are so many different options. A webinar, which is what I prefer. That allows the person, if they’re interested in that topic, or interested and appears to learn more to say, “Yeah, I want that.” Now, you’ve got someone who’s engaged, right? Versus just shoving it at them is not the way to do it.

Those are the three ways to give value through LinkedIn. I’m still big on direct messaging, giving value in those different ways. Because content, when we post content, you’ll see a lot of people doing this on social media and LinkedIn. They post and they hope that maybe they’re going to post something up there because someone told them they should, and maybe the right person will see it. Well, if you take the responsibility and if you’re intentional in saying, “Okay, I know this is valuable. I know this person is hyper-targeted to receive this message, let me directly message that person.” You’re going to get a much higher open rate than you would on email. You’re going to get a much higher view rate than if you just post it and hope. It’s about delivering the right message to the right person in a way that it gives value.

[00:12:41] KR: Let’s talk about that a little more. There are a couple of points. One, you went over three items, right? Questions, probable awareness, and offering something of value. Those seem kind of like the icebreaker, like that’s how you start. You start the conversation in a way that’s not starting with a sales pitch, right? I mean, everybody gets those. I hate those, right? As soon as you connect with somebody, there’s a canned message that pops up and it’s just this long sales pitch, right? That’s immediately for me, like that’s a, “No, I’m not going to read that long thing.”

You’re talking about doing it in a way where you’re engaging in a conversation that’s relevant to them or — I mean, I love the idea of offering the product, the webinar or something. So that way, if they’re interested, they take the next step and then they’re engaged, right? I mean, I think that makes a ton of sense. That’s kind of the icebreaker, getting them engaged. But then from there, you’re even talking about the method of delivering that, which I think most people do. Which I’m definitely guilty of is posting and hoping. Like you said, posting and hoping that it resonates, right? Or that it finds the right person that it’s going to resonate with versus — and this is a big theme for me this year. This is kind of my word of 2021, so I’m glad you brought it up, just intentionality, just being intentional in everything you’re doing.

This idea of, don’t just blast it out to the ether, find the people that are going to be interested and take the extra time to deliver a personal message to them. What you’re saying is that, that goes a lot further, right?

[00:14:09] YS: Exactly, yeah.

[00:14:11] KR: That’s great. I love that. We talked about, a little bit, about specific methodologies that you would recommend for starting to network. We talked about icebreaker, we talked about direct messaging. Is there anything else that you give people as kind of the 101 to say, “These are things that you need to be doing on LinkedIn.”

[00:14:27] YS: Well, obviously, having a profile that’s attractive and positioned you as credible and trustworthy is huge. If you don’t have that, then pretty much these other stuffs don’t matter. Because, you’ve got no [inaudible 00:14:39]. Beyond that though and I think we can touch on that in a second. Beyond that is ‘the who,’ right? Because most people don’t have a what problem, they have a who problem. What LinkedIn allows you to do better than any platform out there is to go hyper-focus laser. Like, if you want to connect with CPAs for example, or in your zip code who’ve been in business for more than 10 years, who have 200 to 500 employees. You can build a list of those people on LinkedIn. You can build that list literally within a matter of seconds when you know how to use the filters.

There are five ways to find people on LinkedIn. The first one is the free search. You can just search for a word and it will bring people up. It’s really cool because it’s super abundant. You can sometimes literally see tens of thousands of people who might be good to build that relationship with, which is awesome. The next way is to search by groups, which is great because you can see based on interest, right? For example, if there’s a group, people are interested in learning about passive real estate investors, so they might be great people to connect with and engage with.

The third way is searching through content, searching what content is available, finding people that way. Okay? The fourth way is, let’s say you have a list already of different customers, prospects, people you’ve talked to. You can actually upload that list into LinkedIn and have those people be a part of your network. Because you can see some of the people they’re connected to. And now you have a warmer lead into that conversation. Because there are types of connections on LinkedIn. There is a first-degree connection, so if you and I are connected like friends on Facebook. There’s second-degree connection, which is really where the gold is. Even if I go to connect with you and we’re not connected yet, we can just have one mutual contact, it’s going to say second-degree. And that’s a lot warmer than if we have no mutual friends, okay? The response [inaudible 00:16:32].

