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Brian Lehr
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Edmonton, Canada
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For the past two years, I've been hired by the organizers of a local trade show (catering to families with small children). For each of the two days, I would do 4 hours of strolling and 1 stage show. Not only was I paid to be there, I had a chance to hand out many cards (and received bookings as a result).

This year, my fees went up. They were quite hesitant to book me for the same number of hours as last time, so I suggested a barter -- I will do the two stage shows (for payment), and do the 8 hours of strolling in exchange for a booth at the show (booth value is $1400). They agreed.

So, now, I'm going to be on the other end of the trade show aisle -- promoting my birthday party business to all of these families! I'll have someone manning the booth for me while I'm out doing the strolling or stage show.

Having never had a booth of my own before, I'd be interested in hearing some of your suggestions as to how to make this a great event.

Here's a couple of things I thought about doing so far:

1. Sell Magic Books (I have two)
2. Brochures
3. Mystery Dollars Giveaways (ala Eric Paul)
4. Colouring Sheet Giveaways
5. Bring Daytimer for scheduling
6. Contest: Fill out form to win a free Birthday Magic Show, please receive a free Magic Wand for filling out the form.
7. Magic Demos

The event is on the weekend of March 10, so any ideas or suggestions before then would be greatly appreciated.

Brian
Dannydoyle
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Eternal Order
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I am confused by the event in the first place. You need to give some more information. Are people there to buy? Thus, the books. Are they there to book entertainment?

What is the intent of the show in the first place? Is the reason you're there to sell stuff or to book events?
Danny Doyle
<BR>Semper Occultus
<BR>In a time of universal deceit, telling the truth is a revolutionary act....George Orwell
KenW
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8 hours of strolling close up OUTSIDE of your booth? Ah...that doesn't leave much time to attend your booth.
KW
Brian Lehr
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Edmonton, Canada
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Quote:
On 2007-02-07 17:03, Dannydoyle wrote:
I am confused by the event in the first place. You need to give some more information. Are people there to buy? Thus, the books. Are they there to book entertainment?

What is the intent of the show in the first place? Is the reason you're there to sell stuff or to book events?

Danny,

The purpose of the event is to showcase products to families in our city. Each year, several thousand families go to the fair to learn about these products, get free samples, make some purchases, hear about how to set up Education Savings Plans, and just to have plain old fun with their family (face-painting, petting zoo, *magician*, etc.). Hundreds of exhibitors from across the province gather to entice the parents to buy their wares, join their organization (i.e. Scouts and Girl Guides), or hear lectures (guest speaker this year is Nanny Stella of "Nanny 911").

So, I'm going to use my booth at this event to primarily promote my birthday party business to the parents. Many of them will see me walking around doing magic and entertaining their children; I can then direct them to my booth for more information on how to get a magic show for their child's next birthday (or other children's event). The selling of magic books is secondary, but still a good thing to do.

The last two years I've been there, there were no children's entertainers there promoting themselves. Why? Don't know. Perhaps because there are only 2 or 3 of us full-time children's entertainers in this city (that I'm aware of).

In case you're interested, the link to the site is: http://mompoptotsfair.ca/

Brian

Posted: Feb 7, 2007 5:45pm
Quote:

On 2007-02-07 17:12, KenW wrote:
8 hours of strolling close up OUTSIDE of your booth? Ah...that doesn't leave much time to attend your booth.
KW

That's why I will have my wife with me.

It's like being hired to promote someone's business at a trade show, except I'm promoting my own business, and I'm not limited to my booth area in order to showcase myself.

Brian
ralphdean
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Northern Ca
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Hi Brian,

If you have a chance, blow up some pictures of you at a birthday party and the kids having fun.
icentertainment
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Honestly, I think the selling of books is not a good thing to do at a trade show.

You are there to get leads, period.

Leads for followup.

Yes, it may be the time to spend selling your books, but I would use the opportunity to meet people and sell your show-----unless your books cost more than your show.

But the trade show is the perfect time to demonstrate your talents, live, to people who might book you- as apposed to sending them a brochure later or a cold call later.

Posted: Feb 7, 2007 6:58pm
I would stay in your booth. Or rather, perform outside and meet people as they walk past, and then pull them over to your booth.

This way, you will start to gather a group around your stand as apposed to in the middle of nowhere.

Also, you will not have to work so much out of your pockets - you'll be able to do larger effects or possibly some of your kid's show.

