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Topic: Need a USP for Kids Shows
Message: Posted by: Norden (Feb 19, 2011 04:47PM)
Hello KIDabra members!

I am looking for something new to add to the 'deluxe' style show I do for kids.

Other performers in my area have a USP it seems and it helps them. I have been doing this for 15 years and my USP is ME - great show, good price, lots of fun.

Another friend does the 'giant balloon' where he put the bday child in along with his own son who he does the show with. I was at his house the other night and I called a client back - she said she was going to talk to her husband. 10 minutes later she phoned my friend - he did his sales pitch (kinda funny right in front of each other) and our prices are about the same. I was $10 more than him.

Granted he brings a live dove, his son, backdrop, sound system, and the giant balloon. I also have been doing it longer and won the children's local award 5 years in a row.

The client said she would talk to her husband. Neither of us closed the sale. I followed up with an email as she had wanted her son 'cut in half' - I offered to include that in the show (using a comedy rope method). Well today she booked my buddy.

Thinking about all this I decided I need something in my 'deluxe' show that stands out. Something like a chair suspension (but not) or perhaps the Fantasy magician (but already done by a few) or having a live rabbit (no thanks).

I want it to pack small but of course play big (like Fantasy Magician).

Any thought folks??

Mike Norden
Message: Posted by: Daniel Ulzen (Feb 19, 2011 05:04PM)
Hi Mike,

maybe every child should get a dvd about how to learn magic tricks. I know out of experience that at least in germany kids (and adults) really like to get such a dvd.

Show them great magic tricks and give them big fun and your love - I guess that is the best USP - really YOU, not your price or something else.

Best wishes

Message: Posted by: amazingvijay (Feb 19, 2011 05:10PM)
I don't know what a USP is but I do know that the chair suspension works very well and some customers want to see something "big" or "special".

Message: Posted by: Daniel Ulzen (Feb 20, 2011 04:13AM)
USP means "Unique Selling Proposition" or "Unique Selling Point" - something others don´t have or offer.
Message: Posted by: Spellbinder (Feb 20, 2011 04:36AM)
We look at our shows critically in terms of the "stuff" we have, but I seriously doubt whether a potential customer cares whether you make several trips out to your car to drag in props, or show up with a suitcase in hand ready to start the show. I think in these economic times the real "USP" is that the other guy charges $10 less than you do. As usual, this is my personal opinion, so don't let that stop you from buying your heart's desire in magic props.
Message: Posted by: TonyB2009 (Feb 20, 2011 07:18AM)
My USP is that I bring along a talking dog. I am not a great vent, but they love the dog. It gets me shows, and it packs small.
Message: Posted by: Norden (Feb 21, 2011 10:37AM)
Hi folks!

Yes - sorry - a USp is a 'Unique Selling Point'. Something I can offer that no one else is doing.

I give a DVD out to the Birthday child - yes, but again so are about 10 others in my market.

I have Ginn's dog puppet and do that , along with Risley's rabbit in the hat, for which I am fairly known for.

I am not looking for another trick or even an illusion to add - what I am looking for is something that parents who are hiring me go - WOW - I MUST have THAT guy! No others are doing THAT!

A live animal would help, but again about 6 others have that.

One friend does the giant balloon and it sells well. Perhpas what I am looking for is suggestions OUTSIDE of the magic box. Something that is not really magic but fits into the show - that way I would be the ONLY magician doing it type thing? Any ideas?

Message: Posted by: Donald Dunphy (Feb 21, 2011 10:52AM)
I'm going to say something a little controversial.

I don't think that positive booking decisions (for birthday shows) have to be about what you do / your stuff (your USP), or having the lowest price. Unless that is the only sorting criteria left to them, after talking to several entertainers.

I think the key has a lot to do with how excited you can make the customer feel during your conversation. It's about THEIR emotions towards YOU.

It's dependent upon rapport during the conversation. Connecting with them. Being genuinely interested in them. Being likeable.

And it's dependent upon your enthusiasm.

And it's dependent on your ability to describe your show in a way that captivates their attention & imagination. Perhaps describing a trick, etc.

