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Topic: Cold call... does it work?
Message: Posted by: cardfreakhk (Jan 8, 2003 05:20AM)
I always dare not call in and directly ask for job... Who has done it and successfully get a job?

I hope someone can share some experience.

Michael Lam :baby2:
Message: Posted by: hkwiles (Jan 8, 2003 01:44PM)
Just ask the owner if he would be interested in something that would

a) increase his customers.
b) encourage existing ones to come back

If you can find an owner who doesn't say yes let me know.

When he does say yes - show him a couple of routines - or better still - just walk up to a table introduce yourself and do a few tricks whilst he is watching and can see their reaction.

Good Luck
Message: Posted by: Peter Marucci (Jan 8, 2003 02:24PM)
Howard makes two good selling points, in the post above.

But, if you plan on doing table work, then get used to rejection and make those cold calls!

You'll get lots of rejection in restaurant table work: some people are more interested in each other, some people have a religious or other aversion to magic, some are there for business, some are there for romance, some are there just because they're hungry!

Every so often you will find someone who is there because you are there.

But, until that happens, get used to rejection!

I used to make cold calls; yes, they work, and no, I didn't like doing it one little bit!

But, then, I don't take rejection well!
Message: Posted by: BenSchwartz (Jan 8, 2003 03:31PM)
I don't know if Howards suggestion is too good. I tried it out. I made a cold call to a resturaunt. I said "hi my name is ben, I would like to know if you would like something that would bring in new customers?" In the middle of that line he laughed and hung up. Something I knew was going to happen... lol... I think when you cold call you must ask them if they have had any entertainment, are interested in any and if they have any currently.
Message: Posted by: RandomEffects (Jan 8, 2003 04:28PM)
As my friend, a business coach, told me that you can expect about a 4-5% return on Cold Calling in most businesses. With magic you can expect more of a 2% return, but on the plus side if you are willing to make enough calls and have The right pitch to make over the phone you will eventually beat the odds. Just don't get discouraged by the number of rejections you will recieve.
Personally i just go for the Cold Walk-In. It is easier for someone to hang up on you. Once i am talking to him or her i will know within about 15-30 seconds whether or not to pursue the subject any further. This can be Alot harder to tell over the phone. On the plus side if you have the time you can make a lot more phone calls than visits in day.

Best of luck And stop when you start to feel depressed,

Message: Posted by: Steven Steele (Jan 9, 2003 11:27PM)
I think you have to select the marketing strategy that works in your area. I know some areas will respond to cold calling and other areas of the states want to see you in person. Other areas work better with mail.

That being said, here in southern California, I think cold calling is falling rapidly out of favor, thanks to the 5 to 10 telemarketers that call my business line as well as my residential line 7 days a week.

I have been talking to other businesses and they are extremely frustrated to the point they don't like answering their phone.

Californians seem to like their e-mail and Faxes. That's what works better, for my market anyway.

Message: Posted by: Jewls (Jan 10, 2003 10:32AM)
As a business owner I don't like receiving cold calls and I don't make them. I first send out a picture post card...Yes magicians can get them too! I print my simple sales pitch and the address on them with my computer it tells them I will be calling soon. I then call 10:00am and ask to speak to the General Manager. If there is an interest set up an appointment. Bring your promo pack so they can start promoting your appearance. Send or deliver your Letter of Agreement or contract which should be signed by both parties.
Good luck!
Message: Posted by: Mr A (Jan 10, 2003 11:53AM)
To me, a warm call (sending a letter or postcard first) is just as bad as a cold call. I say go in person and be ready to perform for the owner/manager or a table.
Message: Posted by: Jewls (Jan 15, 2003 01:09PM)
Mr. A,
I was just sharing what works for me. In fact the last restaurant I booked called me before I called them. Just showing up in person can be a waste of time if the owner/General Manager is busy or not in. I know some people just go and eat lunch and ask to see the manager. If you do this go early because lunch is busy and ask to see the General Manager. Let us know how this works for you!

Message: Posted by: Mr A (Jan 15, 2003 02:05PM)
I have an aversion to getting unsolicited phone calls so I don't make them. I only work at 1 place 2 nights a week.
I got this job by going in person around 3pm. This was the third restaurant I tried.
I did not get a good feeling at the first 2 so I did not offer to do 2hr for free. So I chalked them up as a learning experience. The third one I talked with the owner and after 2 effects offered to come back the next night and do 2hr for free, after 2hrs he paid me for that night and we agreed on a contract.
Message: Posted by: IanBrodie (Jan 15, 2003 06:24PM)
I'm not an expert on cold calling/selling restaurant magic (I was lucky enough to know the owner of the place I perform) - but I have worked as an advisor to a lot of salespeople in similar situations. The key, as Peter points out, is persistance and having a thick skin.

