As a professional magician it tends to be a difficult task to run a business and always learning and improving upon your chosen profession. You have to be a secretary, a website administrator, video editor, photo editor, book keeper, marketing guru, cold calling, generating leads, being a salesman, and on top of all that you need to be a pretty darn good entertainer too. But there are only so many hours in a day, and we all have our personal lives too so we are limited to what all can be done on our own. So their are some companies out there that have come along in the past few years that do help eliminate some of the stress with finding qualified leads, but I really believe these companies such as GigMasters, GigSalad, Thumbtack, etc... are doing more harm than they are good. Yes it's great having the ability to bid on a lead that is genuinely seeking a service provide such as a magician (or) other forms of entertainment as well. But the downfall is it creates a cut throat environment where we are all fighting against one another over the same leads. Makes me feel like I'm playing the Hunger Games..."and may the odds be ever in your favor!"
Speaking from experience I know for a fact that when we as entertainers team up with one another and send each other leads, hire each other out, or simply offer a referral fee to your competitors. Then everyone wins, the market isn't being slashed by price under cutting. We appreciate and respect one another and more so we profit from one another.
So why are we allowing these 3rd party services control our business?
Why can't we come up with a solution for this problem...I can't be the only one who feels this way. And I must admit GigMasters I don't hate entirely...but that is only because they give you the clients info and allow you to contact them directly. But I don't understand why we pay a monthly fee, and yet we still have to pay them $20 if they book the gig for us. GigSalad I simply hate that you are forced to book with them directly, but I must say I appreciate that you don't have to pay a membership to get leads, and I appreciate that you can require the client to pay the fee, or split the fee with the client. However, Thumbtack I loathe entirely! Having to pay for a lead regardless of if the events books or not is dirty and unethical! They are getting paid by numerous entertainers for the same lead. You can waste A LOT of money VERY Quickly especially using their points system instead of a dollar amount system.
Wouldn't it be great if there were a national entertainment booking website that clients could go to that is highly ranked on search engines. The clients would see a list of local vendors, but they don't receive bids from vendors...but rather the client puts in what service they are wanting, how much they intend to spend on the service with a budget range (which is a requirement), obviously all the pertinent info about the gig, and they get to choose if they want a local only (or) nationwide performers to be show. Then based on the info they input a list of local entertainers are provided with all their contact info. The client contacts you directly...no bidding wars, they client has seen your work, be given your website, and contact info, they know your price is within their budget range, there could be a calendar option if you choose to use it so they would even know if you are available, and all you need to do is book the gig. With this service there would only be a monthly membership fee which is to be listed on the site as either a local and/or nationwide entertainer. There would also be a featured performer option in which case for a higher fee your info would be in a rotation for the top of the list with anyone else whom has paid for that option.
So I guess the real question here is who's with me? Who thinks this is a good idea? Who wants to invest in making this a reality?
I'm serious, it's time to put a stop to this.
Aaron Clark (Aka. The Amazing Ziggy)
One of the most important things to focus on when running a entertainment business is to focus on the next season. You must always be planning for 3 months ahead at the bare minimum. This applies for your advertising, for direct and indirect marketing, and many more aspects of business. You see if you are only planning for the events that you have this season, then you can get to the end of the busy time and not enough work for the next season. So it is critical to your business that even in the midst of being crazy busy to continue to advertise and promote and allow the success wave your riding on, to carry you much farther.
So how can you do this?
Well there are only 24 hours in a day and you are only one person so the best way to accomplish this goal is to build a team.
But won't that cost a lot of money??
Not if you do it right...you see you don't have to pay someone an hourly, or a salary rate which will really cut into your cash flow. What you can do is get numerous people doing a task that is time consuming for you do to but offers an big incentive for them. I suggest having interns that get paid by commission per lead that becomes a sale. I would also suggest that the commission be on a sliding scale so that the bigger the sale, the bigger the commission. Think about it like this...it doesn't cost you anything upfront and people are advertising your business for you...if they don't generate any leads then they obviously aren't doing a good job and they won't continue doing the job and your out nothing. But if they are good at the job and the get your more gigs they will work harder and you will be happier because you are working more.
One thing you do have to make sure of is that you know which intern provided which lead...I suggest making every potential client fill out a free quote form and have a mandatory field for them to tell you who they heard about your services. You will also need to make certain that any leads that are generated from those events (simply ask each client how they heard about you.) So that the intern gets continually income from bookings down the road as well. You want to keep that carrot on a string enticing those interns so they will continue to work hard for you. I also recommend having monthly sales bonuses with gift cards to the top intern.
Where can I find an intern willing to work for 100% commission?
