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Topic: Stop providing a service...
Message: Posted by: Benji Bruce (Mar 17, 2011 04:10PM)
I thought you guys might be interested in the recent post I made in my blog for marketing. The basics...stop providing a service and start providing an experience. It is no longer enough to show up and perform. Clients must have an experience at every point of contact with you. Sending thank you cards isn't enough.

Here is the quick video about the topic...
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nXouUu2Q_eY

Or visit the blog at http://www.paidtoperform.blogspot.com

So I want to know...how do you guys provide an "experience" for your clients? You do a show...but what else? (the video gives you a few ideas on how I provide an experience for clients)
Message: Posted by: magic4u02 (Mar 20, 2011 09:22AM)
Great question and a very cool food for thought. So many magicians fail to see what they do as a business. If you get paid even 1 cent for the magic you do you are in a business. If you get paid for your magic you are also a professional. There is no semi-professional. That gives the impression that you are not trying to be professional in what you do. In my mind you are either a professional or you are not.

With this concept in mind, you are a professional at all times. It does not start when the curtains open and end when they close. A professional entertainer is one always. It is the way you conduct yourself on the phone, the way you dress, the way you talk to the client's guests and so much more.

Every point of contact from the moment the lead comes in to long after the event is over, you are there to be a professional, act like a professional and give that client not just a show. You are much more then that.

Why is the person hiring you in the first place? Many may say "to perform a show for their guests." However, in reality, they have a need that they want a solution for. Consumers do not buy anything unless there is a need that they are searching for an answer to. You need to find out that those needs are and then offer a solution that meets and exceeds those needs.

Think about it for a second. You would never go to a mechanic unless there was a need you had for your car to be fixed or looked at. You don't go to the grocery store unless there is a need to restock on food items for the family. Likewise, folks do not buy entertainment unless there is a need for it.

We must also realize that the need they have goes much deeper then the classic thinking of "oh we just want our guests to be entertained". That may very well be true, but their needs often are far greater then that. It can be a variety of things such as:

- we have a need to raise money for our group or school
- we want the kids at the summer reading program to be rewarded for reaching a certain level of books. So this show becomes all about goal setting
- we have a need for the children to be empowered because they are mentally challenged and we want ways in which to teach them how to interact in a fun way
- we have a need for a show to educate children on an anti-drug or anti-bullying message so that they understand and learn
...and the list goes on and on

We must stop thinking we are there to just give the service of performance. If we are in the business of magic, then we must realize that it is called show business for a reason. So how does one provide an experience over just a service? Well for starters, we must learn a very powerful word. The word is a short word and only 3 letters but has the power to move mountains....."ASK".

You would be amazed at how many entertainers simply do not ever ask the client things they really need to know. We often just assume or never ask in the first place. If you are to be a solutions provider, you need to learn the real need or needs the client has. To best find those out, we simply ask them. "Michelle, can you tell me the ultimate goal of your event and what are you trying to accomplish that evening?" This gets them talking.

It is no longer about you hard selling to them. You are showing an interest in THEIR event and asking them to tell you what their needs are. Once you get them talking, it is much easier to be able to have the ability to offer solutions that directly answer their needs. You start to do this and your perceived value climbs high in the mind of the client. they no longer see you as magician A,B or C. They see you as for who you really are. They remember YOUR name because you are providing something no one else can or is willing to do.

Now the "experience" can continue and should continue through out the entire booking process, show process and long after the show is even over. You are building relationships with these folks. The more you build the relationship, the more power you have to keep these folks as repeat clients year after year.

I will try and talk later about different ways you can build the experience throughout the various stages of the client relationship. There are some great ways to really "reach out" to the client in a powerful way that gets them to see you in a much different light.

My 2 cents worth.

Kyle
Message: Posted by: Starrpower (Mar 20, 2011 09:36AM)
Isn't it all really just semantics? Regardless of what you call it, if all you have ever been doing is "show up and perform" you aren't gonna go far. Sometimes, I believe we over-think things. One of the very basic concepts is to do an entertaining show.
Message: Posted by: jonathandupree (Mar 20, 2011 09:39AM)
Benji,
I think you have shared a great message about creating an experience. When you go above and beyond, when you go that extra mile even after an event by sending a personal thank you note, you create Top of the Mind Awareness Through Others. Next time they need someone or are speaking to someone and something about your industry comes up, you're on the top of their mind.

I did watch the video. I use video testimonials all of the time. I do believe that if I gave my camera to the host of the event, they would not want to be going around gathering video testimonials for me after their event. They usually have more important or better things to do. Part of me going the extra mile is that when someone books me, they can relax and enjoy their event and network and socialize and hear how great the show was by simply mingling with the guest after. Just my thoughts from the types of events I perform and speak at.

But again, I think your message is vitally important and I think 99% of people will hear it and still miss it and not consistently perform and serve their clients by going the extra mile and creating that experience. Thanks for sharing. And don't take my video comments the wrong way, that might work wonders for you and if it does, keep on doing it man!

Jonathan Dupree

P.S. Kyle, you hit the nail on the head. Creating the experience goes long after the event is over. EVERYTHING is about creating and building relationships.
Message: Posted by: magic4u02 (Mar 20, 2011 09:55AM)
You are so right in that people can listen to this and even be handed all the tools they need and they will STILL refuse to take any action towards making themselves more successful. You can lead them to the water, but you can;t make them drink.

Creating the experience is just so much more then just performing a good show. If your thinking only goes that far, then you are really missing out on the most important aspect of being a paid professional.

One approach I take is my thank you kit that gets mailed to the person after the show is over. In it I will always write what folks said to me after the show. I include quotes from the kids and adults and state that I thought that they might be intersted to hear what others were saying about the show and THEIR events.

The reason I do this is often times (as Jon pointed out) the client is so busy running around that they never hear any of this stuff. This is my chance to let them know the great comments people were saying about the event. It makes them smile and feel good and is a wonderful way for me to continue the relationship after the show is over.

Kyle

Kyle
Message: Posted by: Benji Bruce (Mar 20, 2011 10:24AM)
[quote]
On 2011-03-20 10:36, Starrpower wrote:
Isn't it all really just semantics? Regardless of what you call it, if all you have ever been doing is "show up and perform" you aren't gonna go far. Sometimes, I believe we over-think things. One of the very basic concepts is to do an entertaining show.
[/quote]

I'm not talking about the show at all. I'm talking about what you do before the show and after the show. For example...if you provide a service then you're doing a show. But if you're providing an experience then you do something like this:
-They call you and book you
-One week later they get an email from you with a link to a personal video that tells them they get to decide how the show goes. If they want Option A then they need to let you know asap because you will send them something in the mail. If they way Option B then they will need to ask people to take pictures of themselves to be included in the show for something special. So before your show even starts...it starts. When entertainers send a prediction in the mail they are starting the show before it really starts.
-You do your show
-At the gig, the person who hires you hears tons of feedback from you (either because they're recording it for you or you're telling the people one on one to go up and thank "John" for hiring you)
-A couple days later you send "John" an email with a link of a video that has people at the event saying, "John we loved Magician X, thanks for hiring him." And there are several people talking directly to John. It would be a video similar to this... http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TwRuWxyF9BY
-A week later, they get personal video footage of how you had them on stage involved in one of your tricks (you get them on stage and record it just so you can send it to them) and you email them a few pictures
- etc etc

Basically, you're providing an experience. They are involved before, during, and after your show. The experience doesn't have to be something elaborate but it is an experience.
Message: Posted by: jonathandupree (Mar 20, 2011 12:46PM)
Here is an email from a recent client of mine. After every show I send a thank you card with a box of gourmet brownies. In that thank you note, I make it just that, a thank you note. It is not a thank you note with some of my business cards stuck in there. It doesn't say, "Thanks and by the way, I appreciate referrals." I call that frosted covered dog crap. You know, when someone has a hidden agenda. Don't make your thank you a sales letter disguised as a thank you. People will "sniff" it out as frosted covered dog crap.

