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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » Tricky business » » Trade Show Magic Question (7 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

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Ilan
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South Africa
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Good day, all.

I need some help and advice, if possible.

I have been asked to do a 3-day Trade Show for a company selling equipment to factories. E.G would be pressure gauges, water flow readers, and all these type things.

My questions are as follows:

What tricks work well for trade shows, in general? Like, for example, I think Wild Card would work well with every card changing into a card with the company name on it. The problem is it has to be done on a table, and for bigger crowds, that might be difficult to see.
My second question is how much I should charge relative to my corporate other shows. It is for 3 days from 10am till 4pm.

Thanks for the help,

Ilan
If you can't laugh at yourself, you are obviously not getting the joke
corpmagi
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#1 Rule of Trade Show Magic:

It's not about what tricks you do, it's all about what you say about the company and their products.

Seth Kramer
A Modern Trade Show Handbook
www.trafficstoppers.com/handbook
Jim Snack
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Ilan,

There is nothing wrong with starting your performance with close-up magic, like Wild Card, then as the crowd grows, switching to material that can be seen better.

Since this is an audience of technical people, I would bring the Wellington Magic Switchboard. That will keep them coming back to the booth. See:
http://www.wellingtonent.com/document/duoswitc.html

Now, how much to charge? That's a difficult question to answer because your fee depends upon a number of factors. Things like your experience level, quality of your promotional materials, the type of trade show it is (i.e. local, regional, national, or international), the size of company, number of days (including travel days), etc. all impact your proposal.

Judging from your questions, I assume you are new to trade shows. A beginner would not charge as much as an experienced and established professional in the field, but you would not want to under-price yourself. You need to determine what the range is for the market, and price your self accordingly. Remember, a smaller company showing at a local or regional show is not going to have the budget that a Fortune 100 company showing at a major international industry show has for the booth.

It really depends upon how many days you will be taking off the market to do the show and how much you need to gross per day to sustain and grow your business. I suggest you determine your fee based upon your normal corporate strolling fee, then add a bit for the time you need to customize props and take off for travel, plus any expenses that come out of your pocket. Then, adjust it for the type of show and size of company.

Sorry I can't be more specific, but it's a hard question to answer. Experience will be your best teacher.

I will tell you that the first time I worked the National Hardware show in Chicago, I had no idea what to charge, so I quoted $1000 plus travel expenses for two days (with travel, it took four days off my schedule, something I forgot to factor into my bid). Then, I found out that the company was paying $5000 to the union crew to set up and tear down the booth and $1500 for the union crew to vacuum the carpet at the end of each day. I was getting less that the carpet cleaners! After that experience, I immediately doubled my fee for future shows.

One last thought, if you are going to get into doing trade shows, I suggest you start reading everything that has been put out on the subject. There are a number of good books available, and I have a downloadable audio seminar on Getting Started Working Trade Shows at http://www.success-in-magic.com/resources.htm .

Good luck.

Jim
Jim Snack

"Helping Magicians Succeed with Downloadable Resources"
www.success-in-magic.com
Dannydoyle
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Actually, you have rule #1 confused.

Rule number one of magic performance in GENERAL is to HAVE AN ACT PRIOR TO BOOKING THE GIG!

This rule is so overlooked these days, it really is enraging.

Sorry, but I am from the Eddie Tulloch school of thought. If you have to ask, maybe the answer won't help you too much.

Well, now that ranting is over, when is this show? If I could not answer these questions, I may pass the gig along, and here is why: IF you do it poorly, you burn a heck of a bridge. IF you provide other satisfactory entertainment, on the ruse that your "busy that day", it makes a happy client who will call you back. Then when you are ready, you can do the show. Don't burn these bridges, as they are tough to build in the first place.

I say that, not to be harsh, but to help. Corporate clients are quite nice to have. No need to have them thinking you less talented than you are. That is, if the show is happening quickly. IF you have time to learn, then do. Bottom line is, long term, you want to keep the client.
Danny Doyle
<BR>Semper Occultus
<BR>In a time of universal deceit, telling the truth is a revolutionary act....George Orwell
Jim Poor
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You could do a version of "Homing Card", where the "other cards" are the competition and the homing card is the sponsor of the event. There are a few jumbo card versions of this effect out there.

Best,
Jim
bronx
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Ilan (and anyone involved in trade show magic),

I have been a producer of trade show presentations for over twenty years. Have used magicians, jugglers, comedians, improvisers, narrators, you name it. I have recently added some illusions to my own trade show performances. Seth is right. Trade shows are ALL about the client and their message. I have seen wonderful magicians, great technicians, brilliant sleight-of-hand artists who fail miserably in the convention environment. And I have also seen magicians with a VERY small bag of tricks make their clients virtually swoon with delight.

