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Topic: Persistence and determination.
Message: Posted by: *Mark Lewis* (Jun 10, 2011 10:12PM)
You are going to need a lot of persistence and determination. This is a very tough business despite what you've been told you baout it being a lot of fun. It has very few fun moments and you are going to need ever sinew in your body to survive. Here is how you do it.

I have always said that 75% of the money is taken in 25% of the time. The trouble is that you don't always know when that 25% is about to occur. You therefore have to work with just as much enthusiasm when times are hard as when they are easy.

It is not always easy to do and sometimes even I get tempted to just give up and say "the hell with it" However you find it within yourself to just carry on no matter how hard it gets and you must somehow maintain the enthusiasm no matter how rough it is. After all the people who don't buy now may well come back later to purchase and you don't want to put them off from doing so with your lack of enthusiasm. On the Island I found that people did not want to carry even a deck of cards around with them all day so when they were about to leave in the evening they would tend to get the money out. The last two hours were always the best. But I had to suffer the ***s all day in order to get to the last two hours. I would find that the people who watched earlier in the day came back to buy.

This is why grafting is TOUGH and only the fittest survive. I would venture to say that for every 10 magicians who get all excited enough to try it only one will succeed. They give up because the business is so tough. Any fool can take money when they are throwing it at you and the crowd is hot. However only a good grafter can take money when it is tough. Only a good grafter has the stamina and mental attitude to do it again and again pitch after pitch when they are plain not getting their money out. The mediocre pitchmen will give up because it is very easy to give up. The temptation is strong when you are just plain banging your head against a brick wall. However you have to keep on keeping on with the same enthusiasm as you have when they are throwing money at you like crazy.

If I do a demonstration and nobody buys I just do it again. If nobody buys a second time I do not fold up my tent and go home. I do it again. If nobody buys a third time, or a fourth time, or a fifth time, or a sixth time I do it again. And again. And again. And I will keep doing it until the ***s get their money out. And I will show the same enthusiasm the sixth time as I will do the first.

Of course you are human and will tend to become more alive and excited about your work when the crowd is throwing money at you. It becomes automatic and you won't have to force it. It is like a drug and money is the drug.

When things get too hard on the joint I recommend walking away for a while. Take a break. When you come back the bad phase may have passed and in any event you will be fresher.

There are times when you will take say $300 in a single hour. There are also times when that is what you will take all day. You have to use the same energy when you take $300 in a day as when you take it in an hour.

I don't always practice what I preach. Sometimes I curse the punters to high heaven and feel like giving up. But I never do. THAT is the true secret of being a great pitchman.

When the going gets tough the tough get going."
Message: Posted by: WillRoya (Jun 11, 2011 12:17PM)
I agree with Lewis. Your product, pitch, joint, and venue are all very important but what ultimately determines if you will succeed is your attitude. You MUST keep a good mental attitude and project it, and almost don’t care if you take in the money. If you are desperate to make a sale the marks will smell it on you. Some sales people say they are not buying the product, they are buying you.

One thing Lewis mentions is that people do come back to buy. It is always nice to make the sale right after the pitch, but most people just don’t like to buy in the mornings at most of the events I work. I consider my first few hours of pitching for the day to just be putting money in the bank, since I can count on people usually coming back. If people are on the fence, I even tell them to think about it and come back later. The marks appreciate this and are more likely to buy then if I tried to shove it down their throat, plus it is just my style. I’ll often see people walk 10 steps away and come right back.

I work single-0 a lot and when doing a 13 hour day I will pace my self by keeping it low key in the morning and evening. I’m somewhat selective to who I bally and pitch for. This helps saves your energy for the bang on hours. You only have so many good pitches in you per day. I also don’t negotiate with people and keep my prices set, unless they want to buy more then one unit of course.

You also must make it clear that you are selling and not entertaining, that doesn’t mean your pitch can’t be entertaining, but you can’t let people waste your time by playing games, flirting, chit chatting, etc. People have two options at the end of my demo, they either buy or they don’t. Getting rid of people can almost be as hard as getting them to watch the pitch sometimes. I literally have to say at the end of the pitch sometimes “That’s the demonstration people, now is the time to buy, and I’d be happy to help you… if you need to think about it I’ll here until 10, NOW please clear the aisle.” I also use this line a lot to various enquires “I’m a salesman not a magician.” And “I’m here to sell, not to entertain; this is how I support my family.” When people ask for a business card I either tell them I don’t have one or they cost $1 each, and yes, people have paid it.