What are the results of genuinely appreciating your clients? Here is the email. By the way, they booked me for the same event next year even though I didn't mention I would like to do it in the thank you note. My thank you simply said Thanks for letting me be a part of their event.

Jonathan
BTW, I know Benji is talking about a lot more than just thank you's. I am just saying this is just one of the little factors we often miss that can make a huge difference in creating a great experience for our clients. Thanks again for starting this thread Benji.
Message: Posted by: Mindpro (Mar 20, 2011 02:14PM)
Great testimonial...what did you put in those brownies???
Message: Posted by: jonathandupree (Mar 20, 2011 03:12PM)
I am telling you man, the brownies are the stuff! I sent out 5 boxes with thank you notes last week and got 5 similar emails and voice mails.

I think it's just that people like being appreciated. They rarely get something "good" in the mail. Aside from the junk mail and bills, it's almost that child like feeling when you get a package in the mail unexpectedly.
Message: Posted by: magic4u02 (Mar 20, 2011 04:55PM)
Jon: You are absolutely right. People do not send letters or write to people in the snal mail any more. it is so easy to just email people. I think that is why receiving a handwritten thank you note and a gift in regular mail means even that much more to a person.

I also send out gifts as part of a referral rewards program. I like to reward folks for passing my name along to someone else as they like the gift and it encourages them to do it more often. at the same time, they get to see how much I appreciate it.

Kyle
Message: Posted by: Starrpower (Mar 21, 2011 05:32PM)
[quote]
On 2011-03-20 13:46, jonathandupree wrote:
It doesn't say, "Thanks and by the way, I appreciate referrals." I call that frosted covered dog crap. You know, when someone has a hidden agenda.

Jonathan
[/quote]

Not to rock the boat, but isn't a thinly-veiled brownie-bribe just so much frosted poo-poo as well? Or, just as readily perceived as such?
Message: Posted by: jonathandupree (Mar 21, 2011 09:36PM)
No not at all. It is a gift saying thank you for booking me. There are no hidden agendas there at all. Frosted poo-poo would be including a business card or having my website in frosting on the brownie! ;) I am genuinely saying thank you , I appreciate you.
Message: Posted by: Dannydoyle (Mar 21, 2011 11:04PM)
Here is a tip. Once they are sold, they are sold. Do the best job you can do, but at some point leave them alone.

Yea I have heard all the guru nonsense for 25 years now, and now that we are on the other end, I just want guys who show up, do the show well, and shut up and go home. THAT is valuable in and of itself. There are people, (most in my opinion) who do not want to be upsold. They are sophisticated enough to see it comming a mile away from a 20 year old.

I have clients who will use nobody but me who I NEVER keep in touch with. I don't bombard them with idiotic emails about how my favorite football team is doing, or how my kids are doing or what the latest special they are running. They don't care, they really don't. I had a guy send me an "update" email FROM A PLACE I SENT HIM! What better way to tell a person you are not important to them than that huh?

There is a point at which you just leave them alone and let your work speak for itself. I know when you are 20 you want to get your name out there and all that, but it can get tiresome from a client perspective.
Message: Posted by: Starrpower (Mar 22, 2011 06:47PM)
I generally agree with you Danny, but this time you only have me about 70%. Yes, I think that the [i]"It's ME, the Good Ol' Boy, and you're my buddy"[/i] contacts are annoying and transparent. But I also think that 1) a simple "Thank you" is never out of line (even though I still think brownies might look like the $20 next to your driver's license -- but's that's just me!), and 2) an occasional contact to remind them that you're out there will rarely be seen in a negative light.

People move, job situations change, some people are more organized than others, cards are lost, names are forgotten, etc. A gentle reminder may be all it takes to get the job again.

Now if you'll excuse me, my favorite ball team just won their game in Arizona and I am going to email my client list about it.
Message: Posted by: Dannydoyle (Mar 23, 2011 02:11PM)
Like anythung there is a happy medium.
Message: Posted by: Starrpower (Mar 23, 2011 05:21PM)
[quote]
On 2011-03-23 15:11, Dannydoyle wrote:
Like anything there is a [i]happy medium.[/i]
[/quote]

Seems like there is a mentalist joke in there somewhere ...
Message: Posted by: Dannydoyle (Mar 23, 2011 11:17PM)
Yea some sort of mentalist/dwarf thing but it is late sorry.
Message: Posted by: jonathandupree (Mar 24, 2011 02:45PM)
Anyone paying me a couple grand to come perform plus flying me in and putting me up in a hotel room can get a box of brownies with a thank you card. I don't believe it's over the top. It costs me a total of $11.00 including the shipping to send the card and brownies. Just my way to say thanks. But again, it's what I enjoy doing and works for me. You can just as easily send a thank you note or don't send them anything at all. This is just what I do.
Message: Posted by: Nash (Mar 24, 2011 05:24PM)
Jonathan

Your brownies are not over the top. People LOVE to be treated special.
I know if it was me, I would've LOVED it!
Message: Posted by: Close.Up.Dave (Mar 24, 2011 08:23PM)
[quote]
On 2011-03-24 15:45, jonathandupree wrote:
Anyone paying me a couple grand to come perform plus flying me in and putting me up in a hotel room can get a box of brownies with a thank you card. I don't believe it's over the top. It costs me a total of $11.00 including the shipping to send the card and brownies. Just my way to say thanks. But again, it's what I enjoy doing and works for me. You can just as easily send a thank you note or don't send them anything at all. This is just what I do.
[/quote]

All you're doing is promoting diabetes. How do you live with yourself?

Send them a diet book and two weeks free with a personal trainer.
Message: Posted by: Dannydoyle (Mar 24, 2011 10:16PM)
There is a difference between saying thanks, and just trying to keep your name in front of them. I think people know the difference.
Message: Posted by: BrianMillerMagic (Mar 24, 2011 11:07PM)
On 2011-03-20 11:24, Benji Bruce wrote:
[quote]
But if you're providing an experience then you do something like this:
-They call you and book you
-One week later they get an email from you with a link to a personal video that tells them they get to decide how the show goes. If they want Option A then they need to let you know asap because you will send them something in the mail. If they way Option B then they will need to ask people to take pictures of themselves to be included in the show for something special. So before your show even starts...it starts. When entertainers send a prediction in the mail they are starting the show before it really starts.
-You do your show
-At the gig, the person who hires you hears tons of feedback from you (either because they're recording it for you or you're telling the people one on one to go up and thank "John" for hiring you)
-A couple days later you send "John" an email with a link of a video that has people at the event saying, "John we loved Magician X, thanks for hiring him." And there are several people talking directly to John. It would be a video similar to this... http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TwRuWxyF9BY
-A week later, they get personal video footage of how you had them on stage involved in one of your tricks (you get them on stage and record it just so you can send it to them) and you email them a few pictures
- etc etc

Basically, you're providing an experience. They are involved before, during, and after your show. The experience doesn't have to be something elaborate but it is an experience.
[/quote]

Benji, I have to disagree with you on most of this. The client has booked you, and a week later you're going to bug them with a video that they need to watch and more decisions to be made? And if they make this decision, there's even MORE stuff you're going to have them take care of? Then at the event, you're going to make your client run around with a camera?! I'm sorry, but none of these things would fly if you want to keep a client happy in any experience I've ever had running my business. Not in the corporate world, comedy clubs, casinos, theaters, restaurants, private events, etc.

