Beware the upsell

I have now been offering training courses to both individuals and corporate clients for nearly 15 years.

One aspect of my dealings with potential clients has always intrigued me. In a nutshell it is that  individuals will contact me and discuss training. They will then choose not to move forward with me and effectively disappear off the radar for two or three years. After that prolonged period they will then often re-contact me and book a training course – pretty well out of the Blue and with little further discussion!

Generally the story I hear from them is pretty much the same. Namely that in the intervening period they had indeed pursued trading and had attended several other training courses or purchased products and services. The results during that period were at best breakeven and  often very much worse where they incurred significant trading losses and wasted a lot of their own time in the process.

When I investigate their experiences there are generally two common paths that they have taken:

Firstly there are the people that simply go for the courses or products that make the biggest promises. Ie start with $500 and make $5 million by the end of the year. Needless to say these courses or products are a complete rip-off. The promises or assertions that they make are completely false.  The vendors know this when they sell the product and so does anybody with any trading experience whatsoever. Typically those types of products are therefore pitched at absolute novices who have zero experience and consequently no way of knowing any better. The solution to this is if people are promising outrageously high returns at outrageously low prices really common sense should tell you that it is just a straight con.  For further information read my PDF “how to avoid the marketing men”. It is however quiet surprising how so many novice traders keep moving from one of these con merchants to another without apparently realising their mistake.

The second path that people often take first is to go to  “the big-name courses”. The purchaser  draws confidence, quiet understandably, from the fact that they are dealing with a big national or international company with an impressive website and many different products and services.

Such companies are often “training” thousands of traders each and every year. The websites and the information on them is extremely compelling. Often they are fronted by a particular “big-name “trader””. I’ve put the word trader in inverted commas because almost without exception if one looks a little deeper we will find that that “trader” does not actually trade for himself or worse still when they did trade they actually lost money.

It is very easy for would be purchasers too carry out this sort of pre-purchase due diligence research but most of us are fired up with enthusiasm and have a tendency to just to believe what we are told. This is especially the case with these large companies with massive advertising budgets. They are extremely credible and appear to offer a proper quality “education”. It is quite understandable that traders with little or no previous experience have a tendency to sign up for these types of courses first. They see it as the safe bet and are drawing confidence from the credibility of a big organisation.

In the “avoid the marketing men PDF”  I covered how asking a simple single question  would protect you from making both of the above mistakes.

Another way to avoid the “big-name course” trap is to simply…………… apply a little common sense !

By this I mean almost invariably these courses are offering a whole host of additional products and follow-on services. Often there is for instance a bronze trading course, a silver trading course, a gold trading course, Platinum trading course etc together with umpteen additional products and services that you can purchase from them. You know the sort of thing special indicators, special software, additional training modules, monthly subscription services, signal services, additional trading systems. All of these and many more come, of course, at additional cost on top of the basic course fee.

So what do I mean by applying a little common sense ?

Think it through for a second.  If you are subscribing for their bronze trading course which promises to teach you to trade then why do you then need a Silver trading course let alone a  Gold trading course ! Why if they really are going to teach you to trade successfully on that first course do you need to then purchases all these additional services and educational products ?

To put it bluntly if the first product they offered worked there would be no need for most of the subsequent products !

These big trading educators are geared up to selling products and making profits. They are not wonderful human beings trying to benefit mankind they are businessman trying to make as much money as they possibly can. There is absolutely nothing wrong with this so long as you recognise that fact and understand it for what it is. Their best interests are served by you NOT learning to trade. That way they can then “up sell” a plethora of new and different, and often more expensive, products to an existing customer base.

Their best financial interests are absolutely not served by initially teaching you to become a successful trader – you would go away and spend no more money with them. Their best financial interests are served by keeping you on the hook and keeping you jiggling around trying to reach that next piece of bait that is dangled in front of you. After you first bronze course they now tell you that “real” success comes when you purchase the silver course and then all of your problems would be over. Of course after the silver course comes a gold course and so it goes on. This “soaking” of existing customers for more and more of their money is a well  established business practice.

There is a further serious problem with this particular business practice with respect to trading education. In order to keep you “biting” they have to present to you what may well be an unrealistically optimistic picture of what you can achieve from using their services. This means that very very often clients are only given one side of the story. They are told all  that is wonderful about trading and nothing about the inherent difficulties. I am a firm believer that it is absolutely imperative to explain to people the inherent difficulties of making money in trading. It is only by knowing where the potholes are in the road that you can avoid falling in to them. The real danger with the up selling concept is that it deliberately glosses over the difficulties.

So if you go to a website and you see a mass of products available to purchase, understand that this is not a good thing !  Rest assured they will be doing their level best to make sure you buy every single one of those products.

So are these big companies all conmen? Of course not. But they are, first and foremost, businessman seeking to maximise profits. What do you get on these big courses? Well you get taught ABOUT trading. They will teach you about indicators and how indicators should be applied etc . That’s fair enough, we all have to acquire that basic understanding from one source or another. In truth it is generally not much more than you could have got from a £50 book on Amazon.

The real problem is that educating people about trading is absolutely not the same thing as teaching them how to make money from trading. The two things are entirely different.  Be aware that the big trainers teach people ABOUT trading not actually how to MAKE MONEY FROM trading – the two are very different things.

So after one of these courses you will probably have a much greater understanding about trading but almost certainly be no closer to turning that knowledge into profits. See my PDF on this subject.

Finally if having read the forgoing you still do not accept my views then at the very least it should still have raised another simple question in your mind that requires an answer:

If indeed what I say is incorrect and these big-name courses are in fact churning out successful traders by the thousand ……. Then where are they all ? 

We should  be tripping over them every time we go to Tesco’s. Everybody should know a friend of a friend who is making a fortune from trading – but we don’t do we !

If you want to know ABOUT trading then buy a few books from Amazon. If you want to make money FROM trading speak to a professional trader who is not trying to earn his living from just teaching courses or worst still upselling countless products and services to you.

If further proof is required in one very famous instance one of the big name courses was challenged to produce a single student from the thousands of students they had  trained that was actually making real serious consistent money from trading – they could not provide a single student !

The best courses are generally those that are not offering a mass of extra bolt on products and services. You need to be dealing with somebody who does not have a vested financial interest in making you come back and spend yet more money with them.

So whilst it always surprises me a little when people disappear off and do a big-name course in preference to my own training course I am confident that in two or three years time many of them  will come knocking at my door somewhat chastened and always significantly poorer.

What is a shame is that they did not first read a few of the PDFs that I have produced over the years as these expose many  of the tricks of the trade and show you how to avoid repeating the mistakes of others. That way novice traders could save themselves wasting often thousands of pounds in training course fees, further thousands of pounds in trading losses and often hundreds and hundreds of hours of often wasted and misdirected study.


Still I can say exactly the same thing about most of the advice I give to my  children !

Sadly they have to learn by their own experiences and repeat the same mistakes I made at their age. They do this no matter how hard you try and provide them with a shortcut  – namely learning through somebody else’s painful experiences rather than just repeating the same mistakes.

The problem is children cannot be as wise as their parents, who have so much greater experience because they have been around a lot longer (been there, seen it, done it and got the T-shirt if you like).  In exactly the same way, novice traders cannot be as wise as established profitable traders. So most children and most novice traders I suppose are condemned to walk a much longer and more problematic path than is in fact necessary !




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