The final way to find people and build this targeted list on LinkedIn, which is one of my favorites is using LinkedIn Premium and the one is to use sales navigator. That’s going out there, building — I think there is somewhere between 15 to 20 filters that you can use and you get really, really specific. And you can make sure that everyone you’re building these relationships with is hyper-targeted so that the message resonates and so that your profile is attractive to that person. And I call that magnetism.

[00:17:03] KR: Got you. That’s really interesting. Yeah, I didn’t even realize you could search in that many ways. Thanks for breaking out the difference between what you can do in a free profile and what you can do from Premium as well. Because I don’t think everybody is ready to jump on to sales navigator, but it sounds like there’s quite a bit you can do even with the free profile, as far as networking and targeting this list.

[00:17:23] YS: Yeah, there is. What’s cool about sales navigator too, if people are curious about it. They can get a free trial for 30 days. I mean, that gives you ample time to get things ranked up, figure it out, see if it’s for you. Yeah, you can do a lot of things with the free profile. The big differences are, you are capped on searches. You can still do searches that are pretty good. They’re not going to be as specific. That’s really the big difference right now, is the micro targeting in the searches and then the ability to save the list is a little different. But beyond that, it’s pretty similar. The only other difference is, if you’re marketing or winding to build relationships with specific companies, you can do things that’s like on enterprise level. For most people that are either small business owners or real estate entrepreneurs, the sales navigator would be the way to go. And those are the key differences.

[00:18:14] KR: Okay. Pretty good. One thing I wanted to ask, you mentioned that you’re definitely a proponent of direct messaging, but how does posting fit into your strategy or does posting fit into your strategy?

[00:18:26] YS: Personally, I’m not big on posting. If I want to post something, if I want to make sure people see my message, I’ll spend a little bit of money and I’ll put an ad in front of people, okay? If I want to make sure that that happens, because that’s intentional and I could control that. Personally, I haven’t posted on LinkedIn in a long time. The only time you’ll see me posting on LinkedIn is if I share, if for example, when we publish this episode and you post it on LinkedIn, I’ll share that or I’ll engage with that, right?

What’s more powerful than posting sometimes too is, if you dedicate let’s say five minutes a day to doing this, it will make a big difference. I call it three, by three, by three. You go through your LinkedIn newsfeed, you pick three different posts from people you are interested in having a relationship with or want to build a relationship with. You give that post a like and then you comment, and when you comment, you acknowledge what they had to say. And then you ask a question. It’s a great way to kind of organically have a conversation there. And it’s also a great way because every time you do that, guess what? When you comment on a post, people see your LinkedIn headline and there’s a direct link to your profile. It’s a great way to give yourself some exposure while giving other people more exposure too.

[00:19:38] KR: Got you. I think that’s a great tip. That’s something we can take away right now and start doing it. I think often, people get stuck on — it’s interesting to hear your take in post because I think that’s where a lot of people focus, right? I think that’s where I notice at least people get stuck is, “What should I post? How can I post this off and how do I create all that content?” I think people get stuck in kind of this analysis paralysis kind of thing. Or just scared to take the action or, “I don’t know what to do.” But in your approach, which is has obviously been highly successful, doesn’t even add that into the equation. I think that’s really compelling for folks. I think it’s probably easier for many people to reach out individually one on one than feel like they’re just blasting and exposing themselves to the whole world, right? That’s very interesting. That’s very interesting for folks.

You mentioned profiles. And I wanted to go there because obviously, as you said, the hope with these messages is that people are going to engage with you further. First thing they’re probably going to do is go and check out your profile, right?

[00:20:34] YS: Yeah, most of the time.

[00:20:37] KR: Yeah. I was going to ask, what a profile best practice is, but what’s probably more interesting to ask, what should you do in a profile? What are some of the things that when you’ve seen a profile, it just makes you cringe?

[00:20:47] YS: There’s a lot. The very first one is really basic. This is something everyone can go and do right now or after they listen to this. Make sure you have all your sections at least added and filled in. Okay? LinkedIn has these criteria, it’s like beginner, intermediate, all-star and all that means is, if you have your sections filled in, right? If you don’t have the key four, five sections filled in and LinkedIn will show you which ones, your exposure is going to be severely limited, okay? That’s one of those things if people just made a profile with none of the sections up there, it’s just a picture of them and their position, they’re not getting nearly as much exposure from any other activities. I mean, that’s one of the real basic but super important things.

