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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » Tricky business » » What to say in first email (0 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

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James Munton
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Dallas, TX
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Never mind my last post, I just saw your follow up post!
Mindpro
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Eternal Order
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Quote:
On 2014-02-04 09:04, augiemagic wrote:
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 Sounds like I need to practice.


You are so correct. There is an entire generation that is in the same boat as you. What they've done and preferred socially, is hurting them professionally and in business. They are struggling with live in person human interaction both socially and professionally. This is why they're struggling in everything from job interviewing to customer service to business practices. It's great that you've identified and recognize this.

I don't have any resources I recommend. This is why years ago I created and released a program on getting started in live entertainment that is long out of print and that I am currently revising and updating and hope to re-release it this year. It's for those new to entertainment, amateurs and hobbyists seeking to make the transition to performing professionally, and for the part-time entertainer that wants to perform and operate an entertainment business full-time. It's the business behind being an entertainer and operating a successful entertainment business. I'll keep you posted when it becomes available. It will come complete with the letters, emails, forms, documents and contracts you've been (or will be) asking about. It is based on the exact system I have used and still do daily in all of my entertainment businesses.

Beside that, while I have heard fine things about James Munton's program, I can't say that I've read it, as it seems to be geared strongly to kids party magicians, again based on his successful experience. Based on what I have heard I'd recommend it as much as I could without having seen it. I don't know how well it translates to other markets other than kids performer.

You will soon learn that success in entertainment has only little to do with having a great performance (that is a must and of course very important) as success and profits are created in your business operation. In order to do this most efficiently I believe that you must have a business operational system in place.

Seems you are doing the right thing by asking these questions and investing in yourself and your business with James material.

My words of advice is do not get caught up in the kids entertainer trap as I call it. There is an entire breed of performer that do kids parties that seem to think that is all there is to entertainment and that everything is as it is in that specific performance market. So often this is their belief, yet when they try to broaden their offerings they struggle in trying to approach other performance markets (corporate, fairs and festivals, colleges, resorts, cruises, schools, etc.) While kids entertainment has it's own set of approaches and nuances, so do other performance markets. What results is performers attempting to move into other performance markets but maintaining the approach, mentalities and practices that they've relied on in the kids market and soon realize they're having problems. This is as I said above where specialized learning can also work against you and create a false set of comfort and knowledge that can hurt you. (unless of course you only ever want to stay a kids party entertainer, which can also be fine).
Dannydoyle
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Eternal Order
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There are guys who have been in the kids show game for decades because they are great at it. This is who you compete with. It is no necessarily an easy way in or quick money.
Danny Doyle
<BR>Semper Occultus
<BR>In a time of universal deceit, telling the truth is a revolutionary act....George Orwell
augiemagic
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Thanks for the input Danny. Easy or quick, no. But there isn't really an easy or quick way in to any field of entertainment. Nobody said anything about easy or quick money. Just a good place to start.

Mindpro - The kids entertainment trap, as you put it, is definitely what I want to avoid (not that there is anything wrong with those who perform in that market, it's just not for me). Kids are great to perform for, and that market seems to be a good place to start, but my mid-term and long-term goals are definitely geared toward other venues, particularly colleges, corporate, and cruise ships. Maybe festivals. While I have a bit of an idea where to start with kids shows, I have exactly zero idea what to do about doing those "other" shows. So my current plan is to do kids shows (because I can do a good one, and there are lots of those to do) while reinvesting in my business/performance education and working towards those other markets.

Keep me posted on your course for sure.
Donald Dunphy
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Victoria, BC, Canada
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To learn about selling, some of the authors you might wish to seek out are: Tom Hopkins, Jeffrey Gitomer, Zig Ziglar, Frank Bettger, etc.

You can also take Sales Courses and Training through companies like Dale Carnegie Training, etc.

- Donald
Donald Dunphy is a Victoria Magician, British Columbia, Canada.
augiemagic
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Overland Park, KS
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Thanks Donald!

