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augiemagic
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Hey all, when a potential booker contacts you, whether it be via email, or the messaging service used by the various listing companies (GigSalad, Thumbtack, etc.) what do you say?

Or rather, how do you figure out what to say?
Do you have a generic response that you send out to every inquiry? Do you have a template you use? Some combination?

Is there some informational resource you have found useful in figuring out what to day?
Do you use a set follow up system?
What are the most important questions for you to ask a client?
What are the most important things a client would need to know before booking you?

I guess the best way for me to phrase this question is "How can I learn to sell myself via email and other electronic correspondance?

I tried the search feature, but I couldn't figure out what to search. I kept getting results that weren't really relevant.
thekidsmagician
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Quote:
On 2014-02-03 13:46, augiemagic wrote:
Hey all, when a potential booker contacts you, whether it be via email, or the messaging service used by the various listing companies (GigSalad, Thumbtack, etc.) what do you say?

Do you have a generic response that you send out to every inquiry? Do you have a template you use? Some combination?


I have a generic response to an initial enquiry, which I've copied below in case it is of any help to you. (Please bear in mind that I ONLY entertain children aged 3-11, so the response below is specifically aimed at a parent making a general enquiry for a child's birthday party.)

Also, this is a generic reply that I send to a generic enquiry. If it's a previous client or has been referred by someone else, they get a different reply. My main aim with the initial generic reply is to both provide information and to filter out people who aren't serious about booking me.

___________________________________
Hello XXXX,

Many thanks for your e-mail earlier. It would be a real pleasure to come and entertain XXXX and her friends at her birthday party in April!

Currently, I am available between 11am-1pm on the XXth April so can fit in with your timings (hooray!)

For XXXX's age, my 45-minute Magic FUN Show or 2-hr Complete Party Package are great choices. Details of the shows (and prices) can be found here:
http://www.thekidsmagician.com/the-show/

If either of those sound like the type of thing you're looking for and you would like to make a booking, details of the booking process can be found here :
http://www.thekidsmagician.com/book-your-show/

I hope that all helps, but if you should have any queries please don't hesitate to get in touch.

Have a great week!

Kind regards,
Mike
___________________________

I have a set follow-up system that I use - all in a similar "no hard sell, no pressure" format. This is my personal preference based on what I have tested and what works for me (it will not work for everyone, it's playing to my personality and strategy).

My main aim with this response is to get people to go online, check me out on my website and decide if they want to book me. So I treat my initial response as a way to get them to "self-filter". (e.g. if they see my prices and can't afford me, they won't get back in touch).

Of course, others may have very different approaches and be successful with that - there is no "one right way", only what works best for you in your business, with your clients.

Hope that is of some help.

- Mike
Children's entertainer in Bristol - making children look AMAZING! - www.thekidsmagician.com
Mindpro
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Quote:
On 2014-02-03 13:46, augiemagic wrote:
Hey all, when a potential booker contacts you


A Booker or a prospective customer? Two different things.
Mindpro
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It also depends on who your targeting, what performance markets. What you do for a kids party is much different than what you do for corporate events, which is much different than what you'd do and say for cruise ships. Tell us more?
thekidsmagician
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Quote:
On 2014-02-03 14:33, Mindpro wrote:
Quote:
On 2014-02-03 13:46, augiemagic wrote:
Hey all, when a potential booker contacts you


A Booker or a prospective customer? Two different things.


Well spotted Mindpro. I had jumped to the assumption that it was a potential customer. Apologies if I got that totally wrong!

- Mike
Children's entertainer in Bristol - making children look AMAZING! - www.thekidsmagician.com
Mindpro
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Me too, but just wanted to be sure
augiemagic
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Oops, sorry, I seem to have used the wrong terminology! Potential customer.

Currently I'm trying to get started in the birthday business, but eventually would like to expand into doing more adult shows (not adult as in blue, adult as in not children). I can fill in any more detail later, I have to run off to my day job now.
Dannydoyle
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Step one keeping a steady flow of income until you figure things out. CHECK.

The rest you will get eventually!
Danny Doyle
<BR>Semper Occultus
<BR>In a time of universal deceit, telling the truth is a revolutionary act....George Orwell
Karen Climer
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Most of the time, I respond by asking them to call me on the phone so we can discuss the details of the event.

I have a strong preference for wanting to talk to the parent on the phone before I book the show. Usually the price shoppers don't call, but that's OK. The people think that maybe inviting a stranger into their home is worth more than a 10-second email...maybe their child's birthday party is worth more than a 10-second email...maybe a 5-minute phone call to ensure little Johnny is happy won't kill me - those are the people that call, and those are the parties I want to do.

