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Topic: The right attitude
Message: Posted by: sethb (Sep 29, 2008 09:59AM)
At a Fall street fair this past weekend, there was a rock-climbing ride set up across the street from me. The guy had a beautiful setup: it was a portable ride mounted on a truck, and the ride was clean and in nice condition. But despite good traffic and a good location (right next to a petting zoo), he only did spotty business. Why?

This guy never smiled the entire day! He looked like he was completely miserable and unhappy about something or other. Of course, the poor business only made him more unhappy, so it was a vicious circle. He just sat there in front of his ride, looking sad as could be, simply waiting for people to come in and get on it -- not a good arrangement for doing big business! There was no spiel, no bally, no music or noise, nothing to draw people in (and his attitude was probably repelling people instead of atracting them). Now maybe he was just a hired employee and not the owner, so he didn't care how he did -- but in that case he wasn't doing the owner any favors by working the job that day.

I have seen this situation on more than a few occasions, and am very puzzled by it. Whatever your own personal problems may be, you have got to put them aside and put on a good front when you are selling. Everyone has their own problems and so they certainly don't want to know about your problems!

You also cannot assume that people are going to be banging down your door to buy whatever you are selling, even though it may be the greatest thing since sliced bread. In fact, people are not even going to stop and look unless you give them a good reason to do so. And your joint must be neat, clean, attractive and attention-getting, because people are only going to walk past it once. And they will either stop or keep on walking, which would you prefer?

In my experience, there is just no substitute for enthusiasm, talking, demonstrating, and interacting with the crowd. If you just sit there, your sales will just sit there, too! But if you are having a good time, then the crowd will have a good time, too. If you are having fun performing a trick, then they will think that they can also have fun doing the same thing -- and the wallets will open. When someone walks by, I always say "Good Morning," and you would be surprised how much that alone helps to stop and draw in people, even before I say or do anything else. These people are at a fair or festival to be entertained, to see something new and different, so don't disappoint them!

Like almost anything else in life, if you want a good result, you have to make it happen! SETH

P.S. The other reason the rock-climbing ride did poorly, in my opinion, was that it was $5 for one ride. I think if he would have charged $4, he would have gotten much more business and probably still made more money, even at the cheaper price, because $4 SOUNDS a lot cheaper than $5, even though it really isn't. But price wasn't his primary problem, in my view.
Message: Posted by: DonDriver (Sep 29, 2008 10:19AM)
Good post Seth.I comes down to two words " commom sense" that you seem to have a lot of.Sad to say,it keeps getting harder and harder to find in people today.

Message: Posted by: sethb (Sep 29, 2008 10:57AM)
Don, thanks for the kind words, they are much appreciated. I was going to say that these ideas are not "rocket science," but just common sense, but you beat me to it! They are also the result of my own experience as well as watching other vendors and seeing what they do or don't do. Seems like almost every time I go out on a show, I learn something or improve something that makes it better for the next time. I have also made my share of mistakes, but have tried to learn from them as well.

Although I have a full-time job and do not pitch for a living, I would still like to make a nice buck doing it and want to maximize my take. It's the same amount of work to set everything up, pitch for 6-7 hours, break everything down and drive it all home, so why not make as much as you can in the process? SETH
Message: Posted by: Cholly, by golly! (Sep 29, 2008 11:06AM)
It's not just about the smile, either.

For some reason, SITTING DOWN turns people off.

Maybe it's because if you look like you're relaxing, no one wants to bother you, even to give you money.

Sitting down usually places you at a lower level than your customers... never a good practice.

A vendor who is constantly standing or moving will almost always out-perform some guy who never gets out of his chair.


Another thing the guy should have tried was letting a few folks try the rock-climbing wall for free.