If they've booked you, thank them for the booking and let them know you'll follow up to confirm close to the event. If you want video, bring someone to video you. If you want the client to hear testimonials, just do a great show. It will work itself out. And if there are decisions that your client needs to make in order for you to do the show, these are things they should be aware of BEFORE they commit to booking you - not after.

The client likely has plenty of things to deal with in their regular job not to mention their life. They don't need your "experience."
Message: Posted by: Andrew Zuber (Mar 25, 2011 06:14AM)
I have to say, I would NEVER ask a client to videotape my show. If they want to do it for themselves, that's one thing and we could discuss it, but I wouldn't dream of asking them to do it for me. How can they enjoy the performance or the event if I'm putting them to work?

I feel that the show should stand for itself. If you want a stage show, you get my stage show. If you want close up, you get close up. When I played in a band, we didn't send our record to each club we played and say "pick the songs you want to hear." If they booked us to play, we were confident enough in our abilities to put a good set list together. That's why we were booked in the first place.

Having planned events, I can say that there's a LOT more that goes into it than just booking the entertainment. They want to have the entertainer booked, and cross that item off the list so they can move onto the next thing. Too often we try and make it all about us when really we're only one aspect of it. I like to get booked, and be done with it because I know the client has other things to tend to. If I keep contacting them with more things for them to read and follow through on, it just becomes a hassle for that person.
Message: Posted by: Domino Magic (Mar 25, 2011 08:19AM)
I too disagree with Benji. I get what he's trying to do, but I don't think that is making the experience better for the client. Recently I had the experience of being a client, many times in the past couple of weeks because we just bought another house. If everyone of those vendors treated me like Benji is recommending we treat our clients, I'd never hire any of them again.

What makes the experience of hiring you better for the client? Not much to say here that hasn't already been said, especially from Danny. Make the process of hiring you easy, show up early so the client isn't worrying about you, do the best darn show you can - a show that surpasses their expectations and send them a thank you card when it's over.

So here's a twist and why Benji has it backwards. Aside from a thank you card after the show (nothing wrong with brownies), they should be coming to you with a thank you and photos/video if they happened to have someone their doing it. When we closed on this house, our real estate agent gave us a thank you gift. That was nice. But we were completely blown-away with the service she provided for us. There was no stress in buying this house because she made sure there wasn't and the day we closed, we sent her flowers. In fact we were so impressed with every vendor she lined up for us that I made sure to write a positive review for each of them on AngiesList.com.

Know matter how you look at it, the bottom line is you are providing a service. We are in the service business. Provide an excellent service and you will have clients for life.
Message: Posted by: Benji Bruce (Mar 25, 2011 10:08AM)
[quote]
On 2011-03-25 07:14, Andrew Zuber wrote:
I have to say, I would NEVER ask a client to videotape my show.
[/quote]

I never said anything about having a client videotape the show
Message: Posted by: Dannydoyle (Mar 25, 2011 10:31AM)
[quote]
On 2011-03-25 07:14, Andrew Zuber wrote:
I have to say, I would NEVER ask a client to videotape my show. If they want to do it for themselves, that's one thing and we could discuss it, but I wouldn't dream of asking them to do it for me. How can they enjoy the performance or the event if I'm putting them to work?

I feel that the show should stand for itself. If you want a stage show, you get my stage show. If you want close up, you get close up. When I played in a band, we didn't send our record to each club we played and say "pick the songs you want to hear." If they booked us to play, we were confident enough in our abilities to put a good set list together. That's why we were booked in the first place.

Having planned events, I can say that there's a LOT more that goes into it than just booking the entertainment. They want to have the entertainer booked, and cross that item off the list so they can move onto the next thing. Too often we try and make it all about us when really we're only one aspect of it. I like to get booked, and be done with it because I know the client has other things to tend to. If I keep contacting them with more things for them to read and follow through on, it just becomes a hassle for that person.
[/quote]
YES YES YES! Sorry to yell, but yes. Simple fact is that the event is NOT ABOUT US! (sorry I yelled again but darn good points sir.) We are a simple spoke in a wheel. Book the entertainment and cross that off the list. Could not agree more. Magicians get so caught up in "running their business" or wanting to be the next marketing guru that they forget it is someone else's event.

Posted: Mar 25, 2011 11:32am
This is why most marketing approaches need to be tested over time. Decades more than months.
Message: Posted by: Donald Dunphy (Mar 25, 2011 10:50AM)
I remember one new customer this past Christmas, who booked me.

When he inquired by phone, I sent him an email with show info as a follow-up.

Then he booked.

Then I emailed him the contract and invoice, so he could get to work immediately on processing payment. I also put a hard copy of the same paperwork, into the mail. I usually only send a copy of the contract and invoice by mail, but in this case, I sent it both ways, and informed him that I was going to do that.

As it turned out, he signed the emailed copy and dropped it off at my door, before getting the hard copy in the mail.

When he got the hard copy of the contract and invoice, he called me because he was confused.

He also made the quip, "I've had to deal with less paperwork to buy a car."

Kind of funny. But also an indication that he didn't want all of the interaction. He wanted to book the show, and then see me on the show date.

"Set it and forget it", like in the tv infomercials.

Naturally, a contract and invoice was a part of the process of interaction after he booked a show. On the other hand, he made it clear that his expectations were of less interaction between the booking and the show date. He would be one of those people that wouldn't want to be bombarded with forms, calls, and videos between the time he booked and the show date.

BTW, at the show, he was very happy with my services. I got quite a few compliments.

I'm not saying that every customer is like this. But some are.

- Donald

P.S. I would never ask my customer to use my video camera to ask for testimonials (on my behalf), after the show. They have enough on their plate at the event, and that is an imposition. You are making a withdrawal from the relationship bank, not making a deposit, by that request.

Why not simply ask the audience that, if they enjoyed the show, to make sure and tell your customer (name the person)? That gets the results of the customer getting feedback from the audience members, without making any withdrawals.

Or, if you really want to video people giving compliments / feedback, then do it yourself.
Message: Posted by: NexusMagicShop (Mar 25, 2011 05:50PM)
Post Mentalism - By Alvo Stockman is a clever and unique way to leave an unforgettable taste in your clients mouth. They will call you back.
Message: Posted by: Howie Diddot (Mar 25, 2011 08:09PM)
Donald,

I agree with you, the person that hired you is the same person that has hired the caterers, the photographer, the band and everyone else; and is busy making sure that the event is running smoothly; at the same time being assured the president of the company his staff and everyone’s that is answers to is happy along with their families.

He has probably been at the venue since early in the morning overseeing the setup of the room and coordinating the deliveries and the decorations.

