With the internet, fake news and social media anyone can create a persona and/or a story and have people believing it is true. With a great marketing plan, a website, paid likes, paid followers, a cheap book on Amazon written through research as a top seller and some know how you can be the next real estate guru. And who knows, maybe you end up knowing more IN THEORY than actual successful investors but it would only be in theory. Therefore, you should be cautious of who you are giving your money to and more importantly who you are learning from. Here are a few questions you should ask along with a few acceptable answers.
The number one thing to do is find referrals. I do not mean the testimonials on their website, unless you personally know of that person in your market area, but someone in your local REIA that has used that person and has hopefully had success. Ask them if the guru and/or their program provided what it advertised. However, also keep in mind that you have to ask detailed questions to find out if that person actually implemented the program. For this reason, you want to find as many referrals/users as possible. Eventually you will begin to notice a consistency that the program was not as advertised, good but lacked content, ok for a beginner, not worth buying, terrible or maybe so bad they will give you the content.
If the reviews are good enough that you decide to move forward you then go to the guru directly and ask a few questions. The number one question I like to ask is, “What separates or makes your information unique, different, and /or special? With so much free content online today why should I invest in you and/or your program/system?” The best answer I have heard and the reason I decide to take on a mentor is this, “The program/system that I will be teaching you is the same program/system I use today to generate me X dollars. Here is what we did last year, last month, last week etc. with this program/system.” If this information is verifiable I more than likely will be signing up. A great way to verify is by MLS and/or simply asking for copies of the most recent HUD statement. Keep in mind that at the end of the training you may find out there is nothing new you did not already know but that might be ok. Why? Because what you invested in was the system on how to tie everything together. For example, everyone knows how to make a burger/sandwich but McDonalds, Burger King, Chick-fil-a, etc. have created amazing systems that put them in the place they are today.
I also ask the guru if he/she is still actively investing. Some of these guys/gals spend a large amount of time traveling, speaking at REIAs, mentoring, managing their education company, so when do they actually have time to invest in real estate? I think this is a fair question and many times I find out that they have not purchased an investment in quite a while since starting to mentor. For me this is an issue because markets change, so what may have worked before may not work now. Might some of the items those gurus teach still be applicable? Yes, but why not find someone who still invests in today’s market and can relate the education to today’s investment environment. An answer I like to hear is, “I still invest but I am no longer involved in the day to day activities because I have systems in place that gives me the time to teach what I do.” This is a great answer for two reasons. One, this person is still actively investing in today’s market. Two, and the best part, he/she has created real business. Meaning, that the company continues to function without his daily involvement.
At a certain point you will be ready to buy but are still on the fence. The question you should ask at this point is, “Are our interests aligned?” Which means that after purchasing the program/system and taking action and implement it, will it do as advertised? Will you find more deals? Will you find more buyers? Will you find more private money? Or is this the sale the guru makes that lead to up selling in the near future because the original purchase only contains half of what was promised. One way I determine if our interests are aligned is if they provide a money back guarantee. It gives me lots of confidence in that guru’s program/system if they are so confident it works that they willing to refund my money if it does not work. I have seen newer gurus offer a full refund if you follow the program/system and close a deal within x amount of days, as long as you provide a testimonial. Will the program/system provide consulting or are you on your own? Consulting is best but do not expect it with inexpensive programs/systems. This is not to say it does not happen but do not expect it until the price reaches $1,000, and the consults might still be limited.
No matter which guru you use the most important factor of success is that you take ACTION!! There are millions of people that pay for programs/systems that never take action, do not be that person. I am always learning and growing and you should too. Also, know that you may be one ASK away from a free mentor if you provide them value and create a win-win scenario.