It is much easier than you think! You see there are plenty of stay at home moms who want the freedom of being able to work from home. I prefer to pick women who have kids that are in school, so that they have a quite home during the day to be able to call clients without a screaming baby in the background. You can post ads yourself on social media, to local facebook groups, craigslist, put up some flyers around town, contact local churches, etc. The main thing is you need to stay local with your interns, first because you need to be able to meet them face to face and get to know them on a personal level, you should know that on Tuesday's Mary has to take little Suzie to her piano lessons and that is a time when you as the business owner should pickup the slack where Mary isn't available. You must be in control and stay in daily contact with your interns and not just assume that they are doing the job.
I hope these tips will help you to make your business more successful.
Goals are important, but it's even more important that you stay focused on those goals every day. You should have short and long term goals and your short term goals should be baby steps to getting you to the long term goals. Four years ago I moved from Virginia where I was a full time entertainer, because of personal life circumstances I was forced to leave that life and I moved to Georgia where I knew no one, I had zero connections, and I basically had to start over from scratch. (Not something I recommend to anyone.) I always told my wife that I could do my business anywhere in the world, not really ever thinking that I would have put that to the test. So what I have learned from this experience is that building a name for yourself is a tedious and time consuming process that takes years! I have only been performing as a full time magician here in Georgia for a year. It took 3 years for me to be able to say that I have enough clients to support my family again. Those 3 years were filled with a tremendous amount of hard work promoting my business while I also worked a full time job so I had the income to support my wife and 3 kids. My point in all of this is I had a goal to be a full time magician which was my long term goal. The baby steps to getting me to that goal took me 3 years, but I worked on it every day and I never gave up. And most importantly now that I have achieved that goal I set a new goal and I have been striving to achieve it. My long term goal now is to have my calendar full of events all booked 1 year in advance. Up and until now, even when I lived in Virginia, the majority of my events booked me within 30 days of their events, with a few bookings as far as 4-6 months out. But I never booked a single gig 1 year in advance, yet I heard many of my competitors and even friends were getting repeat clients and even new clients to hire them for the next year right after they finished their event.
So I stopped to think about it and for some of my friends in the DJ business it makes since why they are getting booked a year in advance for Weddings, Proms, and things of that nature. But how are the Magicians getting booked that far in advance? Well the answer I believe is in 2 parts, for potential clients, and for repeat clients. For potential clients, I believe it depends on the types of events that you are marketing to.
For fairs and festivals: The majority of these clients go to an expo where the meet the entertainers (this is typically done in the winter) then they start their planning for their event usually after the 1st of the year. So they are typically planning for a fall festival in January, or about 7-9 months out.
For trade shows: this is a different aspect because the convention itself isn't hiring you but rather the company that is at one of the booths. The conventions are annual conventions, so they know about 1 year in advance when the next convention will be so it's completely conceivable that they would book a magician 1 year in advance.
For schools: I believe it can be done to plan an event for 1 year in advance but in order for that to happen you would need to have proven yourself to the client that you can put on an amazing show (by them having seen a performance elsewhere, or because they are a repeat customer.)
For weddings: I believe it would only be because you wowed the bride and groom from another wedding you attended, or they have met you at a wedding convention.
For corporate: Yes without question I believe you can get them to book 1 year in advance, since the will know product launch dates, corporate outings, company picnics, grand openings, etc. It's all about getting to know the clients and having them love the service you provide, and creating an urgency in the clients mind that if they don't book you 1 year in advance then they won't be able to book you for next years event.
So what I'm getting at is that each market is going to be a little bit different but I believe that I will achieve this goal and I'm taking my baby steps every day toward achieving it.
Quote from Brian Tracy: "When your goals are clear, you come up with exactly the right answer at exactly the right time."
No I'm not referring to Magic Competitions where Magicians are trying to see who's the best by winning awards...I'm talking about your competitors, and not just other magicians. You see we are all competing for the clients dollars, and they only have some much to spend. So regardless of the type of event all clients have a budget, no matter if they say they do or not. All clients have a perceived amount of money they are willing to spend for a service. Now how much they are willing to spend on a magician is certainly effected by how much they have to delegate toward other entertainment, food, decorations, etc. I've never met a client yet that had unlimited funds for an event and I doubt I ever will. So we all need to be conscious of not only what other services our clients need but also what they cost. For Example: If you have worked a deal to send work to a local bakery and they do the same for you. Then you find out your client is looking for someone to bake them a cake for the party this will benefit you because you know 2 things: how much of their budget is going to be spent going to that bakery, and that that bakery is going to keep referring you because you referred them. You see if we all work together toward a common goal everyone wins. I so hate the every man for himself mindset that many competitors have, we gain so much more by working together and I am speaking from experience about this. I have made it a goal to team up with as many competitors as possible, it's a wonderful way of networking, building a positive reputation, and also it helps you grow your brand.