Asking him to walk around and video people to record how much they enjoyed you performing…. I think you would suffer the experience of his reply…

So if you want to send an experience, I would suggest that you hire and pay for a camera person and an interviewer, set up a backdrop and proper lighting; then the interviewer you hired can invite the attendees over to the designated location in the room to record the positive reactions of your performance, the comments of the wonderful evening they are experiencing; and what a great job the event’s coordinator(the person that hired you) has done.

At the time you interview your guest, have that guest sign a release so you can provide the experience of your performance to potential clients visiting your web site.

When you edit the videos into an exciting production complete with music and graphics and send that to the event coordinator after the event.

THAT will be an experience.
Message: Posted by: Donald Dunphy (Mar 25, 2011 08:47PM)
That's a lot of conjecture.

Until you've tried it multiple times, and really had honest feedback, you don't know if filming a video at your customer's event creates a degree of discomfort and hassle. Even if you are doing the filming / arranging for the crew. (In the case of Buzz's suggestion, adding on a backdrop and special lighting, too.)

My inkling is that it would cause discomfort in many situations (making a withdrawal from your relationship with your customer). So, I personally wouldn't do it in many situations.

Again, there is a lot of guessing at what might be a great idea. No one actually saying that they've done this hundreds of times, with all sorts of customers.

How can you talk about giving customers a great experience if you haven't proven your theories?

However, the other suggestion that I made, about asking the audience to tell your customer how they felt about the show, is tried and tested. I've done it many times.

- Donald
Message: Posted by: Dannydoyle (Mar 25, 2011 09:42PM)
This is why these sorts of ideas need decades, not months to sort out!
Message: Posted by: Benji Bruce (Mar 25, 2011 11:10PM)
I was letting everyone know what I have done in the past and have been doing more of. It recently hit me that guys like Joel Bauer provide an experience rather than just a service. Before you go to his event he sends you videos and tells you to watch them. So the experience happens before you even show up.

I saw a tv show that had some crazy restaurants. One was a spy restaurant that made it hard to even get in so you had to figure out the code and people even got lost on their way out. But the restaurant is always packed because they didn't just provide the service of food...they provided an entire experience. And that is where everything is moving towards nowadays.

The only reason I even tried the camera thing was because my camera guy couldn't go but I wanted the testimonials and knew I couldn't get them myself. So I asked the person who hired me to do it and she had fun doing it. It seemed like it gave her a reason to talk to everyone. That made me think about providing an experience rather than just a service.

So the purpose for this thread is to know what everyone else is doing to provide an experience rather than just showing up, doing a show, and leaving. If you get stuck in the same ways while business is changing then you end up like Blockbuster :)
Message: Posted by: TomBoleware (Mar 25, 2011 11:12PM)
I like the way Danny said, "Once they are sold, they are sold." And I agree, the asking should
more or less end there. Give em all the extras you want, (extra time, gift, thank you, etc, etc)
but don't ask for more or expect anything in return.

You know, I just don't think most people like being put on the spot to give a testimonial or to
make a commercial. Or I know I don't.

When I see an advertisement loaded down with video testimonials, it makes me wonder, would I have
to give one if I bought? That really is a turn off to me. I have no problem with recommending someone
after a sale in a traditional way. But I don't like the idea of becoming a lifetime spokesperson
for someone I just meet.

I think if you really want to deliver that extra experience, you have got to make it EASY to buy.
And then after the sale, make it even EASIER to just sit back and enjoy the purchase they made.

Tom
Message: Posted by: Domino Magic (Mar 26, 2011 05:10AM)
[quote]
On 2011-03-26 00:10, Benji Bruce wrote:
It recently hit me that guys like Joel Bauer provide an experience rather than just a service. Before you go to his event he sends you videos and tells you to watch them. So the experience happens before you even show up.[/quote]

The difference is with Joel Bauer is you paid to be a part of that event/seminar, as did the other people who attended. You already knew who he was and basically what to expect either based on experience or his reputation. In most situations a company hires us and the people at that event don't have a say in the matter. We win them over with our show.

[quote]
On 2011-03-26 00:10, Benji Bruce wrote:
I saw a tv show that had some crazy restaurants. One was a spy restaurant that made it hard to even get in so you had to figure out the code and people even got lost on their way out. But the restaurant is always packed because they didn't just provide the service of food...they provided an entire experience. And that is where everything is moving towards nowadays.
[/quote]

That place is The Safe House in Milwaukee and that's not an indication where everything is moving towards nowadays because they've been doing it that way for over 30 years.

[quote]So the purpose for this thread is to know what everyone else is doing to provide an experience rather than just showing up, doing a show, and leaving. If you get stuck in the same ways while business is changing then you end up like Blockbuster[/quote]

The Blockbuster example is an exaggeration because you are underestimating the power of making it easy to do business. If you read my previous post about buying a house, my real estate agent made the process easy for us. We now own the house. The deal is over and I don't want to/need to hear from her again until I contact her to sell my other house. There is certainly more money at stake here than just booking a mentalist for a show, which is pennies compared to house.

Making it easy to do business goes very far in this world. Make it easy to buy - have a professional website with your contact information up front. Return calls and emails in a timely manner. Make the contract simple and the terms reasonable. Show up early. Do a great show. Thank the client after the show and follow up with a hand written thank you card. The basics. So simple, but yet there are so many that fail to follow those steps and aren't as successful as they could be with their business.

In my experience it really is that simple and this is from over 25 years of experience. Another real estate example. The agent who listed the house I just bought only received 50% of their commission. Why? Because I called to set up an appointment to see the house. I filled out the form on his website to contact me. He never did. We found another agent showing another home and I liked her and had her show me the house. So she made the other 50% of the original agent's commission. That guy lost literally thousands of dollars because he didn't follow the basics. He wont get to list my other house and we wont be recommending him to friends and relatives.

The average client for a company event has little experience hiring entertainment. Many times they have to put the whole thing together and we are just one more thing to deal with on their list that day. And the rest of that list has nothing to do with the event, but rather their job, their family, etc. They are just hoping they are making the right decisions so they make their co-workers and boss happy. Make that process easy for them and you are going to win more points than making them watch videos before the event and having to make yet one more decision that day.
Message: Posted by: Andrew Zuber (Mar 26, 2011 06:23AM)
To me, asking people at the event to look into a camera and talk about how much they enjoyed me seems very off putting. You're putting someone on the spot who may not want to be. That person is also going to be inclined to say good things, even if they didn't enjoy the show. It's an uncomfortable position for that person, and could be even MORE uncomfortable for the entertainer is that person has no problem being honest if they didn't like something.

I think a few written testimonials on a web site is sufficient enough. I don't need to see a video of it - again, that just becomes the performer making the event about them, rather than the event. Show up, put on an amazing show, send the host a thank you note, and let your work speak for itself. I'm all for providing a memorable experience, but asking for video testimonials isn't an experience, it's a chore for the people involved. A lot of people don't like having a camera in their face; as entertainers we sometimes forget that. Just because we enjoy the spotlight doesn't mean others do too. I don't want to perform a fantastic set, only to put a bad taste in the client's mouth by walking around asking for people to tell me how good I was afterward.

