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Topic: Potential client requests a live demo
Message: Posted by: saysold1 (Jul 24, 2014 09:43AM)
Just wanted to run a slightly odd request by my Café friends.

A few weeks ago I received an inquiry from my site for an upcoming holiday (Dec) performance for about 400 - typical strolling gid for 2-3 hours.

The company making the request is a local medium size pharmaceutical type company.

After answering their questions by phone the rep called and asked if I would be willing to stop by their offices today and provide a 15 min free "demo" of my work to the company VP and a few staff members to "help them make their decision."

In the years I've been performing I've never been asked for this kind of demo, although I have done short demos for a variety of local luxury hotels (for the banquet and planning staff).

To me the difference is that a hotel or local talent agency offers the potential for multiple referrals during the year.

I agreed to do the demo later today, but it just feels a little weird since my site has a long list of genuine testimonials along with video.

Thoughts?
Message: Posted by: John C (Jul 24, 2014 10:23AM)
In my entire career I've never been asked to do that.

Not much more to say about it. No long philosophy etc. Either do it or don't do it.
Message: Posted by: mastermindreader (Jul 24, 2014 10:26AM)
Maybe your videos and testimonials are just so good that they had to see it for themselves to believe it?

I've never been asked to audition, either. But, if the money was right I might.
Message: Posted by: EricDraven (Jul 24, 2014 10:31AM)
Make sure that they don't just want a 15 mins entertainment...
;)
Message: Posted by: Amirá (Jul 24, 2014 10:35AM)
In your case I would go to their office but don't offer them a free 15 minutes show, rather a conversation, interaction with the client and the group and a short performance that shows your abilities, charisma , personality and all the values that they see in your offer.

All the best
Message: Posted by: Mindpro (Jul 24, 2014 10:36AM)
Are they going to give you 15 minutes of free samples of their drugs? Could be fun?
Message: Posted by: seamagu (Jul 24, 2014 10:36AM)
I've worked in these types of companies, usually there is a committee that can't come to an agreement so someone says, hey why don't we get a demo from each potential entertainer and whichever is best we will go with. Just remember, they are also looking out for things like punctuality, professionalism and anything extra you can offer. Not sure if that helps or not,

Oh yeah and if the VP is there you just need to impress him as everyone defers to his (and it will be a guy) judgement (I might mean a promotion down the road)

Best of luck anyway.

Sea
Message: Posted by: Marmen (Jul 24, 2014 10:49AM)
I had something similar from a pharmaceutical company. They also wanted me to waste my time traipsing down to see them. I found out later they had asked a million other magicians to do the same thing. I NEVER do cattle calls under any circumstances. The second I find out it is a cattle call is the second I tell them that I charge a fee for visits. If, on the other hand I deem that I am the only one under consideration and the money is right I will pay them a visit.

However, in your case the word "pharmaceutical" rings an unpleasant bell. It is too late now for you to back out but when you get there you should try and find out if you are the only one they have dragged down to their office. The odds are even you are not.
Message: Posted by: Jamie D (Jul 24, 2014 10:57AM)
I've had this type of request happengo me before for a wedding. They wanted to come to the city where I live and have me do a demo. They also said that if they liked what they saw, they'd pay me x amount of money which was below what I normally charge. I said no and that was the end of it. Personally if they are offering you a nice cheque, I'd go for it.
Message: Posted by: saysold1 (Jul 24, 2014 11:02AM)
[quote]On Jul 24, 2014, Amirá wrote:
In your case I would go to their office but don't offer them a free 15 minutes show, rather a conversation, interaction with the client and the group and a short performance that shows your abilities, charisma , personality and all the values that they see in your offer.

All the best [/quote]

I agree with your advice as well - thank you.

I agree that interviewing the client and understanding their needs is equally if not more important than the show itself. Number of guests, kength, type of crowd, time of performance in terms of cocktails or dinner, whether other perfomers will be there as well, etc.

I've received a few PM's from you guys too and thanks for the helpful feedback.