It is all about striking the balance between content and entertainment, and paying careful attention to what the client is looking for. The trade show floor also has far more in common with street performing than it does with the typical corporate stage show. That is to say, the only way to have a captive audience at a trade show is to capture them yourself...

As a final note, I would heartily recommend that ANYONE with aspirations in the trade show arena read Seth Kramer's "A Modern Trade Show Handbook." After 2 plus decades of experience as a producer, I still learned plenty from reading his book.

Good luck out there,

Bronx
Dannydoyle
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Bronx,

Half the time you're right. Many times, a client simply wants more traffic for the sales sharks to attack. Involving the name is crucial, but attracting customers is #1.

As for a small bag, you're SO right. Ask anyone who hired Eddie Tulloch and his deck of cards!
Danny Doyle
<BR>Semper Occultus
<BR>In a time of universal deceit, telling the truth is a revolutionary act....George Orwell
corpmagi
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If a client is looking to just gather names for a mailing list, then yes, Dannydoyle is correct, but there are any number of attractions the client can use as a crowd draw (iPod raffle, for example, is common). What I educate my clients about is the necessity of drawing qualified leads to the exhibit, and that gives the trade show magician a distinct advantage over many other crowd drawing techniques.
A Modern Trade Show Handbook
www.trafficstoppers.com/handbook
Ilan
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Thanks, all, so much for the advice.
All these ideas are great.

I understand that I am there to sell the company and their products. The question I am asking is, which tricks work well for these ideas?

Dannydoyle: The trade show is a 3 day show, 15-17 of May.

Jim Snack: Thanks for all the great advice.

Corpmagi: How do I draw qualified these leads and concentrate on them?
If you can't laugh at yourself, you are obviously not getting the joke
Dannydoyle
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If you are asking these questions this close to the show, pass the show along and insure a happy client.
Danny Doyle
<BR>Semper Occultus
<BR>In a time of universal deceit, telling the truth is a revolutionary act....George Orwell
nucinud
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Getting qualified leads at trade show is more than just gathering names. After the magician gets the crowd to stay and talk to the sales people in the booth, by offering something like a Monte-style trick or small prize, the sales people should ask the right questions to get qualified leads.

Corpmagi is great at getting people to stay after his performance and allowing the sales people to qualify the leads.

Part of my day job is training sales people how to qualify leads and how to get more leads at a trade show.
"We are what we pretend to be" Kurt Vonnegut, jr.



Now U C It Now U Don't

Harry Mandel

www.mandelmagic.com
Dannydoyle
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Gathering them is only half the battle. Keeping them long enough for the sales staff, well, that is truly an art form.

They have maybe 5 sales people TOPS. You are drawing well over 30 people. It is a tough road, to say the least.
Danny Doyle
<BR>Semper Occultus
<BR>In a time of universal deceit, telling the truth is a revolutionary act....George Orwell
bronx
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Ilan,

Have you submitted a questionnaire to your client? Have you had a long phone call asking them specifically what they want the 'take away' to be? Is your presentation a 'branding' piece, an attempt to draw large crowds and get name recognition? (And, of course, to move said crowd INTO the booth.) Does your client have 2 or 3 key points that need to be communicated?? What are the 'pain points' for the audience? What do they need? What do they want? What does XYZ company do differently than the competition?

Get these questions answered, and then folks on this forum may be able to offer you more help.

Also, in spite of your best intentions and no matter how compelling your client's story, many people simply will not enter the booth after your presentation. They just won't. Even if they need what your client is selling. Trade show attendees have a daunting amount of real estate to cover and not nearly enough time to do it. They often want to get a few salient points, pick up some literature, get their swag d'jour, and move on to the next booth.

So, as Corpmagi has said, it's about EDUCATING your clients. Tell them that your presentation SHOULD communicate a number of key messages and ultimately get the audience to ASK more questions than you can answer. Get them thinking about your company. THEN, when they get the inevitable sales follow up call, they will have some recollection of what they saw. TELL your client that your presentation will not just be about generating crowds. Sure, you'll do that in spades, but you're offering them much more.

On another point, our trade show magicians always work with an assistant. It's built into virtually every budget. This assistant is not there to be sawed in half. She is there to move among the crowd, scanning badges, generating leads for our clients. She can give a 30 second 'elevator speech' about the technology. At the end of the presentation, she may stand somewhere INSIDE the booth, scanning badges and handing out promotional items.

She is part of your team; more value that you're bringing to your client.

