Our experience of Samuel Leeds
If you’ve been following me since I jacked in the day job you’ll know that one thing I’ve been hanging my hat on is property investing as a sure-fire way of trumping the banks for making an income.
Meet the Landlords
One thing you can never do too much of is research. The interweb is a dream for this, but sometimes it’s difficult to see the wood from the trees. Of course we watch all the property programmes on the telly as well, but realise they paint a rosy and very simplistic picture of what it takes to buy a house and make it work for you business-wise. There was a programme on last year where landlords and tenants would swap places, finding out what it was really like to live in the properties they were renting out.
Samuel Leeds as a landlord
One of the landlords appearing on the programme was a guy called Samuel Leeds. He seemed an interesting guy and did his very best on the programme to help out his tenant, a lady who was worried about being evicted because she was struggling a bit. It turned out when he visited that she had a big hole in her roof, but didn’t report it because she thought he would put her rent up! I was impressed with the way he treated her, although I realise this was on camera so he couldn’t really do anything else. In the end she had to leave for another reason, but only after Samuel appeared to bend over backwards to try to help her.
Samuel Leeds on Google
Samuel turned up later in a Google search when we started looking for authorities on the subject of buying property. We recognised him from the programme and found out he had a business going, mentoring and teaching other people how to make a living from property. Samuel Leeds claims to be a Property multi-millionaire, although i’m not sure how true that is. He claims he rubs shoulders with the likes of Sir Alan Sugar, Sir Richard Branson and Arnold Schwarzenegger (although later I found out he paid to be seen with them). He’s a little bit ‘evangelical’ at times in his presentation, not surprising considering he started as a church person, but his huge enthusiasm comes through loud and clear.
So, we booked on a two day property crash course with him in February 2018 in Salford, Manchester to find out what he’s all about and hopefully educate ourselves further about property investment.
Note: This review has been re-written based on what we know now. I’ll tell you at the end why i’ve done this.
Samuel Leeds Crash Course
The Samuel Leeds Crash Course was held in the hotel right next door to Old Trafford Football Ground, the home of Manchester United. We turned up early and there were already people waiting. Talking revealed that some of them had come a very long way to be there.
After a few minutes of warm up by Samuel’s brother Russell Leeds, Samuel Leeds arrived. Russell is actually the CEO of Samuel Leeds Ltd. Like Samuel, he’s a former illusionist/magician. You know, those people that make their living dealing in smoke and mirrors? They make their living by conning and fooling people by sleight of hand? Those people.
We were all encouraged to join in with motivational activities, designed to get us in a positive frame of mind. Much of the high-fives and telling your seated neighbour they are awesome ensued.
We were also warned that filming was prohibited, lateness would be fined and that mobile phone access wouldn’t be tolerated. The fines would ‘go to charity’, although it was never specified which one.
Samuel also told us that some people had told him they couldn’t come due to not being able to get time of work or that the car had broken down and they’d have to get the train to Manchester. This was dismissed as those people ‘not wanting it enough’.
Samuel was thrown out of his church
Much of the first morning was the history of Samuel Leeds – how he started at aged 17 and began investing in property by basically having a relative do it for him. He told of his religious start in life and how his church severed ties with him over his money making activities.
This was a surprise at the time and Samuel placed much emphasis on this to show how his intentions were misinterpreted by his church. This has become much more relevant now we know more about him.
The early course stuff then appeared to be Samuel following the flow of his book ‘Buy Low Rent High’. We started to make notes. Samuel’s presentation style was very evangelical and ‘happy clappy’ and I could start to feel myself being manipulated, against my normal behaviour pattern. Samuel told us we needed to ‘lose the loser’ mentality. The whole thing is very fun, with people ending up onstage and waving their arms about singing, but it still seemed as if it was an attempt to control me.
Over 200 people in the room, some had been there before
There were about 200 people in the room altogether and some had apparently been there before. Samuel told us that people regularly came back to ‘refresh’ their training. I wondered why they were finding it so compelling as I was starting to find it a little bit uncomfortable, but we persevered.
More clapping and high-fives ensued, with Samuel trying to convert the room into his Church. Most people joined in, although I could already see that some were slipping outside of their comfort zone and they weren’t really happy about it. I could slowly feel myself being re-programmed.
A lady was quitting her job as a nurse, thanks to Samuel
We then had people being invited onstage to tell their story. A lady called Anne was invited onstage by Samuel to tell us how she’d managed to buy two HMO’s (Houses of Multiple Occupancy) and she will shortly be quitting her job as a Nurse. Samuel asks her if he’s made her ‘Financially Free’ (Financial Freedom is a phrase that Samuel Leeds uses a lot to justify success). I paid particular notice of Anne because she had a North East accent. She told us the first stage was to finish work herself and then have her husband join her in ‘Financial Freedom’. He worked in IT and earned about £30k a year.