- Donald
Message: Posted by: Scott O. (Feb 21, 2011 11:21AM)
I'd have to agree with Donald. The one thing I would add is -- make the caller laugh. If I'm talking to a birthday Mom(usually a mom) that has the ultimate authority to make the buying decision and I can maker her laugh a couple times, the show is as good as sold. If, on the other hand, she doesn't laugh, the chances are great that the call will end in a no-sale.
Message: Posted by: Donald Dunphy (Feb 21, 2011 11:26AM)
I've also heard of Scott's tip about making the birthday Mom laugh during the sales conversation. It's a good approach. First time I heard about it years ago, it was attributed to T Myers, from his book "Life on the Living Room Circuit."

- Donald
Message: Posted by: ColinDymond (Feb 21, 2011 02:02PM)
How about being the easiest to deal with?
Message: Posted by: TomBoleware (Feb 21, 2011 02:27PM)
Good suggestions by others but, you right, you probably do need to look outside what others are doing.

Pick one:

1. Provide the cake.

2. Give the birthday child a magic set.

3. Video the party and give them a copy.

4. Give a free gift certificate to McDonalds, etc.

5. Paint the house the next day.

Message: Posted by: Leland (Feb 21, 2011 06:20PM)
I have to agree with Donald too. It all depends on how you sell yourself. I have found that possible clients just want to know that they are hiring the right person for the job. I had someone tell me that the difference between me and the other guy is ...me. Review how you sale your show, when we are on the phone with clients we are selling our selfs to them, and see how best you can improve your presentation. You'll be surprised at the difference that will make in booking gigs. You'll find that clients will book you on the first call. Yes make her laugh, if you smile on the phone they feel it on the other end.
Message: Posted by: TomBoleware (Feb 21, 2011 07:40PM)
I completely agree that it is more about "how" you selling the show.

When it comes down to it, most magic shows are all about the same.

But still, he needs to "feel" that he is offering something different, and the
reason I say he may need to look/add something outside of magic is.
He needs the confidence that his business is different. Without it, he will never sell it.

I'm guessing, from reading his post, that he feels like with everybody the same, the market is full.
He needs to step away from the rest, if nothing but within his mind, to be able to sell it better.

Message: Posted by: Norden (Feb 21, 2011 09:34PM)

So - it was not the $10 difference. I followed up and offered the balloon twisting for free - so I became $10 less than Gord.

It was not the phone call - both of us where funny and both of us made her laugh. Remember - we were in the SAME room when we both talked to her.

She even asked me 'Do you do a giant balloon?' - she booked him over me due to his USP. Simple.

What I a looking for is an idea of a USP for the 'deluxe' show. Something others are not doing!

I give away a magic wand, I have a DVD, I do a puppet routine, I send a parent pack, I have my own activity book, I give away a magic set, I have a coloring sheet - etc.

All these are great ideas folks - don't me wrong - I apprecaite the feedback. But I was looking more for a brainstorm of ideas that are different. Perhaps I am naive here - becasue if any of you have a good one why would you share it right? HA! :)
Message: Posted by: Norden (Feb 21, 2011 09:41PM)
I'm guessing, from reading his post, that he feels like with everybody the same, the market is full.
He needs to step away from the rest, if nothing but within his mind, to be able to sell it better.


Hi Tom,

I don't go online here very much so that is a fair assessment I guess.

No, I am confident in my product. I am in the top 3, if not the top, children's entertainer in my area.

I have been doing it for 12 year and you can check me out at http://www.magicshows.ca

My friend has been doing it around 5 years. It is just interesting that I LOST the show purely on him having SOMETHING I could not offer. I overflow bookings to HIM - so we had a good laugh to see who would get the show. I was shocked I lost it - that is how confident I was.

It made me think and now in order to try to corner more of the market I am looking for something unique to offer my clients. So they go 'We need that guy!'.

Some options I would think are:

Live animal (done too much)
Vent (done by one friend)
Giant Balloon (he would kill me :)
Illusion - like chair suspension - not my thing
Fantasy Magician - but does not always go perfect

Just trying to get some more clever ideas....thanks!
Message: Posted by: Norden (Feb 21, 2011 09:43PM)
On 2011-02-21 15:02, ColinDymond wrote:
How about being the easiest to deal with?

