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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » Tricky business » » I've Been approached by a booking agent...now what do I do? (15 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

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misterillusion
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Interesting situation: I had a meeting this morning with someone who has experience with advertising and booking for radio and television. He is interested in working with me to build my magic business and feels he can increase my bookings significantly. From my knowledge of what he has done for others, I believe he can do what he says. The way we left the meeting this morning was to think about how he should be compensated. My thinking is that he should work on straight commission where he would be paid a percentage of the booked fee (10%, or 20% or 30%) payable upon collection of a 50% downpayment and signed contract from the client. His thinking is more along the lines of a monthly retaining fee plus commission on contracts signed.

This is a new situation for me so I welcome input from anyone here with an opinion.

Thanks, Charlie
May every day be magic!

http://www.misterillusion.com
Mindpro
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I'd be cautious. When you say "has experience with advertising and booking for radio and television", I'm wondering in what capacity? I've spend decades in t.v. and radio actually, partially owning and managing a radio station, so I'm quite familiar with these media outlets and their modes of business and operations. So I'm curious. Sounds to me like perhaps he was in advertising or sales, which would make me a bit concerned. The more you can offer, the better I'd be able to advice you or offer an opinion. Best of luck.
misterillusion
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Quote:
On 2014-01-09 15:53, Mindpro wrote:
I'd be cautious. When you say "has experience with advertising and booking for radio and television", I'm wondering in what capacity? I've spend decades in t.v. and radio actually, partially owning and managing a radio station, so I'm quite familiar with these media outlets and their modes of business and operations. So I'm curious. Sounds to me like perhaps he was in advertising or sales, which would make me a bit concerned. The more you can offer, the better I'd be able to advice you or offer an opinion. Best of luck.


His resume states that he was an account executive maintaining $2.5 million in annual media sales for top rated TV station. His clients were CarMax, Les Schwab, and RC Willey. He also lists expertise with Internet and digital media sales. He also states that he was a multi level platform seller, sports NFL, and Olympics station sponsorships. Also "large national agency experience" (Initiative Media and Busch Media).

All of this I have copied from his resume. He currently is a "certified golf consultant" and associated with "Golf Tournament Association of America". His card lists the web site http://www.gtaaweb.org.

Thank you, mindpro, for responding to my post. I for one respect your knowledge & experience and heed your advice.

Charlie
May every day be magic!

http://www.misterillusion.com
Dannydoyle
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Curious situation.

What experience does he have in what you want him to do?
Danny Doyle
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<BR>In a time of universal deceit, telling the truth is a revolutionary act....George Orwell
bunkyhenry
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If he is good he will want to work on straight commission. Nobody works lazier than a salesman on salary!
misterillusion
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Quote:
On 2014-01-09 16:30, Dannydoyle wrote:
Curious situation.

What experience does he have in what you want him to do?


From what I can gather from my meeting this morning, his experience and forte has been in sales of advertising and not booking entertainment.
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misterillusion
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On 2014-01-09 16:46, bunkyhenry wrote:
If he is good he will want to work on straight commission. Nobody works lazier than a salesman on salary!


I agree. That is how I feel too. I can speak from personal expeience on that one
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Mindpro
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That was my exact point. Seems he has sales experience selling advertising and I'm guessing some promotions. His account list are part of national media buys which is not always as impressive as it seems. It doesn't mean he went out and sold those accounts, but rather those companies had national media buys and his station was one of the affiliates chosen and he likely just managed a the account on his local level. This still requires skills and knowledge. When he speaks of "large national agency experience" just to clarify, this means advertising agencies, not entertainment or talent agencies. Each of these national accounts is represented by an ad agency that makes the media buy. He is likely the local level contact to these agencies and actually has little to do with the client itself.

With all this said, he is in sales on a local or regional level with national accounts. This is decent. But does this mean he can represent, market and sell you as an entertainer? Maybe, maybe not. The key is the time and effort you must put in to educate and train the individual to your needs. Remember, he'd be working for you. I will tell you this, Sales people and account execs are often times tough to train to a new skill set as they typically (not always) think they are master salesmen (and women) and can sell anything to anyone at anytime (the old "I can sell ice to an eskimo" mentality).