For most selling situations like this you can work out a simple equation. In this case it might be:

No of "sales" = (no of restaurants visited) x (no of times you get in to see the manager) x (no of times the manager says yes)

I know this is simplistic, and you could probably work out a better one yourself, but what it lets you do is see clearly that if you want to increase sales there are three levers you can pull:

1) Increase the number of sales visits you make
2) Increase the % of time you get an appointment to see the manager
3) Increase the % of times an appointment turns into a sale

You can then think through tactics for each lever.

For (1) perhaps the key thing here is JFDI - and don't get demoralised into stopping

For (2) think through - what's the best time
of day to visit/call for the manager to be in? What's my pitch to an assistant/barman or whoever to get me in to see the manager? What should I wear to increase my chances of getting in (e.g. a business suit may send a subtle signal to an assistant that they should let you through) etc etc.

For (3) Think through what's in it for him. Obviously you hope to increase his business - but how exactly? It's too trite and obvious to say "I can increase your business" - he gets 10 people a day telling him that for a variety of products - how can you convince him you really can? Is it more repeat customers? If so - based on an average check size, how many repeats would you need to cover your fees (e.g. "all it would take is 5 of your customers to visit once more per month" - or whatever). Is it new customers? (If so how are you going to attract them in in the first place?) Is he going to make more money per customer? If so how (e.g. more high margin drinks/coffee sold as you perform after the main meal). Or is it more a "guest relations" exercise in maintaining loyalty? (a good pitch if a new restaurant has opened nearby and he's feeling the pinch). You could go on forever here - the point is you need to think this through and have a clear and concise description of what you could do for him - not a woolly "it'll be good for business". References help - but he'll be interested in references that say how you increased business - not just how good an entertainer you were.

Apologies for going on (figuring out how to increase sales in different industries used to be my life!) My key message is do a bit of thinking before you go out calling. But after you've done that and you've got your pitch clear, you have to keep on trying and put up with a lot of rejections.



PS One final hint - when making sales pitches of this type watch your language. Depending on the culture you're working in, saying "I can increase your sales by X" or similar can come across as a challenge (the immediate mental reaction is "oh you can, can you - well obviously you don't understand how difficult my business is"). it's usually best to be slightly indirect - "in my experience, by doing this you can usually increase sales by X" or "when I worked for a resutaurant in A, they reported a 10% increase in repeat business" or whatever. If you don't have experience yourself then use a more generic "Generally you find that........".

This works better because instead of being an unproven claim which may be risky, it comes across as something which has been done before and is less risky.

It does depend on culture and the individual you're working with though - you have to take a bit of a read on that.
Message: Posted by: ChrisZampese (Jan 15, 2003 06:29PM)
I worked in a few restaurants over a number of years as everything except the entertainer! (Waiter, barman, kitchenhand, chef and even cleaner).
The places I worked never employed table hoppers (This has more to do with the city/country I live in than the restaurants).
One thing I noticed is that the only people that got employed were those that actually showed their faces in the restaurant.

If you go in in person, then choose your time wisely. I would suggest going in on a Monday or Tuesday evening (not usually too busy) about the time that they start to get busy for the day (don't go when it is too quiet as you will probably not get to see the manager). If you are trying to decide what to wear, base your choice on the style of clothes that the wait staff wear. This will give you a good indication of the type of restaurant it is, and the kind of style the manager prefers.

Don't know if any of this is useful, but it is some of what I picked up from working 'the other side of the bar'.
Message: Posted by: cheezymagic (Jan 21, 2003 02:47AM)
Do not call, Do not mail, Do not walk in! Learn first how to market yourself and your product, most magicians don't. Learn about referals, networking, and auditioning. :wow:
Message: Posted by: hkwiles (Jan 21, 2003 05:26AM)
Cold Calls over the phone are too easy to decline.
Personal visits are the only way, as most Sales Reps will tell you(I was one for 30 years)In the UK we are used to having Reps call on people ( the UK isn't as big as the States so driving around and covering your "patch" is quite feasible ).Like most things it's a technique that has to be learnt.
At least with a Café/Bar or whatever you don't usually have a receptionist to get past (the hardest thing) you can just walk in as a customer, order a meal/drink gain rapport with the staff and you should be half way there!