Yes - that works wonders for getting booked - could not agree more!! Thanks Colin!
Message: Posted by: TomBoleware (Feb 21, 2011 10:44PM)

You do have a nice site. Thanks for the link.

Wasn't trying to make you sound like a beginner. Just that we all do at times
start to question our own product. That's a good thing, it's how we make it better.

Sometimes just telling folks you different is enough to get their attention.

I still say, offering a little something outside of magic is a good idea.
Keep thinking. It will come.

Message: Posted by: Donald Dunphy (Feb 22, 2011 09:04AM)
While it's important to analyze how our selling is working for us, I think that it's also important not to get too worked up when you lose a sale. Unless you tend to lose a lot of sales.

Customers book our shows for a variety of personal reasons. And we rarely have the opportunity to ask them their real reason for making the booking, or not making the booking. Remember, even if they seem to express one reason on the surface, that might not be the actual reason.

So if we try to fix one "problem" (in this case, a better USP to compete with a giant balloon, rabbit, vent character, chair suspension, etc.), it might be that we are only fixing the problem towards one small segment of show prospects.

- Donald

P.S. Some other USPs that I haven't seen mentioned on this thread, that have been mentioned on others at some time or another:

- personalized trick with the bday child's photo
- using Cube Squared Illusion in the home, with the bday child
- Giant multi-balloon sculptures (not balloon houses) as prizes, or just for the bday child
- Win-win party games, where nice things are said about the bday child
- Magic class / magic workshop, as an alternate to a magic show, or in addition to a magic show
- Lots of stuff given to just the bday child (not just a magic kit and / or DVD)
Message: Posted by: Ken Northridge (Feb 22, 2011 09:31AM)
On 2011-02-21 12:21, Scott O. wrote:
I'd have to agree with Donald. The one thing I would add is -- make the caller laugh. If I'm talking to a birthday Mom(usually a mom) that has the ultimate authority to make the buying decision and I can maker her laugh a couple times, the show is as good as sold. If, on the other hand, she doesn't laugh, the chances are great that the call will end in a no-sale.
Thinking about this now, I once knew a magician, who is no longer with us, used to combine his USP with making the Mom laugh. He used to say, “For an additional charge, I will make your child disappear!”

Not my style, but I’ll bet he did get a lot of laughs…and I [b]know[/b] he got a lot of bookings.
Message: Posted by: ColinDymond (Feb 22, 2011 11:17AM)
Hi Norden
I've just looked at your web site and I'd like to see what your competitors looks like. The only photos on you site are from one photo shoot. In one you are holding a card that says applause! If I'm booking an entertainer for my 5 year old, he cant even read applause!
The best thing on my web site are my videos, the parents can see me in action and hear the children laughing. I get booked because the birthday child has seen and enjoyed my clips.
Message: Posted by: Donald Dunphy (Feb 22, 2011 12:07PM)
Yes, yes, yes! Well said, Colin.

A promotional video on your site makes a difference. Lots of people comment about mine, when I chat with them on the phone. Both the parent and their child often watch it.

- Donald
Message: Posted by: Norden (Feb 25, 2011 01:44PM)
Hi all!

Great ideas - again thanks!

Colin - yes, on my site there are links to my videos - I am going to add them to the home page imbedded soon. I have 3 promos videos but I am having another dozen done as we speak.

I have different pictures form 3 photo shoots on the site - they are all within the last 2 years for the photos. As for the 'applause' sing - well that is just a funny picture, as I would guess it is the adult looking at my site. Although - I use Brad's Cue Card in my shows for all ages and it goes over well even if they cannot read they understand the change of the words - and you read the words for them (off topic here! :)

Donald - The Cube Squared seems to be one of interest here. That would be unique - saying ' I will make your Son / Daughter' appear at the begging of the show in front of all his friends. That to me is the kind of USP I am looking for.

I do Shawn's torn to pieces with a child's photo a few times - it's a good trick for sure. I have done a personalized torn and restored birthday card in the past - again - good TRICK. But not a USP IMHO.