As an MBA student, I know how important the business aspect is, and SO many people fall short in that area. That said, I would spend that time after my show doing some walk around, giving individual groups more personal attention. That may I'm meeting everyone, I'm not just someone on a stage at the other end of the room, and I'm making personal connections with the people there. I think that's a better use of your time and theirs, and it leaves a good lasting impression.
Message: Posted by: Howie Diddot (Mar 26, 2011 08:08AM)
Benji;

I don’t want to upset the apple cart anymore than it already has but I am very interested in learning the reason behind your posting of a video on youtube telling Jay Leno what you will not do on his show if you appeared on it.

In your youtube video in the first 30 seconds of the video you mention that you have the ability to tell Jay the pin number for his credit card, but you “might not do that on the show”; any booker watching the video advising that you Might divulge personal information about the star of the show that he would be furious about would cross you off his list forever.

If I were producing a video to advertise myself, I would focus the attention on what I can do and point out that my performance is so unique and intriguing that everyone will be talking about me by the water cooler the next day.

I would also include a small segment of my performance to advertise my skill so the booker will have an idea of what he would be booking. Watching this video does not tell me what you do, or since I am not seeing you perform on the video, I don’t see how charming you are during your performance.

What is the approach of your marketing of the video?

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SMp48W99Yj4&feature=related
Message: Posted by: Donald Dunphy (Mar 26, 2011 09:56AM)
[quote]
On 2011-03-26 00:10, Benji Bruce wrote:
The only reason I even tried the camera thing was because my camera guy couldn't go but I wanted the testimonials and knew I couldn't get them myself. So I asked the person who hired me to do it and she had fun doing it. It seemed like it gave her a reason to talk to everyone. That made me think about providing an experience rather than just a service.[/quote]

One time that it worked out with one customer at one show. Like I said, it wouldn't work in most situations. It would cause a hassle and feel awkward -- whether you do the filming, or ask them to do the filming. Customers might be too polite to tell you so.

In my opinion, part of the reason that it worked was because your customer was a female and was social. Not all customers are female. And not all customers are social.

- Donald

P.S. Like Domino Magic said, the Joel Bauer training event, with advance training videos, is totally different than a customer paying you to do a show.
Message: Posted by: Dannydoyle (Mar 26, 2011 10:33AM)
Donald, as I said and you sort of hint at it takes DECADES of success not simply one time. That is why I have problems with blogs from kids in general who want to come off as marketing gurus. It amounts to little more than us having to grade homework.

Oh my Benji you are using the Safe House in Milwaukee as an example? WOW! Have you ever been or just know what you see on TV?

Umm the place is NOT always packed LOL. On Thursdays I think they still run comedy open mic nights and if you think they do that to PACK the place you have never been. I on the other hand HAVE because it was one of the places a guy could go to start in front of an audience for comedy clubs in that region of the country. Also a place in Wisconsin called "The Place".

Benji as was stated they have been at it for quite a long time.

Oh and let me just state categoricaly that magicians and marketing gurus OVERESTIMATE the value of testimonials.
Message: Posted by: Andrew Zuber (Mar 26, 2011 10:57AM)
[quote]
On 2011-03-26 09:08, Howie Diddot wrote:
Benji;

I don’t want to upset the apple cart anymore than it already has but I am very interested in learning the reason behind your posting of a video on youtube telling Jay Leno what you will not do on his show if you appeared on it.

In your youtube video in the first 30 seconds of the video you mention that you have the ability to tell Jay the pin number for his credit card, but you “might not do that on the show”; any booker watching the video advising that you Might divulge personal information about the star of the show that he would be furious about would cross you off his list forever.

If I were producing a video to advertise myself, I would focus the attention on what I can do and point out that my performance is so unique and intriguing that everyone will be talking about me by the water cooler the next day.

I would also include a small segment of my performance to advertise my skill so the booker will have an idea of what he would be booking. Watching this video does not tell me what you do, or since I am not seeing you perform on the video, I don’t see how charming you are during your performance.

What is the approach of your marketing of the video?

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SMp48W99Yj4&feature=related
[/quote]
Having worked for The Tonight Show for several years, I can say that it's extraordinarily difficult to be booked. You have a far better chance if you are a comedian. Jay loves and respects working comedians, and you don't need to have your own HBO special for him to take interest in you. I would highly suggest aiming for humor if The Tonight Show (not The Jay Leno Show, that was a different program) is your goal.

Unfortunately it's not quite like it was in the days of Johnny Carson. Jay is a very approachable guy, but to give you an idea of how seldom we had magicians on the show, he has a regular gig on Sunday nights at the Comedy and Magic Club in Hermosa Beach. He's performing alongside magicians on nearly a weekly basis. We didn't book a single magician during my time with the show. Lots of up and coming comedians, no magicians.

Food for thought anyway. The business is harsh...I see a lot of these videos of people wanting to get on the show. I commend people for trying because it never hurts, but the chances of it panning out are extremely slim.
Message: Posted by: Benji Bruce (Mar 26, 2011 12:24PM)
The Jay Leno thing is another topic ;)
Message: Posted by: Dannydoyle (Mar 26, 2011 02:53PM)
Are you as well informed on that topic as a guy who worked for Jay?
Message: Posted by: BrianMillerMagic (Mar 26, 2011 02:59PM)
This is just getting silly guys. Benji is not going to respond adequately or humbly to any of the criticisms he is receiving from nearly everyone in this thread who is disagreeing with him. My bet is that he will continue to do all the things that he is already doing as if they work, and in a year will have either run himself out of business or be forced to admit that it doesn't work.

Benji, I would like to see testimonials not from your clients, but from a bunch (like twenty or so at least) event planners who have been provided with the option for your "experience" and were thrilled with what you were doing. This experience being all of the things that you insist are a good idea, that we keep telling you will annoy most clients.

In fact, we could all go contact event planners we've worked with before and ask them what they thought if next time we offered them Benji's experience. Shall we round up some opinions from the other side?
Message: Posted by: Benji Bruce (Mar 26, 2011 03:11PM)
[quote]
On 2011-03-26 15:53, Dannydoyle wrote:
Are you as well informed on that topic as a guy who worked for Jay?
[/quote]

I'm not nearly as informed as he is but like I said...the Jay Leno thing is another topic ;)
Message: Posted by: Bill Hilly (Mar 26, 2011 03:42PM)
I watched Benji's video, and a few past ones, and I got some useful ideas from them. Thanks for sharing, Benji.

While your style, attitude, and client base is not for me, the idea in this video about giving the client an experience is tops. I suppose that no matter what we do we are giving our client an experience, but you reminded me of the importance of making it the best experience I can.

The example of giving her the camera is not something I'll do, but you have caused me to think about other things to do. Not just things to get the most testimonials, but things that will stay in their minds. Of course those things will depend on the type of gig, but to the extent that you got me to thinking about it, you've accomplished a positive thing.

Not to take away from Benji, but Kyle, Lou, Harris, Deano, and [b]many[/b] others (yes, even the man with the donkey ;) ) have also shared things that I've found helpful. Many were not spot-on applicable to my particular situation, but all have been helpful.

Again, thank you Benji, and ALL of you guys.
Message: Posted by: Donald Dunphy (Mar 26, 2011 04:06PM)
[quote]
On 2011-03-20 11:24, Benji Bruce wrote:
-One week later they get an email from you with a link to a personal video that tells them they get to decide how the show goes. If they want Option A then they need to let you know asap because you will send them something in the mail. If they way Option B then they will need to ask people to take pictures of themselves to be included in the show for something special. So before your show even starts...it starts. When entertainers send a prediction in the mail they are starting the show before it really starts. [/quote]

Benji -

I have a question. Is this really how you handle personalizing your show for the customer?

