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Topic: Fortune 100 Company Demo help
Message: Posted by: Nathan Alexander (May 18, 2006 12:06PM)
Okay. I am not sure where to start. But up front, I am great at being "good" at a lot of shows, but not "beyond great" in any one field. I have performed for professionals on river cruises (strolling), country club comedy magic shows for assoc.'s, the school market (very rewarding!) and numerous private parties and functions.

The reaason I bring this up is this. I have successfully found my way into a meeting to demonstrate what I can do for this particular retail giant and it's employees.

Through mailing directly to a small number in my area with an offer to introduce myself to them I recieved one (of nine) invitation to come in. If they like what they see, they will pay my fee for one show and receive another show/program later this year as well. I wanted to "break" in to this market/company and "step-up" as it were.

Anyway, the woman I have spoken with sounds like they have already decided (based on my material and speaking with her) to have me perform on such and such a date to provide my comedy-magic show for their employee party this summer.

My question is for you pro's out there that have done what I am about to do.

I am learning about the company to have information available to work with. I am organizing my trick list. I have made a list of questions that I feel are difficult and am in the process of trying to prepare andswers to them ("So you have done a lot of show...but you don't have a video or a booklet of incredible testimonials?)

I don't want to be dishonest, and I want to simply state that no, I do not at this time have a -whatever- to demonstrate other companies' willingness to hire me. But my show IS good ( and I do have testimonials, but not a whopping load based on my -gulp- laziness, poor responsibility and in any case, they are not from other corporate giants or even in their field) and I believe they'll see that but...

I am wondering what the best approach is, what I can expect (their top store managers and execs will be present- this meeting is monthly, they accepted my invitation to demonstrate what I can do for them).

Do I take charge? Joel Bauer would.

What can I floor them with? I am thinking about doing a few small interactive card/comedy effects, a little bit using Rocky (all this is in my regular act and is succesful, which is why it hasn't changed much over the years...) invisible deck stuff, some ropes?, a bill change, maybe BTL?,...

Anyway, any thoughts from you working guys that have been in, and continue to do this kind of stuff would be greatly appreciated. Advice on what to wear (my suit of course) or what to perform or not to perform, what to say, how to introduce myself, what questions to ask and what not would be great.

This has been a LONG post so I appreciate your time very much. I took action before I knew exactly how it would all work out, but I didn't want to wait until I had all the answers because that would have just been an excuse to indefinitely postpone taking any sort of risks!

Plus I have you guys. :)

Message: Posted by: Nathan Alexander (May 18, 2006 12:09PM)
Oh yea. The first part of my post is to tell you humbly that I have zero experience in this stuff.

I am just trying to humbly state that I WANT to be an expert, not a general guy who's "good at many things." Doesn't pay as well!

So please ignore it if it seemed like I had vast experience. I don't. Just lots of dipping my hand in many things (like a lot of us I suppose.) And I want to really make a focus for myself.
Message: Posted by: Jim Snack (May 18, 2006 01:05PM)
Here are a few questions to ask during the meeting:

1) What other types of entertainment or entertainers have your used in the past at this event and how did it go over with the audience? This is a great question since it will tell you a lot about their group and, if your know the other performers they describe, you can get a good idea what their budget might be.

2) Is this just for the employees or will families be invited? If families will be invited, emphasize that the children will enjoy your magic also.

3) Would you like some strolling magic before the main show? This can be something you charge extra for, or you throw in for free to close the deal.

4) How can I make you look like a hero for selecting me? How will you judge the success of my show? This lets them know that you know they are being judged on who they select and you will work hard to make them look good.

5) If you meet with just one person ask, "Who, besides yourself, is responsible for planning this event?" You may be talking with a person who is not the economic buyer, i.e. has the power to approve the funds for your fee. It's always better to get the economic buyer in on the meeting also. This is a good question to ask on the telephone before the meeting so you can make sure all the right people are present when you do your presentation.

At the presentation, plan to perform only two or three tricks. Save the tricks for the end, after most of their questions have been answered. Then invite as many people as possible into the conference room to see the "show." Get the secretaries in the outer room to join in if possible, or move the entire meeting to a larger area if necessary. The more people you have, the more fun you will generate.

After doing two or three tricks you can joke that three tricks are free, but "if you do one more it's a show and you will have to send them an invoice." That reminds them that you are in business and you leave them wanting more. That's very important, it's just a tease, don't give away the store.

By the way, when discussing terms, tell them that you have a simple confirmation that they sign. That you require a 50% depsoit to secure the date, with the balance payable on the day of your show...or prior to your performance, or payable within 10 days...or 30 days upon receiving your final invoice. You decide what your terms are and be very clear and direct with them.

I suggest you have two or three different options for them which you can present at the meeting, or send to them with a written proposal after you get home later that day. Option One is the basic show, Option Two, perhaps show with strolling, Option Three, Strolling, show and special trick with CEO...that sort of thing. Make Option three expensive..who knows, they might bite!

That's about it. Good luck.

Message: Posted by: Nathan Alexander (May 18, 2006 01:11PM)
Wow, that was what I needed to hear. Thanks Jim for your valuable advice. I'm taking notes.

I appreciate it!

Message: Posted by: Jim Snack (May 18, 2006 03:59PM)

My pleasure. You won't need a video since they will see you in person.

If someone ever asks you if you have a video and you don't, simply say, "I've never really needed one. Most of my work comes from people seeing me perform or from a trusted referral."

It's a good idea to bring along a sheet with the names and contact information of three of your best clients who will give you a great recommendation should this company want to call them. (Ask your previous client's permission to use them as a referral first). They may not call, but have it ready in case they ask they ask who else you have worked for. If you don't have a lot of business testimonials, simply whip out the sheet with the three references and that should cover it.

The bottom line is that they don't want to hire someone who will make them look bad for making the decision. Show them you don't have two heads (unless it's part of your act), that you understand their concerns, and you give them a professional show. Then have fun at the meeting. They are just people who don't have a lot of experience hiring entertainers, so make it easy for them. Go in with the attitude that they have a need or problem and you are there to help them meet the need or solve the problem. Listen to what they want or hope for and tell them how you think you can meet their needs. If it's a good fit, you will get the gig. If not, you had a great rehearsal for the next time.

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