There is one other mindset that is a big issue for me, and that is that most direct competitors feel that you are taking work from them. And this is the farthest thing from the truth, there is more than enough work out there for us all, it's just important to make sure we are building ourselves up and showing the customers value in our business. However the problem is many competitors feel the need to tear down their competition by belittling them, using slander, and bad mouthing their product or service.
I can not tell you how much it disturbs me every time I hear a cell phone, internet service provider, or cable television ad that talks poorly of their competitors service and how they are so much better than the other. This form of advertising is sickening and should be against the law! I feel the same way about one magician talking bad about another...if we just focus on ourselves and build our brand then the clients will see us as who we are. Put yourself in the clients position, would you want to hear how bad someone else is? or would you rather hear how amazing the person your talking to is? And the proof is in the pudding so you need to have evidence that what you say is true...Don't feed your clients with a bunch of fluff, you need video testimonies from actual clients (not paid actors!) I get that in the beginning you may need to fake it until you make it...but keep it ethical and you will be far better off in the end.
Some great examples of how indirect competitors can team up to really enhance their shows is musicians and magicians working together.
Florida Georgia Line did it with Justin Flom
Michael Jackson, Missy Elliot, and Usher all did it with Franz Harary
& One Direction did it with Dynamo
Magic can be an amazing enhancement to a concert and it doesn't have to be with just stage illusions. With Camera Crews the magicians can roam the concert crowds performing closeup magic which is played on the big screen TV's on the stage. This way everyone gets to see the magic that is happening right there in the arena they are in.
It is certainly a dream of mine to be able to do exactly what these other magicians have done as an opening act for some big names in the music industry!
Sugar Scape wrote the following about Dynamo and One Directions Teaming UP:
Picture the scene - you’ve gone to see One Direction on tour, and they take to the stage looking a little different. Harry and Zayn are dressed in sequined leotards with feather headdresses, Louis is sawing Liam in half, Niall is trying his best to pull a meatball subway out of his snapback.
This wonderful dream could soon become a reality by the sounds of it, as awesome magician Dynamo has revealed that the 1D boys have asked him to get involved with their next tour and create a ‘magical spectacular’. AGH.
We’ve always said there’s something a bit magical about One Direction (and not just the fact that Niall looks a bit like a house elf), but apparently they quite fancy taking a proper step into the wizarding world with a bit of help from Dynamo.
According to The Mirror, the boys are in talks with their pal Dynamo, asking him to join them on their next tour and work his magic on their show, after he blew their little socks off during his amazing appearance in the 1D Day shenanigans.
The release of their fourth album, Four, probably means another tour is being pencilled in somewhere, and Dynamo revealed: “The 1D boys in the past have talked to me about creating some magical spectacular incorporating my magic with their tours, that would be amazing.”
It sounds like the 1D boys might be levitating by their ankles, pulling pigeons out of their pants and finding your secret 4 of clubs card in NO TIME, as Dynamo then added: “There is potential for it in the future.”
We see lights, we see sparkle, we see a whole lot of sequined spandex, and we are VERY EXCITED about this idea.
We’d prefer an appearance from Sabrina the Teenage Witch and Salem the cat, but this would still be quite good.
What do you think then? Would Dynamo be a good addition to a One Direction tour?
I never knew how vastly different the entertainment industry could be until I decided to relocate. I always told my wife that I could perform magic anywhere in the world and if she ever wanted to relocate I would do it. Well I didn't really think that day would ever come but 4 years ago it did, she wanted to move to Georgia. It was probably at the worst time, but none the less it was what she wanted and I held true to my word and we moved from our home in Salem, Virginia. The market in the Roanoke Valley was so different than it is in Metro Atlanta. I assumed there would be a lot more gigs and more competition, but I had no clue that the types of events would change. For example: In Virginia a HUGE market which was a major source of income for my business was after proms. The after prom parties were a way to keep high school kids safe on prom night by offering them entertainment that lasted all night long. This kept them off the streets, away from drugs and alcohol, and was a highlight for a memorable day. The after proms were put on by the PTA's for each school which were funded by on going fundraisers throughout the entire school year. It took an entire year of planning on their part as they incorporate a tremendous amount of entertainment crammed into an all night bash. There would have entertainment that would include: inflatable and interactive games, obstacle courses, slides, bungee runs, velcro walls, rock climbing walls, carnival games, DJ services, karaoke, casino games, caricature artists, face painters, balloon artists, stilt walkers, jugglers, airbrush tattoo art, fortune telling, concessions, and of course my magic and illusions show. When I lived in Virginia these were all services that I offered. I wanted to be a one stop shop for everything my client would need for anything they needed for any type of event.