Now personally, there's two types of Sales/Account Reps at this level - 1.) the very aggressive go getter that hustles for you and makes things happen, gets things done and turns ideas into reality. This is their drive, and 2.) those that feel that they are at such a level that they are an "executive" or in "management" and are more "desk guys" and feel their best way of selling is on the golf course, entertaining, and the old "martini lunches" (do they still exist?).

What you have to determine is which is this guy? (or really anyone you are seeking). It could be a good situation to try on a trial basis. You'll know within days to a few weeks. I wouldn't make any monetary guarantees and work, at least initially on a straight commission basis. If he's good he'll do fine and prove himself well. If not, it'll show.
misterillusion
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Quote:
On 2014-01-09 17:00, Mindpro wrote:
That was my exact point. Seems he has sales experience selling advertising and I'm guessing some promotions. His account list are part of national media buys which is not always as impressive as it seems. It doesn't mean he went out and sold those accounts, but rather those companies had national media buys and his station was one of the affiliates chosen and he likely just managed a the account on his local level. This still requires skills and knowledge. When he speaks of "large national agency experience" just to clarify, this means advertising agencies, not entertainment or talent agencies. Each of these national accounts is represented by an ad agency that makes the media buy. He is likely the local level contact to these agencies and actually has little to do with the client itself.

With all this said, he is in sales on a local or regional level with national accounts. This is decent. But does this mean he can represent, market and sell you as an entertainer? Maybe, maybe not. The key is the time and effort you must put in to educate and train the individual to your needs. Remember, he'd be working for you. I will tell you this, Sales people and account execs are often times tough to train to a new skill set as they typically (not always) think they are master salesmen (and women) and can sell anything to anyone at anytime (the old "I can sell ice to an eskimo" mentality).

Now personally, there's two types of Sales/Account Reps at this level - 1.) the very aggressive go getter that hustles for you and makes things happen, gets things done and turns ideas into reality. This is their drive, and 2.) those that feel that they are at such a level that they are an "executive" or in "management" and are more "desk guys" and feel their best way of selling is on the golf course, entertaining, and the old "martini lunches" (do they still exist?).

What you have to determine is which is this guy? (or really anyone you are seeking). It could be a good situation to try on a trial basis. You'll know within days to a few weeks. I wouldn't make any monetary guarantees and work, at least initially on a straight commission basis. If he's good he'll do fine and prove himself well. If not, it'll show.


Yes, I like the trial basis approach with no monetary commitment on my part. He will sink or swim in the first couple of weeks like you say. It is hard to tell from one brief meeting, but I think he is the agressive go-getter type that gets things done. This is my first impression of him. I have no problem taking the time necessary to train him if he really can do what he says.
May every day be magic!

http://www.misterillusion.com
Mindpro
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One more thing...I strongly believe there are a completely different set of rules for entertainment business than conventional business. This goes for both the way an entertainment business is setup and operates as well as how it is marketed. To me personally, I 100% believe this is without a doubt, the absolute single-most problem and reason entertainers fail. They try to operate their entertainment business using traditional or conventional business methods, practices and mentalities. I see it on a daily basis.

This is why certain (many or most) marketing methods, certain social media, websites and other things may work for conventional business but many entertainment businesses often and likely end up having different results or no results.

I only mention this as it is likely, almost assuredly that this sales guy will approach your entertainment business through the mentalities and perspectives of conventional and standard sales. It is all he (and most) know. This would be a great concern to me, but I only mention it as he seems to think "he knows what you need" and it's likely from a typical sales perspective for conventional business.

I'm not trying to encourage or discourage you, you giving you my perspective and insight.

I get sales reps contact my agencies all the time for positions as an agent, falsely believing just because they have sale experience that they could easily be an agent. I had one former insurance agent once actually tell me - "insurance, entertainment, it's all the same thing. I can sell anything". Very incorrect perception. Yes, if they are willing to learn the business of entertainment, entertainment marketing and the intricacies of entertainment, they could make the transformation, but on their own - very unlikely. I personally have had the best luck hiring entertainers or former entertainers who in my experience have made the best agents.
misterillusion
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Quote:
On 2014-01-09 17:13, Mindpro wrote:
One more thing...I strongly believe there are a completely different set of rules for entertainment business than conventional business. This goes for both the way an entertainment business is setup and operates as well as how it is marketed. To me personally, I 100% believe this is without a doubt, the absolute single-most problem and reason entertainers fail. They try to operate their entertainment business using traditional or conventional business methods, practices and mentalities. I see it on a daily basis.