Just remember to pitch in with the suggestion that they book you for their event, and have a system to get their contact details---sign up today for a 10% discount.

You could event print out the first 2 chapters of your book and use these as a giveaway---sign up today for a sneak peak of my new book.
Brian Lehr
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Edmonton, Canada
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Quote:
On 2007-02-07 18:53, icentertainment wrote:
Honestly, I think the selling of books is not a good thing to do at a trade show.

You are there to get leads, period.


That's true. So, I will leave the books out.

To gather names for leads, I will offer a chance to win a free show, plus they receive a magic wand for filling in the info form.

I can't stay outside my booth during hours I've been hired to do strolling, as I'm expected to wander throughout the whole building.

Brian
icentertainment
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Quote:
I can't stay outside my booth during hours I've been hired to do strolling, as I'm expected to wander throughout the whole building.



Do you mean inside?

If you have a plasma screen, have it in your stand (as you're not going to be there) and have your wife get the info from clients.

You may also want to hand people you perform for in strolling a map or something to visit your stand----so they can fill out a form.

In essence, give them an incentive to visit your stand.

Or is possible once per hour you could do a mini kids show at your stand - and this way, you could tell people about it during your strolling bit.

You may want to check with exhibition organisers first, but if you sell it right, then it is a plus-----just make sure the show isn't too loud for other exhibitors, or they will shut you down.
During the mini stage performance, you could plug your services (and your book).

You could even organise a really cheapo give-away show bag for the little ones, although you'll have to check your budget.
Dannydoyle
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It seems to me, and only me, that you are kind of shooting yourself in the foot on this.

You want to be in your booth for as LONG as you can to cultivate contacts. To me, it seems counter productive to work the "show" as you don't really get to sell yourself. You can't have all the contact info or get the correct info from them.

To me, you would be better off actually paying for the booth and working it from that point of view, ESPECIALLY if another children's entertainer shows up. Imagine you strolling around, and on the way to the booth to get YOUR info, they run into another performer. Not a great situation.

You want to be able to draw people to YOUR booth as they walk by.
Danny Doyle
<BR>Semper Occultus
<BR>In a time of universal deceit, telling the truth is a revolutionary act....George Orwell
Bob Sanders
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Grammar Supervisor
Magic Valley Ranch, Clanton, Alabama
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Better managed trade shows restrict you to your area. They rented the other areas to other people. Each is entitled to "quiet enjoyment" of the spaces and common areas. Getting thrown out for violating that requirement is usually "forever".

Bob Sanders
Magic By Sander
Bob Sanders

Magic By Sander / The Amazed Wiz

AmazedWiz@Yahoo.com
magicofCurtis
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Los Angeles
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Hmm... Why have a booth? Accept the fee they paid you last year (or maybe a few dollars more) and still promote yourself as they pay you... This way, you make some cash and still get bookings.
joshlondon17
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San Diego, CA
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Brian,

Instead of having the books out of the show, why not give them away for free? You'll have all your info on it (probably on every page!), and people go to trade shows to look to buy and also receive free gifts.
Brian Lehr
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Edmonton, Canada
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Thank you all for the suggestions. Perhaps I could give the book away as an incentive for people to sign up for the free birthday magic show. Hmmm.

In getting the necessary information, how much is too much (from the parent's perspective)?

Would it be OK to ask for the names of their children? Their birth dates? This info is good to know when doing follow-up mailings on the leads, but in this day and age, with so many weirdos preying on kids, I'm wondering if the parents will be reluctant to release this info. Perhaps it might be best to ask how many children they have and the birth dates, but no names.

For those who have done this (for contests, etc.), what is the best way to tackle this?

Brian
icentertainment
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Perhaps asking what month they are born in may be better than the exact day.

Perhaps you can have your Form in two stages:

Fill out the top section to be placed on the mailing list - which sends out cost reduction techniques for birthdays, and then if they fill out the bottom half, they get a free book and go into the drawing to win a free show worth $10000000.

And make a point that you do not sell your list to anyone.

If you have a certificate to prove you're OK to be a kids entertainer, have this blown up by a printer and put this at eye level in your stand, so parents know that they can leave their kids contact details.

Now, I am going out on a limb here, as I do not really know much about weird people, but I would say that most pedophiles would be men----which is what I see on TV anyway. So having your wife ask for the details may appear safer for a parent.
joshlondon17
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San Diego, CA
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I don't think there would be anything wrong with asking when the kids were born and how old they are. You are there as a"Birthday Party Magician". I'd expect you to ask me how old my kids are. Just say that you are going to send them something special a month or 2 before their birthday, then blammo, hit em with your sales letter!

