Let’s Get Honest About “Dog and Pony Shows”

If you’ve been around the real estate education world awhile, you may have noticed that live trainings come several very different flavors.

There’s the “seminar” or “workshop”, which is usually 1-2 days with a single speaker on a single topic, and ranges in price from around $200-$1200.

There’s the “bootcamp”, which includes 4-6 days of training focused on a single strategy or system, and which often includes 1 or 2 additional “selling speakers” each day mixed in with the education. With a price tag of $3,000-$10,000, bootcamps are (or at least should be) extremely complete as to their particular topic.

And then there’s the “dog-and-pony show”, often pitched as a conference, convention, or wealth-building weekend. These events usually carry a low price tag (under $200) and feature multiple speakers in 90 minute-2 hour sessions, during which they lay out the basics of their area of expertise then sell a homestudy course, bootcamp, or other product to those who want to learn more.

It’s unfortunate that dog-and-pony shows are often viewed, incorrectly,
as the lowest common denominator of live training events.

Because of their low entry fee and the lack of in-depth education on any single topic, they have a reputation as being primarily for unsophisticated investor wannabes, or for folks who are too broke to afford the 4-figure price tag of the bootcamp.

With more than 20 years (and well into 6 figures) invested in real estate education, I can attest that dog-and-pony shows are neither better than not inferior to workshops or bootcamps—they simply fill a different purpose, and one that’s just as valuable as any other live training.

Dog-and-Pony Shows provide a buffet of ideas from which to pick and choose. For the real estate entrepreneur who’s looking for a first strategy, or the next strategy, investing in a full-blown bootcamp that digs deeply into a single strategy at a high cost can be risky. If it turns out that the particular strategy isn’t for you after all, you’ve invested a lot of time and money to find this out.

A better way of choosing a strategy is to compare and contrast the techniques that are—and this is important—working in TODAY’S market. A Dog-and-Pony show gives you the chance to do this, and in a very quick way with a low investment and no obligation. Don’t get me wrong, you can do the same thing by attending your local real estate investment association meetings—for a year or more, given that most groups meet just once or twice a month—but at a dog and pony show, you can discover in 2 or 3 days exactly what a dozen or more of the most active investors in the U.S. are doing to make money right now.

I’ve never been to a conference like this where I haven’t walked away with scores of brand new ideas and at least one new strategy that I wanted to fold into my business. Just as importantly, I’ve never attended one where I didn’t hear more about something I’d been contemplating and decide, after hearing the 90-minute summary, that it really didn’t fit into my business or my life at all.

And I don’t know about you, but I’d a lot rather spend $200 figuring out that I strategy “X” isn’t something I want to pursue than waste $5,000 and 5 days on a bootcamp to show me the same thing.

Dog-and-Pony Shows expose you to the BEST networking around. Real estate investors love to network. In fact, it’s one of the 3 pillars of real estate success, along with education and action.

It’s through networking that we meet the folks who help us through partnering, mentoring, or just plain motivation when they share their successes with us. It’s through networking that I discovered that Quickbooks is the best accounting software for real estate investors, and that online data backup systems are safe, and that I was paying too much for my property insurance.

It’s also through networking that you get the all-important personal referrals from other students that tell you which educators deliver on their promises, and which have incomplete courses or poor customer service. And which national lenders are still investor friendly. And which markets are still declining, and which are recovering.

Dog-and-pony shows are worth the investment just for the chance to hang out with other real estate entrepreneurs. And they’re especially good for this for two reasons—first, they tend to be much larger than the average bootcamp, which gives you more brains to pick. Second, they attract investors from a much wider range of specialties and with a much broader set of knowledge and experience. The typical bootcamp draws people with a specific set of skills or interests—dog-and-pony shows, thanks to their wider coverage of topics, bring in landlords, rehabbers, wholesalers, private lenders and borrowers, new investors looking for money partners, and seasoned investors looking for birddogs.

Dog-and-Pony Shows give you the chance to interact with lots of national experts, in person. A high-quality conference of this nature brings together real experts, not just speakers who sell a lot of courses. And the REAL experts tend to hang around before and after their presentation to network, answer questions, and so on.

Your chance to pick the brains of people who are literally at the top of their niche in the real estate field (and in many cases have been for YEARS) is absolutely priceless. There’s nothing that will build your own knowledge and confidence like spending face time with people who’ve done hundreds of deals in up and down markets—and no place like a dog and pony show to meet these folks by the handful. Since they’re NOT presenting every moment of the day (like they are in their own workshops and bootcamps), they have time to meet you, help you, and motivate you.

Plus, and I’ll admit that this is a personal prejudice of mine), I REALLY like to meet experts in person before I invest a dime in their courses or products. I want to ask them questions, evaluate them as people, know that they take a personal interest in their students, and make sure they’re really IN the market (not just making their living selling products). You can get a real feel for this just by chatting for a few minutes with the speaker about your own situation and deals. Only dog-and-pony shows give you this opportunity

The RIGHT dog-and-pony show also gives you ample opportunity for team-building. Quality dog-and-pony shows attract quality vendors to sponsor them. If you’re looking for a new insurance agent, the best asset protection attorney for your real estate business, a management company for your rentals, investor-friendly lenders, or any other team members that will help you run your business more effectively and cheaply, these conferences are the place to be.

Good dog-and-pony shows usually include vendor expos (often at no additional cost) and your chance to pick up new vendors, team members, and suppliers that truly understand YOUR business (and, by the way, compete for it with show specials and discounts) is worth the price of admission by itself.

Plus, they’re fun! Hanging out for a few days with your fellow investors or investor-wannabes, networking with speakers and vendors, and drinking up new ideas and strategies is incredibly exhilarating. The break you get from your “real life” and the motivation you get from meeting hundreds of like-minded people sends you home raring to take your business to the next level. For that reason alone, I will continue to attend dog-and-pony shows at every opportunity throughout my real estate career.

And the best dog-and-pony show in the country, bar none, is the OREIA National Summit for Real Estate Investors and Landlords. OREIA is a non-profit organization that holds the largest, most respected dog-and-pony show in the country once a year.

It’s the best, because OREIA reviews scores of speakers each year to pick the dozen or so that have the most down-to-earth, most workable strategies in today’s market—NOT those who sell the most product.

It’s the best, because OREIA attracts more than 700 investors each year for you to network with and learn from, plus dozens of the top vendors in the U.S. to its expo.

It’s the best, because it’s less than $100 to attend the main conference with 15 experts on 15 up-to-the-minute topics—and because it provides targeted education for both new and advanced investors.

And it’s the best because it includes tons of fun events, like the free networking reception, dozens of door prizes, a youth entrepreneurial academy for 15-22 year olds, and so much more.

If you CAN get to the 2016 OREIA conference and trade show in Cincinnati on November 3-6, do it. Your brain will benefit, your attitude will benefit, and your wallet will benefit.

Find out more about it HERE, and register while the price is still under $200 for all 4 days.

I’ll see you there!



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