How To Create A Brand Worthy Of Investor Trust (ft. Russell Gray)Jul 09, 2021
The following information comes out of the Real Estate Guys' "Secrets of Successful Syndication" training that they've been doing for the last 5+ years.
The topic that I have today is about building your brand. I'm going to give some personal examples. It's really, really simple. Far more simple than you realize.
A little bit about Russell Gray:
We've been broadcasting on conventional radio since 1997. I met Robert Helms by listening to the show. Robert founded the show in 1997 and it's been broadcasting continuously ever since.
In 2001, I met Robert and we started doing Investor Education together. In 2004, I became the co-host of the show. I've been the co-host of The Real Estate Guys Radio Show since 2004.
After the financial crisis in 2008, we got a chance to hit the reset button and take the radio show (which up to that time had just been a hobby), and turn it into the focal point of our business. That was my project. I started working on that in 2009 and that's when we actually started podcasting.
I didn't even know what a podcast was. We were podcasting before I knew what a podcast was. Our producer came to us and said, this is the future, you should be doing this. We said, fine, let's do that. That's a lesson to all of you. If you have the right people around you that are smart, you don't have to be that smart. You just have to be smart enough to know when to say yes and when to say no.
It's more about being wise than being smart. I was smart enough to say yes and we started podcasting.
A funny thing happened. We used to be a very geographic business where we had a big group of investors that we were working with geographically, and they'd come in and we do local seminars, very popular in the San Francisco Bay area for many, many years, 1010 years. And then we started getting people coming to our events from out of town. And we say, Well, how did you hear about us on the podcast? Pretty soon, more than half the people were coming from out of town. Pretty soon, we just shut down our whole geographic business and went 100% online. today, we fill rooms up with people from all over the world, simply through the podcast, which costs us nothing. We just put it out there. It's amazing.
But when we went to work on trying to get our podcast to stand out, that's where it gets difficult. Because whatever you're going to do, if you want to go out there, and you want to compete for properties, if you want to go out there and you want to syndicate and compete for investors, if you decide to prospect through content as we do, you are going to have a lot of competition, you have to have a unique message, you have to have a unique style, you have to have something that makes you stand out. That's what building your brand is all about. And so that was my mission. And that's kind of my expertise.
My background is in sales and marketing. I've been involved in the financial services industry, and in corporate sales, in office supplies of all things. I did that for a number of years. So I had both b2b background, business to business business to consumer background, what I really didn't understand was the digital side of the world, the world. And so it's taken us a while to really understand that and we're still really working on it. But you know, we now have Facebook, and we have Instagram, and we have LinkedIn and if I can be just very candid with you, I don't know how to do any of those things. So I write, we interview people, we create ideas and content and our team takes those things and turns them into the format's they need to be in to get out into the marketplace. So again, I want to encourage you because of one of the things that happened. I was just talking to Jim here who gets all the way in from Chicago. So he thinks this is summer. Whereas I came in from Arizona, and I think I'm at the North Pole. Anyway.
So one of the things you have to be very careful out about in your education and I don't know really I feel very badly my mo is not to fly in speak and fly out because the information is interesting, but it's really about the relationships if I could have done it the way I had originally scripted it. I would have been here on Thursday night to meet with the other speakers. I would have been in every session yesterday learning myself because I'm a student. I would have been at all the breakouts and networking. I would have been there last night, and I would be hanging around today but the way I had my schedule scripted I got in late last night. I speak this morning and I gotta be out of here at noon. So that's not our normal style.
That's another lesson for you. If you're a wallflower, and you're at this event, you haven't talked to anybody yet, nobody knows that you're shy. So just go ahead and start talking to people. And you can present yourself any way you want. That's part of building your brand and building your network. And so live events have a real purpose. It's not about the information though, because you can get the information online, you can get the information on a YouTube video, you can get the information on a podcast, not about information, you can read a book, you come to live events to network, you come to live events to be immersed in the subject matter, you take come to live events to have conversations with like-minded people who are already knowledgeable in an area. When you rub your brain against other people's brains who have good ideas in their head, you can learn a lot and you learn a lot faster.
Take advantage of live events for what they are. And don't just think it's about information. This isn't like going to school. This is about building relationships, building networks, making impressions, and opening up strategic relationships, something else I'm going to talk about today. So one of the dangers though, when you come and you think you're an A student when you are an A student when you've been taught your whole life that you have to study, you have to learn, you have to know the answers.
Then there's going to be a test and you're going to be judged and rewarded or punished based on how well you know the information. They know what I'm talking about. And you come to an event like this, and all sudden, you've got all these subject matter experts out there, and they're just giving you all of this great information and you're rapidly taking notes, and you're taking screenshot pictures, and you're trying so desperately to figure out how to learn how to do everything there is about due diligence, property inspection, market analysis, demographics, economics, contract negotiation, financing, tax law, asset protection, right, you know what I'm talking about. It's like, whoa.
So I'm just here to tell you, you don't really have to know that much. What you have to do is you have to know enough to be conversant. So you can ask great questions of technical advisors who are way smarter than you who know, who make their livelihood staying very expert in their niche. And then you have to learn how to sew them all together into an overlap overarching strategy, and plan where they work together. It's a lot more about being a head coach than being a position player. Does that make sense? Is that helpful to anybody, anybody like that, that that takes a lot of pressure off? Because I'm here to tell you, I'm not that smart.