Anne planned to leave her job at the end of the month. Samuel encouraged us to applaud and tell the World we are unstoppable.
Financial Freedom is when your Passive Income >= Your Living Expenses
Passive Income doesn’t truly exist, therefore Financial Freedom cannot truly exist either.
We broke for lunch. There was no food laid on for the Samuel Leeds Crash Course, so we walked down past Old Trafford and managed to find a Subway and shared a sandwich and a coke. We needed to get back on time because we didn’t want to be fined by Samuel (£10 for being late don’t you know).
Samuel told us to Discipline Our Disappointment and Celebrate Our Success
House Prices ‘Double every 10 years’, according to Samuel
Samuel began to tell us how house prices doubled every 10 years on average in the UK and that all regions follow London. Now, whilst this is broadly true of the rest of the country, over the last 10 years in our own region (North East England) it isn’t true at all. I know Samuel is trying to say that property is better than the Stock Market to invest your money in, but for us what he was saying was only true over the last 20 years.
In reality, an average house in the North East of England that was worth £100k in 2008 is worth pretty much the same now, maybe even slightly less. The credit crunch saw to that.
Put Together a Power Team
Samuel then advised us that to buy houses successfully, we should put together a Power Team to make sure things ran smoothly and everything was in place to avoid delays and ensure that any prospective house purchase went smoothly and quickly. This was great to make a note of, but even then Samuel wanted his personal stamp on it. More NLP?
The course then drags on past the usual finish time (for workers) we’re used to of 5pm. By this time i’m getting very tired and am ready for my bed. Unfortunately out hotel is a two mile walk away in Salford Quays. We pass The Alchemist bar on the way and promise to visit the next night.
The Selling Starts
Day two opened with the same happy clapping, high fiving, unstoppable start that Day one had introduced us to. One thing that became immediately apparent was that this day was going to contain an upsell. It was an upsell of Samuel Leeds’ further training.
Whilst I was waiting to attend the Samuel Leeds Crash Course, I’d also been training myself in Marketing. I’d learned how to set up a Sales Funnel and how to guide people through to the end point, which was The Sale. Now some people who were at the Crash Course won’t have realised this but –
Samuel Leeds Crash Course is a Sales Funnel!
Yes folks, once you present yourself to Samuel as a participant in his Crash Course, you are already in his Sales Funnel. Now Samuel denies this (not at the actual Crash Course because no-one ever asks him). He denies it. Why would he deny it? Because he doesn’t want people to realise they’re being manipulated into buying his further courses!
The course content and presentation style is done in a certain way to condition you and open you up to suggestions that you would normally just reject out of hand. It’s important you don’t notice this before the Hard Sell of Day 2.
Samuel begins to tell us all about the possibilities of how you can join him on a further course, the Deal Finding Extravaganza, in which you’ll be able to find deals LIVE and take advantage of them, in a highly focused workshop type environment. He also tells us about how to Buy Property without using your own money, the imaginatively titled NUYOMA (Never Use Your Own Money Again).
Day 2 – Day Of The Hard Sell
All the while he’s telling us about this, at the back of the hall, the Samuel Leeds Crash Course Team are readying themselves with their credit card terminal readers. Samuel tells us the price (I think it was around the £8k mark, but it’s being discounted today at only £2k + VAT) and that it’s a one time price ‘not normally offered’ and only available until lunchtime. My mind skips to Double Glazing Salesmen and Time-Share touts in Tenerife in the 1980s.
Samuel is now shouting from the stage, his audience are uncomfortable, including myself. We’re told we’re uncomfortable because ‘No-one likes being sold to’. He starts picking on people, asking why they are still sitting in their chairs, not taking advantage of the brilliant offer he’s just made? He picks on one guy in particular, a foreign guy, and ridicules him, calling him a loser if he doesn’t ‘take the opportunity’. I’m rapidly losing respect for Samuel.
We stay seated, but several dozen people are now at the back of the room, apparently giving their credit card details.
I say apparently, because I now suspect that some of these runners were plants. They were put there to encourage people to sign up by leading them to the ‘good deal’ at the back of the room. The hard sell and shaming, coupled with the runners psychologically led people to sign up for the very expensive ‘second level’ of training.
People were being led deeper into the Samuel Leeds Crash Course Sales Funnel, the one Samuel denies exists.
I’m feeling quite angry by now and as I go downstairs for lunch on day 2 i’m really not sure if I’m coming back. It takes me about an hour to calm down because I despise this kind of selling. I despise the manipulation, but realise it goes on and sometimes you’ve just got to sit through it.
