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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » Tricky business » » Answering the phone...useful (0 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

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Inner circle
6439 Posts

Profile of NJJ
There is a silly thread on the Café regarding whether or not you should answer the phone etc. I consider this discussion a monumental waste of time. Answer the *** phone!

But I figure I shouldn't complain without offering an alternative. So here are some ideas for what to say on the phone to counter the guff.

[bold]Greetings [/bold]
People are embarrased to being calling a magician. They worry it might be the wrong number or that someone else may answer the phone. It's like meeting The Queen! No one is sure what the protocal.

Therefore, you should say "Amazo The Magician, Steve speaking" or a similar greeting that says a) you are the magician b) your 'real' name. When I use to say just "hello", people would panic and just hang up, losing me business!

Set them at easy early on by giving your business name and real name

[bold]The first thing they say[/bold]
Most people fall into one of three groups

"How much do you charge" - 95% of people who say this upfront are price shoppers and will not usually booked me because I am expensive. For this reason. I usually give these people a brief run of costs etc. and don't press them for too much information. I could spend more time selling myself to them but I get a lot of calls and these types of callers take far too much time for little return

"I just wanted to find out what you do" - These people tend to have an event or service in mind that they might want you to fill. I like to answer their question briefly then follow up with a question. e.g. "I am a professional magician and entertainer. What sort of event were you holding?"

"Can I book you" These people have seen me before and want to book. I always say "Of course, what date would you like?" If I am free, I follow up by saying "Have you seen the show?" If so, I can adjust my script to focus even more strongly on the benefits rather then having to list features.

[bold]Questions to ask[/bold]
Before I quote I want to know
1) What type of event (some people pretend their major event is small to get a cheaper price)
2) How many people (this gives a clear idea of size}
3) What sort of audience (children? adults? both?)
4) How much money would they like to spend? (this question I do not ask but get a sense of from who they are and the questions they ask.)

Later, I would like to offer some useful tips on closing on the phone, avoiding the 'I have to talk to his father' and people who want to make a tentative booking.

Hope this starts into a really useful thread!
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Inner circle
New York, New York
1298 Posts

Profile of nucinud
I can't wait for the next installment.
"We are what we pretend to be" Kurt Vonnegut, jr.

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Harry Mandel
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Profile of Countage
I will usually not get on the phone unless I have my book and laptop infront of me. I have found no matter what I always act like I have to juggle my schedule to squeeze in the booking. This creates a sense of urgency and makes the client feel lucky to book me. I may also mention how some of the other magicians I know are slam booked.
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Inner circle
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Profile of NJJ
I'm not sure about the creating a false sense of urgency part. Seems a little dishonest to me.

But I think you are spot on with having all your info in front of you. I use a PDA phone so I can check availability etc whenever I answer.

Actually, I need a new one...any suggestions?
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Eternal Order
Philadelphia, PA
15111 Posts

Profile of magic4u02
Aww I have a new PDA that works beautiful for me. I have the Palm TX and it goes with me everywhere. it is not a PDA Phone but works well. I can tell you more about it Nicholas in a PM if you would like additional information. My pleasure.

I also have scripts for my shows and offerings and keep it by my phones. This way I have all information ready even if I am half asleep or feeling sick. I can always make sure I come across as a professional.

Kyle Peron

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Julian Franklin
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Regular user
Houston, TX
139 Posts

Profile of Julian Franklin

Great thread. I followed you here from the first one about the phone.

I do have to disagree on one point. You state that 95% of the people begin by asking about price (I agree so far) and that most of them are price shoppers (here is where I disagree).

I think that many lay people begin the conversation with the topic of price simply because they know no other question to ask. They are incapable of distinguishing an accomplished magician from a hack. They don't know the difference between an Ambitious Card routine using perfect double lifts, flawless passes, and a perfect Tilt and the same effect presented using a Svengali deck. Like stated earlier, they are in a situation similar in many respects to meeting the Queen; they simply don't know what else to ask!

So I would say that while 95% of the people call asking first for price, my experience has indicated that fewer than half are actually price shoppers. Most are simply unaware of any other criterion on which to judge a competent performer.

So, another question to consider (assuming you accept my premise) is "How do we lead the conversation to a better line of questioning?"

--Julian Franklin
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Inner circle
6439 Posts

Profile of NJJ
It is important to make sure they don't feel stupid for asking about price. Answer the question WITHOUT giving prices and then ask them a question.

"I have a variety of different packages for different events." [answers the question] "What type of event were you having?" [gets back on track]

However, I still stand by the 95% rule...for my market anyway.
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Profile of johnobryant
I used to never answer the phone if I didn't have my planner infront of me or computer...This is because I like to talk to the clients when I know I don't have any destractions around me, so I know I could make the phone call and conversation the best. I have worked with customer service and sales a while back and I found out that the "quite wittedness" and "personalizing the call" approach has carried over into my magic and has actually helped. That way they feel like they know you better when you show up at a gig.

When people call you they need information. Take control of the phone call and follow a script. You can turn 90% of cold prospects into customers with a well written script.

Also, if you are not going to answer your phone, please have a decent answering machine. Just like Nicholas J. Johnson said...Half the time they think they have the wrong number.

John O'Bryant
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Texas / Alabama
393 Posts

Profile of Habu
I hope this was not addressed earlier, I did not read the originating thread, but if someone is embarrassed to answer the phone because they are not sure if it is for a magician or for someone else in the household, then why not make sure the phone would only be for the magician?

If you're not going to have a separate business line, then have a separate ring set up with a number that is used just for you. That way you know it is for you, and you can answer "Amazing Bob" without worry.

I had a script by our phone so that my wife or daughter could also answer the phone without them having to remember to use the right greeting. (This was for a fine art portrait business, not magic, but same deal.)

And I agree with you, Nicholas, if your getting business via the phone, then why wouldn't you answer the silly thing? If I call someone and they do not answer, or have a poorly recorded message, I usually will not call back. A business is a business, and there should be someone there for you to talk to, or have a professional message--which should be followed up with in a timely manner.
Real name: Rick Jackson
Habu: Taken from SR-71 spy plane I worked on. It's name came from a poisonous snake on Okinawa. Hope my magic isn't poisonous!
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