Are they not told at the time that they are sold the show, that you include personalization and a little bit about how you do that?

Or do you spring the idea on them a week after they've booked your show?

I know that some corporate entertainers do some personalization, and provide their customer a form to fill out, or ask some questions.

I personalize one of the tricks in my children's birthday show. I've done it hundreds of times in the past 10+ years. I tell the customer about it while selling the show on the phone. Then, when they book I explain a little more about how I want to borrow a photo of the birthday child for a certain trick in the show. It's a simple process for them to email me the photo, or mail me the photo. I give them directions about it during the booking call, and again in my confirmation letter.

So, I'm not springing the concept on them a week after they've booked the show. And I would never think of using a video to explain it to them, when it's easy to do over the phone. They are comfortable with it right from the start.

Of course, I realize that personalizing a trick for a children's birthday show might be different than personalizing a trick (or tricks) for a corporate show. But your explanation of the process seemed strange. As if it were an idea you were sharing (heard about from others), that you hadn't actually done.

- Donald

P.S. I also don't give them a choice of how they get the trick personalized (which trick). Sounds like you offer the option of a headline prediction or personalized trick with photos. Again, if I offered a choice, that would be handled right up front during the booking conversation. The idea of a personalized trick is strange enough to many customers, without making it more confusing with multiple options given at a later point in the process.
Message: Posted by: Dannydoyle (Mar 26, 2011 04:36PM)
I will say this. The higher up in a given company a person is, the less time they have to be dealing with you.
Message: Posted by: Benji Bruce (Mar 26, 2011 04:54PM)
Donald I don't customize my show. I've sent a big box to their office with a prediction but I don't consider that customizing the show. The only time I've changed my show was when one client asked me not to do the Magic Square because they saw it before (although they haven't seen my version)...and I was still reluctant to change that part of the show.

Providing an experience can be as simple as mailing out a prediction a few weeks for them to hold onto or as elaborate as what Derren Brown did in his show The Gathering.

He could have created a great show and everyone would have left thinking he was amazing but he didn't. He opted for creating an experience. People who were invited to the show were placed on a bus and had no idea where they were taken. Then Derren did the show and they later realized where they were because it was part of the show itself. He created an experience that started before the show.

If I could, I would love to perform every show where my clients and all attendees are picked up in a limo with special instructions on what to do before they get there. Then they are blindfolded when walked into the venue and something special happens...then the show starts/finishes...they get home to see a package on their doorstep that has something from the show like an unfinished prediction...then...well...I don't know what would happen next but that would definitely be more memorable than just a show :)

Right now, the experience I provide is
1. I mail a giant box to their office with a prediction.
2. I do the show and get the person who hired me involved in a demonstration.
3. I record video testimonials and send those testimonials to the person who hired me along with the clip of him/her in the demonstration so they can share it with others.
4. And sometimes I'll send a very classy packaged thank you card but not all the time.
5. I add them on facebook so I can have Top Of Mind Awareness without sending them anymore info.
Message: Posted by: jonathandupree (Mar 26, 2011 08:47PM)
I think Benji was simply saying look for ways to go out of your way for your customer. And yes the video idea might not work for most of us, maybe it works for him. Those of you who don't give a crap about going the extra mile . . . then don't. Those of you who think it doesn't matter, then keep thinking that. Just remember this,

"Big people talk about ideas, average people talk about things, small people talk about other people." So let the Café be a place where people can share ideas without everyone else jumping in smashing that idea saying how bad of an idea it is. Give your feedback in a positive manner and if it's something you wouldn't do, then just keep on doing what's working for you.

I don't believe the main point of Benji's post was about the whole video thing. But when you do go out of your way for your clients, you will always be on the top of their mind. TOMATO - Top Of Mind Awareness Through Others.

So let's share ideas.
Message: Posted by: tacrowl (Mar 26, 2011 11:24PM)
Since you want to create an experience Benji - WHY DON'T you customize your show? When the show is about your clients, the program becomes a major part of their event experience. Customizing the program is easy if you take the time to think your act through. We aren't talking about a whole new show, but ways to personalize the material for them. It can be extremely easy on the client and makes a world of difference on how they view you.

Tom
Message: Posted by: jonathandupree (Mar 27, 2011 07:21AM)
Tom
I think that is an awesome idea that a lot of people overlook because they feel it is too hard to do. But as you said, it's easy . . . and the customer loves it. Seth Kramer has a great book about working trade shows and in it he gives lots of ideas for customizing your presentation. Even if you aren't working trade shows, his book is a great resource just for that part along.

Thanks Tom.

Posted: Mar 27, 2011 9:03am
I also wanted to let you guys know I am hosting a teleseminar Tuesday morning at 10 AM cst talking about this kinda of stuff. THIS IS NOT FOR MAGICIANS. I speak mostly to Real Estate and Mortgage professionals. This event is specifically for them, but if you would like to hear my views on Gratitude Marketing you are more than welcome to listen in. Just realize it is not for magicians.

I DO NOT have a course for magicians, or any other group, this is an extended training call for about 40 REALTORS and a few people in the real estate industry. If you would like to attend, send me a PM and I will send you the registration link, it will not cost you a penny.

Again, I am not trying to sell you a course or anything. This call just matches up well with this thread. I believe you create an experience with your client by being great at what you do and showing your client appreciation by expressing gratitude. This is what this call is all about.

Have a great Sunday.
Jonathan
Message: Posted by: tacrowl (Mar 27, 2011 09:38AM)
[quote]
On 2011-03-27 08:21, jonathandupree wrote:
Tom
I think that is an awesome idea that a lot of people overlook because they feel it is too hard to do. [/quote]

Let me add something - a lot of performers think adding the company's name or using their product somehow is personalizing the show. It's not. A personalized show is about them. It involves a bit of work on the part of the performer - but I don't think that is the ONLY reason so few do it, or do it well. Most acts still have the belief that the show is all about them. This isn't an attack - but read this part of Benji's post again:

[quote]
On 2011-03-26 17:54, Benji Bruce wrote:
Donald I don't customize my show. I've sent a big box to their office with a prediction but I don't consider that customizing the show. The only time I've changed my show was when one client asked me not to do the Magic Square because they saw it before (although they haven't seen my version)...and I was still reluctant to change that part of the show. [/quote]

He was reluctant to change HIS show, even when requested by the client. When they hire you - its not YOUR show - it is their show, their event. You want the job, you do everything possible to fit their vision of the evening. That makes it easy on them - and creates the experience.

Tom
Message: Posted by: TomBoleware (Mar 27, 2011 10:46AM)
Sounds great Jonathan. I like the title Gratitude Marketing. Thanks for inviting us.

I don't think everyone is being too hard on Benji, just a warning to not take to many new ideas
and stray too far away from the basics. A warning to not be afraid to do the things others have
already tested for you. There are so many magic marketing experts nowadays that it seems that the
best way, or maybe the only way, to succeed in magic is to find a new way to sell your show.
So let me expand on what most have been saying here.

Certainly you need a different show from what everyone else is doing. But every magician doesn't
need a different marketing plan. There are basics to selling that should never be changed no matter
what the product is. A magic show in itself is unique enough to almost sell itself to those needing
entertainment. It's just a matter of asking enough of the right people.

