October 11, 2020

JF2231: Thought Leadership & Public Speaking With Alina Trigub


Alina is a returned guest from episode JF1750 and today we decided to bring her back to discuss and share her advice on thought leadership. She shares the steps she advices people on how to begin to build their credibility and presence so that eventually they can speak at public events and conferences. There are many benefits of public speaking and thought leadership, one for example is the “prestige” presence you will have when approaching deals and discussions of negotiations. You will also learn how to speak with more confidence to present your ideas across your potential buyer or seller.

Alina Trigub Real Estate Background:

  • Founder and Managing Partner of SAMO Financial, a boutique equity firm
  • Help clients over 1,200 doors, over 500 storage units and a $10M mobile home park fund 
  • Works with high earners to passively invest in real estate
  • Based in NYC, NY
  • Say hi to her at https://www.samofinancial.com/ 
  • Best Ever Book: Compound Effect by Darren Hardy 

Click here for more info on groundbreaker.co


Best Ever Tweet:

“Speaking on podcasts has helped me book speaking engagements on the big stage” – Alina Trigub


Theo Hicks: Hello best listeners and welcome to the best real estate investing advice ever show. I’m Theo Hicks and today, we are speaking with Alina Trigub.

Alina, how are you doing today?

Alina Trigub: I’m doing great. Hi, Theo. Thanks for having me. I’m really excited to be back here.

Theo Hicks: Yeah, so as Alina said, she is a repeat guest. You can check out her first episode, which is Episode 1750. Thank you for joining us. I’m looking forward to diving deep into a particular skill set, because today is Sunday, so it’s skill set Sunday.

We’re going to focus on a skill set that Elena has, that’s has helped her grow her real estate portfolio. Before we get into that, let’s go over Alina’s background.

She’s the founder and Managing Partner of SAMO Financial, a boutique private equity firm specializing in commercial real estate. She has six years of real estate investing experience and her portfolio consists of mostly apartment syndication investments, equity partner in multifamily mobile home parks, self-storage and a couple of condos. She’s based in New York and you can say hi to her at https://www.samofinancial.com/.

Alina, before we get into the skill set we’re going to talk about today, can you give us a quick refresher on your background and what you’re focused on today?

Alina Trigub: Sure, I’ll try to make it quick, Theo, so that we don’t take too much time. Hi, everyone; my education started in accounting and taxes. I started my career as a tax accountant early on, but quickly realized that it was not the field I wanted to spend my time in, because I was not enjoying what I was doing.

While searching for something else, I decided to switch to a completely different field by moving into the information technology world, where I work to this day. My roles have evolved with career progression, but they mainly revolve around being the liaison between business and technology within the information technology world.

While working, while progressing in my career, my husband and I had growing careers and growing income along the way, but I have always been thinking about finding ways to lower taxes as a former tax accountant; that’s been on my mind for many years. That led me to real estate. Finally, about seven years ago, I took action, and decided to do my research. After doing the research, I was skipping certain points, but they all led me to syndications where I became an equity partner. After doing that for several years, I decided to start my own company, with the sole purpose of helping other people essentially do the same thing I’ve done for several years – build passive income by investing in syndications and having a diversified portfolio. In addition to having a Wall Street investment, I would have a real estate investments.

That’s in a nutshell is my story.

Theo Hicks: Perfect. I think that ending point where you mentioned that you are now focused on helping other people do what you do is a good transition into the skills that we’re going to talk today, which is thought leadership. And then we’re also going to get a little bit more specific and talk about public speaking.

I’ll let you start off and give us your thoughts on thought leadership. I know you’re on BiggerPockets a lot, posting. Whenever I post on BiggerPockets or I go on BiggerPockets, I always see your name at the top of the list for a lot of multifamily forums. Maybe kind of walk us through what your thoughts are on thought leadership, and then we can transition into talking about public speaking.

Alina Trigub: Absolutely, yeah. I do see you a lot on BiggerPockets as well. When someone wants to start a business and the business involves working with other partners or maybe passive investors, they have to start building their own thought leadership platform.