So after moving to Georgia I assumed I would be able to promote my business the same way and I would just pickup new clients all around Atlanta with such a diversified type of entertainment business...well I was wrong! I now know why I was wrong too. You see I was in a small region in South Western Virginia, where there was very little competition, so I set the standard for the entertainment industry in that area...I also set the price range, as well as the expectations for the clients. So Atlanta already has an established entertainment industry and what I offer is NOT what they want...but why wouldn't the clients want to be able to get all their entertainment from one vendor? The reason is because they hadn't ever done it that way so it's a mindset, they are use to calling 10 different vendors that specialize in that one area of expertise. You see when you hire someone who specializes in that one area your are getting a professional, or in the clients eyes the best of the best! But if you hire someone who does such a wide variety they feel that the service can't possibly be as good. This was a hard lesson for me to learn but it was important for me and I'm much happier in my entertainment business now that I have decided my focus, or specialty is Magic...more specifically, Stage Magic. I love being in front of an audience showcasing my talent and that is why I chose to make this my career.
So I suppose the reason I am saying all this is to make you aware of the fact that before you relocate you really need to do some industry research and learn how the area will be different so you can the best game plan for your marketing strategy.
A great author few folks outside the magic world know about is Darwin Ortiz. In his book Strong Magic, Ortiz talks about the difference between good magic vs. bad magic. One of the strongest criticisms you can receive is not from a Layman but from other Magicians.
You have to understand that magic must have a purpose. When you choose to become a magician, you are pursuing to entertaining an audience. During this pursuit you will learn plenty of tricks, unique methods, and lots of inside lingo that only we magicians understand. Which if you have ever seen Penn & Teller on their TV Show Fool Us, then you will totally know what I mean but magicians lingo. There will come a day in your magic career that you will make friends and acquaintances with other magicians. Some of these other magicians may be more or less or more talented than you. Regardless at this point on your performance path, one of two things will happen. Your magic will change, to either be more about deceiving other magicians, magicians who already know the majority of the basic tricks. Your tricks get increasingly complicated and complex, and as a result, more entertaining to magicians who understand the different levels of skill needed to perform the tricks. However the problem with this is your tricks will get less and less entertaining to the general public. The general public doesn't understand how much effort you have invested into doing your incredible slight of hand vs. making a handful of sponge balls appear from a single ball. To the layman simplicity is best, because those fancy card shuffles merely make the trick more confusing, and give them more reasons to be a skeptic.
The second path is to improve your showmanship. You may, as someone like Darwin Ortiz did, become an incredibly talented and proficient magician, but you aim your magic towards the general public. A handful of basic deceits wrapped in a great story does more to entertain the general public than all of the fancy moves strung together incoherently. Why do magicians like Ortiz or other magicians choose this path? It’s where the money is. Magicians are entertainers and thus catering only to magicians caters to a group that historically isn’t terribly wealthy. The general public offers much more opportunity.
What does this have to do with marketing? If you read books about marketing, google about Search Engine Optimization, or learn about social media for businesses, and you risk starting to play into the marketing magic to other marketers and NOT to the general public.
The antidote to both avoiding magic for magicians and marketing for marketers is the same. Are you ready?...Write this down: PRACTICE!
Magicians you need to practice for live audiences, you need to give away what you do for a short period of time when you are learning. The real world experience you will gain is so far better than any experience you can learn in front of a mirror or from friends and family who give you bias criticism. Once what your practicing has become a talent that is when you can make money doing it. You’ll find that a handful of basic techniques performed flawlessly with great showmanship will win you audiences on the magic stage, and a handful of basic marketing techniques performed flawlessly with great content and stories will make you successful in your business.
I highly recommend a pod cast by Ken Kelly & Julian Mather on this subject:
Here's some details from their website:
If you’re a working magician, the Magician Business Podcast is filled with actionable tips and hard earned wisdom straight from the mouths of your successful peers. If you’re serious about your own professional development as a magician (we are) then the Magician Business training courses might be just the thing you need to take you to the next level. Got an entrepreneurial streak running through you? We run partnerships to develop new products that improve the income and well being of magicians and their families.
