September 20, 2019

JF1843: How To Effectively Network At Multifamily Meetups & Conferences | Syndication School with Theo Hicks

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Theo will be sharing a few stories with us today. A couple of stories come from Joe, and you may have heard them before, if you’re a loyal Best Ever Listener. The other story is his own. These stories are all focused on networking and how to add value to others, which will ultimately help you and your business. If you enjoyed today’s episode remember to subscribe in iTunes and leave us a review!

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Joe Fairless: There needed to be a resource on apartment syndication that not only talked about each aspect of the syndication process, but how to actually do each of the things, and go into it in detail… And we thought “Hey, why not make it free, too?” That’s why we launched Syndication School.

Theo Hicks will go through a particular aspect of apartment syndication on today’s episode, and get into the details of how to do that particular thing. Enjoy this episode, and for more on apartment syndication and how to do things, go to, or to learn more about the Apartment Syndication School, go to, so you can listen to all the previous episodes.


Theo Hicks: Hi, Best Ever listeners. Welcome to the Syndication School series, a free resource focused on the how-to’s of apartment syndication. As always, I am your host, Theo Hicks.

Each week we air the Syndication School episodes, that focus on a specific aspect of the apartment syndication investment strategy. For the majority of these series we offer some sort of free resource for you to download for free. These episodes air every Wednesday and Thursday on the podcast, and we also are airing these in YouTube video form, so you can listen to them either way. All of the episodes can also be found at, along with those free documents as well.

This episode is going to be another standalone episode, and it is entitled “How to effectively network at multifamily meetups and conferences.” Before we get into the meat of the episode, I want to tell a quick story. You might have heard this before if you’re a loyal Best Ever listener. It is a story about someone that Joe got lunch with.

Now, before I tell this story – I guess I’m doing multiple befores – the entire purpose of this conversation today is to get you thinking about different ways to actually break into the syndication industry. To get that mentor, or to get that local owner, or to get that experienced apartment syndicator to work with you. Because at the end of the day there really isn’t a blueprint for “Here’s exactly what you need to do every single day in order to work with Joe”, or “Here’s what you need to do every single day in order to do your first deal”, because a lot of it is situational.

A lot of it is putting yourself into situations that sometimes may result in opportunity to get that partnership, to form that relationship… Or maybe it won’t happen that time; maybe it’ll happen the next time. So it’s not as simple as saying “Go to a conference and you’re going to meet your future partner”, it’s about going to the conference and putting yourself in the position to potentially get that partner and continue to do that over and over again until that happens. I just wanted to say that before I go into this specific story.

I also wanna tell my story in this episode as well, of how I met Joe, but I wanted to give that context first, because that’s essentially how I work for Joe, and the moral of this story I’m about to tell. So the story is Joe went to lunch with someone who wanted to meet Joe in person. This individual Joe met with was interested in raising capital for their fix and flip deals, and the purpose of meeting Joe was to learn how he raised money.

He asked Joe a lot of questions about how to find investors, where to find investors, the paperwork and legal documents that are needed to raise money properly, how to structure investor partnerships, how to talk to investors… Really every question that you could possibly think of, this guy came prepared to ask, and Joe answered all the questions that he asked.

At the beginning of the meeting, before asking all these questions, this individual also asked Joe if there was anything that he needed help with, and true to his word, at the end of the meeting he asked Joe what he can do to help out. And Joe gets this question a lot, of course, because he is a big investor, he is a big podcast guy, and so everyone knows that he likely has some sort of need that he needs help with, and they are happy to help out with that and greatly appreciate that. So typically, when he gets this question, he’ll say one of three things.

He’ll either say “Buy one of our books, listen to the podcast and leave a review, and be on the lookout for a certain size deals.” [unintelligible [00:06:36].20] “Thanks for asking to help me out. Here are the three things you can help me out with. Anything that you could do will be appreciated, so you can pick one of those. That’s what I need.” So this guy said that he’s interested and he really enjoys listening to audiobooks, he really enjoys reading books, and that he would buy the audio version of one of Joe’s books after he finishes the current  two or three other books that he’s listening to. They shook hands, the meeting ended, and they parted ways.

Now, the question that we pose is how good did this individual do at adding value to Joe’s life? And the true answer is “Well, it’s to be determined.” Of course, he had really good intentions, he asked what he could do to add value, but the execution in this particular case was lacking… And here’s why – because the added value is a potential right now. He may or may not buy the audiobook. Joe really may never know, unless the person buys the audiobook and sends them a screenshot.