I only know how to do a few things, but I know how to do them really well. And then I leverage what I know how to do to get in relationships with people that are really smart about doing other things that I need to have done. And I spend most of my time trying to see the big picture. Because if nobody sees the big picture in your investment business, if nobody sees the big picture, the long game, and your portfolio if you don't see it, who does? Nobody. Nobody, everybody's down in the bowels of the ship running the equipment and nobody's up at the top steering the ship, nobody. Where are you headed? That's your job. Okay, so that doesn't have anything to do with what I'm about to talk about.
I just felt like saying it. I just felt like maybe that would help somebody out there. So there you go. So what I am here to talk about is building your brand. So he mentioned I got a chance yesterday I was in the studio with Robert Kiyosaki.
So Robert Kiyosaki started out as being this big guy on stage it was 1000 miles away, and oh my gosh, if I could ever just meet him, that would be amazing. And then that happened because we had him on the show. And then we kept going to events where he was and pretty soon one day he remembered my name. And one day, he said, Hey, the last time I saw you, it looks like you've lost a little weight. He remembered what I looked like. I was like, wow, I'm making progress. So the bike is showing up at a live event. It wasn't about learning his material.
It was about building a relationship. So fast forward. You know, we've been now friends for many years, and we do lots of things together. And I think most people in our space are very envious of the relationship we have with Robert Kiyosaki and Rich Dad. And it's not the only great relationship we have, but it's probably in this space, the most notable, but all that happened by building a brand and building a network.
Now, Robert Kiyosaki says in his book and if you haven't read this book, because this is not his most famous book, but I think it's one of the best books he has ever written. If you're really trying to make the leap from being an employee to being an entrepreneur, is before you quit your job. And in it, he says, all entrepreneurs need to be good in sales. So if you want to be an entrepreneur, I'm just here to break it to you. And I know some of you are going to gag on this.
You have to get good in sales. Because if nobody sells anything, nothing happens. In fact, Tom Watson said that Kenny McElroy, Robert Kiyosaki Rich Dad advisor says, sale solves nearly every problem that quote came out of a strategy consultation we did together on our investor summit at sea. So every We do this cruise. We're doing it, for now, this will be our 17th year where we get a couple of 100 investors together with a big Faculty of thought leaders. And we spend a week together on a cruise ship. It's like this on a cruise ship for a week. And you're hanging out with big names. So it's awesome. And so one of the contests we had was for people who were referring their friends to come.
One of the guys that one came in it was right after 2008. And his business had been decimated, and he barely was able to come on the summit. And he was so excited that he won the consultation and the entire Faculty of our summit. It seems like all the guys you just saw yesterday, it's like all of them sitting down with you over the conference table and focusing all their brainpower on solving your problem. And so everybody's there, we're all blah, blah, blah. And Ken McElroy is a master understatement. He just goes out, you know, sales pretty much solves every problem. And I went, Wow, that's brilliant. So whatever problem you're facing right now, if you had more money, would it help. And the shortest path to more money is to sell something.
So a lot of times what happens when people get broke is they sell their car, they sell their furniture, they sell their possessions, they sell their assets because it's a short path to cash. But you can do the same thing by selling something that somebody else owns. And just getting a referral fee or a commission. You can do it by buying something cheap and selling it higher. But if nothing sells, there's no money coming in the doors that make sense.
I say sales is an essential survival skill, which I think I'm going to have up here in a minute, Tom Watson when those of you that are old enough to remember one point at their heyday, IBM was known as the premier sales organization on planet Earth. If you could get into their sales training, it was life changing. And I can tell you because I had that opportunity. When I was a very young man, I got a chance to get into their sales training. And it's powerful. But he says nothing happens until somebody sells something. There's no order to fill. There's no payroll, there are no operations, there's nobody gets a paycheck until somebody goes and sells something. So if you want to eat, you need to learn how to sell. Alright, salesmanship is an essential survival skill. I got wiped out in 2008. I was over-leveraged.
I had a big mortgage company, I was making six figures a month, I had millions and millions of dollars in real estate all over Earth, mostly in the United States a little bit overseas, and 2008 came and I did not have a single dollar in the bank. Well, I mean, that's maybe an exaggeration, but I probably didn't have a comma in my bank balances except for flow. Because I didn't need it. I had a half-million-dollar credit line.
You know, I had one of those American Express cards, you can do whatever you want with. I had money coming in every month from my mortgage business. And so I was buying real estate highly leveraged, negative cash flow speculating on long-term growth. And when the credit markets seized, I had no operating capital, they shut off all my credit lines, even though I paid all my payments on time, maybe some of you went through that. All my properties dropped in value. So I could not liquidate anything in my portfolio to generate cash, it was all upside down.
My mortgage company had 100 loans in the pipeline in August of 2008. In September, we funded zero because every single person we were sending the paper to went out of business all in one month, I would have never thought in 1000 years that could happen to me. So I went from being like a multimillionaire to being completely lost my home lost my cars lost everything. But I know how to sell. So I sold my way out of it. Built it back up to multi-million dollars. We're the largest real estate developer in the country of Belize. $80 million projects, no debt from 2008. Till now, I'm still cleaning up some messes.
I got IRS issues, I got stuff I got to get cleaned up, right, it takes a long time to clean up a nuclear explosion. If you've been to New York, it took a long time for them to clean up. You know what happened at 911 didn't just get cleaned up overnight. My personal 911 was in 2008.
So when I say this, I'm not just saying it because it's a quotable quote, I'm telling you that if you have a major, and I hope you never do, right, I share a lot of the stuff I learned from what went wrong for me. But the thing that saved me was my ability to sell. And the thing that helped me is that I always had people to talk to because I had a brand. And I had a network. So the most important asset you have is your brand and your network, you know what the Google name is worth?