Nothing attracts people like people.
Message: Posted by: Rod Pringle (Sep 29, 2008 11:14AM)

I see this all the time in large chain stores, stone faced cashiers , not even a good morning..nothing out of them I see it in banks, stone faced tellers, not even a greeting. I attended one of the well known tent circuses this summer, the first thing I noticed , was there was no midway excitment, no calliope music playing, no talkers, it was totally silent, and the crowds were sparse. I noticed the snake show, it had speakers on it, but nothing working. the ticket taker just sat there with his hand under his chin bored out of his tree.( and there wasn't a person near his grind show ) Of course the side show is now gone and that always had a talker out front, but I think circus management is missing the boat on creating excitiement on the midway, its one thing just to walk by a grind show and see a snake on the banners, but to have a steady grind from a talker adds excitment, who can resisit" STOP, LOOK THROUGH THE DOORWAY, LOOK WHAT THEY ARE LOOKING AT...SEE WHAT THEIR SEEING. YOUR MIND WILL NOT BELEIVE WHAT YOUR EYES ARE SEEING...STARE DOWN INTO THE BEADY EYES OF A 25 FOOT PYTHON, BIG AS A MAN'S ARM, JULIUS SQUEEZER..BIG AS A TELEPHONE POLE AND TWICE AS LONG..... Now Seth...thats excitiement!!!! and it attracts people, that why our forefathers in the show business ran their midways like that..they knew)

I really enjoyed your post, You hit the nail right on the head..as always!!! I see a lot of people today with a big scowl on their face as they take your money, a friendly smile and a few jokes go a long way!!!, especially in the pitch business...its a MUST!

Have a good one

Message: Posted by: sethb (Sep 29, 2008 11:17AM)
What you say about sitting is very true, Cholly. Why would anyone bother to do business with someone who isn't even willing to get up and deal with them?

Incidentally, the vendor on the other side of me was a new bank in town. They had a big table with all sorts of brochures and giveaways on it, and a very fancy (expensive) 3' by 8' banner hanging off the front of it.

It looked very enticing -- but behind the table was a person who was sitting in a chair with a footrest, and their feet up on the footrest! They obviously dragged some unwilling employee out on a Saturday to man the booth (were they afraid that somebody would steal all of the free merchandise?), and in the process did not project a very good image, in my view. They spent a lot of money for the space and the booth, but dropped the ball by not having an experienced PR person handle the event. When I think of a banker, I do not think of people lounging around with their feet off the groud -- I want someone who hits the ground running! SETH
Message: Posted by: sethb (Sep 29, 2008 11:25AM)
[quote] On 2008-09-29 12:14, Magicman97 wrote: I see a lot of people today with a big scowl on their face as they take your money, a friendly smile and a few jokes go a long way!!!, especially in the pitch business...its a MUST! [/quote]
Rod, I agree 100%, in fact, this is one of my pet peeves -- cashiers who think they are doing you a big favor by waiting on you and taking your money, when actually it's YOU who are doing THEM a favor by buying something.

That's why I always say "Thank you for your business" whenever I make a sale. I know it's only a $5 or $10 transaction, but to me it's just common courtesy, good business and the principle of the thing. And I say it whether it's a child or an adult handing me money. In fact, especially if it's a kid, I figure that maybe they will learn by example! SETH
Message: Posted by: Rod Pringle (Sep 29, 2008 11:28AM)
Hello Cholly:

You are totally right. I rememebr in a side show one time,years ago. a 10 in one, I walked in, and the fat lady was reading a book...the Blade Box girl was writing a letter home...while the sword swallower was working. I know the hours are long up there, but reading a book during a show and writing letters..reeks of total boredom on the performer's part. And drags down the professionalism of the show in general.

And at flea markets, etc. I see vendors setting reading a magazine in their joints..and doing no business. A few yards away, someone is pitching mops with a speaker system going, and has a tip of 30 people in front of him, and yes..he is on an elevated joint too. FLASH IT UP!!!!!!!!KEEP IT MOVING!!!!!

Thanks for your post!!!!