-Aaron Clark (The Amazing Ziggy)
I can barely contain my excitement for the Atlanta Harvest of Magic 2016, brought to you by the one and only Ken Scott! I was so disappointed that I couldn't make it to the show in 2015. So I made it my goal to make sure I can attend this years event. I am so looking forward to the connections that I will make, and lessons in the art of magic that I will learn. After 17 years I can't believe this will be my very first convention! I just never wanted to turn down work to go to a convention...or more accurately I didn't want to risk turning down work, because I am the bread winner for my family. I have to make sure I am making enough money to pay all the bills for my stay at home wife, and 3 kids. But finally I have decided that the connections that I can make will be more valuable than any event that I may turn away during those 3 days. I pray that by attending the Atlanta Harvest of Magic that God will bless me to be able to further my career as a magician. I moved to Georgia 4 and a half years ago and the one key thing that has helped me more than anything else in that time was the connections I have made, so I am certain that this will become a tremendous blessing. Of the guests that will be speaking/performing I can tell you the one that I am most excited to meet is Justin Flom. I am such a big fan, and he has certainly been an inspiration to my own career. My enthusiasm for Justin intensified on a personal level after seeing his latest testimony on youtube when he was speaking with Brock Gill about growing up with a father who was a magician and how he compares that to having a personal relationship with Jesus is such a great story!
Crowne Plaza near Hartsfield Airport
Crowne Plaza 1325 Virgina Ave. Atlanta, GA
1-843-760-5839 / 1-888-233-9527
Here is a schedule for the 3 Days:
Thursday - Sept 29th, 2016
1:00 -8:00 - Magic Shop Alley Open
2:00 - Harry Allen
4:00 - Brent Braun
Enjoy the Dealers and/or Dinner
7:00 - 7:15 - One Minute Dealer Demo
7:15 - Everyone buying from the dealers will get raffle tickets for prizes Thursday night.
8:00 - An Evening with Nick Lewin
10:00 - The Amazing Justin Flom Show/lecture/talk
Friday - Sept 30th, 2016
9:00 - 1:00 - Dealers open
9:30 - Suzanne The Magician
11:00 - Ken Scott Live School show (kids from school are coming to hotel)
1:30 - The Incredible Jeff Hobson: Lecture
3:00 - 6:00 - Dealers open - Go visit and buy from our Magic Dealers
7:00 - An Intimate Evening With Eugene Burger
9:00 - Closeup show in two different rooms. Performers will rotate.
11:30 - The Cast from The Illusionists will stop by to hang out and talk about the show
Saturday - Oct 1st, 2016
9:00 - 1:00 - Dealers open
9:30 - Robert Moreland
11:00 - Kostya Kimlat
Enjoy the Dealers and Lunch
2:00 - Martin Lewis
3:00 - 6:00 - Dealers open
4:00 - Gustavo Riley
8:00 - The BIG GALA show Your badge is your ticket.
If you need to buy more tickets lets us know.
****Subject to Change ******
The first key to earning top dollar as a performing magician is to know that it is conceivable and not just a fantasy. There are many famous & not-so famous magicians, illusionists and mentalists around the world who make a six-figure incomes. Plenty of these are working professional magicians who perform regularly in mid-level and high-level markets, and are more likely than not, making a six-figure income. Every successful magician needs to have their own approach to their business and brand, this will typically leverage on their talent, geographical location, and their connections (after all it's always who you know that can really help get you to the top.)
Lets focus in on making money for professional performing magicians, when doing so it comes down to two ways for you to make more money as an entertainer.
1. Perform for more gigs
2. Get paid more at each gig.
I recommend anyone reading: “Why Some Magic Acts Can Charge 10 Times More Than Others” or “The Showbiz Master Plan”.
Besides a fundamental change in a magicians approach to becoming a successful entertainer what is truly needed are three things:
1.) YOUR SERVICE:
Successful magicians have don't have just good shows they must have A GREAT SHOW! If not, they would not be able to sustain their success. Even if their marketing was the very best, ultimately their service has to be outstanding. Marketing can help promote and sell a show but the same marketing can also kill a bad show. If a bad show is promoted with great marketing, but is ultimately proven to be sub par by an UN-enthused audience, you can bet that magicians will not be booked again, and word travels fast! So work on a consistent high quality services before anything else.
2.) YOUR TRACK RECORD:
Successful entertainers must have a proven track record over time. Sure, everyone has a bad gig every now and again...but most of the time the audience doesn't even know you messed up. That's is if you are a talented magician then you have an way out of any conflict. A Magician needs to have multiple outs planned for any scenario that could go wrong during a performance. The key however is that successful entertainers will have many more good shows than bad ones. You have to build a portfolio of satisfied repeat clients, successful projects, and meaningful milestones. It's important to know that it will take a long time to reach a successful level. But with patience, hard work, dedication you can and will persevere.
