Sometimes it’s nice to sit down to a fantastic 3 course dinner. You can tuck in, and eat until you’re stuffed. But there’s also a place for buffets. You can shuffle around, chatting and relaxing, whilst you snack on whatever takes your fancy. Some of the stuff you’ll like, some of the stuff you won’t. But if you’re not a prawn vol-au-vent fan, move onto the mini pork pies.

And so it is with training. Previously, I’ve reviewed only single-provider events: the full, all-day, 5-course banquets. But there’s a different type out there too, which I haven’t reviewed before.

The alternative format is a selection of different speakers, dressed up into one large and tasty-looking spread for your consumption. But why would you want to buffet when you can banquet? The reasoning is simple: try before you buy. That applies equally for both the training banquets and the strategies behind them.

You might be an experienced landlord, or a budding investor. Either way, it doesn’t hurt to browse the market and find out what’s going on in the big wide world. Whether you’ve new to everything in the buffet, or you’ve tried everything but the chicken satay sticks and pretzels, you’ll usually benefit from trying something different.

The other great thing about buffets is that they’re usually cheap or free. A complimentary gluttony session to fatten your waistline without thinning your wallet. Just like with a real-world buffet, such a training day usually comes with a caveat. There’s usually someone who wants you to be there for some reason. In the case of training, that reason is there’s usually an upsell to a paid-for course. You’ll get a little taste of the food that’s going to be on offer at the forthcoming five course banquet: ‘If you liked our free smoked salmon sandwiches, sir, why not come along to our expensive banquet?’ This, in my opinion, is both a fair and effective way of selling.

This weekend I’ve had the pleasure of going to the Ultimate Secret Seminar, run by Tamkin Riaz and Ambar Hamid. This is actually Tamkin’s 125th networking event. On the menu was:

Simon Zutshi – lightly fried

Property Investor Network is a firm specialising in property investment training. Simon offers one day training courses, training ‘box sets’ and the like. His seminar concentrated on the financial strategy behind setting up a property investment business. He focussed on the basics of making cash flow from rental and drawing money out by re-mortgaging.

Mark Harrison – with a sweet chilli dipping sauce

Mark talked about negotiating property deals. This is a hugely important area, and one that’s sadly glossed over by most trainers. Skilled bargaining is the key to success in any business – buying low and selling high.  Regardless of how skilled you are at your chosen trade, or of how many interested punters you’ve got, if you can’t squeeze the margins out of your deals then you can’t make money. So learn the skills! Mark sells a training package on CDs/DVDs and a short personal mentoring session.

Soni Finance – with parsley garnish

Ash and Minesh Bhindi run Soni finance, and I’ve already reviewed their course in PAN. They provide specialist below-market-value bridging services, together with a training course on sourcing, lease options and financing deals. Their public speaking focuses on releasing cash lump sums from BMV properties.

Ranjan Bhattacharya – in a mini sandwich

I reviewed Ranjan’s course about a year ago for PAN. He focuses on sourcing below-market-value properties and also runs a one-day seminar plus an extended mentoring programme. He claims to run what’s currently the largest and most successful property mentoring club in the UK. A cursory glance over the numbers in his business suggests he’s charged his students well over a million pounds. Apparently that’s helped a lot of these people quit their jobs – but as usual – Do Your Own Research.

Richard Miller – on a stick

Richard markets a system for producing and distributing videos on the web, enabling you to market your units more effectively to buyers who might otherwise not bother looking inside.

There is life after property though! There were also other speakers, talking on subjects as diverse as asset protection (Jarl Moe), buying and selling businesses (Alex McMillan – excellent speaker) and online marketing (Ambar Hamid).

The day was held at the Park Plaza Hotel, London Victoria.  The venue was ideal – easy to get to, comfortable and close to plenty of cafes. It was easy to see and hear the speakers, and the layout allowed people to wander in and out without disrupting the flow of the day.

The buffet-style presentation gives an excellent opportunity to extract some genuinely useful content from a wide variety of speakers. The best thing about the day is the price: at only £37, it’s less than a tenth of the cost of a single-speaker seminar. Of course, the promoters make much of their money from commission on the speakers, so the punters are ‘paying’ more than the ticket price if they buy. However, no-one’s forcing you to buy anything, and the day is well worth attending in its own right.

There are more events planned in future, so check out www.ultimatesecretseminar.com.