The first step of the thought leadership platform is having your own website. The website doesn’t have to be too complex. The main things that it should have is a clean homepage that states what you’re in the business for or what are you offering people, what are you delivering, what are your services and so forth.

Then you should also have an About page that lists you and your team. If you have any social media, then have a social media page, where maybe you’re listing the podcast interview like this one, or articles where you’re quoted or articles about you. In addition to that, any speaking engagements that you’ve had.

A basic Contact page is also needed, so that people know how to find you. And that’s basically the main ones. People add various other pages, but it’s really up to you as to how much content you want to put.  The simpler the website, the better it is for the end-user to understand what you’re offering and what they’re going to get from it.

In addition to the website, which gives you a web presence, you also need to leverage social media to show your expertise and to build up your credibility. That’s also an essential part of the thought leadership platform as well. You can select one social media platform, say Facebook or Twitter or Instagram, or you can go on multiple. The world is yours. It’s really up to you to decide how many social media platforms you can do. But whatever social media platform you concentrate on, make sure you’re active on it. And you’re not just posting content, you’re actually contributing and offering value to other people by posting the content that benefits other people, and engaging in a conversation.

In addition to that, one of the essential components of building a thought leadership platform, is having speaking engagements. Obviously, they’re not going to come to you automatically, because you need to build up your name, build up your brand first.

Once you build up your brand, you can start networking with people. If people see that you’re bringing value, and that others are benefiting from your value, then you’ll be invited to speak at the conferences and events.

One of the greatest events is the Best Ever Conference show that Joe always has every year, which is a phenomenal conference, which I highly, highly recommend for everyone. I really enjoyed attending it.

In terms of speaking at the conference – again, it’s more or less the world is in your hands. If you are a great presenter, if people are benefiting and the conference hosts are seeing that you’re providing value, then you’ll be invited again and again to many other conferences.

What it does is it does multiple things. Number one, it builds your credibility. Number two, it gives you speaking experience, and number three, it is a way of indirect networking… Because it’s one thing when you’re just in a crowd, meeting people one by one and collecting business cards, exchanging information and just meeting everyone. But it’s a completely different experience when you’re on the stage, when you’re presenting; and not just presenting through your presentation, when you’re able to connect with your audience.

Mind you, you may not be able to find that connection from the get-go. Again, it comes with experience. But some people are natural, and this or any other skill may come natural to them. It will definitely come with experience if it’s not something you’re natural in. But it’s something that as a public speaker, you need to concentrate on finding a way to connect with your audience. Because when you connect with the audience, essentially, you have a conversation and your audience is instantly attracted to you. Well, guess what – when the audience is attracted to you, they want to follow up with you, reach out, and that may translate to deals potentially later, or passive investors, or various business opportunities.

It’s really critical—when you know that you’re invited to speak at the conference, it’s really critical to find out what kind of audience would be expected. Obviously, it’s not going to be one size fits all and there will be different people. But in general, you can get a sense from the conference organizers as to what’s the percentage of people they expect to be representing whether it’s service providers, active investors, and so forth. Based on that, prepare a presentation that will resonate with the majority of audience, and you will be not only your presenting, but it will also be beneficial for this type of audience. It’s definitely very critical.

I can talk about my own experience if you’d like, which will also give our audience a few examples.

Theo Hicks: Sure. Let me ask a few follow up questions first before we go to examples.

Alina Trigub: Sure.

Theo Hicks: I really appreciate you kind of breaking down the first initial steps for the website, and then the social media presence.

For the speaking engagements, is it typically going from doing a podcast or writing blog posts to going to being invited to a Best Ever Conference-type speaking event? Or is it better to do baby steps first, like speak at a small meetup group first and kind of work your way up? Or do you recommend taking that leap, or does it depend?

Alina Trigub: I would say a lot depends on the personality. Some people are charismatic by nature and very outgoing and extroverted. For those folks, they will feel pretty comfortable on stage and will be able to jump onto a big stage from the beginning.