This is why certain (many or most) marketing methods, certain social media, websites and other things may work for conventional business but many entertainment businesses often and likely end up having different results or no results.

I only mention this as it is likely, almost assuredly that this sales guy will approach your entertainment business through the mentalities and perspectives of conventional and standard sales. It is all he (and most) know. This would be a great concern to me, but I only mention it as he seems to think "he knows what you need" and it's likely from a typical sales perspective for conventional business.

I'm not trying to encourage or discourage you, you giving you my perspective and insight.

I get sales reps contact my agencies all the time for positions as an agent, falsely believing just because they have sale experience that they could easily be an agent. I had one former insurance agent once actually tell me - "insurance, entertainment, it's all the same thing. I can sell anything". Very incorrect perception. Yes, if they are willing to learn the business of entertainment, entertainment marketing and the intricacies of entertainment, they could make the transformation, but on their own - very unlikely. I personally have had the best luck hiring entertainers or former entertainers who in my experience have made the best agents.


Very interesting. I was also of the opinion that sales-is-sales-is-sales. The only thing I personally have ever known is commercial sales, so that is probably why I am not as successful myself when I do my own bookings. Yes, I do believe this person would be applying standard conventional sales techniques. He seems to be enough of a "driver" to ram-rod his way through to achieve his objective and learn, I guess, along the way. It could be a rude awakening too. This would be all the more reason to start off with a "trial period" I think.
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Dannydoyle
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I would be cautious.
Danny Doyle
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hypblake
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I read here, but never post. This one is pulling me out of the woods so to speak. I graduated from College in Sales. In my life I have worked as a sales rep and sales manager for big corporations. I understand sales in that environment very well. I have run my own businesses and understand that very well.

With that as a history I thought. You know going full time entertainer will be a walk in the park. I understand business and sales, so here we go. Not the case. It is a different animal and I am constantly reminded of that. You do have to re-train yourself to sell entertainment. This guy will be no different. If he is willing to do that and he is a "Go getter" I could see it working. I would not pay him anything, but I would be willing to pay a good commission for the risk of him getting nothing if he doesn't sell it. If you put a guy on straight comission you have to make it worth it on the back end. If the sales rep gets zero for salary and gets peanuts on the comission his interest in this deal will last about 3 days (if you are lucky). He'll just go hunting for something more lucrative.

The good thing is he does have sales experience and in an extemley competitive market. He is probably used to hunting to eat, so that is a plus. Sales is certainly not for everyone. It can be hard being told no over and over again. It is probably why so many entertainers can't do it.

I think the question I would ask myself first is this. Is this the guy I would want representing me? The impression he leaves with people is the impression they will have of you. These impressions can last a long long time. I remember meeting with someone that was a little long in the tooth. They refused to buy from the company I represented, because 15 years earlier a rep had hit on her. 15 years later even though we had a better product and service she refused to buy. Impressions can last a real long time.
misterillusion
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Quote:
On 2014-01-09 23:46, hypblake wrote:
I read here, but never post. This one is pulling me out of the woods so to speak. I graduated from College in Sales. In my life I have worked as a sales rep and sales manager for big corporations. I understand sales in that environment very well. I have run my own businesses and understand that very well.

With that as a history I thought. You know going full time entertainer will be a walk in the park. I understand business and sales, so here we go. Not the case. It is a different animal and I am constantly reminded of that. You do have to re-train yourself to sell entertainment. This guy will be no different. If he is willing to do that and he is a "Go getter" I could see it working. I would not pay him anything, but I would be willing to pay a good commission for the risk of him getting nothing if he doesn't sell it. If you put a guy on straight comission you have to make it worth it on the back end. If the sales rep gets zero for salary and gets peanuts on the comission his interest in this deal will last about 3 days (if you are lucky). He'll just go hunting for something more lucrative.

The good thing is he does have sales experience and in an extemley competitive market. He is probably used to hunting to eat, so that is a plus. Sales is certainly not for everyone. It can be hard being told no over and over again. It is probably why so many entertainers can't do it.

I think the question I would ask myself first is this. Is this the guy I would want representing me? The impression he leaves with people is the impression they will have of you. These impressions can last a long long time. I remember meeting with someone that was a little long in the tooth. They refused to buy from the company I represented, because 15 years earlier a rep had hit on her. 15 years later even though we had a better product and service she refused to buy. Impressions can last a real long time.