Hard to tell the Mom what that all means. Saying I will make your child appear is unique - but again someone else can buy the cubes and do it too.

I am not looking for how to book more shows - I am looking how to book more at a premium price as I am the ONLY magician to offer it.

The other magicians' website is http://www.magiccanada.com (hope that's ok Gord!) if you want to compare in this case.
Message: Posted by: LMLipman (Feb 25, 2011 02:36PM)

You may be making too much out of this one call. Yes, she picked the other guy, but maybe not solely because of his giant balloon. I think Donald was right, a lot goes into a client's decision. Yes, you both made her laugh but maybe the chemistry (even over the phone) between her and your friend was slightly better than with you; doesn't mean the next mom might not have better chemistry with you than with him

I think the USP can be over-done. I know magicians who use rabbits and who don't use rabbits. Both do very well. I think having a good show that is you, as it seems you do, is what you should strive for. Some callers get away from you; and some callers get away from your competition and hire you.

All that said, if you find an effect you really like, by all means add it--but don't expect it to blow the doors off your competition.
Message: Posted by: Powermagic (Feb 25, 2011 04:11PM)
If you get ideas here then you are going to be unique.
Also why have UPS. From what I see, everything uou mentinoed you offer as extra is not you nique since others do it as you say.
Everything you mentioned is about STUFF. DVD, Gift bag whatever... too easy to copy.
Norden why not create or did up a magic effect that non else is doing or can do? It would make more sense to me that if you are the only one who CAN do an effect than YOU ARE the unique selling point not the props or animals.

Jeff McBride found an old trick in a book with water appearing in bowls and made it a signiture piece. And even if you could find the book (he bought every copy he could find I once heard) you would have hard time copying the routine or calling it orginal. His presentation with the music was his USP
So you can only see him do his routine. (Also plays big and packs small)

I agree something Larry said. It is esy enough to not pick an entertainer because you are not exactly what you are looking for. Norden think what decisions you make in daily life. What about buying a car? How many people will choose one color over of the same car. Same car why should the color matter?
You surely do not blame someone for not liking your overall look over somene else. THey just might not like your outfit, voice, hair, ect over someone else.

THey might ask their kid who they want and based on what I see on your site currently, I am mot moved to book. FLip the script. More images and video less words.

It sounds like you are still building it your site and changes to come.

I never cared for physical add ons since it requires you to carry inventory. You seem to be focusing on how to MATCH the others rahter than spend time coming up with something you can do they can not.

Any easy USP is give them a little longer time but other than that seek out something tha that a Café member can not suggest. Since if they tell you a trick or prop, most likely someone an match you by taking a trip to the magic store.
Message: Posted by: Norden (Feb 25, 2011 04:24PM)
Powermagic - I wil take the idea of coming up with something on my own. it is what I normally do - I am not big on coming to the Café as you can tell. I prefer to work on things myself. I do double what my competiton does and that is becasue my site is text - it expalins everyhting - is high in google and has worked very well. Ig et 80% of my booking from online. Just saying what you think might now work certainly works for me.

Again - I think the point was missed here. I am looking for something - not even a trick - that takes it to the NEXT level. We are always trying to offer more value to our shows and improve. That is what I am looking for - something different.

Apprecaite the ideas but I don't think I got what I was looking to yet. Cheers!
Message: Posted by: Powermagic (Feb 25, 2011 09:29PM)
While I can undestand you are expecting a brainstorm but on this topic, you are not looking a it the correct way, If you want to be different you have to do it alone.
If you are asking for ideas here you will not be unique. If you do double the business as your competition than maybe your USP is already as far as it needs to go.

Again ask youreself what peice of magic YOU can do that no one else can do. Taking you act to the next level is ONLY achieved by doing what others can't. It could be as simple as your presentation style but if you think of each great, they all are known for something they have done that others could not.

Magic is too easy today to just buy. Search old books and revive and modernize what magicians forgot.

If you are not looking for a trick, customize all your props and then you can be the only one to offer your show. Again I am not a big fan of working to hard on exras and large shows but maybe that is what you are going to need to do. That is, Offer an illusion show at the same price. Bring in backdrops lighting sound sytem, remote and timed cues and you willbe better than some shows out there. Add in extra assistnats a live music and then they will see a USP so you can charge more.