Almost $100 billion, just to name that's the power of a brand. Your brand is probably never going to be worth that my brand is never going to be worth that. But I'm here to tell you a lot of times we don't focus on that when we're out in the marketplace. we're concentrating on doing our deals and we worry about what the value of the property is or what the value of you know, whatever other assets were Daly's hand. But we don't pay attention to our reputation, we don't pay attention to how big and powerful our network is. And see the thing is your balance sheet can get wiped out. But your reputation, if you take care of it is going to be okay, you can blow your reputation in one day, you can spend 25 years building a great reputation. You know, you look at guys like Tiger Woods that were like on the top, and then they do one stupid thing. And it just blows everything up, right.
So you have to be very, very careful. But so many people I see don't even have a strategy for it, they don't even realize it's important. They don't really care for it, like the valuable asset that it is. And so I'm just here to tell you that wherever you're at your business career, whatever business you're in, wherever you're trying to go if you want to be at the top of the list for the best deals if you want a great relationship with a guy from the fix, find out how to be their best customer, find out how they make the most money off, you not the least see the mentality. You know what a tip is to ensure prompt service in the old days rich people would give the person at the front and you'd sit down at the table, you'd put down your money and you'd say, Take good care of me, because I'm going to take good care of you.
That's how you want to be. Make sense. Okay. The good news is for those of you that gagging on the idea that you have to be good at sales. It's a learnable skill, you learn to ride a bike, you learn to play musical instruments, you learn how to read and write, maybe you learn a second language you learn whatever job skill you may have learned in college or whatever. So it's a learnable skill. The secret to successful selling, though, is not going into the marketplace with what you need, what you can take, it's what you can bring selling is simply matching a solution to a problem. And so if you just got done rehabbing a house, and you're showing it to a prospect, you're helping them solve their problem. Do they care how much you need to get out of the property? They don't care.
If you over improve it, if you overspent if you couldn't control your budget that's on you. The market is only going to pay what it's worth. And they're going to pay more, the more they understand how whatever you're providing for them solves their problem. It's never about you. It's always about them. That makes sense. simple concept. Most people aren't like that though. Most people are hunters, most people in sales, especially people in real estate are hunters. They get up every day hungry.
They go out in the marketplace, and they look for prey. They find someone who expresses just a tiny bit of interest and they dive on the juggler and they rip it out, flip it over, eat the cart, eat out the guts, leave the carcass and go take a nap under a tree and wake up tomorrow repeat the process. They don't care about a referral. They don't care about their reputation. They just care that they eat today. Has anybody been through one of those?
You timeshare owners out there? I'm sorry. Right? Nobody, that's why salespeople have a bad rap. But that's not what it is. See, we're farmers. A farmer goes out and understands something if I plant an apple seed, and I nurture that Apple seed and I take care of that tree, and I attend to it faithfully day in and day out year in and year out. What is that apple tree eventually going to do? It's going to produce apples. I don't have to negotiate with it. I don't have to persuade it. It's going to produce apples because it's in its nature. So when I got together with my partner, Robert Helms, we started an investor development program. I was in the mortgage business, he was in the real estate brokerage business, we had an obvious, you know, symbiotic relationship. And so we didn't focus on developing transactions.
We focused on developing investors because we had faith that if we developed an investor, what does an investor going to do by their very nature? invest and we're going to get transactions but we don't have to force it because it's not on our timetable. We don't tell the appletree when it's time to produce fruit, the apple tree decides we create an environment where the apple tree can be healthy and do what it does.
So when you're looking at your business, and I don't know some of you are real estate agents, and you can totally stand out with this strategy By the way, but if if you take whoever it is that you want to do business with, and you develop them and help them then they will eventually do business with you because people will be loyal to you in direct proportion to the amount of personal growth and development and success they have as a result of you being in their life if you are benefiting them it by being in their life, you're gonna stay in their life.
If it was a horrible experience, you might have got the sale but you did not win. So there's a very big difference between being a hunter and a farmer. And so you know, Steve Olson (FIG) had mentioned on the front end, you know, I personally interview every single provider or sponsor that comes into our world and becomes part of the real estate guy's family. And they get this speech from me every single time. And we let them know, you know, there's no hard selling in our environment, there are no chorusing people. There are no burning bridges. We're building long-term relations people get sometimes if you listen to the show, it's like, if you got the same ad, you've had the same either for 10 years. That's true. Because we have people who stay with us for a long time, we're building a tribe, we're not building a business to just flipping a bunch of transactions.
We're building a community of people that do business together, that like each other, that trust each other that are mutually invested in each other's success. If you approach your community, that way, you will develop a brand of somebody that you're going to be on the shortlist of people that people want to bring deals to. Because as you get active, you may be thinking, hey, my big problem is I don't have enough money in credit. That's a simple problem to solve. The biggest problem to solve is how do I get in the deal flow? And how do I get the best deals? How do I get to the top of the food chain? How do I get to the front of the line? How do I be the first phone call when that really, really good deal comes? You should be getting up every day thinking about how you can add so much value to the people who are bringing you deals that you're the number one person they want to call? Does that make sense?
Right, I said at the seminar, they will Yeah, that totally makes sense. But can you get out in the real world when something happens? We get myopic, we get self-centered, we get selfish. So here's the key to successful selling assume the physician and don't wiggle. I know little crude, but you remember it. Tiger Woods assumed a position and then He wiggled his reputation changed. Right? in social media, a lot of you or some of you may certainly younger folks love to just Chronicle their life in social media.
