The Hungry Home Inspector by P Nathan Thornberry :: Why Some Inspectors are Always Hungry for More While Others Just Go Hungry

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The Hungry Home Inspector

Why Some Inspectors Are Always Hungry For More
While Others Just Go Hungry


Chapter 10

The Mike Crow Effect

Don't shoot the messenger. You'll want to conserve ammo.


Carleton H. Sheets reigned supreme in late night infomercials for two decades. It’s estimated that the total cost for airtime ran the company that promoted him around $280 million. That’s a lot of airtime, and if you don’t know who Carleton Sheets is and you work in this business, you need to learn a little bit about this real estate industry we work in.

His system was called No Money Down, and it was a guide to investing in real estate. There were books, audio books, CD’s, and, of course, you could pay to attend one of Carleton’s presentations as well.

Today, the world of real estate investing info-marketers is in shambles.

We all saw the infomercials, and many of us laughed at them. It must be “too good to be true.” It’s not believable.

We see on the screen examples of not-so-well-spoken individuals who are “students” of Carleton sitting next to their pool in front of their yacht and talking about how easy it is to make millions in real estate if we just follow Carleton’s system.  Critics of Sheets and the half a billion dollars in sales he generated say that the method of selling the system was targeted at the naïve. This may be so, but that doesn’t mean his system didn’t have validity. In fact, there was a lot of sound advice he gave his “students.”

How do I know?

Because I listened to every single audiotape he recorded his books and systems onto.

It wasn’t by choice; this was happening between the ages of nine and twelve that I had to put up with it because back in those days there wasn’t a separate entertainment system in the back of every mom-mobile like there is now. Every tape of Carleton’s monotone voice, the Mr. Rogers of real estate, was played in my mother’s van for three years straight.

My parents weren’t naïve. They were very smart and they knew that Carleton Sheets was being listened to by 100’s of thousands of real estate investors (a.k.a. “potential clients”), and they wanted to know more about their clients than anyone else. That way they could speak intelligently on investment issues when they were brought up by agents and clients alike. Maybe Sheets wasn’t the only source, but he was a good starting point.

They picked up some great advice on real estate investing. They went on to pick up a few more resources, spoke to their bankers  and attorneys, and started buying properties.

There were undoubtedly a large majority of Carleton Sheets students who had no idea what they were doing, or didn’t follow the system, or both, that got into trouble making bad investments or didn’t even buy a single house.

On the other end of the spectrum, there were thousands of people like my parents who took his system, perfected it for their own uses, and went to town building wealth in real estate. If my parents ever decide to retire, they can do so to their choice of multiple properties they hold in sunny, sandy, beach and island locations. What suckers they are for spending almost $500 on the full “No  Money Down” system!

By the time I graduated high school, I had already purchased two properties. One was the house in which I lived and had significant equity in, the other was a condo I had rented out and was cash-flowing quite nicely. Both had been purchased without any involvement from my parents, I’m not sure they would have been very supportive of my plans if I had ever told them, but I had the knowledge, much of which had come from those Carleton Sheets tapes.

That’s why it makes no sense that to this day I am the most skeptical person I know. I still watch infomercials and laugh. I still see “coaches” and “consultants” as a waste of time and money.

It’s why I understand completely why some of the home inspectors who see Mike Crow do one of his presentations will later say, “He’s full of it. Why would I pay him for his advice?” I also understand why some inspectors won’t listen to him at all.

It took me a good long conversation with myself before I finally decided to put this chapter in the book. There’s a certain risk to telling anyone what he or she ought to hear. It’s kind of like seeing someone (much bigger and angrier than you) drinking in a bar and suggesting that they stop before drink number eleven and ask them for the keys to the car you saw them drive up in. It’s the right thing to do. I’ve done it on multiple occasions, but sometimes they take a swing at you or get even angrier.

There’s nothing you can do for them.

You, on the other hand, have made it pretty far through a pretty intense book that not a lot of stubborn, petty, unsuccessful inspectors are going to like so I have confidence that you can handle this statement:

Try Mike Crow’s system, spend a few hundred bucks, and if it’s not for you stop.  It’s not for everybody. There were hundreds of thousands of people who completely failed on Carleton Sheets’ systems, but thousands of others who thrived.

I think the numbers are at least a little better when it comes to Mike Crow’s members of his “Millionaire Inspector Community.” I know they are- because we track those numbers. I think the name of his group is as cheesy as you might- and so do many of his members by the way. It’s all very intentionally outrageous.

Here’s another statement I think you can probably handle:

Sixteen of the top 25 Inspector Services Group clients are members of Mike Crow’s organization, and those companies on average do more than 15 times as many inspections as the average inspector in the U.S. and Canada.

Several of the other companies in that top 25 list have been a member of Mike’s organization at one time or another. Some of them like his stuff and just didn’t need him anymore...they had “graduated” in their minds.  Others didn’t like the advice, or left for other reasons.  Push comes to shove, all of them would likely say the return on investment was good.

It’s hard to believe that the statistical domination these companies all have in common over their competition is a coincidence.

You may think it’s all bull, and that’s okay. Just because you don’t subscribe to Mike Crow’s, or anyone else’s stuff for that matter doesn’t make you unsuccessful or unintelligent. You might even feel “stupid” for needing help growing your business. You would probably feel like a fool for ordering Carleton Sheets’ system in the late 80’s or early 90’s, but it might have been the best thing that ever happened to you. It might have inspired you to do something, even if you didn’t take the specific advice and implement it.

That’s the way it works with Mike’s stuff as well, but if his style isn’t your cup of tea, find something that is. Get involved in a mastermind group, bring in a consultant, or even get someone from outside the profession to work with you on a growth strategy.

I once spent $4,000 to go to one seminar. I also spent over $25,000 for three days of consulting.

Laugh if you want to.

I would estimate my returns from those two spenditures, totaling less than $30,000, to be a number I’m not even comfortable publishing. I’ve also sought the advice of Mike Crow on many occasions, and not once was I disappointed with the results.

No, I won’t tell you what Mike Crow’s advice is. Not because I’m bound by any sort of confidentiality, it’s more a matter of the information needing to be presented in a certain way in order for it to be effective.  In other words, I could tell you a few things and you could use the advice in a way that doesn’t help you and may even hurt you.

I will tell you this: 80% of what Mike says is common sense stuff that everyone should be doing but we often forget and need that motivation to keep up on the basics.  The other 20% is cutting edge stuff to keep you ahead of the competition. Some of it works great, some of it is so-so. You won’t know until you implement it and every market is a little different.

A few hundred dollars buys you the full experience for a couple of months, take from it what you want to. He’ll send you a package  and invite you to some conference calls. I personally know over a hundred inspectors who have seen double and even triple digit growth in their volume and revenue with Mike. Probably half of them needed the information and the other half already knew most of it but couldn’t put together an organized plan of attack without some guidance.

I’ve also seen the same from clients who implement our products and services, I’ve seen it from franchisees of HouseMaster, Pillar to Post, HomeTeam, WIN, and others as well.

It’s really about having a mindset that allows you to take advantage of the systems and experiences of others.  Give Mike Doerr in my office twenty minutes of your time and see what he can do for your Website. If you’re a franchisee, grab every resource you can from corporate.

If you would rather take on the world yourself and be a one-man army, good for you. I used to be that guy, and I was proud of what I did every day regardless of the results. Just be prepared to make every mistake everyone else has made getting to where they are.

You may never get where you want to be, but at least you did it your way!