I'm snowed in today, and likely tomorrow too, so I will have to look at those.
Dannydoyle
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Yes a good place to start. A great point and it is right.
Danny Doyle
<BR>Semper Occultus
<BR>In a time of universal deceit, telling the truth is a revolutionary act....George Orwell
Starrpower
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Quote:
On 2014-02-04 13:11, augiemagic wrote:
Kids are great to perform for, and that market seems to be a good place to start, but my mid-term and long-term goals are definitely geared toward other venues, particularly colleges, corporate, and cruise ships. Maybe festivals.


Seems to me you should go after the markets you want to work for. Why waste time going after a market you don't really want to work? All that effort you put into learning how to market for kids should be spent marketing to those you really want. It's not necessarily a "stepping stone" process. If you want to hunt grizzlies, you don't have to start out shooting squirrels with a slingshot.

Besides, there is a different set of skills performing to kids than performing to colleges, as well as marketing to each. Festivals are a little closer, but you seem to want to be a "jack of all trades". I suppose a lot of us started that way, but looking back I wish I had FOCUSED on what I wanted earlier, and I am sure I would have been successful far quicker than I was.
Donald Dunphy
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For children's birthday inquiries via email, there are several options for responding:

1. In your response email, encourage them to call you, so you can get more info from them to give an appropriate price quote (for example - "I need a bit more information in order to give an appropriate price quote, and I'd prefer to explain everything about the show over the phone.")

2. If they supply you with a phone number in their email, you can call them.

3. In your response email, direct them to a specific webpage you have, where you offer show information and prices. That webpage can be one that is already accessable, or one that is hidden until you supply the link.

4. In your response email, send them your show information in your reply email (as an attachment, or in the email body).

These are just a few, off the top of my head.

- Donald

P.S. Things you might want to work on... Your own personal phone script, and also your own written description of your show options.
Donald Dunphy is a Victoria Magician, British Columbia, Canada.
TomBoleware
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I agree with Starrpower, kind of hard to kill squirrels using a slingshot. Smile

But that was a good example.

Working with kids is not for everybody. Please don't even try it if you not serious about it, because you will fail at it. Those who do move on to other markets will often return to the kidshow market, it's still the bread and butter for many magicians. Learn it well to begin with, not later when you have too.


Donald gave some good suggestions.

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

www.tomboleware.com
augiemagic
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Tom, Starrpower - There are a few reasons I'm starting with the kids market.

First, I've worked in that market. I used to work at a magic shop and get a few birthday parties a month just from people who would come in and ask about a performer. Eventually I got to the point where most of my shows were referrals, doing 3-6 a month, with more than a couple repeat clients. This was without a website, promo materials, or any marketing savvy. These lasted for about a year and a half after I quit the job, and then dried up. This is a market that I know I can be successful in while I learn how to run a business.

Second, I don't dislike doing kids shows, there are just other venues I'd rather work eventually (Chocolate ice Cream may not be as good as cookies and cream, but it tastes a lot better than spinach. Waiting tables is spinach). I don't believe I'm currently at a point where I can realistically work these venues. I only have about 20 minutes of stage/stand-up material, and it's still a little rough. The kids market allows me to work in/on my performing business while I hone and polish my other material via a variety of low-risk (professionally speaking, places where it's okay to be bad for a little bit) performances: Open mic nights, Street shows etc. All that said, if in 10 years I had made multiple solid efforts to move into other areas and failed, and were performing full time for children, I would still be living my dream.

And third, I'm not sure where my focus lies. At this point, it's time to stop hypothesizing and dreaming and just do something. I picked birthday shows for a starting point because I've done it, I can do it, and darn it, I will do it.

You don't have to start out hunting squirrels, but they'll keep you fed, and if all you've got is a slingshot, I'd suggest avoiding the grizzlies.

Thanks for the input guys! I really appreciate it!