3.) ELIMINATING YOUR COMPETITION:
All successful entertainers identify a niche market(s) they can excel and succeed in, which creates a market for yourself so you don't have anyone competing against you. It's critical that a magicians focus on being ONLY A MAGICIAN, not a magician for all occasions, and NOT a jack-of-all-trade entertainer. It's of key importance to focus on ONE talent and master that one talent, in one or no more than two specific markets within that field. No one can be good at everything, and even if you think you are, your clients won't believe what you say. After all seeing is believing and just hearing you say that your good at everything, doesn't make a believer out of your potential client. It’s important to be conscious of your businesses perception, because if you’re not, someone else will create that perception for you, which will become your reality. Things aren’t always what they seem, marketers and magicians rely on this fact to make you see things – the way they want you too. Artists do this as well.
You may have seen Julian Beever’s amazing pavement drawings. He utilizes the Trompe l’oeil technique, which means “trick the eye” in French. He uses his drawing stills to create a perception. Like an optical illusion, our mind attempts to fill in the details of something it either thinks it already knows, or doesn’t quite understand. This works out fine, when that’s the intention – momentarily letting our world be shaped for fun. But wandering through life, letting others create your perceptions, can lead to a disaster, especially if it is with your business.
It's also important to be reactive to the market over time and expand or search for new markets when you have outgrown the market you are in. This could be in the form of:
-Expanding into the same market outside your area
-Expanding into other related markets within your area
-Expanding into other related markets outside your area
Identify a market that you can dominate and that has value. Finding a way to be different is very important for a magician, because we all basically do the same things. But it is our personalities that set us apart, we also have to find an audience that we cater to. One way to focus on a target audience is by creating a niche market. For example: a magician who has certainly created a unique brand for himself that is one of the best dove magicians in the business. He has set himself way apart from all the other magicians. He as done this by being himself and making his brand a huge part of his image. I am referring the Dan Sperry of course. Dan completely gets the importance of appealing to a niche market, now a lot of other magicians think negatively of Dan because his image is so extreme, but what is so genius about Dan is that he isn't fake...he is true to himself. He loves the goth look, and it's who he is on and off the stage, he's not pretending. But his slogan however is something of controversy: "Magic No Longer Sucks!" Well its a bold statement for him to make, it's slightly offensive, and borderline demeaning toward other magicians. But it's a statement that I feel is justified for one reason, his magic doesn't suck! Dan is an extremely talented magician and he can come across as a little cocky or arrogant with a statement like that, but hey hater's are gonna hate right? So the bottom line is if he backs up what he says then really, who cares! I have learned a great deal from Dan Sperry and I highly recommend other magicians follow his lead because knows how to market better than any other magician I have seen!
“One can perceive me only with his limited vision. A droplet can't perceive the extent of the ocean."
If you have been around anyone vaguely interested in marketing, you have probably heard the saying “Sell the Sizzle NOT the Steak”. This phrase was coined by Elmer Wheeler in the mid 1920's, when Wheeler urged salespeople to focus on the experience around a product being sold, rather than simply on the object itself. It means appealing to the senses and emotions of the buyer, with the assumption that this is what motivates most people to make a purchase. Wheeler says it best in this YouTube Video:
Another form of this expression is “Sell the Benefits NOT the Features”. Or perhaps you have heard it put like this, “Sell People What They Want, NOT What They Need”.
Anyway you say it, it all comes down to the simple fact that people “Buy on Emotion and Justify Their Purchases Using Facts“.
As a magician / small business owner I have to work very hard at knowing when to sell the sizzle and when to sell the steak. This really is where an outsider, such as someone who specializes in marketing, can be of great help. Someone who is not infected with the “we know what went into to making this” virus.
Face it, people don’t care how long you have struggled, how many hours in front of a mirror you have practiced that card trick, slight of hand, card manipulation, coin vanish, etc. People also don't care how much money you have invested into your performance, your props, costumes, illusions, or rehearsals with your crew. They also don't care how many years of your life it took to bring your talent to fruition. Don’t waste valuable attention time by trying to sell someone on these things, because THEY DON'T CARE only you do! So Ask yourself one thing and one thing only, and this one thing is absolutely critical...From the customer’s point of view ask this question – “What is in it for ME?“.
What can your client get from you that they can't get from every other magician? What sets you apart? Why choose you?
For myself I offer specific theme magic shows that are unique and unlike anyone else not just in my area but anywhere! I try to combine elements of different art forms that enhance my routine and I can design an entire act around that one theme. For example I do a bubble theme magic show which incorporates Bubbles and Magic that can be done either using bubbles, science with bubbles, or illusions that make you think what I am doing involves bubbles and then there is an element of surprise when they find out the bubble has transformed into a real object. I even perform animal appearances from within bubbles...I incorporate over an hour of captivating magic and illusions all around that theme and the audience loves the show! So I have found a way to take my audience on an entire bubble journey filled with laughter and excitement.