Message: Posted by: Rod Pringle (Sep 29, 2008 11:39AM)

You are sooooo right. It takes only a few friendly words like THANKS FOR YOUR BUSINESS to make the customer feel good, and they WILL remember you and your joint, and tell their friends and neighbors, to look you up at the next flea market etc.

Message: Posted by: sethb (Sep 29, 2008 11:47AM)
Hey, Rod, good to hear from you, hope all is well with you.

BTW, I have also noticed that when I thank a small child for their business, their face really lights up. I think this is probably because it is an implicit acknowledgment that they are doing a "grown up" thing by buying something themselves (even if Mom or Dad gives them the money). And sometimes it is their very own allowance, so it really IS their own money.

Incidentally, this little situation isn't lost on Mom, Dad or the rest of the crowd either, and so is also good business, in my opinion. Heck, why do you think politicians kiss babies? :) SETH
Message: Posted by: DonDriver (Sep 29, 2008 12:06PM)
You guys should buy my Jam Auction DVD.Then you can see what a few jokes and a smile can really get you.( plus what it will get me $$$$)Jack takes in about $2,000 in a two hour pitch.

" one DVD sold over there ...one back there sold...another over here sold...well don't just stand there,take out $50 and send it up..."

Message: Posted by: sethb (Sep 29, 2008 01:45PM)
BTW, if you want to see some great performing energy, go the [url=http://www.corporatefx.com]CorporateFX website[/url] and watch some real pros in action at various trade shows.

This is high-end pitch work, where the performer is trying to attract a crowd and then deliver a sales pitch. But instead of a Svengali Deck or Magic Worm, they are selling expensive computer technology, medical devices and a myriad of products in a corporate business setting. But the magic does the same job, it stops the people in their tracks and pulls them in long enough to hear the pitch.

You won't see any of these peformers sitting on their backsides anytime soon, these folks are real workers! SETH
Message: Posted by: Rod Pringle (Oct 1, 2008 03:27PM)

I want the jam auction dvd. HEY..ONE SOLD OVER HERE!!!!!!!! Please PM me Don, Thanks

Message: Posted by: Rod Pringle (Oct 1, 2008 04:58PM)
Thanks Don!

I ordered the Jam Auction DVD from your website. Thanks !!!!!!!

Message: Posted by: Doug Higley (Oct 5, 2008 10:24AM)
Those who read my How-To over the years know this is part of the basics
of succeeding. Your ATTITUDE is not an option.

The following are a few tips, a small part of my Flea Market RULES that have guided many working Flea Market showmen/women over the years:

8. Always police your area! Before...During and After! Leave your space
CLEAN at ALL times. Use DEODERANT! Try not to look or smell like a
derilect or slept in your car (even if you did). You are as much a part of
the appeal of the show as the 'show' itself!

9. Always refund if asked. ALWAYS. No explainations needed! No
beefs. I never have been asked for money back but if you are, so
what...give it to 'em...and hear this...it depends on YOUR ATTITUDE
more than anything else. For cryin' out loud HAVE FUN! The
customers will too...if you are a Grouch STAY HOME! (Sometimes
it's a real struggle maybe due to the heat of the day or whatever.
Make the attempt to be pleasant. A long HOT day can be a real ball

10. Be prepared for BAD days...Be prepared for GREAT days.

11. Keep your eye out for that one little kid who reminds you of you! He
will come back again and again...(and bring his friends!) Only charge HIM
once and it will pay off. It is most important that you keep the magic with
this one! Don't give away any secrets (if he's chatty) and you can believe
it, someday he will be Me...or You...or PT himself. Magic works that

12. If someone should rush their way in without paying, GENTLY inform
them there is a charge...don't get snotty...they really might not know!
Regardless, it's not worth a beef.

