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Grandillusionsmagic
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I would like to know what you tell the people when they call and ask about your show? how much do you say? when do you give the price? what do you ask them?
thank you
Grand Illusions
Magically,
GI
www.boisemagic.com
Peter Marucci
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Invariably, people calling will ask the price first.
I don't tell them -- at least at that point.
First, I ask when the show is, in case I am already booked.
Then what kind of show -- kids (birthday?), adults, etc., what occasion, and so on.
Is there a guest of honor or special person and, if so, what name?
Then how many are expected to attend (roughly).
Finally, having extracted all the information I can out of the client, I tell them my price (it varies, depending on the type of show, etc.).
If you tell them the price right off you will lose them, nine times out of ten.
Cheshire Cat
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I think that Peter and I beg to differ here, as I always answer the phone: "Hello Aceparties, Tony speaking, can I help you?"
They usually (if they don't know us) ask "could you tell me what you do please?". Reply: "We do a 2 hour stay for birthday parties at £95. Would you like me to check a date or give you the details?". Ladies who say "I'll have to have a word with my husband" probably will not be back!! "Those who say "I just wanted to know how much" definitely will not be back!! How much do you charge? Well where do you live? Are the supermarket car parks full of 4 litre Jeeps and Range Rovers they use as school/shopping cars? Or do you live in an area of high unemployment? You can normally find websites that classify your area in income groups. I find them very revealing. Thank goodness ours is classed ABC 1. It's no use trying to sell kids entertainment to people who cannot afford the daily essentials! Look in your Yellow Pages, make some "bogus" calls to other entertainers (conceal your number or call from a mobile). Good luck. Tony. Smile
p.b.jones
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Hi,
I must say that I work more like Peter than Tony.

I never give my price until after I have painted some pictures in there mind of the wonderful things that will happpen at .....(childs name)Party. I can honestly say that many times people have not even asked me the price until after they have agreed to the show. The magority of times though I use the get details, paint mind pictures give prices aproach (I use the 3 show price technique I explained on another thread.)This works for me, But I am not/cannot competing on price, But the percieved value of unforgettable memories.

quote:
make some "bogus" calls to other entertainers (conceal your number or call from a mobile). Good

Why? if another entertainer rings and asks me my fees I will tell them. I do not see why they feel they would need to pretend to be someone else. why would you not tell them?

Quote:
It's no use trying to sell kids entertainment to people who cannot afford the daily essentials.

I think you would be suprised people will spend on what they want not what they need.
Hense the amount of unemployed /less wealthy people that spend most of their money on Drink and Cigaretes. I was booked to do a show in a less desirable area of town and the lady saisd to me oh I will pay you now before you start save bother later and coughed up my fee (which was over £100.00) I was performing in her Kitchen and after the show I was clearing up I could hear her telling the milkman that she was sorry she owed so much, she will pay as soon as she has the money ext.
Phillip
Cheshire Cat
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Of course, some entertainers will do anything. I quite admire them really. We used to be the same. Shopping Mall? Yes! Christening/Wedding? Yes! Teenagers? Yes! 2 year old? Yes! We have also toured extensively for holiday companies, - and all of these can command different fees and sales techniques. Over the years we have carved our clientele to (apart from Christmas parties and school family nights) simply Birthdays for 4 to 7 year olds, - so we basically know what over 90% of callers are wanting so we can quote our standard price. Everyone to their own, and good luck to them; and of course cultures vary not only between UK and USA but between some areas of England and Wales! We are south of a huge UK city and about 5 pages of entertainers in Yellow Pages so I guess we must have good survival techniques. I would analyse your area as I suggest GrandIllusions, but between me and you I would not advise ringing anyone else up and asking them what they charge and telling them you are going to compete against them!! We found some local entertainers horrors in 1978 when we were setting up - including one who said: "you've pinched my act, I'm going to sue you" (so maybe a good idea to get mum, sister, girlfriend, wife etc. to make a few enquiries locally). One point I do agree though with PB, yes, poorer families do book entertainers, they usually pay cash up front, they usually offer you a tea or coffee straightaway, and their kids are beautifully behaved (and dressed too). But alas, they are few and far between. The downside being that many smoke at kid's parties (see PB's interesting social observation of the British poor). The 6 parties we did over this past Fri.-Sun. were all extremely wealthy - one father being a barrister. I think almost any entertainer working these type of people will also have to admit that some children, (NOT ALL) - can be lacking in manners! - but this is another story. But no doubt you will find your own way round GrandIllusions and I wish you all the best. All the best to Peter and PB.
Margarette
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One thing some might not realize is that even the lower income families will sometimes save an entire year, or mom and/or dad will work overtime for a month to make little Johnny's birthday something he will always remember. I've done several shows like this. After describing what I do, finding out where they live, then giving the price, and getting "Oh, we didn't know it was going to be that much", I then enter into negotiations on what would be an acceptable fee for an acceptable show. Usually what I tell them is that I will cut the show in half...they seem satisfied with that. But, what they don't know, and really, I don't know either is that when I get there, I end up doing a full show because I'm having so much fun...and as a gift to the birthday child....I'll throw in balloons for free (I've usually already decided this before hand). And you know, to me, the people that book me for these shows seem to really appreciate it a lot more than the ones who have money to burn. I've gotten more hugs from the kids at these parties than the ones from upper class, fancy part of town. Do I mind losing a little bit of money to make a child smile? Not a bit!! And you know what...that's what it's all about...making the kids smile! Smile

