What happens to you at Russ Whitney' "free training" by John T. Reed 2 I later ran into lady who was at the seminar at the hotel's restaurant. She said that she had invited a gentleman who was in the audience to lunch after she had overheard him talking about how he had gone through the Whitney boot camps and had actual checks from his transactions. She wanted to treat him to lunch and see how he had done it (he agreed, and said he would join her after he ran off copies of the checks or something along those lines). I sat down at her table briefly, just to chat about what her impression of the whole thing was. A few seconds later, he approached the table and made a move as if to sit down, saw me, and suddenly got up as if he had "forgotten something" and muttered that he would be right back. Needless to say, that was the last we saw of him. [Reed note: This sounds like one of those shills that others have suspected being in the audience.] As a side note - the room temperature was normal during the presentation, but we were still kept waiting awkwardly outside the ballroom doors, and then endured a half hour of tesimonials (no pep music today) before the actual presentation began. I hope this information helps somebody - I only wish that the people who were with me this morning could have stumbled across your website! Please feel free to contact me if you have any questions about the specifics of today's presentation. Irena Djuric No recording Whitney prohibits tape recording of his free seminar and his speakers issue dire threats of lawsuits if they catch you recording. I have heard reports that they search purses and such at some seminars. Prohibiting recording of free seminars is one of the items on my Real Estate B.S. Artist Detection Checklist. Attendees at th Concord, CA 7/17/03 "free training" said there was no searching of purses, but the speaker warned repeatedly that people must not record the seminar. Oddly, he also berated those who did not have pads for taking notes asking sarcastically, "What did you think"”you were coming to a play?" This is all the more annoying when you realize Whitney insists on recording the call to confirm your telephone purchase of a seminar and they sometimes encourage seminar attendees to say good things about the seminar and tape record the statements"”without the knowledge of the speaker in states where the law only requires one person in the conversation to know it' being recorded. One attendee discovered this when she heard Whitney employees discussing
sound levels and spotted a machine the red lights on which flickered in concert with words spoken by audience members during a "Tell us how great this seminar has been" discussion. Free mentor for life One person told me that at the free training they verbally gave an 800-number for free mentoring for life. Later, they denied having said that and tried to get people to sign up for paid mentoring. I have received repeated reports that any time you contact the Whitney organization, you are mainly pressured to buy more seminars, even when the number you called is one you have paid for the right to call. "Ein voice" Continuing in the seminar portion of the MPAP manual we read this. "Every member of the team must speak with one voice and say the exact same thing. The remaining two staff members should appear to be paying complete attention to the speaker' every word." This reminds me of a famous speech I often see on the All-Hitler-All-the-Time network (The History Channel). Hitler is beside himself extolling the virtues of "Ein Land. Ein Volk. Ein Fuehrer." That means, "One nation. One people. One leader," in German. "Ein" is pronounced "Ine" to rhyme with "mine." Of course, what it really meant in Germany was one opinion"”his. Here' another pertinent passage, this one from page 40 of Whitney' book Overcoming the Hurdles and Pitfalls of Real Estate Investing. ""¦a salesman has a presentation which his company has designed. They instruct the salesman to memorize this presentation and perform it verbatim. Well, instead of studying regularly to make sure he knows that presentation, the salesman forgets a little part"¦he injects a sentence or two of his own. When I was a sales trainer for the co-op and a salesman' production was down, the first thing I would do is listen to his presentations." I find this downright creepy. It sounds like Russ Whitney speakers are human juke boxes who are trained to memorize a pitch, as well as answers to common questions, and to spout that script, and not a word different, on cue. You may want to amuse yourself by asking the same question of each Whitney staff member at the "free training" and see how close their answers are. There may be a tax issue here. As I understand it, Whitney' "free training" speakers are straight commission independent contractors. But if an employer controls an independent contractor too much, he is not considered an independent contractor for federal income tax purposes. Rather, he is considered an employee. That