So this is just one example of how I set myself apart from everyone else, and this is also how I am able to charge a fee higher than my competitors and the client doesn't bat and eyelash about it because they see the value or to put in into perspective, they understand "What's in it for me?"
-Aaron Clark (The Amazing Ziggy)
Magicians that team up and work together will have twice the work rather than competing against one another and more frequently pushing clients away because of the negative and hurtful comments that are said about each other. I believe that we should never talk bad about our competition! EVER! First of all this just makes you look bad to the client by belittling your peers. Second, it's more important to build yourself up than it is to tear down someone else. Even if what your saying is 100% fact and true, it is still not something to tell your clients, the proof is in the pudding as they say. So, if that person isn't doing a good job and has a bad reputation, then they won't be around very long anyway. Be true to yourself, remain humble, give glory to God and praise Him for your blessing and you will be rewarded.
If we all come together as a team we can then profit from one another. If I have a client that wants a magician and I'm not available, wouldn't it be better for me to book one of my fellow magicians and profit 20% on them. Plus I retaining that clients info for future bookings, rather than losing the client all together or just referring them to another magician? I mean this is a business we are in, and I assume we all do this because we want to make money and not just because we enjoy performing magic. Though I suppose, If magic is your hobby this wouldn't apply to you. I'm mainly speaking here to working professional magicians. The other benefit of teaming up is you create closer connections with other magicians and you can learn from each other, sharing is caring after all.
So what I'm getting at here In the words of Rodney King: "Can't We All Just Get Along?" We all need to work together, and let go of the competition mentality. There is more than enough work for us all, it is up to you to determine your reputation. So you can either give your clients a reason to brag about hiring you and how great the experience was, or you can belittle your competition and then your arrogance and bad attitude will show thru and your clients will have that to tell their friends, families, and anyone on social media.
Many Magicians including myself offer Team Building Workshops and Seminars for corporate events where we use magic and mentalism in ways that excite and encourage the corporate professionals to work together to achieve a common goal. I hosts and present an enjoyable fun team-building workshop where the delegates can learn exciting new skills that include magic tricks. My clients use my services as team building magician so this it can add a different, intriguing and fun angle to their day.
A typical team building event teaches the delegates some easy to do but impressive magic tricks that can be performed after the event has ended, for both family or business colleagues and associates.
The concept is for participants to work together in small teams to learn these magic tricks and mind techniques. Then with their newly acquired skills they perform to the whole group in an end of event magic show, similar to the TV Show Wizard Wars. Wizard Wars inspires this principal of comradery that I have been referring to. And wouldn't you know it Wizard Wars was founded because of 2 magicians Rick Lax & Justin Flom who came together with an idea of doing magic with every day objects, the idea spawned some really ingenious magic and really made magicians put the creativity to the test. Which is exactly why I use this in my corporate magic team building workshops.
The teams are encouraged to come up with their own presentations for the tricks so challenging their creative thinking, communication, presentation and problem solving showcasing their own unique abilities and talents. The show performed by selected delegates creates a great atmosphere where all involved are rooting for their colleagues and willing them to succeed.
Here is what Wikipedia tells us about Wizard Wars:
Wizard Wars is a reality competition show in which teams of magicians create and perform original magic routines before a live studio audience. Their acts are judged on creativity, deception, and showmanship. Vegas headliners Penn & Teller head up the judging panel, alongside magic critic Christen Gerhart and World Champion of Magic Jason Latimer. Wizard Wars also features four "home team" magicians—the "Wizards"—who return every week to take on new teams of "challengers." Wizards include street magician Justin Flom, stage illusionist David Shimshi, mentalist Angela Funovits, and con man Gregory Wilson. The series premiered August 19, 2014
Wizard Wars was created in 2012 by Vegas-based magic consultant Rick Lax and street magician Justin Flom. Flom filmed the original Wizard Wars pilot in Lax's apartment, on a $15 budget. The competing magicians created routines with placemats, beach balls, colored erasers and fake oranges. Flom's YouTube video, featured on Wired.com and BoingBoing.com, caught the eye of production company A. Smith & Co., who worked with Lax and Flom to sell the show to the Syfy network. Flom now stars in the show as a "Wizard"; Lax works behind the scene as a producer and magic consultant.
Season 1 Wizard Angela Funovits creating in the 'Magic Workshop.' Also pictured: Series creator Rick Lax (far left) and Wizard/series originator Justin Flom (middle).Notable magicians appearing on Wizard Wars include Las Vegas headliners Murray SawChuck, Tommy Wind, Nathan Burton, Greg Dow, America's Got Talent's Leon Etienne (Season 8), and Naathan Phan.
Over a million people watched the Wizard Wars series premiere. The episode highlighted Canadian illusionists Chris Funk and Ekaterina, who ended up losing the "Wizard War" to "Wizards" Gregory Wilson and Justin Flom.