Margarette
The only stupid question is the one not asked.
Cheshire Cat
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What a nice attitude Margarette. You see though, since I gave up being a piano player/organist full time in 1980 we have bought a house, cars, pension funds, and brought up two kids, on entertainment alone - so alas this could never be a viable proposition to us. (Not saying you have not done the same!) It's only in the past 5 years or so we have 'found wealth' through other means. This is why I probably appear hard and mercenary to some others - it's been survival! Yes, the people on the poorer side of life do appreciate you more don't they? and do you know what? some of them are on the start of their way up and have re-booked years down the line, this time with their 'rich kids'. Smile One word of warning though. We have seen entertainers give services 'free' or 'reduced' to people who have gone and spent the money on a bouncy castle or helium balloons, or bottles of wine for the adults instead. Even worse next year they have gone and booked a 'dearer' entertainer on the theory of 'you get what you pay for'.
p.b.jones
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quote:
Over the years we have carved our clientele to (apart from Christmas parties and school family nights) simply Birthdays for 4 to 7 year olds, - so we basically know what over 90% of callers are wanting so we can quote our standard price

Hi Tony,
If you are happy pricing this way and it suits you, you have enough work then Obviously that's fine. Though It does fly in the face of established sales techniques. Even if you have fixed prices for fixed servises (I do too). You will convert more calls to sales / higher fees by giving your price later.
Phillip
Cheshire Cat
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No, disagree, sorry. Function band sales (which I used to be involved in) yes, - kid's parties - no. When people phone up 'cold' their main apprehensions are about costs and 'what type of person they are talking too'. We try and get this bit quickly over for them. If they don't make a quick exit after price quote then we know we have them (subject to being available). We announce our fee increases (every September) well in advance. They all know that our charges and we, are fair and square as the garden gate! (an old Brit. expression Margarette and Peter). Smile
p.b.jones
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Hi,
I see what you are saying and it suits performers competing on price. But a lot of us are not (I charge almost double my nearest(pricewise)competitor charges for a 1 hour show for my 45 mins show) so we have need to make them really want to book us before we give our price.in my opinion People do not book on cost but rather on value (or percieved value)
Phillip
Peter Marucci
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Aceparties says: "When people phone up 'cold' their main apprehensions are about costs and 'what type of person they are talking to'."

That's the point. And that's why I hold off on quoting my price -- I want them to get to know a bit about me and know what type of person they are talking to. The questions and chit-chat do that, so they aren't put off by the price or, if they are, they can feel comfortable in saying 'no'.
Cheshire Cat
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There are lots out there who shop for entertainers like carrots and cabbages. How much can I get for as little as possible? (and ultimately end up in McDonalds sat surrounded by junk food, plastic toadstools and minimum wage staff). I personally (can afford because of our high booking rate) to object to spending any length of time on the phone with these. Then there are those who ask price straight out, because they don't want to listen to a 'script'. Strangely enough these can then say: "oh right, could you check a date for me please?". A valid point is made further on by our friend from Yorkshire who says he tries to "demotivate" them from phoning other entertainers. Yes, very important too. Probably one of the best ways is to be there answering the phone on weekdays - especially between 11.30 a.m. and 2 p.m. I guess what suits one does not suit another! I rest my case M'lord. I now leave it to the jury! Smile
Andy Wonder
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Sometimes I joke with them at the start and tell them it is a million dollars then ask how close to that they can come. What they really want to know is what value they are going to get for their money. Just knowing a price does not tell them that.
I used to sell insurance in a call centre for a long time. If you get people calling around for a price and you tell them straight off without them knowing anything about your show (or your policy) then they have no reason to listen to your pitch anymore. It might be okay if you are competing on price. It obviously works okay for aceparties (and if a lot of their calls a referrals is should be fine).
If people have seen you before or already decided to book you before calling then you can quote a price early on.
The only time I quote a price right off is if they come up and ask right after seeing me at a kid’s party, because I don’t have to explain too much about what I do if they have just seen me perform. Even then their event could be quite different. Like Phillip I often have people that call and request a price & I sell them the show before I have actually quoted a price anyway. It is a bit like the infomercials you see on TV. They get all the features & benefits explained before the price.
After I quote a price I go into what they need to do to prepare for me (which are in a way costs to them as well). e.g. Make sure the children have a comfortable place to sit down, their dog is locked up, the kids don't have ice-creams etc... All my main questions have already been asked.
Andy Wonder, Auckland, New Zealand
mslj
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A prospective client really wants to know if they are going to get value for their money. I want to convince them that my show will be excellent value in terms of content and presentation and I want to do this before I tell them the price. The conclusion of the discussion is ideally to demotivate the caller from phoning other entertainers