I'm all for going the extra mile for the customer. And I have no problem with looking for new ways
to do that. I also admire those who seek out ideas, opinions, and feedback.

But let us not forget that the biggest cause of failure is boredom. Folks get tired of doing the little things,
the basics, over and over, so they start looking for replacements. Soon they fail and have no idea why.
I've seen it happen time and time again.

Why do they fail? Because [b]failure is exciting, success is boring.[/b] Most of those on top haven't found a new way
to do things, they simply used the old way over and over enough to get what they wanted.

Becoming successful with just about anything takes repeating the little things over and over. You do it and then
you do it again. You turn around and you do it again. It's boring, boring, boring.

So my tip/idea is this: [b]Learn to enjoy the boredom.[/b]

Once you have something that works, stick with it and simply repeat it over and over. Find ways to swap up the daily
chores to help ease the boredom. Rearrange the times you do certain things, make the tasks a game, etc.
Just don't stop doing the little basic things that the job requires.

When you get sick of doing it over and over and over again, it's important to stop and remember these words:
[b]Failure is Exciting, Success is Boring. [/b]


Tom
Message: Posted by: Donald Dunphy (Mar 27, 2011 11:04AM)
[quote]
On 2011-03-26 06:10, Domino Magic wrote:
Making it easy to do business goes very far in this world. Make it easy to buy - have a professional website with your contact information up front. Return calls and emails in a timely manner. Make the contract simple and the terms reasonable. Show up early. Do a great show. Thank the client after the show and follow up with a hand written thank you card. The basics. So simple, but yet there are so many that fail to follow those steps and aren't as successful as they could be with their business.[/quote]

I agree. This paragraph summarizes an effective way to give your customers a great experience.

- Donald
Message: Posted by: TomBoleware (Mar 27, 2011 11:26AM)
I too like the way Domino Magic said it.
I can also relate to his story about buying a house.
True, some of the better real estate people are very good at doing the boring stuff.

Tom
Message: Posted by: jonathandupree (Mar 27, 2011 11:58AM)
I also think it is important to be consistent in the little things. We do things in spurts then get away from it, then say well that didn't work when in reality we didn't work.
Message: Posted by: Dannydoyle (Mar 27, 2011 01:04PM)
[quote]
On 2011-03-27 12:58, jonathandupree wrote:
We do things in spurts then get away from it, then say well that didn't work when in reality we didn't work.
[/quote]

Why do people talk in terms lf "we"? First you tell us how we have to talk to each other, then you tell us what "we" all do! Lord this sort of attitude is EXACTLY why I tend to come down on people. "I" do not do things in spurt. IF IT WORKS I KEEP DOING IT.

Get the idea out of your head that you speak for anyone but yourself. I personally find it offensive.
Message: Posted by: jonathandupree (Mar 27, 2011 01:29PM)
Whatever danny. I do things consistently. How's that? I didn't tell you how to talk. it bugs the crap out me at how people here are so negative I guess just like it bugs the crap out of you that other people could be right too.


I wish you well, really I do. But have no desire to converse with someone (you in particular) that will add no value to you or me. So have a good one and do what works for you. I had no intentions of offending you. So plese get that out of your head and brush off whatever chip you have on your shoulder.
Message: Posted by: Dannydoyle (Mar 27, 2011 02:43PM)
[quote]
On 2011-03-26 21:47, jonathandupree wrote:
"Big people talk about ideas, average people talk about things, small people talk about other people." So let the Café be a place where people can share ideas without everyone else jumping in smashing that idea saying how bad of an idea it is. Give your feedback in a positive manner and if [/quote]

THIS is telling people how to talk to each other. You can't see through your arrogance, but it is. Then you start talking in the royal "we" as if you speak for everyone. No chip on my shoulder, just don't want to be spoken for.

So don't tell me you didn't tell anyone how to talk to each other when you clearly did.
Message: Posted by: Benji Bruce (Mar 27, 2011 03:10PM)
Peace Love and Chicken Grits guys
Message: Posted by: Close.Up.Dave (Mar 27, 2011 03:13PM)
[quote]
On 2011-03-26 21:47, jonathandupree wrote:
"Big people talk about ideas, average people talk about things, small people talk about other people." So let the Café be a place where people can share ideas without everyone else jumping in smashing that idea saying how bad of an idea it is. Give your feedback in a positive manner and if it's something you wouldn't do, then just keep on doing what's working for you.
[/quote]

How dare you try to encourage people on these forums to be polite and helpful... These forums are for belittling others ideas, making sure you sound like you are the most authoritative person in magic, and for being as negative as you can be.

Some people in this thread actually gave great feedback and exchanged ideas well. How pathetic. Not enough negativity going on around here.

So if you're going to tell others how to act, then I'll do the same to you. Stop telling people how negative they are, just be negative back. It works.
Message: Posted by: jonathandupree (Mar 27, 2011 04:26PM)
Sure thing I did not mean to offend danny. Sorry. and I don't wish to tell anyone how to act. I wish you the best
Message: Posted by: Close.Up.Dave (Mar 27, 2011 07:20PM)
[quote]
On 2011-03-27 17:26, jonathandupree wrote:
Sure thing I did not mean to offend danny. Sorry. and I don't wish to tell anyone how to act. I wish you the best
[/quote]

That wasn't negative enough.
Message: Posted by: Howie Diddot (Mar 27, 2011 08:12PM)
[quote]
On 2011-03-27 16:10, Benji Bruce wrote:
Peace Love and Chicken Grits guys
[/quote]

Great Idea benji, I love chicken grits, grew up eating them all my life.

Thanks for reminding me about chicken grits ;

Now what was the topic?
Message: Posted by: Dannydoyle (Mar 27, 2011 08:18PM)
[quote]
On 2011-03-27 16:13, Close.Up.Dave wrote:
[quote]
On 2011-03-26 21:47, jonathandupree wrote:
"Big people talk about ideas, average people talk about things, small people talk about other people." So let the Café be a place where people can share ideas without everyone else jumping in smashing that idea saying how bad of an idea it is. Give your feedback in a positive manner and if it's something you wouldn't do, then just keep on doing what's working for you.
[/quote]

How dare you try to encourage people on these forums to be polite and helpful... These forums are for belittling others ideas, making sure you sound like you are the most authoritative person in magic, and for being as negative as you can be.

Some people in this thread actually gave great feedback and exchanged ideas well. How pathetic. Not enough negativity going on around here.

So if you're going to tell others how to act, then I'll do the same to you. Stop telling people how negative they are, just be negative back. It works.
[/quote]

Be a smart alec all you like, but fact is that people are who they are. If you don't want a contrary opinion, don't put this homework up for everyone to see. Why is it that guys seem to think that EVERY contrary opinion is negative? Oh heaven forbid we call things for what they are huh?

No it is fare better to blow sunshine up people's buts and let them find out the hard way what crap they really are onto. Why let experience talk, even if it may not agree with the rose colored glass viewpoint of the young? Yea good plan.

Posted: Mar 27, 2011 10:02pm
As for Benji changing his show or not, I want to step up and defend him on that point for a second.

I have ALWAYS been wary of guys who do this, and have seen some fairly pathetic results when guys try. Even Don Alan and his 'Ace of Refridgerators' dealio falls pretty pathetic in terms of entertainment.