Donald - Thanks, that gives me some specific, actionable stuff I can do.
TomBoleware
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Thanks for explaining.

Remember this, you don't try the kidshow business, it tries you. Smile

Go for it. You can do it.


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

www.tomboleware.com
Tim Zager
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Augiemagic,

You're the "training" guy, right? Smile PM me and I'll help you with some resources. BTW, Munton's course is great! I don't do kid shows and I still picked up some valuable info for my market.

-Z
.
Make sure your customers never lose your information,
with a Digital Business Card.
augiemagic
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Overland Park, KS
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Thanks guys, Tim, I pm'd you.

So good news: I just made my first official cold call. Based on suggestions I've seen here and elsewhere, I called a local day care center to see if I could book a show. They gave me an email address and asked me to send them some information that way. Now I just need to figure out what to send/say.

That was a big step for me. Cold calls terrify me. One down...

Also, I'm pretty much sold on the James Munton's course, just need to save up a bit. Being an "Adult" with "responsibilities" and "bills" really sucks.
augiemagic
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So this is the email I sent to the day care center:

"Hey,

This is Augie, the magician that called earlier. I'd love to come perform for you guys!

As I said on the phone, every year around this time I donate a few free shows for local businesses, and this year I decided I was going to focus on childcare and early education centers.

My show runs 35 minutes, but I can scale it up to 45 or down to 20 to fit your needs. It's a family friendly, interactive magic show where I bring the children up to help perform the illusions.

My schedule is free mid-to-late march. How does that time frame work for you?

If you have any questions I would be more than glad to answer them, and can provide references, performance photos, and testimonials on request."


What do you think? I kind of just threw it together and did it to keep myself from the whole "paralysis by analysis" thing. I'm really bad about trying to things perfectly the first time, instead of just doing them and trying to improve. Should I include more information next time? Re-word things to be more benefit-oriented? Include a few photos with the initial email? Link to my website? (My website stinks right now, needs a lot of work. I don't really know what to do to make it decent. I'll probably post it and ask for criticism in the near future).
Donald Dunphy
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Why are you giving away the show?

Is it to polish your show? Is it so you can promote your birthday show (spin off work)? Is it to get a testimonial letter?

You weren't really clear.

You refer to having "references, performance photos, and testimonials" (BTW, references and testimonials are often the same thing, unless you mean references for them to phone), so that implies that you have a professional show that you should be charging money for. I don't quite buy the "donate a few shows to local businesses" line (and they might not either). You might want to be forthright about the actual reason.

I think I've come across in this post harsher than I mean to sound, so I apologize for that.

- Donald

P.S. I would have included a single testimonial quote in with the actual email. Also, in your description you could talk a bit more about the benefits, such as, "Because the show is magical and interactive, the kids with laugh and smile and have a great time!"

If you aren't aware of the difference between features and benefits, then do a search of the Café to read a bit more. It's been discussed on other threads.
Donald Dunphy is a Victoria Magician, British Columbia, Canada.
charliecheckers
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Augiemagic - I think you are on the right track. To explain your free offering just explain you are adding a bit of new material and prefer to play it in front of a live audience and see the reactions, as you expect them to be exciting. Have a plan on how to leverage the performance. I would also suggest a low priced show (say $50) so they have at least some skin in the game. This will help you to be treated with greater respect.
TomBoleware
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Augiemagic,

If this is a free show, something like that should work if you have talked to them already. Address it to the name of the person you spoke with or either the director.

But I agree that you should be charging something.

As for as the paid shows, I suggest that you don't try to sell with email alone, that's very hard to do. I would only use email to touch base with the center. You really need a website to send them to, or either a brochure to mail that will explain the show. OR you need a good phone script to sell over the phone.

You could write out a really good phone script. Memorize it and have copy in hand when you call. If for some reason they don't have time to listen and push for you to email them something, simply email parts of the script. In other words, write you a scripted email using the phone script as a guide. Then call again to make sure they received the email and answer any questions they may have.