YOu think I am kidding but I am not. If it is not the tricks, the add ons than what? Too much overhead for me and too much time. I would have to charge to cover my day

Agani look at some top names that work in Vegas like Mak King and see that his USP is HIM. He does not do a large show but he plays large.

Give my suggestion deeper thought a few days from now you will see the answer you are seeking as already been given to you.
Message: Posted by: SpellbinderEntertainment (Feb 25, 2011 09:51PM)
Back when I booked the occasional children’s show,
there were tons of ads in the local Parent’s Magazine.

Each magician trying to up the other’s offers,
each offering bigger and better, or more and more.

It got to be funny “yes but I do this” or “yes but I have that” on and on.

So…. I ran the following ad.
It was very formal like a wedding invite, with a script font:

--No Birds
--No Bunnies
--No Balloons
Just Extraordinary Magic

Guess what?
I got tons of inquires, and quite a number of bookings.

So much for a USP or a UPS for that matter.
Message: Posted by: TomBoleware (Feb 26, 2011 05:48AM)
I agree with Powermagic, it's something you going to have to come up with yourself before you can see it as unique.

Not really a USP that you looking for. More a Closer, something to seal the deal when everything else already seems to be equal.
No matter how unique you make your act, site, or sales material, it will be copied and quickly become viewed as the normal.
What you looking for is a silent (secret) closer. Something you can throw out there as an unexpected extra when talking with the prospect. Something to make mom say, "yes, I didn't expect that. "

The reason I say look outside the magic box is, anything magic you come up with is not going to appear to be extra.
It's just more magic. You need a surprise.

Study some sales pros. A master sales closer competes with himself and his goals, he rarely competes against others.

Message: Posted by: Scott O. (Feb 26, 2011 09:30AM)
Ah, but Walt, you did have a USP. You were the guy without a 'gimmick'. You were the guy that claimed to be extraordinary. That is what set you apart. That was your Unique Selling Proposition.
Message: Posted by: John Breeds (Feb 27, 2011 05:42AM)
So…. I ran the following ad.
It was very formal like a wedding invite, with a script font:

--No Birds
--No Bunnies
--No Balloons
Just Extraordinary Magic

Guess what?
I got tons of inquires, and quite a number of bookings.

So much for a USP or a UPS for that matter.

I absolutely agree with you guys. A series of tongue-in-cheek 'negative' selling turns into one BIG positive USP. Furthermore it's different to the norm.

Personally, I would add to the list; something along the lines: NO boring magic, just very funny tricks especially tailored for your little boy and his friends.

Most moms like to listen to a funny enthusiastic entertainer during the initial inquiry. I think this conveys you'll be funny at her little boy's party.

Message: Posted by: Dennis Michael (Apr 18, 2011 04:19AM)
How much does your show cost? $300.... (Click)... Hello? Is anybody there?

Just like learning to entertain children, one needs to learn how to do the "magic" of selling the show on phone. A hang-up or "I have to ask my husband" is generally a key indicator you lost the sale.

For instance, we include:
"The Birthday child becomes the star of the show."
"He will produce a Live Rabbit and mysteriously float in the air."

Saying things like "As can be seen on our website, video clips of the show and lots of comments from so many others who have enjoyed the show." can sell the show. Just be sure they are "Very well done".

A phone script book helps so you can respond to the same questions over and over.

There is a whole world of discussions in this section on the many possibilities to make your show a success, to sell your show and if you want a USP, a special character theme show might help here. I use the "Classical Magician Character" that is displayed in so many children books and cartoons on "What a magician looks like" but I do not do the modern cabinet! :)

The hardest part of being a children magician is to know what to do and say, and how to sell yourself. A mentor helps a lot, I mean a real lot if you can find one. The other alternative is KIDabra International or Blackpool's Children Convention, so much can be learned for such a small fee when you consider learning on your own.

For instance, Barry Mitchell and Tim Sonefelt have so many comedy storytelling routines, some can be USPs, just like the Fantasy Magician, which is excellent.