By Anthony Caciopo
In the business world, social media/social networking is embraced by some, disregarded by others, and viewed by many as a curiosity at best.
Commercial and investment property specialist David M. Kaufman is definitely a believer.
Thanks to social networking, David, a CCIM (Certified Commercial Investment Member), took part in a $15 million real estate deal in the British West Indies this past June. The Temenos Project is a major development located on the island of Anguilla in the Caribbean just north of Saint Martin and 250 miles east of Puerto Rico. The project has an operating Greg Norman-designed golf course and was to include multi-million dollar luxury villas but had fallen into disrepair and was foundering.
David’s roles in the deal were as marketing advisor and auctioneer. His long and accomplished career as a commercial/investment real estate owner, broker, auctioneer, executive and principal made him a natural to take part in the project, but like any partnership it required visibility and a way for those in charge of the deal to find him and connect to him.
How did it happen? “LinkedIn,” he says.
“The mere fact that when someone Googles your name, the first thing that comes up is your LinkedIn profile makes it a requirement to embrace LinkedIn, and your profile had better be sharp.”
“Add to that the ability to get through to someone inside a company effortlessly (nowadays you can't even get an operator on the line, let alone find out with whom you want to be in touch); have interested parties read your recommendations from your satisfied clients and see how smart and knowledgeable you are from answers you have given to complicated questions, which have been chosen by the ‘asker’ as being the Best Answer to their question, etc... you realize that LinkedIn is a very complete, sophisticated platform, indeed.”
Like many businesspeople, David did not immediately take to social media when he first began hearing about it.
“For years, I remember being ‘pestered’ by requests for connections from people who were on LinkedIn while I was not,” he recalls. “By chance, I was reading Forbes or Barons and came across an article on social networking in business. What struck me was a quote from a C.E.O. of a large NYSE-listed company, who said, ‘Anyone who is not on or doesn't know how to use LinkedIn may as well be retired.’ "
“Prophetically, the next day I got an email from a trade association, to which I belong, promoting an all day seminar that they were sponsoring on using social networking in business, including LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter. Wow, what an eye-opener that seminar was!”
Direct, engaging and highly personable, David told his social media success story following a meeting with Brian Kuzdas, principal and founder of RealEstateAuctions.com, BankREOs.com and OwnACondo.com at 540 N. Lake Shore Drive in Chicago.
“The Anguilla golf course project was by far the most intriguing with which I’ve gotten involved,” he said, recalling a number of other substantial auction projects including the Omni Shoreham Hotel in Washington D.C. that he sold at auction for $40 million.
David, who currently is a principal at DK Realty Partners, LLC in suburban Chicago, said the Temenos project was more than just an ordinary real estate transaction.
“It was very important to the government because it is a huge source of jobs there,” he explained.
Currently, back in the Chicago area following the deal in Anguilla, David is hard at work negotiating new deals for his companies…with the help of social networking, of course.
“If I had to choose between LinkedIn or my telephone, I'd choose LinkedIn,” he says, adding with a laugh, “and no, I do not own any of their stock.”