Next one is picture, right? You want a picture that has good lighting and it’s recent. That’s one thing that — any time you take relationships beyond LinkedIn, you don’t want to shock people because you’re 10 years older than in the picture.

[00:21:42] KR: Yeah, that’s like a dating app.

[00:21:45] YS: — Yeah, it’s —

[00:21:45] KR: — It’s like cat fishing.

[00:21:47] YS: Yeah. LinkedIn cat fishing, right? That’s the equivalent. Beyond those basic things, a lot of people really dress up their profile with very advanced, complicated writing. Maybe they even hire a resume writer. There’s a time and place for that. If you’re looking for a career change, hey, maybe that’s a good approach. But if you’re looking to use this to build relationships for your business or for investors, for example, then you want something that’s more about them than about you, right? And you want to keep things at a simple level that’s easy to understand. You have to also understand and realize that your LinkedIn profile, you have a finite amount of time to hook people’s attention, because no one wants us to waste their time even for an extra 90 seconds reading something.

You want to make sure that it’s visually appealing, that it’s not just big chunks and big blocks for example, right? The big thing about messaging is, being empathetic, understanding the experience that people are going through. Where they are at in their journey of awareness around your product or services? I see this with real estate entrepreneurs all the time. They start talking about the nitty-gritty of their deals and they start throwing out lingo out there. You know there’s a bunch of lingo. But maybe someone at the point where they’re just realizing that passive investing is the thing. They’re just realizing or maybe they have an RIA or a 401k and they’ve got a lot of money, but they don’t quite know that they have a different choice in the stock market, right? Those are good things to start the conversation with, rather than going into the details and percentage, then all the different little terms that you could put in. Those are few of the biggest things.

Then, you also want your profile, especially if you’re the owner of a business to position it like the owner of a business, rather than like a salesperson, right? A lot of business owners try to go out there and build relationships on LinkedIn and they’re positioning themselves. They start to run out features and benefits all over the profile and it’s like this long sales pitch. That’s not the point there, right? People are going to do business with you more because of who you are than what you do. It’s important to understand that as a business owner, or as someone who wants to raise more capital.

[00:23:57] KR: Yeah. I think those are great tips. You talked about meeting people where they are, and recognizing that even though you know all the jargon, most people out there, especially most new investors don’t, right? And to a lot of them, really, it’s kind of a scary thing because they might be interested but they don’t know anything about it. And you start throwing all these terms and things at them. It just turns people off pretty quickly. I think that’s a mistake a lot of new folks make, is wanting to show their expertise through all this complicated language. In reality, you really show your expertise by being able to make things very simple, right? The more simple you can make, it really —

[00:24:36] YS: Exactly.

[00:24:37] KR: — The more of the expert you are. I think that’s a great tip for folks. Then just thinking about, you mentioned kind of the positioning and talking about not what you’re doing but why you’re doing it. Like there’s the Simon Sinek book, It Starts With Why. Most people start talking about what they do, how they do and then why, and really, it should be the other way around. You got to start with, why you’re doing it, bring it to that personal level. Then the nuts and bolts of everything, that’s the what, that’s the how. So kind of similar to what you mentioned, focusing your profile on why you’re doing the things that you’re doing, letting people get to know you a little bit more. And if they are interested and they’re bought into what you’re doing, then they might be interested in the knots and bolts and all the details, right?

[00:25:18] YS: Exactly.

[00:25:19] KR: Does that make sense? Okay. Glad I caught on to that. Yeah, I think those are fantastic tips. So we talked about profiles, anything else from a profile standpoint that folks should do? I mean, I think we kind of hit from picture to content, to just filling out the profile and making sure it’s totally complete. Anything else to round that out?

[00:25:36] YS: Well, it’s great to link to your website or link to where people can learn more of you, don’t leave people hanging. Lead people into it and they want to take the next step whatever that is to make it really easy for them.

[00:25:47] KR: That’s a great tip. As we were talking, you mentioned five ways to start building your list. We talked about the searches, but are there other items as folks are wanting to start building out their list, whether they’re passive investors that are looking for sponsors and want a network to find deals, whether it’s active folk looking for capital. How do folks start to build those lists out so that they have the folks to direct message?