For the folks on the opposite end of the spectrum, if someone is introverted, not charismatic, and just in general, feels extremely uncomfortable speaking to, say, more than two people, then practice is essential. When I say practice, speaking to smaller groups, speaking in front of the meetup groups, getting interviews on podcasts is definitely an essential experience.

It’s sort of similar to buying a property. The natural progression is people start with a single families or small residential multis, and then they jump to commercial real estate, which they may first buy themselves and then buy through syndications with passive investors.

Same applies here. If someone is introverted and just in general not comfortable on stage, then I would strongly advise by getting that practice first, getting the experience of speaking in front of smaller groups, and potentially taking on some sort of training. For instance, I took a training… I found this New York City producer who was well known for teaching people how to speak and present on stage. Her training actually took place in one of the small theaters in New York City. That gave me a tremendous boost, because number one, I was getting feedback from someone who’s been doing it for over 20 years. Number two, because the practice was taking place in a real theater. I was on stage from day one, and that was instrumental in helping me build up my confidence as a speaker and gain the experience which I did not have prior to that, prior to speaking at the conference.

Does that answer your question?

Theo Hicks: Perfectly answers the question. My next question is about how to get invited to these speaking events. Maybe in answering this question, you can go through the examples of conferences or events you’ve spoken at, and then let us know how that came to be. Did you reach out to them? Did they reach out to you? Maybe explain how you were able to get the speaking engagements.

Alina Trigub: All of my speaking engagements, in my case in particular, came from other people reaching out to me and asking me to speak. Partially, it was due to numerous podcast interviews that I’ve done prior to that. Partially, it was due to extensive networking. I’ve been always a good networker—well, not always. But when I realized that I need to network, I started networking with people, not just for the purpose of networking, but essentially for the purpose of meeting potential partners, creating joint ventures, collaborating with people and finding ways to bring value to other people. That was my ultimate goal.

Through these connections, I was getting introductions to conference hosts, and people started inviting me to speak at conferences. While most of it has been in real estate, some of them have been in more of an educational space. And again, this was because someone knew that I’m really passionate about kids and non-traditional education, and they invited me to one event, and then I was invited to another and another. That’s how the trickle-down effect works. When someone sees that you’re bringing value and you’re passionate about the topic, they’ll start inviting you.

You could be a real estate investor, but you may be able to speak on education, or maybe setting up your mindset. No matter what your main expertise is, you may have other skills and other knowledge that you’ll be able to share with other people, that they can relate on… Because you’re going to be sharing it from your personal point of view and from your personal experience. And nothing works better than sharing a personal story, because it’s relatable and it’s something that people can leverage when building up their thought leadership platform, and [unintelligible [00:16:52].

Theo Hicks: Perfect. We’re kind of stepping back and figuring out, okay, so here’s what you do when you’re doing the talks, here’s how you were able to get to talk, which was through being on podcasts and networking… So I think it would be important to kind of go over some of your networking tips; that seemed to be at the root of how this began. We obviously already talked about how active you are on BiggerPockets. Maybe walk us through some of the top three to five ways that you are networking. Again, ideally giving a specific example of what extensive networking event resulted in you having some sort of speaking engagement.

Alina Trigub: Sure. I’m a big proponent of Dale Carnegie’s How to Win Friends and Influence People book, which I read probably 15 to 20-some odd years ago. This book can be applied not only to your professional but also to your personal career. Essentially, what the book’s main point is, people like to talk about themselves. When you meet someone for the first time, try to refrain yourself by jumping on and talking and saying, “I, I, I.” Try to be genuine when you’re listening to the person who you talk to, and ask them questions when they say something. Let’s say they start talking about career progression, or how they started and then closed multiple businesses, or have a big or small family. Ask follow up questions, show your genuine interest in their personal and professional life.

People get attracted to people that show interest in them. And by doing that, and by sincerely being interested in another person, you’re establishing and building relationships. Obviously, it will take more than one conversation. But the first conversation kind of establishes that bridge between you and the person on the other end of the phone or the other end of the table, that you’re speaking to.