13. If YOU LOOK bored, your show looks boring. Stay involved with the
crowd and smile a lot...work it! Do not put some crappy attitude between
you and the Dollar. And DO NOT pay some punk with an attitude to
work it for you!
Read that again and #9 as well. This is an OWNER/OPERATOR deal!
Your job! Your chance to succeed without somebody else screwing
it up.

15. Read this entire plan more than once Finally, treat people well and
have a good time. Sometimes you might run into another seller
(Wholesale Socks or Used Hubcaps) near you who has distain, or looks
at you like you are a nut...well...so be it...but that's rare and *** if every
time I didn't have that guy on my good side by the end of the day.
Attitude Attitude Attitude! (Keep in mind, he might be jealous! He has
stock to replace and a ton of stuff to pack up and here you are with just a
table and a box! :)

Higley's How-To Grind Show Infor $25 with $25 Credited. These notes and Original ideas have made a LOT of people (many on this board) a ton of money proud to say. :).
Message: Posted by: sethb (Oct 6, 2008 02:15PM)
Well, I did a Fall Festival this past weekend -- beautiful weather, a great setting in a well-kept municipal park. I had good vendors on either side of me (a lady selling jewelry and a woodcarver). There was a decent DJ playing decent country music and some good food concessions, so the atmosphere was good too.

I had my new 2x8 banner up, and it looked really spiffy, lots of flash. Traffic was pretty steady throughout the day, I had no trouble attracting fairly good-sized crowds of people. And the folks seemed to enjoy the magic.

But I only went home with $100, far less than I anticipated. By and large, people just were not spending the money, and the other vendors said they were in the same boat. [I did have one lady toss a $20 on the table and tell me that each of her four kids could pick out whatever they wanted, that was pretty amazing!]

So even if all the stars and planets line up the way they are supposed to, sometimes you will still not hit the jackpot. That's just the way it goes, I have learned not to take it personally; I just thank goodness that it didn't rain, that I made my table fee, gas, breakfast and dinner cost and a little pocket money. Then I pack everything up and look forward to the next show! SETH
Message: Posted by: DonDriver (Oct 6, 2008 02:49PM)
This is what separates the wannabes from the pros.I have know for sometime now that you'll make it in this business.You have picked up on things that no one can teach,not even in my DVD.(that you can buy off my site for just $29.95)( hurry I only have 10,000 left)

You have become a professional pitchman.( I'm not sure if that's good or bad)

Thanks for the post and what a better place to put it at than:"The right attitude"

Message: Posted by: sethb (Oct 6, 2008 06:01PM)
Don, thanks again for the kind words. I just wanted people to know that it's not all peaches and cream out there, you can't just buy a gross of Svengali Decks and get rich in two weeks! (OK, maybe in three weeks!!) :)

But seriously, with persistence, eventually things will work out. And pitching, I have learned, is really about persistence, and as you said, paying attention to what you are doing and what is going on around you, and taking care of the details. There is not one big pitching secret, but many small ones, and I'm sure I still have many more to discover.

Even though your DVD gave me a wonderful head start that let me hit the ground running, every time I go out I am still learning new things from the show sponsors, the other vendors and the patrons -- people are really amazing!!

Thanks again, Don, for all the good help and advice you have given me and many others -- it's a great legacy. SETH
Message: Posted by: sethb (Oct 8, 2008 08:23AM)
[quote] On 2008-10-06 15:49, DonDriver wrote: You have become a professional pitchman. (I'm not sure if that's good or bad) [/quote]
Don, I think it's a good thing, I believe the world could use a few more Svengali pitches to lighten things up a bit, especially now!