I know many will disagree with this approach, but that's OK. It works for me.
augiemagic
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Yeah the day job is nice, pays the bills, but nobody wants to grow up to be a waiter. And waiting for summer busking season is torture right now. The birthday business seems as good a place to start as any.

Mike - thanks for the response. How long did you have to experiment before you settled on your current response? What do you like about it? What do you dislike about the "hard sell"?

Does anyone use more of a "sales letter" approach? I'm just curious as to the different methods and thoughts out there.
augiemagic
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Karen, thanks for your response. I'm from the "text, don't call" and am just awful on the phone. Do you have a scripted response, or what? Have you just had the same conversations enough times to just know how to guide the conversation?

On another note, any book recommendations on basic sales technique and communocation?
Starrpower
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I am all about talking to them to close the deal, too. Phone calls are more personal. But it was specifically stated that inquiries were from places like Gig Salad, and don't they prohibit you from outside contact? If so it's pretty much limited to emails (or written responses within their communication system).

For small-dollar shows, despite what I said above, I like to get as much done via the first email or two if possible, anyway. It's faster and quicker and weeds out those without a real interest. I am amazed how many mom's in 20's & early 30's want to do it all via text and email, anyway. It's their culture, so why fight it?

As for a book, "See you at the top" by Zig Ziglar is a great starting point.
charliecheckers
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I would recommend "Book Yourself Solid" as a good general book that you can get at the library for free as a more general foundation. I would recommend "Zero to Booked Solid" as a course that focuses more on Birthday Party and other children magic shows. James Munton will be releasing the latest version any day now. This course goes into detail on your specific question.
Mindpro
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While on the surface I agree with what charliecheckers has said, I even more disagree about this these days. Let me explain.

Years ago when I was a kid and starting out in entertainment, there was little information on being an entertainer for a living. There were no books or resources, DVD and video weren't yet available. After searching for literally anything and everything I could find, other than some stuff on acting and terribly outdated stuff from the early part of last century, there was nothing. I set out to find out why and all I could discover.

Then in the 70's & 80's there was a shift to very specific types of entertainment - more specified material for magicians, DJs, comedians, karaoke, bands, etc. Initially I was excited believing it was a good thing. Now years later I've come to the conclusion that it was not as appealing as I originally thought as performers would learn these specifics and as long as thing stuck to that they were fine. Yet if they chose to branch out or go into or add other directions, they were once again lost seeking resources. This has lead to kids magicians buying kids magic resources, then when they want to later expand to trade shows, they have to find the latest trade show material and start in that direction. What has happened as a result is all of this fragmented and segregated types of performers. Gone are the true well-roudned entertainers.

I believe the answer lies into seeking material about being an "entertainer" not a specific type of performer. Becoming an overall entertainer, rather than a specified performer.

I know this may go over the heads of some, but this is really the bigger picture. When you are an overall entertainer you can exist in multiple areas, grow, expand and evolve without the need to start over and reinvent yourself constantly. Especially for the professional interested in doing this for a living. For part-timers or fun seekers, perhaps not.

This is the problem I see with many today, is they are performers, not entertainers. I've always said the true test would be to take away their medium and still go on stage a do 30-45 minutes. If you are a magician, do it with no tricks or props, if you are a comedian do it with no prepared jokes, etc. If you can do this, still win and keep a crowd without your specified material, you are an entertainer. This then makes all direction you choose to explore much more accessible.

But in regards to the OP question and comments, the absolute greatest tool or skill you can have as an entertainer equally to your performing skills is your ability to use and master the phone. Nothing will result in more booking and translate to profitability than mastering your phone skills. Expecting anyone to take you serious by texting is both crazy and unprofessional to say the least, regardless of age.
thekidsmagician
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Quote:
On 2014-02-03 18:08, augiemagic wrote:
Mike - thanks for the response. How long did you have to experiment before you settled on your current response? What do you like about it? What do you dislike about the "hard sell"?


It's an ongoing experiment, started in 2007. It's changed a lot over the years and I am constantly testing and trying different things out. The main focus is always on what works best.

My clients are (generally) mothers who are planning their kids birthday party. Many of them e-mail because they fear being given a hard sell on the phone (I know this because I have asked them). Many of them also e-mail late at night when their kids are asleep and they have a bit of time to themselves - I often get e-mails at 11pm or after midnight.

My personal preference is to direct them online where they can be "sold" via my website. While it's not an obvious hard sell, the site sells me well.

I know many others prefer to talk with them on the phone and that is absolutely great too. Play to your strengths and deliver what your clients want and expect in terms of gaining access to you initially.

Also, please don't assume that because of the example I gave earlier that I only use e-mail. I also use the phone a lot. Yesterday I had 5 enquiries come in via e-mail and 2 via phone. I spoke to the people who phoned me and phoned one of the e-mail enquirers as they had asked a specific question and left their number for me.

