By Gerald Tay (guest contributors)

From over a decade ago, many local seminar entrepreneurs have ridden the trend of popular gurus such as Robert Kiyosaki (“Rich Dad”) to teach property and wealth seminars to make money from the masses. Of course, they want you to believe that they are doing it to spread the knowledge, but this isn’t always true.

The 15 dirty secrets that will make you lots of money running a seminar business

The following are 15 secrets that these “gurus” use to make themselves (but not necessarily you) a lot of money:

  1. Come up with your own get rich quick “secret” in a specific niche market (property, forex, stocks, etc.), the more sensational the better. For example, “How to own multiple properties with little or no money.”
  2. Coin catchy phrases, for example “Millionaire”, “Secrets of…”, “No-Money-Down” – anything that gives an oomph for your seminar title to entice your target market. “Why buy a car when you can buy a hotel?”
  3. Create a long marketing page filled with bold and cheesy statements, put up fake testimonials and unbelievable ROIs. E.g. “Generate 20%-25% per annum from your investments with proven results!”
  4. Get yourself interviewed in The Sunday Times “Invest” page for added publicity. Most reporters desperately need a story and have no time to verify your claims.
  5. Get a ghost writer to write your book. Get it published and buy out your own first printing to make it appear your book was popular. Many “best sellers” used this tactic to get to the Best Seller status. Your books don’t have to sell like “Rich Dad, Poor Dad”. Simply recoup back your money and time by selling more seminars.
  6. Register several shell-companies to give the impression that you’re also a successful owner of several “businesses.” Or invest $1,000 in each of your friends’ businesses and become a co-owner in name. Or invest in a publicly listed company’s shares and claim you’re also a co-owner.
  7. Invent stories to captivate your audiences at your free previews. The storyline must include sad beginnings of how “poor” you were to invoke sympathy from your audience. “Bankruptcy” is always a good storyline to start with.
  8. Proceed to amaze them about how you rose from the “grave” and made millions in only x years with your “secret” strategy.
  9. Hire a few people to fake testimonials to the audience. Promise them a cut from the number of sign-ups as commission.
  10. Price your seminar fees in the 5-figure range. If it’s too cheap people will think it’s worthless. Too expensive and your target audience cannot afford it. “Generously” throw in tons of worthless freebies.
  11. Sales Trick-of-the-Day: At your preview, slash your 5-figure seminar fees down, first by 50%, then another 20%, followed by another 20%, and finally offer a price that ends up looking irresistibly attractive. Invent silly reasons why the price they pay is only a small “investment”versus the money they can make. Offer early bird discounts (“signup today!”) to close the sale.
  12. Get an award. Win some unheard of business award, e.g. “Soul of Entrepreneurship”. Or simply invent one yourself. Having some business “awards” will help you sell your seminars better.
  13. Cut deals with property developers (especially overseasones)and offer them to your students. For every buyer, you get a cut of the profits or even better, a free property unit to add to your claim of being an“owner of 100 properties.” It does not matter if the deals turn out badly – you got yourself a free lunch anyway.  (EcoHouse, anyone?)
  14. Upsell more stuff during your seminar.
  15. Remember:You’re the magician and movie director. The better the stage set-up, the more money you’ll make.

Get Real

These seminars usually charge somewhere in the range of $3,000 to $5,000 or more for a two to three day program. They use annoying marketing tactics to sell you programs of questionable value. The truth is, there are no shortcuts or secrets that will get you there faster. Hard work is the answer.

Unless they are conducted by highly reputable learning institutions or by real professionals with recognised qualifications, you should be cautious about overpaying for these seminars.

There are some ‘down-to-earth’ seminars by real individuals with real experiences. They are priced very affordably without the hype.

The bottom line is, you don’t need to spend a lot of money to educate yourself financially. Never let the scammers steal your hard-earned money.

By guest contributor Gerald Tay, who is the founder and coach at CREI Academy Group Pte Ltd, an organization dedicated to empowering retail property investors with smarter investing philosophy and strategies. He is a full-time investor with over 13 years of solid experience in building his wealth through Property Investment and is financially wealthy today.

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