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GOLD! Guru Cults Exposed: The Tactics "Experts" Use To Pull You In & Suck You Dry

Discussion in 'Advertising, Marketing, Social Media' started by Lex DeVille, Feb 22, 2018.

  1. Shepherd
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    Shepherd Bronze Contributor Read Millionaire Fastlane I've Read UNSCRIPTED FASTLANE INSIDER Speedway Pass

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    I really liked the MFCEO podcast when I first discovered it, but it quickly sputtered out for me. Same with Grant Cardone. Maybe just a personal preference, but I get a similar vibe that just doesn't resonate with me.
     
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  2. MJ DeMarco
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    MJ DeMarco Raving Lunatic Staff Member Read Millionaire Fastlane I've Read UNSCRIPTED FASTLANE INSIDER Speedway Pass LEGENDARY CONTRIBUTOR Summit Attendee

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    I think you missed the point of "perceived value" as explained in Unscripted. Perceived value is a function of marketing and expectation. If a marketer sets an expectation and it doesn't match the reality, perceived value and actual value are 2 totally different things. So you are wrong. Completely.

    If I sell you a guaranteed 20% return on your investment in a promissory note, you buy on the expectation (perceived value) of receiving 20% per annum.

    When you get a 3% return on your investment and then ask for your money back, you don't get it and instead I waffle with excuses, "Checks in the mail bro."

    Perceived value got you to buy.
    Actual value got you to want your money back.​

    Obviously this example is clear cut because the perceived and actual value is numerical.

    When numbers can't be assigned to perceived and actual, that's where the gray area arises.

    "This book will change your life."

    OMG it did! (Perceived = actual)
    OMG that book sucked. (Perceived does not equal actual.)
     
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  3. Martin Boeddeker
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    I'm not arguing about where people got mislead as in your very clear example.

    It's much more difficult in almost every other case. Most areas are grey areas.

    In most cases, it's more about the buyer than the seller. I think the disclaimers that MTF quoted explain it very well.

    What usually happens is that all gurus sell you "the six-pack abs" in all their beauty and detail.

    They explain what they will mean for you (e.g. getting the girls, self-esteem, or whatever you think you want). In this phase, they only mention the necessary exercise in a half sentence or focus on what you can still eat if you stick to the exercise plan, etc. It's the just living in the promised land.

    In their product, they usually give you the detailed plan on how to exercise right and some nutrition advise. Most people who buy know this stuff works but never take action.

    My favorite example of a legitimate guru right now is Sam Ovens. I have not seen his webinar or his product, but I suppose it's quite good since he only sells one product at the $1997 plus and runs some "masterminds".

    At the same time, there are hundreds of people who call him a scam.

    How To Filter Your Information: Everybody's Wrong Until Proven Right - YouTube

    I think the cases of very clear scam you describe is relatively rare. Of course, they exist but mostly for tier 3 gurus and people who just start out.

    Probably even most of the "legitimate" gurus started out selling sh*tty products before they got better and were really able to help people.
     
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  4. SoftStone
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    @Lex DeVille Thanks for the great thread!

    How do you judge the value of an information product? Well, besides the fact that it of course has to solve your problem. For example, the stuff I teach (for free), like most other information, can also be found elsewhere. But isn't a unique perspective and a USP (for example, in my case, teaching it as fast as possible to save you time and effort) also value?

    I find it hard to evaluate the value of an information product by the uniqueness of its information. Taking the example of CRM systems, there are so many out there, all aiming to achieve the same thing with (mostly) minor differences. After all, it would be weird if there was only one CRM option to choose from, and, in the case of teaching. different people like to learn from different instructors.

    Would love to hear your thoughts. Again, thanks for the thread.
     
  5. Computerchest
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    Fantastic thread, so much knowledge! I am new to this kind of copy/marketing, having produced content with value before (not internet marketing/guru), but never really having marketed it in this way.
    I think some of the "Gurus" mentioned in this thread do give value, but I'm not sure if it is worth the price charged sometimes.

    Thanks :thumbsup:
     
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  6. mattierocks
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    This is an awesome thread, thanks for sharing this info!

    I've definitely gotten caught up in some of these exact situations, so I appreciate you shedding light onhow they work.
     
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    Solved...

    - paper by Aronson, Willerman and Floyd
     
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  8. Lex DeVille
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    Here's something new I'm seeing on high-ticket guru sites..

    An almost hidden statement in tiny print at the bottom of their home page.

    I wonder if one of them finally got sued for bankrupting someone.

    I also wonder if schools have a similar disclaimer on their websites.

    MLM's usually have this disclaimer.
     
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  9. Martin Boeddeker
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    It's probably something like this real life case study...

    Even if you apply everything right, it might get you only mediocre results...

    Skyscraper Technique Case Study: Why Famous SEO Strategies Won't Work For You
     
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  10. MJ DeMarco
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    But meanwhile, I just sold 30 tickets to a $10K seminar for a cool $300K!
     