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

www.tomboleware.com
augiemagic
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Wow! Great responses guys! Thanks!

Donald - You didn't come off as harsh at all! Thanks for the thoughtful response. This show is for all three reasons, plus a couple. I haven't done many strictly kids shows in the last year and it takes me a bit to get back in the "zone" for performing kids shows. I'd also like to try and drum up some leads for birthay shows. My goal is to do a few (10-20) kids shows anywhere I can. This will give me an opportunity to polish up my show, get some video footage (Hopefully. I know I'll need to ask and get permission and whatnot) get some testimonials, and get some exposure to my target audience.

I'm sure there are other things I could get out of it, perhaps some local press coverage, who knows. The other thing was to push my comfort zone a bit. I'd never made a cold call before. I also now have the opportunity to work on my email/phone script, as well as a buch of wonderful suggestions for improvement thanks to you wonderful folks.

As far as the references/testimonials thing, I atually meant references as in people for them to call. Sorry if I wasn't clear. It that overkill/something that isn't really done?

As far as features vs. benefits, I understand the difference, I'm just not sure how/when to apply that knowledge. Should I frame it like that in every piece of communication with a potential client? Will that come off as too "Sales-y"? Should I just do that in the first email?
Charlie - Thanks! That's a good idea. I framed the free show how I did because I don't want to come off as being a guy who hasn't been performing in a bit, or as someone who isn't professional. That sounds like another good way to do it. I have a few ideas on how to leverage the performances I plan on doing but I'm leaving a lot of the details until I've actually booked the shows. One step at a time.

Tom - You're right, I should have used the directors name (she was the one I talked to on the phone). I did something really dumb: In the two minutes between hanging up and writing the email, I forgot her name! You're right about the website/brochure. I have a website, but it's just awful. I'm not quite sure how to make it better. I'm trying to decide between two different approaches: a "Sales letter" type site, and a something a little more low pressure and laid back that just has information about me, the show, and some pictures/testimonials.

From what you've said, as well as a few others, a phone script is definitely on my short-term to-do list (That list is starting to get mighty long). That sounds like a good idea, using the phone script as a template for the email.


You all three recommended charging at least something for the shows, so that's definitely something I want to look at and consider. My original thought was that I don't want to charge for a show for a type of venue that I've never worked before, and I'm more likely to get booked offering a free show. That said, I wouldn't be opposed to charging at least a small fee.

Thanks for all your input! They haven't emailed me back yet, but I'll keep you updated as to how things are going. My current major to-do list:

Phone Script/generally get more comfortable on the phone
Decide for sure whether to charge for these first few shows
Website (This one I probably need to seek input on because I don't really know at all what to do to make it better)
Work on my email template, (add in testimonials, possibly re-frame my reasons for doing a free show if I decide to do more free shows)

And I'm sure there are I few other things I'll think of as I go back and re-read all this. Thanks a bunch guys for all the input!
Starrpower
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I think I may be in the minority here, but I don't think it's a good strategy to start with kids shows unless you plan to be in the kid show biz. Put into it's most basic form, it almost sound ridiculous: I want to perform for corporate audiences so I am going to start doing kids shows. Yes, it can be done and has being done. But I think it's a very indirect route. I wish someone had told me 30 years ago what I am telling you.

I have done college shows and corporate shows, but that is the market I started in. When I moved to kids shows, I did it deliberately, not as a stepping stone. I compare it to thinking, "I really want to get into professional football. I am a pretty good golfer and played in some tournaments, so I'll start there and eventually work my way up to football."

Focus on the market you want. You could do a KILLER kids show, and find out (too late) that the skills you developed -- marketing, sales, and performing -- do not translate into the adult market. They are VASTLY different. I think you'd find you have to start all over again from ground zero. You can certainly get there with your plan, but you are taking a long, twisting and turning road to get there.
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