means Whitney has to withhold taxes, pay social security, unemployment, etc. If his company has a pension plan, the employees all have to be included in it. If Whitney is paying these guys as independent contractors, and they are actually employees from a legal standpoint, because of the amount of control he exerts over them"”control-freak levels if you believe his MPAP manual"”he would possibly owe a lot of money to the IRS and/or to the speaker. I do not know for sure if Whitney treats the speakers as independent contractors for tax purposes. I would like to hear from anyone who does know. Dress warmly If you attend a Whitney "free training" you"d better dress warmly. Several people have told me the room was freezing. Attendees were wearing winter coats and sweaters no matter the season. Why? Whitney apparently thinks that inducing mild hypothermia reduces sales resistance. Think I"m exaggerating? I just got off the phone with a guy who took the free training last night. He had not read this page until tonight. He said at the seminar, he and his wife were wondering why the Whitney employees were dressed like they were going skiing"”turtleneck sweaters and the like. When he got home and read this Web page, he figured it out. One guy told me he finally went over to the thermostat to raise it. He felt it was about 64'º in the room. When he tried to adjust it, Whitney staffers freaked out and came running insisting, "It has to be set HERE!" They returned it to the previous frigid setting. Apparently, Whitney sales staff are ordered to set the thermostat at some extremely low setting. I assume this is written in a manual for Whitney staff. If you have a copy, I would like to see it. I will ask for it during discovery prior to the trial of Whitney' case against me, but they will likely resist that. I would appreciate it if a reader would check the thermostat in a Whitney "free training" and tell me what they set it. Also, I would appreciate it if someone would take a thermometer to a Whitney "free training" and tell me what it reads. You"d better keep it hidden. Am I imagining this or exaggerating? Once again, Whitney' MPAP manual provides a confession at Step 9 page 3: "Check the room' air-conditioning, the room must remain chilly. Warm rooms mean droopy participants and few sales." I have had a lot of sales training in my day. I was sales training director of a real estate brokerage once. But I have never heard of the use of cold as a persuasion technique"”with the possible exception of Communists interrogating American prisoners during the Korean War. You may want to amuse yourself by adjusting the Whitney meeting room thermostat up to a setting that is required by law in apartment and office buildings"”68'º. Warning: this may get you thrown out of the "free training""”especially after Whitney and his employees see it on this Web page. If, instead, you plan to stay for the whole session, take a warm coat, gloves, earmuffs, a scarf, and wear two pair of socks. The Cherry Hill guy said the room was warm on 3/4/03. That may be because the Whitney crew there was relatively undisciplined or they"ve changed their policy now that the trick is being publicized. A woman who used to work for Whitney told me in March of 2003 that they were indeed told to set the thermostat, but she said the temperature Whitney wanted was 69 degrees. I have no problem with that temperature, which is above the federal minimum for apartment buildings. But it may be that Whitney raised the temperature after I started revealing at this Web site that he was freezing attendees. On 4/6/03, I got an email saying of a Whitney seminar, "It was SOOO COLD!!!!! About 3/4 of the people (18 altogether) were complaining about the temperature"¦ So maybe it depends on which speaker you get. Be prepared for either. Another person told me that Whitney literally tells you in writing to bring a sweater when you sign up for the three-day seminar. And this was in Arizona in the summer! Leave home without it After hearing many things about the astonishing selling skills of Whitney and his sales force, I came to the conclusion that one should not take a credit card, check book, or cash to a Whitney "free training" session. After I came to that conclusion, I read that a couple of other people had said the same thing in Internet postings. We"re not kidding. These guys are that good. I almost would not trust myself to escape from one of these sessions without signing up for some overpriced seminar. I have seen at least two comments on the Net or in emails where former customers of Whitney' said they felt as though they had been "hypnotized." They apparently did not mean that literally, but they were saying that they believe they lost their free will at some point during the Whitney "free training" and felt compelled to do what the speaker told them to do. A person who attended a 3/13/03 "free training" in Salt Lake City said, "You mentioned that others felt an almost "hypnotized" effect. I had this same impression, there