This is a really tough business and I wish it on no one, but it can be a really fun roller coaster ride if you’re willing to take everything in stride and play the game smart so you can make a few bucks and not turn into a grouch.
Message: Posted by: *Mark Lewis* (Jun 11, 2011 12:36PM)
The longer you do it the more likely you are going to turn into a grouch. Look at me and Don Driver for example. On second thoughts who wants to look at Don anyway..................

But with regard to this matter of getting rid of people after you finish brings up quite a horror story to mind. I have never quite figured it out to this day and it only happened once in my life and I am sure will never happen again. Here is the story straight from my memoirs:
Another memorable place we worked was the Ballinasloe Horse Fair. This is a world renowned horse fair held in the Republic of Ireland so at least I didn’t have to worry about agitated Orangemen. People come from all over Ireland to buy and sell horses and it is a major event of the year.

We set up in a big green field where all the activity was. There were various vendors but we were the only ones demonstrating and getting a crowd. And get a crowd we did. Massive crowds in fact. It was somewhat disconcerting, however, to look up and see that half the audience consisted of horses! As you can imagine the horses didn’t buy anything but that wasn’t the main problem. Nobody else did either! Now normally when people don’t buy anything it isn’t a real problem. You let the crowd disperse and start all over again with a fresh crowd. We were confronted, however, with a horrific problem. The crowd wouldn’t leave! They wouldn’t buy but they wouldn’t leave. And they did this all day! I have never experienced this in my lifetime and I expect I never will again.

We just couldn’t get new people to watch the demonstration and it was hampering our sales tremendously. Since the crowd wouldn’t leave I would decide to repeat the show hoping that some of them would get bored seeing it all over again or perhaps they would buy on a second demonstration. But my ploy didn’t work and they still wouldn’t leave. And neither did they buy.

After three or four repeated demonstrations, which resulted in nobody purchasing and nobody walking away, I told Ann to take over and see if she could get better results. However, she got nowhere either and eventually made a little speech saying, “Look. Let me explain the procedure here. First we do the demonstration and then you have to make a decision as to whether you wish to buy or not. If you wish to purchase you give us your money. If you don’t wish to purchase then the normal procedure is that you are supposed to walk away”

It didn’t work. All the farmers and their horses just stood there with their eyes twinkling (the farmers-not the horses!) and it was beginning to dawn on me that they were winding us up with typical Irish humour. In the end I whispered to Ann, “We’re getting nowhere here. Let’s take a break and come back later and they should all be gone by then.”

So we covered up all the merchandise and went away for around thirty minutes assuming that when we returned the assembled crowd would have disappeared. However, to our astonishment when we came back they were still there! We couldn’t believe that the crowd hadn’t shifted one iota and that they had waited a whole half hour for us to come back.

We had no choice but to start up again. We worked and sweated sometimes trying to get rid of them and sometimes doing another demonstration hoping for a sale. We tried going away for breaks time after time and we still couldn’t get rid of them even when we started to insult them. I have never seen anything like it before or since.

After two hours of no sales I couldn’t stand it any more and decided to call it quits. I said to Ann, “This is a complete waste of time. Let’s go home.” Ann agreed and we started to pack everything up. Once we started to do so someone in the crowd said, “You’re not going home are you?” I replied, “We certainly are. We have more chance of selling something to the horses than trying to get money out of the rest of you. Goodbye!”

And then it happened! I couldn’t believe it but suddenly money appeared from everywhere. Virtually everyone in the crowd purchased a Svengali deck and the other small magic tricks we were selling. Best of all, they dispersed and went away! From then on we took money hand over fist and had one of the best days we had ever had in our history of selling the decks together.

Message: Posted by: Jon-O the Great (Jun 11, 2011 05:49PM)
On 2011-06-11 13:17, WillRoya wrote:

...You also must make it clear that you are selling and not entertaining, that doesn’t mean your pitch can’t be entertaining, but you can’t let people waste your time by playing games, flirting, chit chatting, etc. People have two options at the end of my demo, they either buy or they don’t...[/quote]I say, "This is where I make 8 bucks disappear. Give it to me, I'll show you. You'll never see it again. In fact, either 8 bucks disappears or you do." And I look straight at them, smiling. If they don't buy, at least they leave. It may seen rude but it gets the job done and I can get on to the next bunch.

Message: Posted by: *Mark Lewis* (Jun 11, 2011 06:52PM)
Jon. That would not have worked with the bogrotters of Ballinasloe. It certainly wouldn't have worked with the horses. The Irish are a special breed. Especially the country Irish. They would have just stood there grinning no matter how much you insulted them. And I think it was almost a telepathic plot between all the punters and the horses combined. All those farmers and horse traders knew that they were supposed to stand there all day with their eyes twinkling and they didn't have to say a word to each other about it. And the more irritated you got the more they just stood there enjoying the whole thing. And I swear the horses were laughing at the situation too. And there were just as many horses in the crowd as there were people.