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  11. Jevaughn M
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    Jevaughn M New Contributor Read Millionaire Fastlane I've Read UNSCRIPTED

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    Man, there’s so much info in this thread. It’s honestly pretty overwhelming. I don’t even know where I should start in order to apply any of it. Should I just start by reading Cashvertising?
     
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  12. Lex DeVille
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    This isn't a copywriting thread, so it probably isn't the best place to start if you're looking to learn copy. Ca$hvertising does introduce you to copywriting tactics. You could always start with my copywriting thread in my signature if that's what you're looking for too.
     
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  13. Neng Her
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    Neng Her Contributor Read Millionaire Fastlane

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    Hey Lex, I want to know what are your opinions of Dan Lok. I don't fall for purchasing any webinars or products but I am interested in what you have to say.
     
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  14. Lex DeVille
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    Took a quick glance. Looks like MAYBE a Tier 1 guru, but probably Tier 2. I've seen his name but never purchased anything by him. His website looks like it's positioned to make people believe he only works with those who are already wealthy.

    Maybe that's true. I don't really know anything about him. But with my guru glasses on, those big numbers like $10,000 per hour and $100,000 per day make the teensy weensy $9.99 price of his ebooks seem like a steal (and by steal I mean steal your money).

    Looks like he has fairly good reviews on Amazon, but I'd have to go digging through them to find out the truth because it's too easy to BS Amazon reviews. Also, if he's such a great marketer, why do so many of his books have so few reviews (like 3 and 17)?

    Judging only by his website, and Amazon there's nothing I'd purchase. But I'm not the kind of person who pays for millionaire mindset kind of stuff. I wouldn't buy from this guy, but I also wouldn't buy advice from Mark Cuban. Nothing against either of them, it's just not my style.

    If you're doing something that fits their expertise, and you have $10k to blow, then what the hell, otherwise, probably not worth it.
     
  15. Neng Her
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    Neng Her Contributor Read Millionaire Fastlane

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    Thanks Lex.
     
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  16. Martin Boeddeker
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    I have stumbled over him.

    He focuses on teaching people how to sell over the phone. (High ticket closing)...

    This is pretty valid in in demand profession, so it might work.

    His content on Youtube is pretty good and he started out as a successful copywriter as well.

    He is solid but I would not invest in his products...

    Like with most gurus, you can learn most from what they put online for free and say when they are not trying to sell you something directly...

    In this day and age there is so much "free content" available, there is no need to pay anyone for a high-ticket online course alone.

    If there is a great community around it might still be worth it, but you can have that for free (or almost for free on the inside) in this forum...

    One tip to legally get access to this stuff for free I found today...

    Start Your Free Kartra Academy Membership

    It's great training on VSL's, funnels, etc thought by 3 of the most successful online marketers (Frank Kern, Andy Jenkins & Mike Filsame)

    Of course they hope you try to use their software (which I am using for my business), but this type of content used to cost 2k in the past...

    These days are gone.

    People getting sucked into online courses these days are at least 5 years too late to the party...

    If you use this free information in another niche it might still work but it's definitely not as lucrative as online marketing used to be.

    The usual model was:

    1. You learn this marketing stuff from gurus.
    2. Apply this in your niche (and get some results)
    3. Teach people the marketing in the niche that you serve
    4. These people will buy the stuff in your niche & your marketing stuff -> this drives your sales

    Everybody else is too late to the party...

    The key is to really create your own niche.

    No many people are able to pull that off because you have to be creative...

    Just to copy paste does not work...
     
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  17. Brad S
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    Its mainly to protect them from a FTC lawsuit.

    The FTC has successfully sued numerous of them.

    Frank Kern being one example.

    They all have disclaimers even in YouTube video ads.

    Tai Lopez ads that bombard YouTube have in pretty big print at the bottom:

    Tai is a professional marketer who has been doing it for many years, your results will probably not be similar to his...

    Sent from my SM-G950U using Tapatalk
     
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  18. NFT
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    Its so funny: Under Tais video the disclaimer was:

    "Tai is a professional internet marketer. His results are not typical. You might make more, less or the same"

    Yeah sure if you buy this online course you might make more than him, who knows....
     
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  19. momomaurice
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    Thing I hate to see is a lot of entrepreneurs could help a lot of people out there with their advice and courses but they don't want to be labeled a "guru" so they small and don't get their message out there to help as many people as they could. They don't want to face the critiscm or the flak that will come their way so they find a different way to sell their courses by coming on forums or groups and instead of helping more people they help a small fraction of what they could. You can talk about these guys all you want, I even bought a course from Tai Lopez and I thought it sucked a$$ but I think fair play to the guy he's out there living his life while all of us are on a forum talking about him. Do you think Tai Lopez is sitting at home talking about us on the Fastlane Forum, f*ck no, that's why he's out there banging models and driving lambos and stacking cash.
     
  20. Lex DeVille
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    If being labeled a guru stops them from sharing courses that could help people and make a difference in the world, and as a result stops them from growing their business, then they ain't entrepreneurs and never were.