Samuel likes HMOs as a way of maximising income
One thing Samuel pushes hard on is that HMOs are an excellent way to get started quickly and earn a substantial income. This is what Anne was going to do to leave work. We know that HMOs aren’t really for the beginner. For a beginner, a single Buy-To-Let will be enough to cope with. There’s a lot to learn as a landlord and HMOs require specialist mortgages. Nevertheless, Samuel teaches about them and pushes them as a great idea. I see complete novices asking rudimentary questions about HMOs on Facebook groups because they want to run before they can walk.
We don’t have any HMOs. They are a nightmare to look after and are anything but Passive Income. A lot of them may also end up being loss making as councils are starting to charge Council Tax by the room, leaving novice landlords in the s**t with an asset they can’t operate for a profit and can’t sell!
Next comes Lease Options
Lease Options, or LOAs as they’re affectionately known, are a way of ‘buying’ houses that aren’t generally used by the public, nor are they even understood by most. Samuel enthuses about LOAs as they are a way to control property.
“Rich people don’t necessarily own property, but they do control it”. He cited Donald Turmp. Another red rag to this particular bull.
For the uninitiated, a Lease Option is simply an agreement to allow you to buy a house at a future date and agreed price, and then to control it until you do. The seller has the option to buy, but once a contract is entered into, the seller must sell if he is asked to.
Lease Options require a special set of conditions to be satisfied before they are beneficial and they require a very specific level of approach. Teaching this stuff to a newbie when they have never even had a mortgage or rented a house themselves is a little like putting the cart before the horse. However, Samuel dangles the carrot of what is possible and this is what the newbie entrepreneur laps up. Earning money from a house we don’t even own! It will hook several more people to the back of the room later.
Samuel encourages false 5-star Trustpilot Reviews
This I didn’t really twig at the time, but one of the tactics used by Samuel is to get his students to win a ‘free’ course by submitting 5 star reviews to Trustpilot. This then floods the Trustpilot reviews with 5 star reviews, boosting the overall rating of his business. He then draws the names from a hat with the prize being a free place on the Academy. Samuel charges £12k + VAT for the Academy.
Anyone can monitor this effect because there’ll be a cluster of 5 star reviews gathered around a crash course date.
Samuel has openly denied doing this. I don’t know why because anyone who goes on the crash course will tell you it’s true! It makes a mockery of TrustPilot as an independent method of appraisal.
My own Trustpilot review was deleted by Samuel recently. Obviously too close to the truth for him. Here it is, see what you think
Update : TrustPilot reinstated the review, dismissing Samuel’s objection as unfounded and unjustified.
Hard Selling The Samuel Leeds Property Investment Academy
Although the Samuel Leeds Property Investment Academy isn’t really pushed as much as the DFE/NUYOMA courses at the Crash Course, the selling undertone is still there. It’s mentioned as being the ‘next stage for those who are truly serious about investing in property’ and the promise is for 12 months intensive mentorship and fast-tracking success within Samuel Leeds’ inner sanctum.
When we did our Crash Course, the operation was a lot smaller and those who signed up seemed to get what they paid for. There were few reported problems and Samuel was riding high, especially with his reputation.
Rapid expansion results in a fall in quality and huge rise in complaints
Since then, there has been rapid expansion. More crash courses have resulted in a tide of admissions to the Academy (even though Samuel says only 25% of applicants are accepted).
The result has been that quality has fallen and a lot of people are now seeking refunds because they feel they aren’t getting what they were promised. They are claiming the training has been mis-sold and they have been wanting their money back. Most have been refused this by Samuel and have had to resort to charge backs with their credit card companies.
Danny Butcher’s Suicide Changes Everything
The complaints have now resulted in an investigation initiated by Property Tribes and concerned friends of Danny and fulfilled by the BBC Inside Out program and several National Newspapers, notably the Telegraph. The investigations were started when a student and army veteran, Danny Butcher got into debt to fund the Academy training and then took his own life shortly after his refund request was refused.
The Samuel Leeds brand is now being labelled as tainted by the media. Samuel Leeds put out a Response to his Critics video on YouTube a few days ago to address the situation, but it attracted many negative comments which he then started to delete, adding to the deceipt and bad feeling. He’s deleted nearly 300 comments from the video.
The BBC Inside Out programme about Danny airs on Monday 20th January 2020 on BBC London and will be available on iPlayer and probably on YouTube too. I’ll post a link when I have one.
Shaf Razul has also posted a YouTube series on Samuel.
Anne, the lady who was hailed as Financially Free because she was planning to buy two HMOs, is now back working as a Nurse.
More Leads For Your Property Business
If you’re in property and want to gather leads for your business, take a look at ConversioBot. It is very simple chatbot software that you can install on your website to increase your leads and conversions and gather enquiries 24/7.