When they see that you’re interested in them, they will want to follow up, regardless whether you have some business in common, and they will want to come back to you because that interest that you showed in their career, personal life will remain in their mind, and they will want to follow up with you and potentially stay in touch and do business, or be able to help you in one way or form. I think what’s very, very critical is to show you interest in the other person.

Also, when you’re networking and collecting cards, don’t just collect cards. I’ve seen people do different things. Some people take a business card and ask to take a picture of the person whose business card was handed to them to have a face next to that business card, so they remember who they talked to.

Another example,  or what I typically do is I write notes on each business card that I get. I put the notes that help me remember some stuff about this person. Maybe it’s someone who went to one of my alma mater colleges or maybe it’s someone who I worked with at the same company in the past. Or maybe they were talking about their business, and I thought this was a great business idea and I wanted to follow up with them. Whatever is going to help you remember the person down the road, put that as a note on their business card. That helps you to remember and that will be a good conversation starter when you talk to them next time.

In addition to business cards, as I said, the third point is always follow up. Don’t just collect business cards and put them on your desk, but also follow up, ideally follow up right after the event. And then the if you see that the conversation has been started and  that you have things in common, then follow up again in a few months, find out how the person is doing or how is their business… Or just, if you know, for example, that they’re looking for a multifamily in, let’s say a town where you live, then offer some things that you heard about your town; maybe there is new construction going on, or maybe there is a new company that’s coming into the town. Offer those small tips of information to them, and you’ll be amazed how grateful the people are when you’re bringing the information to them without them soliciting any of it. It’s always rewarding to see a smile on another person’s face when they get those tips without asking for that. Hope this helps.

Theo Hicks: 100%. Is there anything else that you want to mention before we conclude the interview?

Alina Trigub: In general, I think if someone wants to establish and build relationships, whether they’re personal or professional, I think reading Dale Carnegie’s How to Win Friends and Influence People is a great starting point. I highly recommend that.

Theo Hicks: Awesome, Alina. Well, thanks for joining us again on the skill set Sunday and walking us through the power of thought leadership, and more specifically, we talked a lot about speaking engagements and public speaking.

You walked us through the three components of a thought leadership platform. The first is the website, the second is the social media and then the third is the in-person speaking engagements.

We went over a lot of reasons why speaking engagements are important; it builds credibility. And then we also talked about some more specifics on what to do during these speaking engagements. So make sure that when you are speaking, you’re providing value, because you’ll get invited again, and again, and again.

You talked about the indirect networking benefits. Rather than meeting someone one on one, you’re in front of 10, 20, 100 or 1000 people. And as long as you’re able to share your personal experience, tell your story, connect with the audience, then you’re going to be able to get people to follow up with you and then complete deals and partnerships.

From there, you mentioned that some people are natural at public speaking so they can just jump straight to these big conferences. Other people who are more introverted, are going to need some more practice. So maybe start by speaking at smaller meetup groups, start by being invited on people’s podcasts. Then you kind of compared it to the progression of real estate going from single-family home to a small multifamily to a large multifamily. And you also mentioned actually go to a training; you mentioned a training you went to.

We talked about different ways to get public speaking engagements, and you mentioned doing these podcast interviews, as well as doing networking. And then you gave your three tips for networking, which one was from the How to Win Friends and Influence People… Essentially, people love to talk about themselves. When you meet someone, try to genuinely listen to them, genuinely ask them questions and follow up questions, because people are attracted to people who show an interest in them.

Your second one, which I never heard this before, but—well, I heard that don’t just collect business cards. I’ve heard the note-taking before. But taking a picture of them I think is also a really good idea. Because again, you take a picture, you look at the picture, and you are likely to remember more about the conversation than just staring at the business card, you might forget who that person was.

Your third advice was to always follow up with the business card people or people you’re talking to in person, do it right after the event and then if there is a connection, you can follow up with them again a few months later. Then when you’re following up, make sure you’re adding value.

Again, I really appreciate it. I learned a lot in this episode. I’m sure the best ever listeners did as well. Thank you for joining us.

Best ever listeners, as always, thank you for listening. Have a best ever day and we’ll talk to you tomorrow.

Alina Trigub: Thank you, Theo. Great to be here.

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