You know, even with all the newfangled toys that kids have nowadays, like video games and I-pods, I have found that most youngsters (and more than a few adults) are very much intrigued by the Svengali Deck and the idea of magic tricks. They are still amazed when the "wrong" card magically changes to the "right" card as I rub it on my sleeve, or when the entire deck instantly changes to their selected card. [[i]And remember folks, even though it looks amazing, the special cards do all the work for you, and this wonderful deck can be yours today for only $10![/i]]

So there's still plenty of room for old-fashioned wonder in the world, and I think we could use a lot more of it. SETH
Message: Posted by: The Cardfather (Oct 10, 2008 08:12PM)
I have to chime in. I set up shop two Sundays ago at a great swap meet location. I had the flashy pitch joint and lots of different kinds of stock. I didn't need any of it but the Svengali deck and the right attitude. I sold more than enough decks to make it a great day but I'm of one track mind now. Svengali and Driver pitch. Enough said...Rick
Message: Posted by: DonDriver (Oct 10, 2008 08:25PM)
Hey Rick,

Thanks but if you add the post at the review thread it will mean so much more.


Thanks again
Message: Posted by: The Cardfather (Oct 12, 2008 12:47AM)
Message: Posted by: Matthew W (Nov 17, 2008 09:16AM)
I did a show this weekend.

Activity IS everything. The booth next to me was selling silk floral arrangements and wreaths. The person at the booth was sitting and reading a book the whole time, waiting for someone to come and buy something. I did not see her bring in a single sale.

The booth on the right of me was selling chocolates. She had a chocolate fountain going and was giving out samples. She brought in money.

I was constantly doing something. Whether it was playing with the fuzzles, or just riffling through a Svengali deck, everyone that walked by stopped. I did not even have to call people over.

I was also doing much more than pitching, I was entertaining at the same time. Showing how much fun the product is sells it more than what it can do.

Also, here is a little tip for those that are also performing magicians, when writing down your predictions, if you do that in a pitch, write it on the back of a business card, they get to keep it, kind of like a souvenir. Now they also have your card!
Message: Posted by: iugefu (Dec 17, 2008 11:06PM)
Don Driver said: Jack takes about $2000 in a 2 hour pitch

Wow! is all I can say...........say he sells them $10 per deck, that's 100 decks per hour, one every 36 seconds...........this man must have techniques originating from outer space..........lets call him Super Jack( and I mean it as a compliment)

Question to others: What is the most decks youve sold in a 2 hour pitch?
Message: Posted by: DonDriver (Dec 17, 2008 11:26PM)
Jack dosen't pitch svengale decks he does a Jam Auction.He sells merchandise.He starts out with $5.00 items and ends up selling $300 items.

I worked Jam Auctions all over the country and worked with Jack in Las Vegas years ago.

You can't explan what a Jam Auction is or how it works,thats why I tapped Jack from start to finish and have the entire Jam Auction on a two DVD set at my site.

Jack has the very last Jam Auction in the country.

Here are the reviews on My Jam Auction DVD set:


Message: Posted by: iugefu (Dec 18, 2008 06:10AM)
Apologies Don............most interesting reviews.
The Real Hustle's television version of the Jam has Paul selling little purses.
He puts money in them which the audience can purportedly win when they buy a purse, but( of course the money) ends in the hands of his confederates.
Message: Posted by: Jon-O the Great (Jan 5, 2009 07:53AM)
I finished my 6th gross of cards at the gun show this weekend. That is 864 decks of cards. (Minus a few I got so dirty they began sticking together!) This from a guy who, 18 months ago, had only heard the name “Svengali” with regards to the Russian guy. I know 864 decks is not a lot for a pro like Don or Seth but it's a HECK of a lot for a dummy like me who has to set-up the deck after every pitch so I can DL the ace and not forget which card I'm doing.

I had some of those dirty decks with me and even gave some of THEM away to kids who frankly couldn't con their folks into buying them.

I actually sold out on Saturday. And there were soooo many kids on Sunday I wanted to kick myself for not having ordered another 2 gross the previous Monday. Won't make that mistake today.

One little girl, maybe 6-7 years, was SOOO cute (how many times have we ALL said this?) her eyes got bigger and bigger every trick and she just plain WANTED THOSE CARDS! But Daddy gave the usual “We just got here...blah blah blah...”

