I have been to more seminars than most people I know. Everything from 100% pitch fests on one end of the spectrum to 100% content on the other. Some free, others I have paid thousands to get in. Some of the free have been great, but mostly an up sell in there somewhere. Some of the expensive ones have been great and some have been total rip offs. Point is, before I started attending events, I wasn't doing much business. After seeing Ron LeGrand in Long Beach and going through his foreclosure materials, the first foreclosure deal I did was to purchase a preforeclosure property with $25,000 cash down, subject to the existing $700K loan. All I could think about after escrow closed was Ron up there saying, "write a big check, take a big loss!" When I did that deal, I had his manual open on the kitchen table and was following along filling out the paperwork step-by-step right in front of the seller.
Sold the house after nine grueling months (because I didn't know anything about marketing and trusted a very bad real estate agent) for $1.25M. Would you say Ron LeGrand ripped me off or do you think I got my money's worth? I'm sure there are plenty of people out there 5 figures deep into his courses who have nothing nice to say and not a deal under their belt to show for it. If I got my money's worth, why not everyone else? Same materials. Same CDs & books. I didn't get special editions...
It is easy to sit back and knock the guru. "Ah, the guru! He just takes your money and doesn't teach you anything!!!" OR, do the majority of the people who buy at the back of the room expect the box to contain not CDS you actually have to listen to, but magical beans that will produce a line of motivated sellers with equity knocking on the front door and a line of buyers with cash knocking on the back door while you run back and forth between doors collecting checks? Even if they sold you on the idea you could do that, I think we are all familiar with "a fool and his money are soon parted."
I have found that I can always pick up some bit of information that will help me in my business even if it is from the person sitting next to me in the audience. The last two weekends I attended a 1 day event that cost $499 and a 3 day event that was $1,999.
I spent most of my time in the hall talking to other investors at one of the events and the other event gave me a new understanding of an asset class I have been interested in. And only one of the events had absolutely nothing else for sale.
While it may seem like I am defending gurus, I do know there are plenty of charlatans out there. However, I think you get out what you put in. If we are going to say gurus are out just to take your money, we could say the same thing about colleges & universities and those cost a whole lot more than a 3 day boot camp, and you're almost guaranteed not to learn a darn thing you can go out and use the day after graduation to make you any serious money. I know I wish I could get a refund on my diploma!
Also, I love that saying, "those who can't teach." Well, I'm glad we have educators who teach how to deliver a baby! And what about pilot teachers! Sure would suck having to drive everywhere. Let me not forget Mrs. O'Brian who taught me how to type without looking at the keys my freshman year of high school. So glad she was there.
For the record, I run a monthly REIA (no pitches allowed) and a room for 60 people for 4 hours costs me about $1,000, A/V guy included. Hotels charge $40/gallon just for coffee. Next time you're at an event, enjoy the coffee because it is probably the most expensive cup you've ever had!
Sorry for the long post.