    Seems like you think threads like this cause people to stay small. That's what I call victim mentality - putting the responsibility for one's own success on anyone other than one's own self. This thread doesn't hold a gun to anyone's head and tell them not to make courses or share them beyond a forum.

    Hope I don't offend you by labeling it "victim" but from your post, I'd guess I already did and now you're second guessing whether or not you should even bother with your course...wouldn't want to be labeled a "guru" after all.

    Criticism is part of life. You and other wannabes may not like that. You may even want to hide from it or get mad at people who do it, but pulling the covers over your head don't make the monsters go away. Just makes you an easy target.

    I wasn't talking about Tai Lopez until you (another person who got scammed) brought him up. Now that he's fulfilled the claim this thread, you're trying to make yourself feel better about what happened to you (that's also victim mentality) by defending the person who ripped you off. Makes sense.

    lol...after reading this sentence, I regret putting in the effort for the previous parts of my response.
     
    Last edited: Oct 21, 2018
  21. momomaurice
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    It seems that you think I'm attacking you because this is your thread, I'm not. Brad S actually mentioned Tai Lopez and that's where I seen his name mentioned, nothing got to do with you.

    What I mean is Tai Lopez is out there living his life that he wants (banging lambos and cash) not giving a sh*t what anyone thinks and here we are wasting our precious time talking about him.

    I can't really say if his course is scam or not because some people became successful from it and some didn't. I gave my opinion that it sucked a$$, I never said I got scammed. I bought something that didn't work out. I bought plenty of books that lots of people recommend but I thought sucked a$$, does that mean I got scammed from them too? If I had a victim mindset I would say it was the best course ever. I blame myself for buying the course, I'm not one to go around blaming others and pointing fingers at guys like Tai because they sell below par courses in my opinion.


    I was stating that some people out there have knowledge and information to transform lives, yet they won't do it because of all these 'gurus' out there and they don't want to be labelled another guru. If anything I want these guys who are scared to become another guru to go out there and be as big as they can and help as much people as they can and stop thinking small.
     
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  22. eekern
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    Thanks for a fantastic thread Lex !

    He is like the Thomas Edison of Telsa (Where André Chaperon is Telsa)

    Bastian knows PPC / upsells, fake live webinars (everything that is known to "earn back ad spend") and packages the branding in a "big idea" of respect based marketing. Kodus for creativity but he still uses all the guru tactics you explain in the post.

    But I like him as well and what André and now Bastian is preaching is the future, segment based on needs/interest and help people where they at, don't sell one "size fits all" when you know that 99% will not get results.
     
    Last edited: Oct 22, 2018
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    I put a couple of hours this morning into reading this thread - it's amazing, thanks @Lex DeVille !

    The "music marketing" is full of this guru sh*t at the moment. I spent several years working with one 'guru', who could get good results in your guitar playing, but his business programs sucked and were expensive cult memberships.

    Other gurus in the music space are Tier 4 doing exactly what you say, "Omg, what you need, you need a funnel". None of them have made a living from music. In fact... they publicly tell you that you won't make money using their methods, and you have to run at a loss for an indeterminate amount of time, until you grow your list to an undetermined size... and magically make money.

    If you apply their methods well, you might even get to break even!

    I see that (after having been fleeced for years) and think "They're selling a business model that operates at a loss. That sounds like a bad business model"... but people eat this right up.

    Madness.
     
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    I've spent way too much money on useless sh*t in my lifetime.

    I'll get all excited about learning a new skill or business model, but when the time comes to actually put myself out there, my self-identity is incongruent and the imposter syndrome kicks in to self-sabotage (usually by just procrastinating until the project grinds to a halt).

    Here's my problem with the cop out excuse of "I just give you the tools, it's on YOU if you succeed or fail"

    ... That's not how the product was originally marketed. The guru made it seem like this level of success was achievable from where I currently am... right here right now. They marketed a complete system to take me from zero to hero.

    And if I was just some anomaly, fundamentally broken and unable to make anything work, then fine... But when the majority (i.e. nearly ALL) of the 'students' fail to make any money, then the guru can't just wash his hands and say 'well you can lead a horse to water, but you can't make him drink'.

    At some point, the SYSTEM failed.

    This kind of pointing the blame on the 'victim' is a textbook MLM tactic. "YOU need to work harder", "YOU need to be more positive". It's total gaslighting and invalidating the student's experience of the system being fundamentally flawed.

    Maybe someone will eventually come up with the mindset magic bullet that 'fixes' people and has a real transformative effect. But as of now they don't. If a student is successful after taking a program, they would've been succesful without a program. There is no real transformation taking place, and the guru cannot wash their hands of that since that is what was promised.

    I've been burned on self-help for over 10 years now, so maybe I'm just bitter. I actually started going to actual therapy, with a real qualified professional, and for the first time I am actually making some headway on all my inner self-esteem issues that need to be handled before anything else.
     

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