Speaking on behalf of Flom and himself, Lax said this of the Internet-to-series premier journey: “The most unlikely part of the YouTube-video-to-Syfy-show transition was that the original Wizard Wars vision stayed in shape...Everyone told me, ‘Hollywood is going to tear your idea apart,’ but that didn’t happen. Only thing that happened was the magic got bigger and better.”
Wizard Wars maintained "very solid ratings" and was renewed for another six episodes. In these six episodes ("Season 1.5") former Challenger Billy Kidd joins the cast as a full-fledged Wizard.
-Aaron Clark (The Amazing Ziggy)
When it comes to hiring a professional what is more important, the quality of the performance, or the price?
It really isn't any different than when your buying a car. Would you expect to pay the same amount for a Kia as you would for a Mercedes? Of course not, there are a lot of people who assume that all local magicians should charge the same amount. But they are wrong! And the reason is just the same as my buying a car example. Not every magician offers the same services and some have a better show than others, some have better options for their shows, some have more experience, some have won awards, while others may be new to the entertainment industry and have a low price as they don't offer a comparable service. The thing that most clients don't understand is that it's not about an industry standard price. It's about a price that that magician feels his/her show is worth. No one is forcing the client to hire that person it up to the client to come to a decision about if they desire a cheap magician or a quality magician.
Often times the client expects to get a Mercedes for the price of a Kia and its up to each magician to explain their services options to their clients so they fully understand what they are getting. This is where the problem lies as many magicians don't go into great details of what the clients are getting. Thus many clients are upset that they don't feel they got what they paid for either the price was too high and the quality was too low or for the performer the quality is very high and their price is too low. Now this can happen for many reasons. Often many magicians are unaware what price they should be charging, or how to up sell their services. There is a very important tool that all magicians should learn and that is the art of negotiating. And yes this is an art form, even for the client they can use to lower a magicians price taking advantage of them. For me I always aim high and work my way down until the client and myself have agreed upon what is fair.
A big mistake many magicians is starting the negotiations low and then trying to up sell with add-ons to their show. This is a terrible mistake and is why a lot of magicians work so cheap! What this does is It brings down the market for everyone.
The key to negotiating is building value before you discuss a price. Too often magicians quote a price before they have told anything about the services they offer. It's critical that the magician sells the service and sells him/herself prior to quoting a price. There is a great technique to doing this about its by asking questions to your clients.
Many clients will ask what's your price within the first 30 seconds of a conversation. I defer saying there are a lot of factors that go into my pricing, can you tell me more information about your event.
What is the date? What's the time frame? Where is it? How many people are you expecting? What age range? Have you ever hired a magician before? If so who? Tell me about the venue? Is it indoors or outdoors? Is there a stage? How high are the ceiling? How big is the room? What type of flooring is there? Etc...
All of these are leading questions that help you to qualify your potential client.
These questions will help you determine your clients budget before you even ask them the #1 question which is so important to the conversation.
I tell the client that all these factors help me determine what show is best for you. And I know you want a price but here's what I will do. I will email you a written quote which will go into great detail of what you can expect from my performance. Plus I will have several options for you to choose from and best of all I will customize your quote to fit within your budget range. So I need to know your budget. Give me an idea of how much you would want to spend so I can customize your quote. Then wait...resist from saying anything!! Let them speak first, they will either say what their budget is, or they will defer that to saying they don't know what their budget is. At this point if they don't know then I ask so who is the decision maker for the budget? If it's not them I ask if I can contact them directly so that I can tell them about the quality of my performance. You see if they aren't the decision maker then they are not who you should be talking to anyway!
There is an incredibly informative CD that was made many years ago which I gained a great deal of knowledge from and I highly recommend to any working procession in any entertainment field! It called Negotiating Higher Performance Fees by Michael Ammar. You can purchase this CD from penguin magic at the link below:
Or if out of stock you can also purchase from Penguin Magic at:
Here is some more info about Michael Ammar:
Here are some testimonials from other magicians who have listened to it:
You will earn more after listening to the CD just one time!
This is everything you need to know about negotiating higher fees for your shows.
Professional magicians had this to say the following:
"I feel it's the most valuable information (Michael) has ever made available"
"If you would have had NHPF 35 years ago, I'd be sitting on my own island somewhere in the Caribbean, playing around with my computer. The tape is excellent!"
"I used one idea from the tape the very next day and made an extra $900!"
My Name is Aaron Clark and I'm know as The Amazing Ziggy. I've been a Professional Magician for over 20 years performing all over the US and internationally, but mostly for events on the east coast in the Atlanta Area.