Now that I've said my bit - You can all shoot me down in flames !!

Howard :arg: :arg:
Message: Posted by: ChrisZampese (Jan 21, 2003 08:54PM)
On 2003-01-21 03:47, cheezymagic wrote:
Do not call, Do not mail, Do not walk in! Learn first how to market yourself and your product, most magicians don't. Learn about referals, networking, and auditioning. :wow:

Can you expand on this a little? I do not know how to apply the above to getting a job table hopping. I would love to hear any pearls that you may be willing to share regarding this as I love to market myself appropriately and well.

Referrals: Who will refer you if you have never done this sort of work before?

Networking: With Whom? The manager? The patrons? Media?

Auditioning: For a table hopping position?
Message: Posted by: rkrahlmann (Jan 21, 2003 10:38PM)
Here's my 2-cents...
Check out the places you want to work. You can probably hit 3-4 a night. Sit some where you can look over the area for 30-minutes to an hour. Get a feel of the place and the customers. See if it a place that would work for your kind of entertainment.
Then go back in person, (during a slow time)and ask to see the manager. Introduce yourself, say you were in the other night, (they will be more open to listen to you if you've actually been in before) and based on what you saw, think you might be able to provide a service. Then explain why your act would be of benefit to the restaurant and its customers. I would then offer to do an hour or so for free some night.
Remember, the restuarant manager and owner don't care about how good a magician you are. They only care that you will improve the experience of customers. Saying "I'm the best slight of hand artist" doesn't mean anything to them. Saying "Your customers will enjoy themselves more, and you will be providing something that other restaurants don't have." (or something to that effect) speaks to their need.
And yes, get used to rejection. It isn't personal.
Message: Posted by: Maritess (Jan 22, 2003 12:23AM)
Cold calls work. Just look professional, be charismatic, tell them the benefits be confident. I've cold called a restuarant weeks after a restaurant turned down another close up magi, simply because they liked my magic better! It's a numbers game. If you have a high tolerance for rejection, you have the potential to be a successful businessperson and life-liver!
xoox Maritess


P.S. I started in this biz years ago by busking at restaurants. This is the toughest way to start, you might want to reconsider if this is really what you want to do. Wouldn't you rather be an accountant? They make good money and it's a steady job =)
Message: Posted by: Cabrera (Jan 23, 2003 08:44AM)
Here's what has worked for me. Get dressed to perform magic. GO to the restaurant where you want the job. Ask for the manager. Show him/her a visual quickie. ( It's critical the the trick or routine is good)State that you would like to entertain his guests for free.Normally there's a charge, but you would like to show how well received magic can be for his venue. Alos mention that you can help bring in more customers on the slower nights, and also help entertain during banquets(added value) and real busy times, while customers wait.
Don't just stick your toes in the water.... dive right in, sponge balland all. Make a list of 10 reataurantsd you want to perform in. As you approcah these establishments, your pitch will get better and better. Soon you willl be juggling a restaurant schedule. If this doesn't get you any work ( highly unlikely) a restaurant can always use a dishwasher!
Message: Posted by: Salazar Magic (Jan 23, 2003 11:52PM)
Other than restaurants, who else do you cold call? ie: Caterers, Wedding planners...
Message: Posted by: Jewls (Jan 24, 2003 07:04PM)
I am already working all of the restaurants I have time for. I have another person working one for me. I studied Business and marketing in college. I have read several books on this subject. I shared exactly how I got this work in my post above. I agree what works for one may not work for another. My clients call me for work every day I always answer with a smile. I believe a warm call is more effective then a cold call...a picture says a thousand words. The next time I need a new restaurant I will try the show up method and see how it works out.
The General Managers are never at my restaurants at night I don't recommend evening visits. If your going to just show up you might want to call and ask when the General manager is in, you will probably be speaking with the Hostess, the GM doesn't work seven days a week.
Message: Posted by: SKILL (Jan 25, 2003 12:05AM)
Ooooo I love the Picture :righton:
Message: Posted by: Turk (Feb 1, 2003 03:31AM)
To: rhrahlmann

Great post! Good practical tips.

The only thing I might add is to have 2-3 quick visual effects to demonstrate to the manager AT THE APPROPRIATE TIME. And for God's sake, have these effects down cold and with good presentation. This is not the time to be doing impromptu patter, practicing your patter lines or doing the "Now I put this card in the middle of the deck; now I shuffle the deck, etc".

Be professional in all you do and say--and smile.

Just my two cents worth.