She came back twice more, wanting to see more tricks. I did the “3 piles” and “Larceny” and she still wanted more. Finally, I said, (as in Don's DVD) “OK, tell ya what...I need a bottle of soda. (I had my cooler under the table, but what the heck?) I'll give you the money and if you'll go get it for me, I'll give you a deck of cards—not new ones—but at least you'll have a deck.” MAN!! She was back in a flash and I gave her the whole set—monte, million and all. In a few minutes she came back with her Dad.

“Did she steal these cards?”

“Nope—just an old deck I was gonna throw away.”

“Well, I wanna pay you for 'em.”

“Nope—trust me—I was gonna throw them away—they're not new.”

“Well, thank you a lot. She really wanted those cards but she had spent her allowance and I'm trying to teach her how to handle money. So if you're SURE it's OK...”

The little girl piped up, “See, I can already do the 2 card thing....” And she turned her hand over a couple of times.

I said, “OK, now NEXT show, I wanna see you do those cards better than I do 'em, OK?” (THAT wouldn't be hard!)

What did it cost me? Next to NOTHING! But one little girl was REALLY happy. Now we all know, she'll probably try those cards, not do 'em very well and forget 'em. But for that instant, that pinpoint in time, she was TRULY happy.

I LOVE DOING Svengali!!

Message: Posted by: sethb (Jan 5, 2009 10:18AM)
Hey Jon, 864 decks is a LOT of decks no matter how you slice it! Congrats to you, and we all know how much talking and demoing it took to sell those decks.

And in addition to making some good money, you get those great "feel-good" moments like the one you described. Although as you said plenty of people may ultimately throw the deck away, you never know when you will kindle a spark that grows into a flame!

The good thing about both the decks and the worms are that they are small and light, so it's no problem to bring plenty of both items to a show. It's always easier and better to bring a few dozen extra along and take some home again, than to run out in mid-show. SETH
Message: Posted by: DonDriver (Jan 5, 2009 12:51PM)
Jon...Jon...Jon you just made my New Year,what a great story.Don't baulk at 884 decks ...thats good even for a (so called) pro like myself.The little girl story really made my day.Thanks so much for sharing that one.

Keep up the good work and keep sharing the stories,we all love hearing them.

Yep...life is good.

P.S. Think WORM !
Message: Posted by: sethb (Jan 5, 2009 01:17PM)
I agree with Don's P.S. about the worms. At least for me, the worms have proven to be stronger than the decks. At any given show I will go through a few dozen decks, but at least double or even triple that amount in worms.

This past summer, I had the pleasure of having my first "one gross" day with the worms -- it was a veritable blizzard of money on the pitch table, all day long. Now some of that was better skill at pulling, holding and turning a tip (thanks, Don!), some of it was better skill at demoing the little creature, and some of it was just darn good luck with the weather, the day and the crowd. But there's no denying that the worms pull 'em in, and they do sell like hotcakes. SETH
Message: Posted by: Jon-O the Great (Jan 6, 2009 09:25AM)
and they do sell like hotcakes. SETH

So I just bring butter and syrup and I'm set? :)

OK OK guys, I've goofed off long enough. I'm ordering worms THIS MONTH!! Just don't expect miracles. After all, a while back, I had a hard time SPELLING "Svengali", let alone SELLING 'em!

Message: Posted by: sethb (Jan 6, 2009 11:25AM)
Hey Jon, no butter or syrup needed -- just a little baby powder (the cornstarch-based stuff, not talc) to keep your hands dry and smooth, especially the backs of your hands.

After a few hours' practice in front of a mirror, I know you'll have the little buggers crawling all over your hands and up your arms, hopping from cup to cup, and jumping through a CD or wrist bracelet like seasoned professionals. Don't forget the "kiss me" move, it's a killer and the one that really brings in the bucks!

I don't think you'll be sorry, but if by chance you don't sell them all, you'll have some great miniature dust mops. :) SETH