Hey, look at me, this is me drunk in my underwear. Okay. That's an interesting post. Or, you know, if you're raising money from people and all of your social media posts are about you on vacation, what picture is that painting? Are you going to hand that person? You know, here's my new Ferrari. And here's my new Chateau. And here's my new private jet, and you're raising millions of dollars. Maybe you even haven't returned to check to your investors yet? What are your investors thinking? Be aware of those things. Pick a position in the marketplace.
When Robert and I got together, Robert Helms and I got together. The first thing we did is we went through this branding thing, we created our core values, and we decided what our images were going to be, we decided we were going to be suit and tie guys. Now not everybody's a suit and tie guy and that's okay. You don't have to be a suit and tie guy Steve Jobs was not a suit and tie guy. He had his Look, he had a whole thing. It's like Iron Man, just all black t-shirts, you know, he just had this thing.
That's what he wore. kept it simple. Every day. That was his look, Donald Trump has a look when you see Donald Trump, so he's the same dark suit, white shirt. Solid tie, gonna be blue, pink, yellow, or red. That's it. That's his brand. IBM was exactly that way. Dark blue suit, white shirt. And then, you know, a tie. And the tie was the only thing you had discretion over. So that's, you know, your personal brand, how you show up, and I'll share a little bit of why that's important. Because you want to get in position. So if you've been snoozing, or if you're like, is this guy ever gonna see anything that I can, like, relate to, or use, pay attention to this one.
This is how you do it. So wherever you're at, if you want to take your brand to the next level, the first thing you do is, is ask yourself, how should I be presenting myself? When I show up in the marketplace? How do I present myself? How do I talk? How am I groomed? What am I driving? What am I wearing? What do I talk about? How do I present myself? Do I look like the kind of person my target avatar my target person needs to see, to trust me to do business with me? Do a little self-assessment if you don't like the image you're projecting, change it?
Now the people around you are gonna be like, Who are you get over it. You're just gonna have to go through that. And some of the people that have been in your life aren't going to want to be in your life because you're not going to like the new you. Jim Rohn says you become the sum total of the five people you spend the most time with. And so if you look at where you're at in life, and you look at the people you spend the most time with, you can learn a lot.
You want to change your life, change the people you hang out with. That's why live events are so great because you can meet so many of the right kinds of people but you got to take it to the next level. The next thing is your associations. Now, I've already positioned myself in a pretty close association with Robert Kiyosaki. A lot of you didn't even know who I was when I came in here. But because Steve Olson said nice things about me, because I'm positioned in the front of the room. Because I have this relationship with Robert Kiyosaki. You've already made some assumptions about me. Now, of course, I have to continue to build upon that. And that's up to me with my presentation. But that's about positioning makes it easier to persuade someone when you have good positioning. Association. So who you're associated with, it could be a professional organization, it could be the people you're seeing within public, it could be your advisors.
So simple little thing. Let's say you're out there raising money. And you are using, you know, the, you know, legal shield or some you know, not to disparage, but I'm just saying that you're using somebody in the marketplace that everybody knows is the budget lawyer. And people who are active in an industry in an area will know who the team is and who isn't. How do you think it looks versus I come in, and I'm associated with the top firm in the area? Just that little thing, who I choose to engage with on my team who's on my team? That says something to my prospective investor, but how serious I am about what I do? How successful I am. Should people judge you by how you look?
No. Do they? Yes. Should people judge you by what you drive? No. Do they? Yes. Should they judge you by where you live? No. Do they? Yes. Do they judge you by who you hang out with? They do. So just understand. That's the way it is. This isn't about what's right or wrong. This is just pragmatically what works. And sometimes you're in a little over your head in the beginning because you're trying to climb to the next level. You know, the reason?
The number one reason 2008 wiped me out was I blamed the Fed, I blamed all these other things, right? And then one day I woke up and I said it's all on me. And the reason is, that I was always the smartest guy in the room. I was in the wrong rooms. And when I realized that I said I just got my ass handed to me. Because I'm the smartest guy in the room. I'm not learning. I'm not growing, I'm just pontificating. So I need to be around smarter people. So I went looking for smarter rooms. And fortunately, through the asset that we had, which was the show on our brand, we were able to create smarter rooms. So I was able to have both great positioning and also be the dumbest guy in the room. And so of course, I've learned and I'm smarter than I was in 2008. And it's a constant challenge to continually try to find smarter and smarter and smarter people to hang out with.
That's something we work on all the time. Ultimately, you get to the point where you have endorsements. So it's one thing to say oh, you know, shared the stage with Robert Kiyosaki or Robert Kiyosaki was on your radio show. And that's interesting, but he's done that with a lot of folks. But when he comes out and he actually endorses you, he says, I've known these guys forever. They're the real deal. I like them. I trust them. I do business with them. They put it on video and they put it on audio. If you've listened to the show, we have something called drop-ins. Those are more about associations. You know what those are drop-ins. You guys ever listen to old rock and roll you know radio station. Hi, this is you know, Phil Collen from Def Leppard and you're listening to whatever show. So we have Hi, this is Steve Forbes. Hi, this is Donald Trump. Hi, this is Peter Schiff. Hi, this is Robert Kiyosaki, hi, just we have dozens of them.
We just insert them in the show from time to time, that's about Association. But it's an implied endorsement. We have overt endorsements. So at some point, you will have people who will endorse you. Just like at the beginning, I was endorsed by the host of the show great, or the event accomplishments, at some point, you actually have to do something right, you have to create something, you have to be able to say, hey, we've achieved this. So you know, to offset the fact that I told you about my complete failure in 2008. I offset it by mentioning that we're the largest real estate developer with 80 million-plus projects on its way to hopefully half a billion when we get it all done in Belize.