If you are great on the phone and that's your strength then the whole focus of your marketing should be to get people to phone you. If you have a website that sells you, then direct people to your website. Just do whatever works best for you in your market.

The only way to find out what this is is to test things out and measure the results.

As I said previously, I ONLY entertain kids. Others here are playing in very different markets to me and have very different approaches which work for them.

While I agree with Mindpro's point about text messaging, I have booked shows via text messaging. I don't like doing it - I would much rather the person phoned or e-mailed me - but some potential clients do contact me that way despite my best attempts. I've also had enquiries come in via Facebook and Twitter and booked shows that way. It's not my preference, but the key point is that any enquiry I get - from whatever media - always gets a prompt and professional reply (via phone , e-mail, text etc.)

- Mike
Children's entertainer in Bristol - making children look AMAZING! - www.thekidsmagician.com
thekidsmagician
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Quote:
On 2014-02-04 02:50, thekidsmagician wrote:
Quote:
On 2014-02-03 18:08, augiemagic wrote:
Mike - thanks for the response. How long did you have to experiment before you settled on your current response? What do you like about it? What do you dislike about the "hard sell"?


It's an ongoing experiment, started in 2007. It's changed a lot over the years and I am constantly testing and trying different things out. The main focus is always on what works best.

My clients are (generally) mothers who are planning their kids birthday party. Many of them e-mail because they fear being given a hard sell on the phone (I know this because I have asked them). Many of them also e-mail late at night when their kids are asleep and they have a bit of time to themselves - I often get e-mails at 11pm or after midnight.

My personal preference is to direct them online where they can be "sold" via my website. While it's not an obvious hard sell, the site sells me well.

I know many others prefer to talk with them on the phone and that is absolutely great too. Play to your strengths and deliver what your clients want and expect in terms of gaining access to you initially.

Also, please don't assume that because of the example I gave earlier that I only use e-mail. I also use the phone a lot. Yesterday I had 5 enquiries come in via e-mail and 2 via phone. I spoke to the people who phoned me and phoned one of the e-mail enquirers as they had asked a specific question and left their number for me. I also mail information out occasionally if that would help the person enquiring and if it makes sense from a business perspective.

If you are great on the phone and that's your strength then the whole focus of your marketing should be to get people to phone you. If you have a website that sells you, then direct people to your website. Just do whatever works best for you in your market.

The only way to find out what this is is to test things out and measure the results.

As I said previously, I ONLY entertain kids. Others here are playing in very different markets to me and have very different approaches which work for them.

While I agree with Mindpro's point about text messaging (and in fact all his points in the post above!), I have booked shows via text messaging. I don't like doing it - I would much rather the person phoned or e-mailed me - but some potential clients do contact me that way despite my best attempts. I've also had enquiries come in via Facebook and Twitter and booked shows that way. It's not my preference, but the key point is that any enquiry I get - from whatever media - always gets a prompt and professional reply (via phone , e-mail, text etc.)

- Mike
Children's entertainer in Bristol - making children look AMAZING! - www.thekidsmagician.com
augiemagic
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Sorry, didn't mean to imply that I wanted to book via text message, just that I come from the generation where texting has overtaken calling, and as such, am awful on the phone (side note: I loathe texting and calling equally, but put me face to face with a potential client and I'm golden). Sounds like I need to practice.

Mindpro - Thanks for your input. what you are saying about entertaining is definitely valid, but being able to entertain is not the problem I am currently having. I have performed for people in living rooms, theaters, bars, art galleries, streets, and renaissance festivals doing sketch comedy, improv, magic, music, juggling and musical theatre. Not that I'm amazing at any of them, just somewhat diverse. I've decided to focus on magic for the time being. At some point I think it is important to stick to one thing and master that. People may be looking for entertainment, but usually they seem to know which type of entertainment they want, and don't just look for a general entertainer to come to their party (but I could totally be wrong, don't hesitate to tell me if I am).

Thanks for all the input so far. Mindpro, do you have any recommendations on learning to market yourself as an entertainer? And Charliecheckers, I literally just bought "book yourself solid" and have started reading. Good recommendation. Where could I get more info on the James Munton course? I googled it, but the links seem to be down.
augiemagic
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Never mind that last sentence, I found it.
TomBoleware
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I think Ken Scott has a lot of good stuff on birthday magic.
I personally have always liked his style of magic.
Check out some of his items here: http://www.kenscottproducts.com


Tom
"Entrepreneurs are willing to work 80 hours a week to avoid working 40 hours a week"--Lori Greiner

www.tomboleware.com
James Munton
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Augiemagic,

The site was down for a few days recently while I revamped it. The new site was just launched yesterday.

It is now open for new members at http://www.zerotobookedsolid.com

Let me know if you have any questions.

Best,
James
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