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What bad real estate gurus say behind your back

Posted by John Reed on

Copyright 2000 by John T. Reed

I have been a real estate guru since 1976. I have met a great many of the other gurus in person or over the phone, email, etc. Generally, if I do not know a particular guru, I know another guru who does.

In those 24 years, I have heard what the bad gurus say about their customers and the way they run their businesses behind the backs of those customers. Unfortunately, I cannot get many people to go on the record with many of these stories so I have to remove the name of the guru in question. I know who each of these quotes is from. But I cannot tell you in most cases because my source would not permit it or because the guru in question has resumed private life. You cannot publicly say anything about a private person even if it is true.

In response to my comment that something in his book was inaccurate: "What difference does it make, we just tell these people what they want to hear anyway." Note that I, John T. Reed, am the source on this quote. That is, I am the one who had this conversation with the guru in question.

One of my guru friends sat in on the seminar of a bad guru. They were both speakers at the same meeting. Afterward, the good guru helpfully started to tell the bad guru that much of what he had just said to the audience was inaccurate. The bad guru got a disgusted, impatient look on his face and said something to the effect of, "Who cares!? All those people heard was [a word referring to a luxurious lifestyle. I cannot use the word or you will know which guru it was.]" My good guru friend said the bad guru seemed to have the attitude that anything that got people to go to the back of the room and buy cassettes was good, and whether what he said was accurate or not was of absolutely no interest to the bad guru.

An editor I worked with told me that guru A told him that guru B pointed at the customers buying his products at the back of the room after a speech and said, "They would buy blank tapes if I told them to." Later guru B was selling cassettes with nature sounds and subliminal messages and said to guru A, "Remember when I told you people would buy blank tapes if I told them to? Well, the ones I'm selling now aren't blank, but they're pretty close."

Here’s a link to a some emails a guru sent to an unhappy customer, not realizing that I would print them. Warning. They contain profanity. Guru's emails

Here's an email I received on 3/6/00. I changed the name of the guru being spoken about and left off the name of the guru who sent it to me. "P.S. A friend of mine told me this weekend that he got a call from C asking him to speak at his next convention (he apparently has picked up the D mantle and does mass meetings for $XX a head). This is the story as I understand it: He (friend) said he would consider it and started talking about topic ideas. C wanted only to talk about book and tape sales and said he takes 60%. My friend (who thought that was pretty high) said he didn't have any current books or tapes (or didn't want to sell them for 40% less his expenses, I didn't catch that part), that he would just be there for educational purposes. He says C told him that he never has educational speakers, that it is a requirement that they sell. Friend said thanks but no thanks."

A guru who said he could buy real estate for no money down was challenged to do so by a newspaper. He called a guru friend of mine who was president of an investors club and who lived in the city in question to try to find someone in advance who would agree to sell him real estate for nothing down. Then he would show up and it would appear to the reporter accompanying him that he found and arranged the nothing-down deal in the 72 hours specified in the publicity stunt. My friend did not help him.

Read the account by John Behle on my guru-rating Web page of his behind-the-scene experiences with one guru.

After I was interviewed on his radio show by telephone, the late Sonny Bloch invited me to be on his TV show. I said fine, but then I got a call from one of his associates telling me I had to pay Bloch thousands of dollars to be a guest on the TV show. When I suggested they look up the definitions of the words "guest" and "advertiser," they said Bob Allen was paying them to appear, so why shouldn't I? I refused and was never again invited to be on either the radio or TV show. Bloch later got indicted and fled the country. He was deported back to the U.S.

The 5/19/99 NBC Dateline segment on William McCorkle reveals him coaching and browbeating testimonial givers off camera when taping his infomercials. The testimonial givers were supposedly average customers of his. In fact, they were paid actors and actresses, friends, and employees of McCorkle's. He and his wife are now in jail. You can probably buy the tape from NBC or another vendor.

Here's another email from a fellow guru: "My speaking circuit source also told me that one of the other speakers' schticks (they traveled in packs going from town to town under the moniker "X") was "get rich with credit cards," and his advice was to get hundreds of credit cards, borrow thousands of dollars with them and buy real estate. He was very proud of his introduction: "Now ladies and gentlemen, our next speaker is a man who has made millions with the techniques you are about to hear..." He wrote that introduction and swore it was all true. And it was. Behind the curtain he laughed up his sleeve because the techniques he was referring to were his sales pitches.

If you know of any behind-the-scenes stories about how the bad gurus talk about their customers behind their backs, or how they talk about their businesses when customers cannot hear, please send them to me.

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