That's an accomplishment. So it was kind of an offset. So whatever you have to work with. Now one of the things you can do to create accomplishments, is something you should know, let's just say that you are working to build a reputation so that you can convince people that you are worthy of their trust. And people have to trust you in three ways. They have to trust your character. They have to trust your competency. And they have to trust your commitment or your capacity. They have to believe that they can trust you that you won't cheat them even if you could. They have to know that you're competent. Here's the problem. A competent person who has no ethics will cheat you like a surgeon. You won't even feel it.
Then you wake up and you've been ripped off because they have no conscience. But a really, really nice person with no skills will totally screw over things up, and they will apologize profusely and feel so badly, but you still got hurt, right? So competency, they got to trust your character, your competency, and your commitment or your capacity, your willingness to give them your A-game, just because you have an A game doesn't mean you, you have the ability to give it to them. Conversely, when you're out there shopping for people to be on your team, those are the three things you're judging them on.
So to get an accomplishment, let's just say that you are, you've been investing in small properties, and now you want to go do an apartment building, but you've never done an apartment building. And you don't have enough money to do an apartment building. So you need to raise $2 million. And so you've got maybe $100,000 of your own money, you say, Well, you could take that 100,000 and go find somebody who's already successfully investing in apartment buildings, and invest your 100,000 with them, learn from them. And then be able to point at the entire project and say my partners, and I did that. Is that a true statement? Is that an honest statement said an ethical statement. Is it a powerful statement? Yes.
If that person who already knows what they're doing is on your advisory board when you go to raise the money, you're able to say we accomplish this, and the person I accomplish it with is sitting on the advisory board for this new project that we're about to go do. And then you take your profit from that project and roll it into this project. So you got skin in the game too. But now it's not just having money.
But you also know have a reputation and a reason for them to believe in your competency. Simple thing. easy to do. easy not to do. But it will make the act of asking someone to put 100 or $200,000 into your deal a lot easier. Because now you put yourself in a position to your brand for them to have a reason a greater reason to trust you. Does that make sense? Does that make sense to you guys? Okay. And then the other thing is just you got to be consistent, you know, throughout the Tiger Woods thing. I mean, there's you could pick all kinds of different people, but you just got to be consistent.
So you know, you have to be what you see is what you get, I think one of the most important assets in the marketplace right now is authenticity. And people value authenticity. And it's so easy now for somebody to rat you out. You cannot afford to let your guard down anywhere at any time. You know, it's kind of big brother, everything is videotaped, everything is audiotaped, you know, everything is posted everywhere for the world to see anybody can background check you in a heartbeat.
I mean, I'm so happy because I was just a screw-up when I was young, but none of that's documented anywhere. So if I don't say anything, nobody knows, right? I can't imagine what a presidential election is going to look like in 40 years when some of these 20-year-old's rights are being vetted in their 60s to hold high office and they've got this whole collection of things that they did in their 20s it's been Chronicle.
If you're young out there think long and hard about the picture that you're painting. Because it's not just about attending, entertaining your peeps today it's about who people are going to think you are 20 3040 years from now, the only saving grace is there's probably not everybody is going to be able to document as a proven fact that God did not make any perfect people. Everybody's gonna have a blemish, everybody. All right, power brand Association. So here is a pre-presidential candidate and presidential officeholder Donald Trump sitting with Robert Kiyosaki on CNN on the Larry King show. So these two guys you may know wrote a couple of books together. Whose idea was that? Does anybody know? Was Donald Trump's idea? Was Donald Trump's idea.
Why would Donald Trump who at that time even then arguably the biggest brand on the screen, why would he put the weight of his brand on this guy who didn't? Hardly anybody knew in our world, he's famous. But if you go out there and on the street, you know, maybe three out of 10 people know who he is. So I walk around, I go to lunch with him. If I was with him, we would draw a crowd in a heartbeat every once in a while somebody to go over recognize him, you know, which is cool, but it's just like, like night and day. But why would Trump do that? Association, but that may be the association that he's going to bring? Because he's real estate, Trump's real estate, and close. So So she's saying, Yeah, partnership, relationship, building together.
Partnership, okay. So I'll tell you real quick, so Trump's number one skill, and I don't whether you love him or hate him. His number one skill is branding. His number one skill is branding. He created a brand that's worth a lot. He makes a lot of money. licensing the brand. He took a gigantic risk and disparaged his brand quite a bit by going into politics. I think anybody that says it Trump did it for money is crazy because it's cost him a fortune. But you know that that that's the way I see it. But he's a master brand ER and he used it during the primaries, right? He branded every lie and Ted and Crooked Hillary and I mean, he just branded everybody. I mean, he's a master at branding.
So, Robert Kiyosaki is the world's greatest selling financial author, bar none. Nobody's even a close second. Donald Trump has written some books in finance and business, but he's never been as high up as Kiyosaki. So Trump's a master brander. But Kiyosaki is a master author. And Trump realized that he could grow his brand, as an author by affiliating with a brand that was successful already, even though the overall brand was smaller. Is that making sense? You can do the same thing. Whether it's your vendors, whether it's your investors, whether it's your providers, whether it's the kind of deals you do, be strategic about picking things out, that is going to help grow your brand. So this is rich dad's website, you can't really see it.
But if you go to Rich Dad calm and under about they say friends of rich dad, you've got Donald Trump and the real estate guys. And Richard Duncan, who some of you know is a best-selling author, economist, was an advisor to the IMF, Burt Dolman who's a well-known financial newsletter writer, and this guy who's a top commercial real estate broker in Arizona.