I do not know what Benji's reasons for not changing his show, but mine are simple. EVERY time I am booked it is because people have seen my show, know who I am and what to expect. The show is polished and it is what it is. When I "create a custom show for each client" it seems to me that it is nowhere near as polished as a 20 year show. It CAN'T be! So to me I simply do not want to try to do it because (and this is MY opinion not the right one necessarily.) it will feel like a less polished show.

I don't try to sell clients, and certainly don't "upsell" them. I do mainly public shows so there is no need. I have never chased the one night shows, so your mileage may vary. Mine is simply as stated. Again, it is ONE way of doing things. Not necessarily the "RIGHT" way, and certainly not the right way for everyone.
Message: Posted by: Close.Up.Dave (Mar 27, 2011 09:42PM)
[quote]
On 2011-03-27 21:18, Dannydoyle wrote:
Be a smart alec all you like, but fact is that people are who they are. If you don't want a contrary opinion, don't put this homework up for everyone to see. Why is it that guys seem to think that EVERY contrary opinion is negative? Oh heaven forbid we call things for what they are huh?

No it is fare better to blow sunshine up people's buts and let them find out the hard way what crap they really are onto. Why let experience talk, even if it may not agree with the rose colored glass viewpoint of the young? Yea good plan.
[/quote]

The fact that you went out of your way to say "people are who they are" shows that you realize you happen to say things in a negative way. It also points out that you are unwilling to change those habits out your own want/desire. That's fine, but then you can't get defensive when others tell you to lighten up. I like you Danny (from whatever interactions we've had through the forums), and your posts have a lot of great tips. But, don't confuse arrogance with intelligence.

Also I never said a contrary opinion isn't welcome, in fact, they are needed. However giving a contrary opinion and being a sourpuss are two different things. Sure, they sometimes have similar points of truth. However, to quote my grandmother, "you catch more flies with honey." My sarcasm wasn't necessarily aimed at this particular thread alone, but to all posts on the general forums.
Message: Posted by: tacrowl (Mar 27, 2011 10:29PM)
Danny,

Please note that I didn't say a custom show - but a customized show. Major difference. You are 100% correct - no way a custom show can be a polished performance.

Tom
Message: Posted by: dearwiseone (Mar 27, 2011 11:21PM)
Just a thought...sometimes, I want a service, not an experience. When I call a carpet cleaner, I just want my carpets cleaned. I want them to do a good job, I want them to arrive promptly, and perform the agreed upon service, at the agreed upon price. That's all. If they send a thank you card or leave brownies, that's a bonus.

I DON'T want:
follow-up emails
requests to film video testimonials
to be asked to record a testimonial
to be added to email/facebook/myspace/linkedin/twitter/ or any other mailing/email/contact/social media list


Keep in mind that providing "just a service" is fine, and some people prefer to keep it that way. And, remember, a service IS an experience!

Just some thoughts! - Kevin
Message: Posted by: Andrew Zuber (Mar 28, 2011 06:24AM)
Excellent points, Kevin! It's like walking into a store to buy a stereo - sometimes you just want buy the stereo and go home. This isn't always the case, but sometimes the overly friendly sales people can get on your nerves. The ones that keep following you around are obnoxious. It's those that know how to turn off when needed and let you go about your business that I prefer. Again, that's not saying providing the experience is a bad thing - certainly not. It's just important to know when to say "when."
Message: Posted by: Domino Magic (Mar 28, 2011 10:21AM)
[quote]
On 2011-03-27 23:29, tacrowl wrote:
Danny,

Please note that I didn't say a custom show - but a customized show. Major difference. You are 100% correct - no way a custom show can be a polished performance.

Tom
[/quote]
I would even take it a step further and say a "personalized" show. Like Benji, I'm a mentalist and can personalize several of my routines and they play just as well without the personalization. I think it's easier to do with mentalism.

I understand what Benji is trying to create, but I think he needs to have a different vision for The Benji Bruce Experience. I understand the Derren Brown examples, but realistically you're not going to have the fame, money or TV backing to recreate what Derren did with The Gathering TV show. But that doesn't mean something else cannot be created which can have impact in several areas.

Watching Benji's demo video what struck me is visually the stage setting isn't very interesting. This is true with so many mentalists. They pride themselves in being able to do an hour show out of a briefcase. I typically will video tape all of my shows and a couple of years ago I was watching a recent show, turned the sound on the TV down to answer the phone and realized how boring it looked. The was noting visually compelling about my show. So I invested in a backdrop and retractable vinyl banners. Now my name is visible before, during and after the show and I've added so color and visual interest to my act without adding props.

But Benji wants to add impact after the show as well and this is easily accomplished with a printed program. If you want to take a Derren Brown/psychological influence approach to all of this then combine the banners and the printed programs with an effect. Derren did something recently on his last TV special in which two separate set pieces where brought together to show a phrase that was previously revealed, leading you to believe you had been influenced by this throughout the show. Something like this can be easily and inexpensively done on banners as well as a program they get to take home. The reveal/influence is on the program and they get to keep it.

Obviously just an example, but more realistic than what Brown has the financial ability and fame to create.

[quote]
On 2011-03-27 23:29, tacrowl wrote:
Danny,

Please note that I didn't say a custom show - but a customized show. Major difference. You are 100% correct - no way a custom show can be a polished performance.

Tom
[/quote]
Certainly there is a HUGE difference very good point.

Posted: Mar 28, 2011 12:36pm
One thing to keep in mind and it is the following. IF you are working with an experienced talent buyer, (And why work with less?) they have seen these "customised" ideas done time and again to death. It is not as large a selling point as everyone thinks. They have heard time and again about a special experience. (Not a new idea Benji, Don Alan spoke of it decades ago.)

I also am of the opinion that folow up email is just way too intrusive. The idea of a thank you card, brownies or what not is perfect. It shows gratitude and will keep you remembered. In fact I think it will keep you remembered far more than any number of email stunts you want to use.

Anyone with an email account will tell you just how much junk email is out there. Why do you want to put yourself in the category of those who are deleated immediately? Why be remembered in this fashion? Why be associated with a viagra sales pitch? Again just the way I deal with the clients we have but most want to be left alone till they need something then they call. The idea is that your show is memorable enough that the next time they need one you are already top of their mind because the show made such a huge impact. That theory has kept me overbooked for better than 20 years.

It can work, it does work. Now the caviat is that the show must make that large an impact. Not easy. But it CAN be done. I would rather they remember me because of the show than some email technique I just thought of. The show is the experience. At least that is my theory. It is just that, one mans theory.
Message: Posted by: Domino Magic (Mar 28, 2011 11:48AM)
[quote]
On 2011-03-28 12:36, Dannydoyle wrote:

I also am of the opinion that folow up email is just way too intrusive. The idea of a thank you card, brownies or what not is perfect. It shows gratitude and will keep you remembered. In fact I think it will keep you remembered far more than any number of email stunts you want to use.
[/quote]

Exactly.

Several weeks ago I saw an interview with a guy who wrote a book 365 Thank Yous, a lawyer who changed his life by handwriting thank you notes. More information on John Kralik here:

[quote]http://www.365thankyounotes.com/[/quote]
[quote]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0XDT5IuEg3A[/quote]
[quote]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2WOUKhwlyA0&feature=related[/quote]
Message: Posted by: tacrowl (Mar 28, 2011 11:39PM)
Domino Magic - personalized is a much better word for what I was trying to express. Posted that after too long a day in the heat. Thanks!