[00:26:14] YS: Yes. I mean, it’s — and maybe I’m not understanding your question, but it’s really a matter of picking one of those five ways. And when in doubt, go with sales navigator. And thinking of who your perfect person is and applying some of those filters. There’s a number of different directions. But when in doubt in one end — maybe this will actually kind of answer what you’re asking. The best way to do it is to look for a string of commonality, right? For example, you’re a midwestern guy, right? If I were you and I was looking for investors, I would start with people who live in the Midwest, right? Another thing, I think you went to business school. I’m not sure where you went to business school somewhere. So you can look at fellow alumni at that business school, right?

[00:26:56] KR: Got you. Yeah, that’s exactly what I meant; is how do you start to narrow down the groups that become your list. So commonality is a great place to start. That makes a lot of sense.

[00:27:09] YS: It’s the best place to start, right? Because it’s like — I’ll give you an example that’s a little tongue and cheek. So growing up, my family is from the former Soviet Union, they spoke Russian and we live in Atlanta. Any time they would hire a contractor or pretty much do business with anyone, the first thing they looked at was the little Russian newspaper. Find contractors who spoke Russian, or little service providers. It’s like that one commonality in that example builds this whole different level of understanding and perceived comfort. 

The same thing applies for building those key relationships, common interest, interest groups, maybe they support a similar non-profit to you. Maybe they went to the same university, maybe they live in the same city or in same zip code. These are all — maybe you’re a military veteran, they’re also a military veteran. These are all great things to build upon and you have that natural rapport going.

[00:28:01] KR: Yeah. I think that’s a great tip. In my own personal experience, I’ve experienced that as well. For example, I was a management consultant prior to being a real estate investor, and I find that I resonate really well with those folks. It’s just, for whatever reason, and it’s because of a commonality. Quite few of my investors are current or ex-consultants, so I think you resonate and you kind of speak the same language and you think the same language. That definitely seems to have played out. Well, very cool.


As we go through things, I think there’s a lot to take away as far as these specific tactics and things on how to tackle LinkedIn. Is there anything else that we should hit on as far as people are starting to approach LinkedIn, are there other things that they should be taking away and starting to do?

[00:28:45] YS: I know we touched on a lot of things. The key thing though is, again, it comes back to being intentional. What’s the outcome they want to create? Who do they want to build those relationships with? And also understanding the metrics, right? Because it needs to be measurable. If your results aren’t measurable then you don’t know how well you’re doing. And I’m not saying that it’s going to happen overnight. There’s a process, there’s a learning curve, with everything. There are definitely resources available for accelerating that.

What I’m saying though is, understanding what the key metrics are and what you need to optimize for. In that way, if you know what those are for your particular business or your particular intention, whatever you’re using LinkedIn for. You can then make tweaks and know where you have room to grow and where you have room to scale, even. It’s important to just before implementing anything, you have to start understanding —What are my key metrics?” I’ll give you an example of those too.

[00:29:41] KR: Yeah, great.

[00:29:41] YS: If you’re a business owner or sales person who’s using that as kind of a prospecting tool, let’s say we’re not talking about raising capital and finding investors, then it’s usually going to be leads generated. It’s usually going to be meeting booked, meetings held, and then ultimately revenue generated. If you’re just someone, let’s say who else might be listening. If you’re just someone who’s using it for maybe building your career, right? Which is not my real focal point, but I know there might be some people listening who are in that mode. It’s how many contacts have you made per week? People in your network who are decision makers at corporations or who are an HR at a company you might be interested in, or who have clout in your area, right? How many quality contacts you’re making?

Then ultimately, how many calls or meetings you book with those people. And whatever the outcome you’re looking for. Then my favorite, the people who are booking for investors or who are looking for money partners. It’s how many leads did you generate? How much did you grow your network per week and then meetings booked, meeting held. How many people were the right fit that are now deal-ready investors as you’re moving them through that educational process, then ultimately, it’s capital raised. It’s number of different things, but it’s important to understand what your key metrics are for what you’re going to be utilizing LinkedIn for.

[00:31:03] KR: What’s the best way to track those metrics over time? Is it just using Excel spreadsheet or are there other options for folks? 