Perhaps Tony Black can be dragged away from that daft hypnosis section for a moment to explain it all to you. After all he is a bogtrotter Irishman himself and would be able to explain it. I still don't understand it after all these years. I will go and fetch him. Maybe he knows what was going on. It takes an Irishman to understand the Irish. Remember that I am NOT Irish. I just used to live there and I found them a most peculiar race of people that are beyond the realm of human understanding.
Message: Posted by: TonyB2009 (Jun 11, 2011 07:15PM)
Ballinasloe is a special place. And it attracts a mix of farmers and the travelling community. They look at the world in a different way.
I remember doing a hypnosis show in Glenamaddy, a bit more rural than Ballinasloe, but only about thirty miles away. A huge crowd turned up at the pub. A bus even arrived from a nearby town. They all gathered in the bar while I set up the lounge for the show. Ten o'clock arrived, and I opened the doors. No one left the bar. No one wanted to be the first to walk in.
At eleven thirty, with a full venue - all there for my show - I had to pack away the gear and go home. No one made the short walk from the bar to the lounge. A lot of them asked me why I was going. I told them it was because they were there for the show, but wouldn't come in. They just shrugged.
That's the Irish for you. We are a difficult and quarrelsome race. We sue more than any other race in the world - including the Americans - and we have zero respect for law. We are fiercely independant and completely lacking in ambition, corrupt to the core, and like disrupting people in subtle and subversive ways.
But Mark's experience in Ballinasloe sounds surreal even for the Emerald Isle.
Message: Posted by: *Mark Lewis* (Jun 11, 2011 07:36PM)
Tony, even I know why they wouldn't move from the bar. If an Irishman has to choose between the demon drink and a magician it won't be the drink that loses out. Unless of course there was facility to drink in the lounge of course. I well remember how hypnotist Barry Sinclair ousted Paul Goldin from working pubs in Ireland. Paul was old school and insisted the bar would have to be closed while he did his induction (or perhaps it was even for the whole show). Barry went to the bars and said, "Oh never mind Paul Goldin. I don't care if you keep the bar open for the whole show" And that was the end of Paul's pub career.

And yes. The Irish do indeed have zero respect for the law. I think that was the best feature about the place. I felt quite at home. A pitchman's paradise. It was considered socially unacceptable to be honest and I found this quite refreshing. I think if I were a criminal on the run I would head straight to Ireland, extradition treaty or not. I still remember the time a tourist was murdered in the Phoenix Park but the police were too lazy to come down and look at the body after it was reported in. Mind you after a week or so they had to do something about it as it was beginning to stink a bit.

I could probably write a book about the amusing incompetence of the Irish police which I must say I found terribly convenient at times.
Message: Posted by: TonyB2009 (Jun 11, 2011 08:15PM)
I remember that murder in the Phoenix Park. That was a bit embarassing - no real investigation, despite the fact that it was fairly obvious who the killer was. The details escape me, but not the proudest moment of the Gardai.
Message: Posted by: *Mark Lewis* (Jun 11, 2011 08:52PM)
I suppose we should explain to all the foreigners here that Gardai is another word for the Irish police. Now oddly enough I told a story about the Irish police in the gospel section of the Magic Café. As a holy psychic reverend and man of the cloth naturally the gospel section is my favourite part of the Café. I never dare post there in case I get struck down by lightning. However, I did get very brave recently and posted this incident concerning my satanic activities and the disapproval of the Gardai concerning the matter.
Message: Posted by: JoeJoe (Jun 11, 2011 10:25PM)
On 2011-06-10 23:12, Mark Lewis wrote:
I have always said that 75% of the money is taken in 25% of the time. The trouble is that you don't always know when that 25% is about to occur.

That's what those "indicators of interest" are for that you eluded to in another post.

After I make the nickels disappear, I tell them it how much it costs and that they get the cards for free. If nobody asks where the nickels went ... I'm done, it's over. If nobody in the crowd cares enough to wonder where they went, nobody is going to care enough to buy the trick.

Sometimes ... if it is a good crowd and I'm feeling lucky ... I may help them out with a statement to generate an indicator of interest ... like "she wants to know where the nickels went, don't ya mam".

Once I get that indicator of interest, then I'll do the magic cards and go for the close. I may a lose a few sales here and there, but it really helps keep my sanity by not burning out on rejections. Especially during the slow times when your working ones-and-twos.