Josh

P.S. I think you might be reading too much into this. Your job at a trade show booth (either yours or a client's) is to generate leads and make an impression on clients - get your name out there.
SoCalPro
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I was going to make a similar thread about this topic then I remembered this was here. Saturday (5-5) I have been invited to show up for FREE and promote myself to about 1000 people, mostly families (my target market). I did a similar appearance at a CDC (Child Development Center) seminar. The whole idea here was to sell myself to the CDC’s for the upcoming summer.

Here’s what I brought for my promotion:

1. My laptop running with a PowerPoint presentation running and a video available.
2. 1 sign advertising me.
3. 1 sign advertising a drawing for a $40 gift card as well as cards they could fill out (which I could use to later contact them).
4. Lot’s of business cards.
5. Jacket with lot’s of magic for demonstration.

The above mentioned was for a CDC seminar and was only about a 2 hour period. Saturday, I'll be in front of about 1000 people (families) for 4 hours who could book me for their private booking.

My question is this. This appearance on Sat. will be different from the above mentioned "trade show" situation. What should I add or subtract to make this worth my while?

Any suggestions would be appreciated.

Thanks.

JIM
SoCalPro
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Any advice?? Smile
Donald Dunphy
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Hi Jim -

What about a draw for a free birthday show? And then all of the runner-ups get mailed a coupon for a discount on a birthday / or other show? (One grand prize, everyone else is runner up. Maximize your list.)

Somewhere around here is a good post from Starrpower about how he had a draw for a magic kit (entry box at a store, I seem to remember), and then maximized the rest of the entries as possible birthday show prospects.

Or the kids could join a magic club you run (with parental permission on the club application forms).

BTW, don't automatically sign them up for a newsletter or a club, without their knowledge and consent.

The best expectation from an event like this is to collect names for future contact, as opposed to expecting to sell them your services on the spot.

- Donald

P.S. You could also have some sort of souvenir for the children to take with them (either give or sell). Brian suggested a few in the first post on this thread.
Donald Dunphy is a Victoria Magician, British Columbia, Canada.
Billgussen
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Central Japan
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On the booth side of thing, have a flyer to hand out to everyone who passes by. The TV showing a recording of your performace is a good idea. Doing magic at the booth will attract people. Perhaps "raffling off" a free show might be a good incentive for people to leave their information. (To enter, leave your contact information on a pre-made form.) If you pick a winner perhaps once a day at a set time, it give people a reason to come back to your booth again, and gives you a ready-made audience that you can impress with your skills before the raffle.

Since you will be leaving your wife alone at the booth, set schedules that allow for you and your wife rest breaks, bathroom breaks, snack breaks, etc. Booths can get very hectic at times, and if there is only one person there, it can be very stressful. At that time, the person running the booth will be counting the seconds until help arrives. Set schedules and keep to them.

I'm on the fence about books. If they reveal methods, then I'd probably leave them home. You'd have to keep them behind the table of the booth anyway. (If they were on the table or in an openly accessable place like a rack, some people will mistake them for give-aways and walk off with them during a busy time when you can't stop them.) On the other hand, you are "paying" for your booth, so what you do with your booth is up to you. If you can sell some of your books, I don't see the problem with that.

Aside from that, plenty of water; cell phones (but they may not work on the show floor -- I've had shows where they didn't work at all); if you or your wife has back problems, bring comfy cusions; eye-catching singage, a white board for announcements and schedule changes... There's probably more, but it's been a few years since I worked the booths at those kind of shows.

Hope I gave you a couple of ideas,
Bill
TroyRoark
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Springfield IL
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I've done several of these. Not for families, but for educators. If I were you, I'd work the area around my booth, and stay away from the other areas. That way, you can quickly direct people straight to your booth. And besides, the crowd moves around on their own. Let them come to you.

I occurs to me that you might have hurt yourself in agreeing to this. In previous years, you were out promoting yourself and booking shows while getting paid. Now, you have a booth and you're working for "free." I hope you see a signifcant increase in the number of shows you book from the event. If not, it may not have been beneficial to work out the deal. And, they probably won't be willing to go back to the original deal next year.

I wish you luck. I hope it works out.
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