Scott Yancey on Reviews, Testimonials and Expectations

10/11/2016 03:13 pm ET Updated Jan 05, 2017
The truth behind the online ratings
The truth behind the online ratings

Wandering the search engine results pages for “Scott Yancey reviews” is an interesting study in human expectations. In my real estate investment activities and particularly in my training seminars and courses, it is really interesting to seek out in-person reviews, rather than online reviews and testimonials I cannot verify for their authenticity.

Negative Reviews

In talking to people, I’m not seeking constant approval, in fact more of the other side of the reviews coin. You see, I’m doing research into the reasons for negative reviews of all types on the Internet, but particularly those negative reviews of not-so-simple processes related to self-improvement and financial goals.

I’m beginning to see some similarities in my studies to the Pareto Principle. Also known as the 80-20 rule, this principle states that in most situations the bulk of the results will be determined by a small number of causes. Or, in numbers, 80% of the results will come from 20% of the causes.

What’s this got to do with reviews and testimonials? In reading thousands of reviews and doing hundreds of personal one-on-one review sessions, this principle seems to be pretty close to the truth; at least on the negative reviews side. 80% of the negative reviews seem to be coming from around 20% of those who attended or have taken courses or self-help classes.

Likewise, in following up with successful students of real estate investment materials, it appears that 80% of the success comes to around 20% of the attendees. In other words, if one hundred people attend, the top twenty will have awesome success and write testimonials about their profitable investments. The bottom twenty will be writing negative reviews. The middle 60 will have varying levels of success, but they aren’t necessarily dissatisfied enough to write negative reviews or glowing testimonials.

The basics of the Pareto Principle
The basics of the Pareto Principle

Why Write Reviews?

Let’s look at the human need to improve their lifestyle and desire to be financially independent. There are few who do not want this for their families. They may be stuck in a job they hate, or even one they like, but they can’t see financial growth if they don’t do something else.

In reading reviews of real estate investing classes, courses, videos and seminars, you can often get the statement early. The review may start out something like “I wanted to find a way to improve our financial future, so I …” Their desire to be secure is to be admired, but the question is if they are too easily lured by the idea of an easy road to riches.

Sure, you read many reviews that also say something about advertisements for easy money or quick profits. Whether the advertisements for these seminars and courses go on to say that they’re not offering “easy” anything. I’m not saying that real estate investing is difficult or hard to understand, because it’s really not.

Running print and other advertising can be expensive, so it is hard to fault the seminar provider with wanting to use their expensive words to talk about the good stuff. And many are careful to say that they’re not selling easy money or quick profits without a thorough education in the basics and more advanced techniques.

Seminars can been seen in a negative light due to many negative reviews
Seminars can been seen in a negative light due to many negative reviews

However, when reading reviews and getting in-person reviews, I often hear that there is a human tendency to only read what we want to read, or to see what reinforces our desires. When advertising, as it often does, gives out all of the goodies early and then the warning or other statements later, the reader often stops short of reading it all. They see what they want and jump on it.

Are All Reviews Good?

It’s hard to fault the advertisers or the audience. The negative reviews are often talking about not getting all of what the attendee or purchaser expected when they signed up. Often there are introductory courses or seminars, and they simply cannot take a novice and get them ready for aggressive real estate investing in a few hours at a free seminar.

Testimonials are the positive reviews and in trying to analyze what they say that may help us in getting to the bottom of the negative reviews causes, we find that a few can help us to understand. Often testimonials are longer, more words, and they will talk about getting into a lot of useful material and how it helped to prepare the student.

That in-depth instructional material doesn’t fall into the “easy” or “quick” money and profits category. It is often boring to some, and always requires some attention to detail. The math that is involved in property valuation and real estate investment analysis isn’t difficult at all, but it is necessary if you want to thoroughly evaluate an investment before taking on risk.

I’m not trying to lay blame on any of the parties involved in teaching real estate investment strategies and/or offering resources and techniques that have delivered success to others. The negative reviews seem to often involve those who really didn’t dig deep enough into the material that presents more reality than promise of profit. They are eager to get to the riches, but are often disappointed when they find numerous classes or lessons about investment math and negotiations before they get to the examples of how to get that profitable flip or wholesale deal on the books.

Sometimes negative reviews are not the result of a lack of study or trying. There is a certain amount of desire and drive that is necessary if you’re going to be flipping or wholesaling real estate. If you’re just buying rental homes, much of the basic research and valuation can be left to others. But, like many businesses and other endeavors, the results are often directly related to the effort.

Where some fall short and end up writing a negative review is when they find they are shy about negotiating and can’t get that deal started at the discounted price they need for an acceptable profit. Everyone can negotiate effectively, but only if they can push back their fear and shyness and just get in there and do it. If they can’t, negative reviews of the material are one recourse. If they can, they often write glowing testimonials, but their success is as much a result of their dedication and effort as it is to the material they’re taught.

Are there legitimate reasons for negative reviews? Of course there are. However, I’m going to keep studying Internet reviews and testimonials to see how everyone can benefit from improved marketing methods and even pre-education of students to help more of them to have a clear picture of what to expect.

Are you an expert? Do you have strategies that you’ve found to be effective? Let me know by commenting below or by finding me on one of my social media pages:

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