In other words if I can ellcit the "that sounds really nice" response before I mention the fee then it's not too difficult to close the deal once price is mentioned.

I don't want to give the impression that price is irrelevent but in my experience it is often not the most important priority in telephone enquiries.
kenscott
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good stuff here!! This topic seperates the amateurs versers the fulltime entertainers.

First you should ask have they seen your show or how did they hear about you. If they saw you or someone told them to call you then you are the only they are calling and the ball is in your court. Meaning you could go for the higher end show for this person. Now if they saw your ad you have to start from scratch. When i am on the phone with a potential client I am professional yet friendly. I dont put a hard sell on them. If you act like your a hunger will more than likely not get the gig. I never ask the date first because I want to give the details of the show and then check the date. Often parents have moved their date to fit calander.

I offer several packages from a basic package to a Super Deluxe package. Parents like options. Sometimes if I feel the client has a good since of humor and they ask me how much I charge I say 2000.00 and that includes the tigers. That gets a big laugh so when I do give them my price of 300.00 for the party it sounds alot better than 2000.00. But I only do this they have seen me or I can sense they have good sense of humors.

If they are looking for the cheapest I often give them names and numbers of other entertainers. My thinking is if I am willing to give out names of other people I must be pretty busy. The phone is a powerful tool. Have a script but don't READ it word for word.

Thanks this is a fun topic!

Ken Scott
http://www.kenscottmagic.com
email: ken@kenscottmagic.com
Cheshire Cat
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Hey, nice letter Ken, but who are the amateurs and pro's you refer too? Smile
kenscott
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amateurs here in Altanta ga are the guys or girls that go into a magic shop buy several tricks and say They are ready to do the birthday parties but ads in the parenting books and start selling their show for alot less and the show is not good in most cases. The parents book them and then they are dissapointed in magicians.. Pros? People that have a great show and know how to entertain the kids and know how to close the sale on the phone.
Thanks
Ken
Cheshire Cat
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Yes, I agree with every word you say here, but two letters back you were suggesting a division between amateurs and pro's within this topic. Myself, PB, Peter and Andrew differ on the point of price insertion into a telephone conversation, but we are all pro's.

Thanks
Tony. Smile
kenscott
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I am sorry I should be more clear. My statment of amt. or vers. pro is that this topic of calls. In which the amaterus have a hard time on the phone with clients. For instance a guy here who does it just for fun and not the money gets a call from a parent and he tells them he has the entire saturday open. The parent gets the impression of this guy must not be to good if he is saying he has nothing booked a two weeks out. Everyone has there own way of selling on the phone there seems to be no right or wrong way. What works for me or you may not work for another. It was nothing personal.
Best,
ken
Cheshire Cat
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Thank you Ken, and a warm welcome to the Café. Why, I've only been here a week and posted so much! We all know and understand each other's problems - they all seem the same whether USA, NZ, UK, Canada etc. I personally do not treat it as 'showbiz' these days and have become hardened beyond imagination. My family go back to the 1930s in dance teaching, music (I was a pro. keyboard player in my 20s) - and kid's entertainment. The kid's entertainment has rewarded us beyond belief and it's still a delight to perform, but at times something comes along that tears you up! We have competed against all sorts - tax evaders, sex offenders, liars, cheats, drunks - you name it! But do you know what? We see them all come and GO! Smile Peter makes an excellent point further on also. Even though there are two of us working separately - we still play hard to get, and those people that leave messages for you on a Sat. or Sun. - you call them back and they say: "I've made other arrangements" - you feel like saying: "what sort of entertainer have you booked that's sat at home today?"
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