Sometimes there will be some push back. "Oh, we don't need a booth babe. We have our own people to help." I respectfully suggest that those people are better served talking to customers. Our trade show assistant, crowd gatherer, hostess....whatever, is TOTALLY dedicated to building traffic and generating leads. She is NOT a booth babe. She is a member of the team.

90% of the time, they take our advice.

Whew....

Sorry about this novella, but I have very strong feelings about our responsibility as performers in this arena. The work we do as trade show magicians must be of the highest caliber. We are working against a perception that magic is not a viable way to communicate a business message. My production company routinely markets to over 15,000 prospective clients a year. Sad to say, many of them react quite negatively to the idea of using magicians. Why? Most often because they've been to a trade show, seen a magician working and, in spite of the crowds generated, haven't been convinced. Usually, that's because of the lack of integration; the lack of messaging; the absence of a strong take away.

So...let's help educate our clients and get lots more work for trade show magicians.

And, (I swear I'm not on Seth Kramer's payroll) for the sake of all of us, read his **** book. Smile

And now, I'll shut up.

B
TheDean
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I concur with Danny (and others) 110%! Our responsibility as trade show professionals is to make our relationships (buyers) company look great and to add to their bottom line outcomes! (Often that is MONEY...a too-involved observation for this thread, so I won’t take the time here.)

Allow me to add one small distinction:
As performers, ambassadors, spokes people, pitchmen (which ever you may call it...), it is REALLY our job to "DIS-QUALIFY" the folks who would waist the time of the sales professionals in our booths!

REALLY, to get RID of the time vampires for the sales leaders to have to wade-through, while DELIVERING only the BEST, most highly interested, QUALIFIED LEADS to your “booth pros”, and you will be the richest man in "Trade-Show-Babylon!"

RE-READ THAT LAST TWO SECTIONS!

Here too is a GIFT:
=> Money Making TIP: (and misnomer all at the same time!)
I LOVE "Premiums" (and the money they bring in! hehehe), BUT too often “premiums are just 'chum' for the small fish”, regardless of their genuine interest in the products, service, or solution you are representing!

WHEN you eventually understand the POWER of “The Multi-Tiered Premium Profit Power”, you will have a tool that will outperform anything THIS SIDE OF WHAT YOU DO FROM THE PLATFORM! (THAT is FIRST and Foremost!)

We are NOT explaining all the details and intricacies, as THIS is NOT the place for such things, but there IS a ton of wisdom here.

Do yourself and the entire industry a favor:
Only DO what you are FULLY prepared and ready to do (as Danny and others said, or are at least THINKING), and deliver the REAL Profit Making GOODS for your relationships! (Buyers)

"WIN! - WIN! - WIN!, or no play." THIS is NOT "just another gig"... PLEASE!

Hope that helps!

I am at your service and In HIS Service,
Deano
<><


Posted: Feb 12, 2007 1:34pm
Bronx and I were posting at the same time... GREAT SHARE, Brother!
Deano
<><
Dean Hankey, *M.D. - The Dean of Success Solutions!
Serving & Supporting YOU and Your Success!
"Book More Shows... Make More Money... SERVE MORE PEOPLE! - Not Necessarily In That Order…"

(*Marketing Doctor) Smile
corpmagi
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I hate plugging my own stuff, but since Bronx, who did purchase my book, did a good job of it for me, I'll just say that my book will answer most, if not all, of your questions.
A Modern Trade Show Handbook
www.trafficstoppers.com/handbook
Dannydoyle
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I have only read your posts, but let me say this... IF the book is half as well thought out as your posts, it is worth 10X its weight in gold!
Danny Doyle
<BR>Semper Occultus
<BR>In a time of universal deceit, telling the truth is a revolutionary act....George Orwell
PaulGreen
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Get Seth Kramer's book!

Regards,

Paul (Yes, I know my stuff is in the book) Green
nucinud
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Oh yes, get Seth's book; a world of knowledge to be gained.
"We are what we pretend to be" Kurt Vonnegut, jr.



Now U C It Now U Don't

Harry Mandel

www.mandelmagic.com
Ilan
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WOW, thanks for all the great advice. I know I've got a lot to learn about this field of magic and business. I feel this would be a great starting place.

I have not only just started preparing for it now, I have had meetings with the CEOs and discussed what it is they want out of this trade show, what image the company stands for, and what to put out. I have discussed selling points and how they want to run it.

Thanks for the help, once again.

Ilan
If you can't laugh at yourself, you are obviously not getting the joke
corpmagi
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Thanks for the support, guys.
Read the reviews in February's Genii and MUM.

Seth
A Modern Trade Show Handbook
www.trafficstoppers.com/handbook
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