So if there are a couple more people, I think under No, there's nobody else underneath. It's just the five of us. So that's pretty rarefied Earth, right? So I'm showing that to you for a couple of reasons. One is because before I was just showing you stuff, I was saying it, but now this is him saying a little stronger. But the other thing is, is I'm here to tell you that many, many people who have had the opportunity to be there blew it because they were hunters. And I could tell you a story that I don't have time for. But look for people who are notable in their space that you can get this kind of CO branding with.
We didn't ask them to do it, they did it even better. The key is to build strategic relationships. And so I think that's probably my core strength. I'm not as much of a Master brander as Donald Trump clearly, but I'm pretty good at building business-to-business or strategic relationships. So Robert Kiyosaki is not the person who put our face on his website, because trust me, just like me, he didn't know how to do it. His team did it. So we built a relationship, not only with Robert and Kim, and their advisors, but we built relationship with their organization, we get more done with rich dad through their organization than we do with Robert and Kim. And so it's really important when you're doing business, in any environment in an organization, you go into, see the attorney, be nice to that receptionist, or that Junior paralegal.
When you're working with your real estate providers, your property managers, everybody's important, they all have their hands in the pot, they can all stab you in the back. Or they can all you know, grease the skids and make it a lot easier for you. Be mindful of that. So if you want great questions, great answers, you got to ask great questions. So the first thing is, is what's your focus when you go in the marketplace? What do you focus on? Most people are focused on money, what can the marketplace give me? What do I need? We don't look at people as dollar signs. We don't look at people as a transaction, every one of you knows 10 2030 really, really good people that I don't know. So I'm going to do everything I can to help you so that you feel great about introducing me to all of them.
And if you take your eye off that ball, you don't get the referral, you don't get the goodwill. And when you do the math, because I'm a spreadsheet guy, I like to do the math, no spreadsheets this morning. But let me show you what the map looks like. If you know one person who knows 10 people you don't know and you influence that person to the point where they will refer you to their 10 friends. And you can have the same In fact, impact on those 10 friends, those 10 friends can get you to 100 and those 100 can get you to 1000 and those 1000 he gets you six layers in, and you've touched a million people.
You have a big list, you have a big database, a big network, but not just a list because you can go buy a list. In the old days you could go buy a phone book, a phone book isn't that's not valuable. what's valuable is the positioning of the list. When you pick up the phone when the email hits the inbox when the invite comes in to come to the event, or whatever it is you're promoting, how do people see you, if you're referred by their friend whom they trust, it's far more powerful if you can be affiliated with a brand they know, but don't have a relationship with great?
So I walk in the room, a brand that you know and trust, Steve Olson at the front says, Hey, Russell Gray is a good guy. You don't know me, you take his word for it. And then a brand that, you know, I mean, that you're aware of Kiyosaki, but you don't maybe know personally, seconds the motion, that helps me in my positioning. You can do the same thing in your marketplace at whatever level and you just keep ratcheting up.
If you stay steady, one day, you will wake up and you will have some of the best relationships in the business like we do. And you'll have some of the smartest people, the most powerful people, the most influential people in space running around saying nice things about you, and it makes everything else you have to do that much easier. So it's both the size of the network and the quality. So this is the second slide that if you've been snoozing, I want to make sure you get because again, this isn't rocket science, but you do have to focus on a few things. So you have to ask, who's my target market? It depends. I mean, I don't know anything about you and your businesses, if your real estate agents, you have to kind of say, who's my perfect customer who's my avatar, I mean, I have a lot of customers, and I'll do business with a lot of people.
But if I could wake up one day and only do business with people just like this center of the target, who is that person in great detail. Because everything you say everything you do everything you write everywhere your network, all of your positioning is dying, designed to impress that one person. But the good news is when you identify that one person, there are 1000, people just like them in the marketplace.
If you put the right bait in the water, they will come to you because you will be you'll be singing, you know, sending music to their ears, they're going to come because they're going to be attracted to the messaging. If you try and be all things to all people you're going to miss. Like we started out focusing, I got into the mortgage business. And I could have said oh, I do investor loans, I do commercial loans, I do residential loans, I'll work with homeowners, or first-time homeowners, I do high end I'll do low end, I saw a lot of people do that.
I'm not going to do that. So who do I really like to do business with? I don't like to do business with consumers. I don't like to go into the home, I don't like to deal with the husband and wife dynamics. I don't like to deal with the parents and the children dynamics. You know, when you get grown kids can't get out of bed without calling Mom and Dad, I just didn't like any of that said I don't want to be that some people are great.
But my cousin and I were in the insurance business together. And I was very comfortable doing business to business because that's what I came out of, he was very comfortable going into people's homes with a cat crawl in his lap and the dog smell in his whatever. Like no, I'm not going to do that. So, so I decided I said I'm going to work with investors. And then I had to really get to know them. And I just had to ask myself, you know what they need?
What are those people need? What do investors really need? And what I realized that they needed as they needed the ability to manage your cash, cash flow, equity, and credit more effectively, they needed to learn how to unlock the power of their balance sheet. And so I created very specific financial strategies and training to teach them how to do that. And then I would do the math because it was very hard to refute the math, I have this quote now that I'm known for, which is do the math, and the math will tell you what to do. So I've explained the concept, do the math, and then the decision became easy.
I trained a whole team of people who did nothing but that so we were very focused. The next question is, once you identify that avatar, where do they congregate? Could be they come together in a room like this could be that they all read a certain newsletter or listen to a certain podcast? It could be that they read a certain magazine belong to certain organizations or demographics, affinity groups, if you will, you have to figure it out.