So the whole point is that when you are in these opportunities, when you’re meeting with a big-time investor, a big-time podcaster, someone who is doing what you wanna do, someone who could be a very valuable asset in your business, you wanna make sure that when this person asks themselves “How good did you do at adding value to my life?”, the answer should be “You did an amazing job.” It shouldn’t be “You did an okay job” or “Well, I don’t really know” because he hasn’t actually added value yet.

What this person should have done differently, and what you should do differently if you’re in similar situations, is to rather than say “I’m in the middle of listening to a few other audiobooks. Once I’m done listening to those, then yeah, I totally plan on buying your book”, instead say “Well, I’m listening to two audiobooks right now, and I’ll listen to your audiobook when I’m done, but I’m going to buy your book right now”, and pull the phone out and buy the book. So now Joe knows that he said he’s gonna buy the book, he says he’s gonna listen to the book, which he may or may not do, but the value-add is actually purchasing the book. So now Joe sees him purchase the book, and boom – now he’s answered the question; “This guy added a ton of value, because I want people to buy my book, and he bought my book.”

I guess a strategy that’s slightly below that is saying “Oh, I’m gonna buy your book once I get back in my car.” Still better than saying “I’ll buy it once I’m done reading my 2-3 books”, but not as good as saying you’re going to buy it immediately. Huge difference in the perception of the value that is being added.

So the reason why he told this story about immediately adding value is because he was able to get an investor this way. One of the investors on his deals he got using this strategy. His story was that he was on someone else’s podcast, and someone listened to that podcast and reached out to Joe; they needed help with something, they needed some sort of referral to be helped out with some issue they’re having in their business… And Joe immediately referred him to the people that he thought could help him. Because Joe, in this particular case, wasn’t the person that could help him out the most.

So again, rather than this person calling up or emailing him saying “Well, I can’t help you, but I’ll look and see if I can find someone else”, instead he got the message, he heard the message, he said “Okay, this person needs help with XYZ. That’s not something I specifically specialize in, but I do know Billy Bob Joel over here who’s really solid in that aspect of real estate, so okay, I’m gonna refer Billy Bob Joel to this guy.” So “Hey, thanks for reaching out, thanks for listening to the podcast. I personally can’t help you out with this, but my good friend Billy Bob Joel is really good at this part of the business. I [unintelligible [00:10:28].09] his email, so you guys should definitely connect and he can help you out.”

Very simple, didn’t take too much time, but extremely effective. This person ended up investing in his deal, and an argument can be made that it’s because of how quickly Joe replied with the value already added.

Another story that I wanted to tell is how you can use this approach specifically at real estate meetups, at a conference, or just when you’re meeting someone in general. And again, this is slightly different than the story of Joe getting coffee with someone, but it’s kind of in the same line of thinking. So you go to a conference, and what you shouldn’t do is you shouldn’t print out a bunch of business cards and hand out as many business cards as possible. That shouldn’t be your goal. Your goal shouldn’t be “I’m gonna print off  1,000 business cards, and by the end of the conference I’m gonna hand out all of them.” Or “I’m gonna go to this meetup group, I’m gonna have 20 business cards, and my goal is to give my business card to every single person.” Instead, a better approach would be to focus on creating one new relationship at the conference.

Focus on creating one new relationship at the meetup. If it’s a multiple-day conference, then you can do one relationship per day. And you want to get to actually know this person. You don’t want to have a surface-level conversation with someone for a few minutes, hand them a business card and then move on to someone else. Or at breakfast, [unintelligible [00:11:54].15] say “Hey, by the way, this is my business card”, and start tossing around business cards. The idea is to get to know them on a personal level, and the goal is to pinpoint some issues that they’re facing currently in their business, that ideally you can help them solve.

We’re gonna be very vague here, but let’s say someone wants to know how to raise money for deals at a conference. So I’m talking to someone at a conference, I find out that they have done  a bunch of fix and flip deals, they then transitioned into smaller multifamilies, and now they wanna expand and do an apartment syndication, but they just don’t know how to raise money for deals… Or let’s just say in general how to do an apartment syndication.