[00:31:10] YS: There are a bunch of different CRMs. There’s even automation softwares on LinkedIn. The thing though is, we want to keep it simple here. The best way to do it — because a lot of people I think get bogged down on all the CRM options and all the metrics. And all the tracking and the softwares and the automations, they wind up doing nothing. For our discussion here, the simplest way to do it, fool-proof way to do it. Start a spreadsheet, use Google Drive so you can share it on the cloud with your team or anyone else. And you can update that spreadsheet and it’s cloud-base so you don’t lose it. That’s a fool-proof way to do it, so you’re not having to spend hours I think to put advanced CRMs or you know, dealing with metric algorithms. That’s the most sure-fire way to do it is just set that up using a spreadsheet.

[00:31:57] KR: Yeah, good advice. You don’t always need the Cadillac, right? It’s better just to get started and start taking action.

[00:32:03] YS: Exactly. You got to get some momentum and movement going first. Exactly.

[00:32:07] KR: Awesome. Awesome. Well, at the end of the show, we do a segment called Keys to Success. I’d love to ask you a few questions, Yakov. First thing to start off is, if there’s only one thing, what is the one thing that everybody should do immediately on LinkedIn? After this show, what should everybody go and do?

[00:32:26] YS: They should at least update their profiles.

[00:32:29] KR: Yeah, at least fill out all the sections in the profiles, right? Like that’s the five-minute winner. What are you most proud of in your career?

[00:32:35] YS: I’m most proud of the progress we’ve made. I mean, 2020 was definitely a different year. I used to do a lot of in-person events, seminars and being able to pivot, and being so precise and just being — how much I’ve learned, and how much I’ve grown and what’s ahead.

[00:32:50] KR: Awesome. What books should everybody read?

[00:32:53] YS: There are so many. Let’s see. I’ll give you a contrarian one. There’s one, the rapper, 50 Cent, believe it or not, he wrote a book. It came out last year, it’s called Hustle Harder, Hustle Smarter. It’s a personal development book. He’s got some very unique perspectives and you could be a fan of hip hop, you could not be a fan of hip hop, but it’s a very empowered book. And it’s really good for personal growth because he has had some success. It’s a unique way of looking at things that you won’t find in most self-help books. 

[00:33:21] KR: Yeah. That’s interesting and I think you’re actually the second or third person that mentioned that book to me, so I definitely have to check that out.

[00:33:26] YS: The audio book is good too.

[00:33:30] KR: Yeah, I bet. Is it 50 Cent that reads it?

[00:33:31] YS: Yeah, he reads it himself, yeah.

[00:33:32] KR: Nice. Very cool. Then lastly, what’s your number one key to success?

[00:33:38] YS: Number one key to success is just keep going. I’m willing to experiment. I’m willing to try new things and I like taking the action and doing things based on metrics. And keep moving. 

[00:33:50] KR: Pick yourself up, dust yourself off and get going.

[00:33:54] YS: Yeah, keep going and constantly be innovating and looking. That’s key.

[00:33:58] KR: Awesome. Well, you’ve shared so much value with the listeners today. Just folks that want to learn more or want to get in touch with you, what’s the best way for folks to do that?

[00:34:09] YS: Well, they can definitely send me a connection request on LinkedIn. I’m pretty easy to find there, Yakov Smart. Then for those people who are looking for passive investors for their real estate projects, you can check out a free online training, I think we can include it on the show notes too, but the direct URL is 

[00:34:31] KR: Got you, and we’ll get that in the show notes so folks can make it easy on and then click on it. Very cool. Well, appreciate you offering that to the listeners. I’m definitely going to check out that webinar, sure there are some things I can learn about LinkedIn and get to the next level. I appreciate you sharing all your knowledge today and coming on the show.

[00:34:48] YS: Yeah. Thank you so much for having me.

[00:34:49] KR: Yeah. Have a good one. We’ll talk soon.


[00:34:52] KR: Thanks for listening to another great episode of Ritter On Real Estate. Hit the subscribe button to make sure you don’t miss out on the content that will make you a better investor. Also, visit for articles, videos and tools curated just for passive investors.

Until next time, this is Kent Ritter with Ritter On Real Estate. Now go out and invest like a pro.