Where are they? Where I can get in front of them in, in volume efficiently. That's what you're asking yourself, where do they congregate? How can I get their attention? And ideally, you get their attention when they come to learn, right? If I called you up and interrupted you and your place of business is Hey, I'd like to spend about an hour with you and tell you how to build your brand and build your network. He'd be like, you know what, I'm really busy. I'm not really interested. Right? That's what you'd say. But instead, here you are right, and you came here because you want to learn way easier for me. I would much rather talk to people who want to learn than try to force somebody who has zero interest in what I have to say to listen to me.
So what and who and what oops, who and what influences them. This is the important thing. Once you've identified Who the target market is and where they congregate. And a lot of times they congregate around their influencers. Now, you've got one key person and if you can get to that one key person and win them, you influence everybody else who follows them. That's why people come to me because I have a big following. And so guys like thing, they call us up and like, Hey, we want to get in front of your audience, you know, how do we do that?
Okay, I'm gonna have to pick this up. But this is good stuff here. So who are the where do the influencers congregate? Then go there and find out what the influencers need. Because when you can meet the need of an influencer, then the influencer will be open to influence on your behalf. We found out what Robert Kiyosaki needed you to think he doesn't need anything? Yes, he did. He needed some things. We figured out what those things were. We did those things for him. And his influence went to work for us. And it wasn't what a lot of people thought it was. We've never paid Robert.
We've never hired him to come to our events or speak. But he shows up, we've never paid him for his endorsement, because he doesn't need money. He's got all the money he wants. His problem is he has too much money. He has a different need. When we found out what his need was, we went to work on meeting it. And then now He calls us the idea to do the promotions yesterday, we didn't call him and ask him if he would do that. He called us and asked us if we would come in to do it with him because he wanted to do it for us. Like how'd you liked to get to that level? I'm telling you what I do this, this absolutely positively works.
And then who and what influences the influencers? And what are the influencers need? So what's your angle? What's your approach? So I'll give you another one another name, you may not know Brian London, Brian London is a renowned gold expert. If you're not paying attention to gold, let me tell you, you should be because it's an indicator of a lot of things. It's a real asset, just like real estate, it has a role to play in a real asset portfolio. As an alternative to cash to hold liquid net worth.
And I could do a whole clinic just on gold. I spent the last five years studying gold. But Brian is the producer of The New Orleans investment conference, the oldest running investment conference in the United States. And so we went one year because he had an audience full of people we were interested in the real estate market had been decimated, we looked around and said who out there has money.
People in the gold business at the time, gold was like 1900 people in gold had a lot of money. So we said let's go there and get to know these people and see if we can get along with them. So we went we just were in the audience participating kind of got the lay of the land. And then the next thing we did is once we decided after talking to some folks, yeah, we think we could get along with these people. We called up Brian, and we invited him to be on the show because that was we had to offer. And he agreed to do that. And then we got a chance to have a casual conversation with him about what he needed.
What he needed was more help promoting his event. And he needed more help getting sponsors to exhibit and so we said okay, we'll do that. And so we did. So we said Why would you promote somebody else's conference? Why would you send your sponsors to spend their sponsorship dollars with somebody else? Why would you promote your audience to spend their event dollars with somebody else? Why would you do that? Because we wanted his influence. And now we have it. Today, we fly in we speak at the New Orleans conference, we emcee at the New Orleans investment conference. We do we host the big party where all the VIPs come and we hang out with them. And he has been able to introduce us to all these other great people.
Well, you know what Robert Kiyosaki likes to do? He likes to hang out with smart people. We introduce Robert Kiyosaki to Peter Schiff, we introduce Robert Kiyosaki to G. Edward Griffin. We introduced who wrote the creature from Jekyll Island, we introduced Robert Kiyosaki to Brian London. We introduced Robert Kiyosaki to who else was one other person I had on my mind. Anyway, we've done the same thing with Chris Martenson and Adam Taggart from peak prosperity. And now we're working with them. They come to our events, we're doing a whole webinar series to their list about real estate investing. They're speaking at our summit at sea. In March, we're going to speak at their summit in California in April. This is exactly how we do it. I was an office supply salesman in Silicon Valley.
Today, I have some of the brightest financial minds who read my newsletter and consider what I have to say worthy of their time. That invited me to be on their stages and talk to their audiences. Trust me, there's nothing special about me, except that I learned how to do this, and I did it. Now I just, I'm like Forrest Gump, right?
Just a couple of little things. I just focus and do it. Pretty soon you wake up and all this stuff out. You guys can do it too. So figure out who your target market is and then go through this process to get in front of them. Don't be Waldo, when you go on the marketplace don't look like everybody else. If you get lost in the crowd, if you look just like everybody else, if you're a mortgage person, you're out there, here's a box of doughnuts, and Ricci, you're just like everybody else. So whatever your business is trying to figure out how to be different, this is a challenge.
If you can figure it out, you can set yourself aside, we started out coaching real estate investors, Mom and Pop investors investing in their own accounts. Pretty soon there were dozens of people in the space and they copied our model. They were you know, Kathy fettle at the real worth network took our model, and she'll be the first person to tell you she goes, I liked what you guys are doing. I copied it Keith line, hold it, get rich education to be the first guy to tell you, he looked at us he does. He just did exactly what we did. He just copied the model. So we said, okay, we got up our game, we're going to narrow our focus, we're going to focus on syndication, we're going to teach people how to raise money.
Today, our top guy just called me the other day he goes, he started with us five years ago, he just went over $100 million, raised 100 million, I never raised 100 million. I mean, as a teacher, that's pretty exciting when your student is way better than you are. And he's gonna be at our next event, too. I talked about investing in someone else's deal to build, if you don't have money to invest, but you've got the expertise, be an advisor, find some way to get a branding position in a notable person's deal so that you can take some degree of credit for that, obviously join organizations participate in them get seen National Association of residential property managers, and whatever it is, I mean, there are all kinds of different professional organizations, that's where the cream of the crop, go to trade shows a network with people.
