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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » The little darlings » » Child's Party Choice (0 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

Andy Wonder
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Auckland, New Zealand
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Picture this, maybe it happens to you:

Mum calls for a quote for Johnny’s 5th birthday. Mum seems to like the idea of the magic show but says, ‘I will ask Johnny what he wants.’ She calls back the next day to say Johnny’s preference is to go to McDonalds or Playland or wherever else he was exposed to on TV. No sale. Or maybe Mum actually cancels a booking because Johnny is insisting on going to McDonalds for hamburgers. We know our magic show is much better than whatever else Johnny has chosen. He just wanted what he is familiar with. He has never been exposed to you or maybe even a magic show before.

My question is, what can you do to stop these sales slipping through your fingers?

I developed a few tactics in the past that I believe helped avoid this. I have gotten lazy in implementing them lately and have lost a few sales like this again.
Andy Wonder, Auckland, New Zealand
Emazdad
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Plymouth UK
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All you can do is point out the benefits of what you can do compared with Macdonalds, etc. But if it's just an excuse, nothing you say will change their minds.

Sometimes, "He wants to go to Macdonalds," etc., can be translated into, "We've found someone cheaper or I've never heard of you before, but now a friend has recommended someone else." (I know of one recently who cancelled me and booked Billy Whizz because her friend had seen Billy and recommended him.) Obviously, she didn't tell me that when she cancelled me, and didn't know Billy is a very close mate and I would find out. It can even mean, "Oh no, a big bill has come in and now we can't afford it."

On the rare occasions this does happen, I don't go into overdrive and try to convince them to change their minds, I just politely thank the booker for letting me know, tell him/her I hope her kid has a very good birthday, and ask them to consider me next year. I do this because I find it's easier just not to worry about it (unless it's at less that a weeks notice, then they have to pay). If it's more than a weeks notice, I know there is a very good chance that another booking will come in for that day, especially if it's a weekend, as I turn away more bookings for weekends than I can handle.

What I love is when a couple days later they phone up to say, "He's changed his mind again. Can I re-book you?" and I get to say, "Oh, I'm sorry, but that slot's taken by someone else."
Yours Funfully
Clive "Emazdad" Hemsley
www.emazdad.com

"Magic is a secret, without the secret there is no magic"

Remember there are only 3 types of people in the world, those that can count and those that can't.
Andy Wonder
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Auckland, New Zealand
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Oh, bringing up this topic must have been tempting fate or something because no sooner did I make this post than I received a cancellation because the birthday child wanted to go to the zoo instead.
Andy Wonder, Auckland, New Zealand
Billy Whizz
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At the end of the day, it's their loss Andy, the birthday kid would have had a much better time with yourself.
Emazdad
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Sods law I'm afraid, like washing your car on a sunny day, and then it rains. Anyway when you look how many shows you do a month, and how many times you get a cancellation like that? If you look at the wider picture you'll see that it's such a small percentage it's not worth worrying about. I get 1 or 2 a month, out of 25 -30 shows, most times someone else comes along and books the time.
Yours Funfully
Clive "Emazdad" Hemsley
www.emazdad.com

"Magic is a secret, without the secret there is no magic"

Remember there are only 3 types of people in the world, those that can count and those that can't.
Andy Wonder
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Emazdad, you must have very dirty rain where you live. Rain in New Zealand helps me keep my car clean.

I don’t look at it quite the same way. I don’t mind the loss of work but I feel I have failed in some way. Perhaps doing something to build up the birthday child’s expectations should be part of the service. This problem only seems to occur when either the magic show is supposed to be a surprise or the child has not seen a magician before so just does not know what to expect. My strategy in the past has been to try and build up the child’s expectations. One of the most exciting things about having a birthday is the expectations and the count down to the big day. I remember the drama and excitement I had as a child on the build up to Christmas. The exciting part was all the anticipation on the week leading up to Christmas. Kids feel the same about their birthday. I have noticed that the higher children’s expectations are for my birthday show the smoother the show runs. When they are looking forward to seeing me they will be eager to help, listen carefully and laugh at every joke.
Andy Wonder, Auckland, New Zealand
Emazdad
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I see what your saying, but if they've already booked you, then to phone up and cancel takes a lot of thought, and is not done lightly, as I said "he wants to do something else" is often a way of passing the buck away from the parents.

Don't take it personally, it doesn't mean you've failed. In fact you succeeded in getting them to book you in the first place and your sales pitch may have overran their concerns about the price etc. they may have a low budget, then once they've sat down afterwards and had time to think, they realise that wow they want you but can't really afford it and then phone up and cancel.

To console yourself hang up say "idiots" and bask in the knowledge that whatever alternative they do chose for the birthday party will not be as good as you.
Yours Funfully
Clive "Emazdad" Hemsley
www.emazdad.com

"Magic is a secret, without the secret there is no magic"

Remember there are only 3 types of people in the world, those that can count and those that can't.
Peter Marucci
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Clive has it right: Don't take it personally!

First of all, remember what it is you are doing and why:

It's the CHILD'S party, so shouldn't he or she do what he or she wants?

Sure, you may believe that your show is a better choice (I certainly HOPE you do!), but you are biased, after all.

Maybe the kid has seen magicians before and just doesn't like magic; maybe he really loves McDonald's (and thinks it's real food!); maybe -- well, you get the idea.

Bottom line: It's the kid's party so don't try to oversell to get the job; it all averages out in the long run. After all, there's probably a McDonald's manager somewhere wondering why the kid wants you instead of coming to McDonald's!
Smile
Cheshire Cat
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Wilmslow, UK
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Andy, we look upon McDonalds parties as quite honestly not being in our market. They tend to be at the very bottom end of the kids party market. But there again we have developed a clientele that hires church halls, community halls, etc., and invites 25/30 children - in other words, the whole class from school. With the greatest of respect, I think that if you become an entertainer that is prepared to do houseparties of just 6 or 8 children, then this danger will become reality. But nobody in their right mind will take 30 five-year-olds down the High Street to McDonalds now, will they? They often buy the food from there - with dad going to collect it 20 minutes early.

I'd also say that the parents could be using 'young Johnny' or whatever as their own excuse for not wanting to pay for an entertainer. The child probably has no say in the matter!
Aus
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Would'nt a daposit upon booking sort of avoid this a bit?

Magically

Aus
TrickyRicky
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TrickyRicky
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You win some and you lose some. As long as you win more than you lose.
In my area I have a reputation' so most of the calls are solid bookings. Yes, I do get the odd customer cancelling for whatever reason.
Emazdad is right, just wish them a good time.
Tricky Ricky
keeblem
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Essex, UK
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Quote:
On 2003-03-04 17:46, Andy Walker wrote:
I developed a few tactics in the past that I believe helped avoid this. I have gotten lazy in implementing them lately and have lost a few sales like this again.

Andy, I'm interested to know exactly what your tactics are?
Mark
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