I am glad you came "out of the woods" because you have made some very valid comments here. I too have a sales background as well as sales management background for national companies. I have had my share of failures and successes and have also done quite well with commission sales. When I entered sales I came out of the manufacturing side and had to learn the sales profession from scratch. One thing I found out was that there are some basic principles which, when followed, will give predictable results. The other thing I found was that the best way through a minefield is in someone else's footprints (found that out in Vietnam 1968 to 1969). This is why I posted my situation on this site because I know there are many here who have been through the "minefield" before me....like you & Mindpro, Bunkyhenry, and Dannydoyle. My sincere thanks

--Charlie
May every day be magic!

http://www.misterillusion.com
Dynamike
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1. Search the internet for reviews on the agent.
2. Read the contract carefully.
3. Make sure you get a copy.
misterillusion
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Well, I received a call from my "booking agent" contact and he is proposing a very interesting arrangement. I will not be accepting this of course, but thought you might get a chuckle out of it:

"Hello Charlie:

Great speaking with today and thank you for time. Charlie, as discussed I’m interested in working with you as a partner to build your business, and grow your client base exponentially over the next (6) months. I plan to increase the number of shows you perform to (22) per month. I plan to handle your event booking, and allow you to focus on the “show business” part of your business. Imagine how terrific your performances would be if you could spend the majority of your time perfecting your art? In the event we form a partnership here is a list of services I will provide;

Provide (20) hours per week promoting Mister Illusion in No. California, Reno and surrounding areas
Work with you to develop a (90) day strategy and plan for new clients
Handle all negotiations, bookings and paperwork for events
Attend all events, as MC for all performances and handle business for the show
Prepare a marketing plan for more business
Produce marketing materials for Mister Illusion to promote new business
Contact all previous clients for repeat performances


These are some of the things I’ll bring to the table. It will be very challenging to hire a qualified person (commission only) that will deliver results. I’ll deliver, based on the long range potential of our partnership. Charlie, I’ll need a small retainer/draw for my services and time, bi-weekly ($500.00). This is more than fair for my level of business experience, sales experience and marketing background. This amount would be due upon signing the agreement. The income from (22) shows per month could exceed $7000.00 which we would split 60/40. Now, is the time to move on the idea to increase your “show business” and the next 2-3 months are key. I reviewed the Independent Contractor Agreement, and agree with the terms and conditions, subject to a few minor adjustments. Please consider the items presented, and get back to me by Friday. Thanks again and good luck!"
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Mindpro
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...and this is what's wrong with conventional sales (and the different between conventional sales and entertainment sales).

As I said...

Well at least this is a great learning opportunity. As you can see he's basing all of this on conventional sales, yet he knows nothing about you, selling your type of service and nothing about your target markets (yet he's taking about making you guarantees - makes no sense).

If he was so sure about the results he could generate, as would any truly great salesman, he'd be more interested in taking a straight commission from the so assuredly project $7,000 per month.

He needs to prove himself for you , not you to him. He's be working for you, not you for him. This is so much the problem with sales people.

Sorry this didn't work out for you, but this is exactly the type of thing I was referring to.

What always kills me the most about these type of guys with this type of interest, is there is never any mention of him learning your business form the inside our - FIRST, before making any random promises or projections. As I said don't feel bad, consider yourself having saved $500 bi-weekly for six months, only to find out he was basing his entire perspective on imagined results (from a conventional sales perspective) only to result in few if any real bookings that you are desiring. Likely if he did get you something, they would not be your typical gigs, as they would almost surely have problems and poor performance arrangements, conditions and dynamics. I've seen this so many times before.

Thanks for sharing this with us.
Close.Up.Dave
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I love getting calls from marketing companies, telling me why they can increase my business. I especially love hearing it from people who already assume they know my target markets. I simply ask them how many magic shows they have been responsible for booking and how their marketing tactics translated into bookings. They begin to hem and haw and the conversation ends quickly. It's too bad your situation doesn't seem like a good fit.
misterillusion
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In a way it is kind of flattering to think someone wants to book shows for me, but there is no way I would ever agree to his proposal. I believe what I have to do is do more shows, get more exposure and the legitimate booking agents will then take notice.

Thanks again Mindpro and everyone else who have provided their experience and guidance.

Charlie
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http://www.misterillusion.com
Dynamike
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That is one reason I don't trust people when they call themselves agents.
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