was this mesmerizing effect to the presentation. People not on their guard for these tactics could be drawn into something they might not really want in a calmer situation." That' scary. If you insist on subjecting yourself to that, leave your credit cards, check book, and cash at home. Siren song In Greek mythology, Odysseus was able to hear the siren song of the daughters of the sea god Phorcys because he had his shipmates lash him to the mast and put wax in their ears. They could not hear the songs because of the wax. He could not steer toward the siren' island because he was tied down. The sorceress Circe had given him that wise advice. The advice of me and others that you leave your credit cards, checks, and cash at home is analogous to Circe' advice to Odyseuss. We are not kidding or exaggerating. The salesmen who work at Whitney' "free training" sessions are experts at persuading people like you to part with your money. If you want to take the paid seminars, you can always sign up later, after you have had a chance to cool off and consider the matter soberly. Whitney' people will strive mightily to eliminate that possibility by constantly telling you the price will go up if you don"t sign up RIGHT NOW. But that' bull. The same circus will be back in town in a few months and they will lower their prices back down. Mob psychology I am told Whitney uses mob psychology to get you to sign up for paid seminars. One trick is to get everyone in the room to compete for a prize on who can raise their credit card limits the most. They literally have had attendees calling their credit card companies on a speaker phone in front of everyone. (You should not tell Whitney' people what your credit-card limit is. It' absolutely no one' business but yours.) This is apparently aimed at getting you to take out your credit card and get used to doing something with it during the meeting. (A later writer said the calling of credit-card companies to raise limits was done from your hotel room between classes.) Another trick involved telling the audience that only the first, say, seven people who get to the back of the room to sign up for a particular seminar will be allowed to do so. This sometimes causes a stampede. Sounds like a safety hazard"”like yelling "Fire!" in a crowded theater. Even if no one gets physically hurt by the stampede, there is still the use of mob psychology to get you to spend thousands of dollars. "OPM" Bad real estate gurus are fond of talking about OPM"”Other People' Money. That is, borrowed money. Listen to what the Salt Lake City 3/13/03 "free training" attendee says. It' a good analysis of the concept. "One particularly insidious tactic: To pay for the "training courses" the instructor pitched people to put it on their credit cards because "until the payment on the credit card is due the next month this was OPM (Other People' Money)" (i.e. the credit card company). The implication here being that if you use OPM you are very smart and already acting like a "real estate investor." (OPM was talked about in the seminar as a means to finance projects.) To my amazement, quite a few people cheered at this. I thought and who do they think is going to be paying the credit card loan (OPM) off after one month? They are! I was amazed people bought this tactic." [Reed comment: As a general rule, you never use a credit card to buy real estate. The reasons are the interest rates are among the highest in the lending world, plus the loans are generally very short term so the annual constant (interest plus principal paid each month as a percentage of the loan balance) is even higher. For more information on this, see my book How to Buy Real Estate for Little or No Money Down. Using a credit card to buy anything is questionable and a common path to financial difficulty if you do not pay the balance off in full each month.] Testimonial shills I have also been told that some audiences include people who are ostensibly just seminar attendees like everyone else, but they appear in dress and demeanor suspiciously like members of Whitney' staff. Once the sales pitch begins, they volunteer that they took this or that Whitney seminar and that it was just fabulous. Paint job profit A person who attended the Concord, CA 7/17/03 free training told me that the speaker"”Rodney Hopkins or something like that"”told of a large profit made from just painting the exterior of a house. This was an "actual case history" complete with before and after photos of the house. The speaker said the house cost $75,000 and that after the exterior-only paint job, it was worth $130,000. Is this true? Almost certainly not. I would have to have the address and dates to be sure, but here' why I say it is almost certainly not true"”or they are omitting material facts, like the amount of time between the two values. An exterior paint job on a single-family house simply does not add anywhere near that much value. Whitney would proabably say it does if you know how and Reed simply never learned how. Bull!