Tuesday, March 17, 2009

"Free" Real Estate Seminars

Call it journalism, or call it joblessness or just plain curiosity, but in the past two weeks, I went to two free "workshops" on Real Estate investing – one by the Rich Dad, Poor Dad author Robert Kiyosaki’s team, and one by Donald Trump’s team. Having time in the middle of the day means that I can attend programs that I wouldn’t be able to, if I was busy at work.

I claim it was journalistic purposes because I have no interest in being a real estate investor whatsoever. I don’t even own a primary residence. But I went because I was very curious about the people who attend these seminars (in the middle of weekdays) and I wanted to study the presenters and hey, it was free.

These were both 90 minute sessions, and as I learned the main intent of these workshops was to get people to sign up for 2 and 3 day advanced seminars, where they teach you lots of Real Estate techniques in great detail.

Here are some of my impressions and notes from the free pre-class:
  • Behold the power of Branding. Thanks to the popularity of TV shows (The Apprentice) and books, people like Donald Trump and Robert Kiyosaki have become household names. They are able to capitalize on that by essentially franchising themselves. Trump’s is called Trump U., and Kiyosaki markets it as “Rich Dad Education."
  • Though it is not the intent, you can learn a lot about good presentation techniques by studying these presenters. Their task is to take disbelievers (who are most likely not economically well off and quite possibly unemployed) and try to sell them expensive course packages. The presenters were without exception great sales people.
  • One clever technique I saw was to ask everyone to hold all the questions till the end. This is because they don’t want disbelievers disrupting the sales pitch, casting doubts.
  • They will repeatedly make fun of anyone who has any doubts whatsoever.
  • These folks must have all gone to the same NLP techniques class, because they all use it. Programming the audience first and then repeatedly making them shout out the same words and phrases over and over again. “Because I am going to help you make what?” and the real estate market has been really going where? and so on. (Correct responses: “Lots of money” and “Down”)
  • They will pretend to get very angry when the audience doesn’t respond to moronic questions. “So does working for only 4 hours a week sound good to you?” “Would you like to make $20,000 on your very first deal?” (Hint: You are supposed to scream your Yes very loudly.)
  • They make fun of books and CD’s that you see on late-night TV infomericals, and yet they try to tempt you with books that you absolutely must own and will get only if you attend the 3 day seminar.
I am really not knocking these multi-day seminars. They might be just the thing for people who have the willingness, but not the know-how. I approve of a lot of what they say – yes Knowledge is very important, and yes everyone has to take action if they are serious about improving their lot in life. I know that these Real Estate techniques (pre-foreclosure, short sales etc.) do work for some, and that the fees for these 2 and 3 day classes will pay for themselves for some people.

I just don’t approve of how easy they make it sound.


Middle Way said...

Thank you so much for posting your opinion on those seminars.

I have been wondering about what they were about for a while as they seem to sound too good to be true!

Ram said...

Thanks, MiddleWay.

I have since found this site where there are comments/reviews from people who have taken these course.

But even that site seems to pushing some product or another. Lesson: Be very careful as to what you sign up for, esp. if it involves paying lots of money upfront.