And as I mentioned earlier, build a credible team, your team is your partners, your investors, your staff, your advisors, your vendors, your customers, not just the skill of a brain, but the Rolodex they bring in the reputation they bring, think bigger than just the transaction. If that's like one theme in this presentation, think bigger than the transaction, look past the money and look to the influence, influences the commodity, the currency of growth, if you have influence with influencers, and if you have influencers influencing on behalf of you, everything is so so much easier.
Become a conduit, your students, you're here you're learning things, but don't keep it all to yourself, share it, teach other people who are not as far up the chain as you are, you'll add value to their lives, they'll be loyal to you, they will share what they know because every human being has something to offer you.
You can do it in your writing, you can speak you know I do both. You can lead a group, you can be a connector, just go and work in an event network people find the most notable person in the room, get into a relationship, then start introducing people. We've made a career out of just introducing people to our friend, Robert Kiyosaki because everybody wants to meet him.
The good news is, is he wants to meet a lot of people. So we introduce them if Robert called up G. Edward Griffin and said, Hey, I'd like to get together with you, Edward say yes if Ed Griffin called Robert Kiyosaki and said, Hey, Robert, I'd like to get together here, Robert would say yes, but they didn't do it. So we found out that they wanted to meet each other, and we made it happen. And so we've got complete credit and value for doing something they easily could have done on their own but didn't do.
You can do those things. Take advantage of the News, the news identifies opportunities. Part of timing is talking to somebody about something at the moment, they're interested, you know, if you're familiar with social media retargeting, you know, you search for something, and then you go to a website, and every pop up that is that thing, you just search for anybody to have that happen, okay? So that's what they're trying to leverage is they know you're interested in something and they're taking advantage of your awareness.
But the news, the financial news, in particular, every day, makes people thinking about things has people thinking about things if you can figure out a connection between whatever you're doing, and what the news media is already telling people to be thinking about. And usually, they're introducing a problem. And if you can introduce a solution to the problem that everybody's mind just got filled up with, then you're going to have an opportunity.
This is a site that tells you what the top financial news sites are. I'm on Yahoo Finance every day to find out what's going on. I pretty much pivot off that one. But I checked this regularly. This is just January 2019. Because I know that's what the marketplace is thinking about. They're doing the awareness work for me.
That's marketing, making people aware. Let the news do the lifting for you. Your job is to figure out how whatever you do relates, okay, so the main thing and I'm going to wrap up here with just a couple things, one more minute. Give me one more minute. Here's the main thing. When you go out in the marketplace, your main thing isn't to make money.
Your main thing isn't to do deals. Your main thing is to build your brand and build your network. You build your brand, and you build your network, you build your brand, and you build your network, and you build your brand. And you build your network, you build your brand, and you build your network. And then one day, when you have a deal, that makes sense, you will put that deal in front of your network. And based on the power of your brand that they trust, they will buy. And then you just do a good job. Treat the money like it's your own or better, better.
Okay, a couple of things. We do a two-day workshop called secrets of successful syndication, it's coming up in two weeks in Dallas, we won't do it again till September, there's still time to get in at the early bird pricing. So I'll tell you how you can find more information about that in a minute, but that's coming up. We're gonna have our 100 Million Dollar Man there, we're gonna have attorneys, you're gonna have to sit through this presentation again, because this is the presentation I do there. But it's worth seeing again.
And a whole bunch of other stuff. We talked about networking, you're going to be hanging around with people that are actively out there raising millions of dollars that are people just like you. And so you can talk to them about what it's like and what they wish they knew when they started and all that stuff. We create networking opportunities, we do our summit at sea. We got Peter Schiff, Robert Kiyosaki, G. Edward Griffin, Chris Martenson, Tom Wheelwright, Brian London, and probably a dozen other notable people all coming, Robert told me yesterday, he's staying on the ship, all nine days, Dinner, Drinks, dancing, seminars, roundtables, going to the beach. It's ridiculous.
If you're interested in building your brand, you come back with a bunch of selfies of you partying with these people socializing with Notable people, which's probably worth $100,000. But it doesn't cost that much. It's not cheap, though. But you're hanging out with about 200 of the right people for a week, anybody got a summer camp when you were a kid? Right, you get in a room full of strangers, right. And a week later, your best friends forever, and you're crying because you can't wait to see each other. Again, that's what happens on the summit.
We don't pay any of those speakers, not one, we've never paid a speaker in 17 years. They come because they want to. Because we put them around other influencers. And they like talking to you.
Because of your real world, they lose touch with the real world, they can't have a safe conversation with real-world people, because the group is all forced themselves to the front of the room. But we create a barrier to entry where it's only good people because it's expensive. But it's worth it. How to Win funds and influence people, we do a two-day workshop teaching how to raise money sales skills, specifically for the art of raising money. So we don't do a lot of stuff.
But those are kind of our three core things. You go to an investor conference, like the summit at sea, you spent a week talking to investors and listening to thought leaders, you learn how to speak investor, you go to the syndication seminar, you learn what you need to know and what you don't need to know, in order to become a successful syndicator. And you get to talk to real life, people who are actually doing it.
They're all real. And you come here, and you find out when you're sitting down with that person who has the ability to write a 500,000 or $1 million check. What do you say? How do you present your offer? How do you close, if you have the ability to do that, then the sky's the limit because you can raise as much money as you want.