So what I would do is I would say “Well, we actually wrote a manual. The world’s only comprehensive book on the apartment syndication process from start to finish.” I’ll pull my phone out, “I’m gonna order you a  copy right now. What’s your address?” If someone did that to me, I would be impressed. If you’re listening on the audio, my jaw is dropped. I can’t think of a better way to add value to someone’s life than to literally buy them a manual on what they would actually want to do.

Or another I could say as well – and again, this is me particularly, but I’d say “I can help you out. Let’s schedule an hour call for sometime next week and I can answer any questions that you have.”

The idea is to meet one new person at this conference and immediately add value to their lives. Now, if for some reason you can’t immediately add value, if it’s not something as simple as buying their book, or something as simple as sending them a book, buying a book for them, or scheduling a follow-up call with them, another thing too – a good strategy would be that if you want to actually meet up with someone after the conference, put that on your calendar at the conference, one face-to-face with this person. But if you can’t immediately add value, then what you should do is say “Well, I don’t know exactly how I can help you, but I’m going to figure it out and I’ll let you know when I get back home.” Make sure you follow up on that, obviously…

So when you get home, figure out exactly how either you can add value, or someone you know can add value to this person’s life, and then go to LinkedIn, find them, send them a friend request, and then message them. Mention some sort of personal thing that you learned about them during the conference, maybe talk about how you met or what you first talked about, and then say either how you are gonna add value or how this person that you’re referring to them can add value.

Taking a big step back, again, the entire idea is if you’re meeting with someone, anyone, even better if it’s someone who’s above, someone who you wanna be, someone who’s doing what you want to do, you need to take full advantage of that opportunity. Figure out what they need help with, whether it’s them telling you through the natural course of conversation, or you specifically ask them “How can I help you?”, and then whatever they say, do it. If it’s possible to do it immediately – which most of the time it should be possible to do it immediately – then do it right there and then. If you can’t do it immediately, then make sure you go back home and you do it as quickly as possible.

Giving a personal anecdote, when I first met Joe, he was just asking for help with his podcast, and I offered to help. What he said is “I want to grow my podcast. How can we do that?” So instead of me replying to him saying “I’ll go figure it out and I’ll let you know”, I didn’t reply; I instantly sat there and did a bunch of research on how to grow podcasts, I went through and logged every single one of his iTunes reviews and categorized them based on what people liked and what they didn’t like, and then based on all of that I put together a plan of what specifically we can do in order to grow the podcast… Which is newsletter, take the podcasts and turn them into blogs, things like that. I had all that information ready to go, so literally it was Joe tells me in-person “Hey, here’s what I need help with”, and then a few days later he gets an email with basically a business plan of exactly how I’m going to do what I’m going to do.

Again, I could have just sent him a few links to articles, like “Hey, we can do this”, and I could have kept going back and forth with him saying “Well, I don’t really know what to do”, but instead I tried to do my best to immediately add value and specifically say “Here’s exactly what to do.” Joe liked it, so I implemented that solution for maybe six months for free. So I just did part-time after my job until Joe offered me a full-time job.

That’s my story. I’ve talked about specific example of what to do at meetups and conferences, I’ve talked about something Joe did to proactively add value to get an investor, I’ve talked about the experience that Joe had where someone didn’t necessarily do it correctly, but what he should have done… So lots and lots of tactics on how to immediately add value to someone you meet at a multifamily conference, multifamily meetup group, if you meet someone in person etc. When you’re meeting with someone who could potentially be a  huge asset, or maybe even can’t be a huge asset; that’s another thing too, you really don’t know who’s an asset.

You might meet someone at a conference who you’re talking to them and they say they’ve never done a deal before, and you might be like “Oh, I don’t wanna talk with this person because they don’t know what they’re talking about.” Well, maybe you find out that this person has a massive net worth, and they could have invested in your deal. Or maybe it turns out that they have a massive network of high net worth individuals who could have invested in your deal. So you should be using this strategy on really everyone. You shouldn’t be picking and choosing who you do this with. If you come across someone who’s interested in real estate, if you go to a meetup and you’re talking to someone, ask them how you can add value, do it, and see what happens. Maybe nothing happens, maybe you find a new partner, maybe you find a new money investor… You really never know until you actually do it.

That concludes this episode on how to effectively network at multifamily conferences and meetups. Until next week, check out the other Syndication School series about the how-to’s of apartment syndications, check out our free documents. All those are available at

Thank you for listening, and I will talk to you tomorrow.

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