And to Bob - ya, the money will be pretty good so WTH :-) Not hard to rationalize.
Message: Posted by: saysold1 (Jul 24, 2014 11:04AM)
[quote]On Jul 24, 2014, Marmen wrote:

However, in your case the word "pharmaceutical" rings an unpleasant bell. It is too late now for you to back out but when you get there you should try and find out if you are the only one they have dragged down to their office. The odds are even you are not. [/quote]

I will make sure I take my meds prior to the demo lol!

Yes I will tactfully ask if others are doing demo's too. Good to know - better to have asked prior but se la vie - we shall see.
Message: Posted by: saysold1 (Jul 24, 2014 11:05AM)
[quote]On Jul 24, 2014, Mindpro wrote:
Are they going to give you 15 minutes of free samples of their drugs? Could be fun? [/quote]

As Bob says...

"GOOD THOUGHTS..."
Message: Posted by: David Thiel (Jul 24, 2014 11:28AM)
I actually push for face to face meetings -- particularly with large companies. Look at it this way: given that it's not a cattle call, but a large client who is interested in seeing me (I have a finely tuned BS detector) I jump at the chance to get a face to face. This is where you can make an impression that stands out far beyond what the other performers are offering.

I've done "meetings with mentalism" for MPI, ISES...conference coordinators at hotels and resorts. Would I pass up an opportunity to do what I do in front of an audience of people who buy entertainment? Is that a serious question?

You need to have certainty about two things: the power of your abilities to sell what you do AND the ability to detect whether or not this is an actual opportunity to show what you do in front of real potential clients. If you KNOW you have a solid act and you know these are "for-real" clients why would you NOT go for it?

In this case would I do a "free 15 minute demo?" Nope. I would go in and meet with them. I would play to the VP and at least one other person on the committee with one or two chosen effects. The rest of my time would be spent finding out more about their events, their clients -- what they expect to come out of the shows etc...and explaining how I fit into their plans (given that I do.)

Some of my most most regular clients have come to me this way. One of them booked me to work their booths and VIP rooms for six trade shows in a row. I made a very good fee on that. That same client had invited three other performers to come out when they were planning this series of events. Two refused. The other one who came wasn't a good match.

Regular clients are like gold. They book for trade shows, client entertainment events and their own retreats. They refer other clients to me. I think, in this age where there are so many poor quality performers, it's perfectly reasonable for a client who is expending a significant budget to want to meet the performer. I've seen some awe inspiring promo tapes...but nothing has the potential power of a face to face meeting...if you believe "sales" is about relationships more than dollars (which I do.)

Treat this appointment like a pro show, Brett. Knock it out of the ballpark and see what happens.

David
Message: Posted by: Scott Soloff (Jul 24, 2014 12:34PM)
[quote]On Jul 24, 2014, David Thiel wrote:

You need to have certainty about two things: the power of your abilities to sell what you do AND the ability to detect whether or not this is an actual opportunity to show what you do in front of real potential clients. If you KNOW you have a solid act and you know these are "for-real" clients why would you NOT go for it?

In this case would I do a "free 15 minute demo?" Nope. I would go in and meet with them. I would play to the VP and at least one other person on the committee with one or two chosen effects. The rest of my time would be spent finding out more about their events, their clients -- what they expect to come out of the shows etc...and explaining how I fit into their plans (given that I do.)

[/quote]

Brett,

I really can't add anything helpful. David put it as well as it can be expressed. And Bob nailed the bottom line - Why not?

Personally, I wouldn't do 15 minutes. S@%*, you know sales as well as anyone. Why would you treat this any differently than your business.

Let them do most of the talking, ask a couple of intelligent questions and hit them with one (David suggests a couple) demonstration(s).

Anyway, I'm sure it will go well. Keep us up to date.

Warm regards,


Scott :)
p.s. Iain and Bob got me into using these stupid smiley faces. Can't believe it...
Message: Posted by: mastermindreader (Jul 24, 2014 12:44PM)
I prefer this one- :eek:
Message: Posted by: sandsjr (Jul 24, 2014 01:05PM)
[quote]I would play to the VP and at least one other person on the committee with one or two chosen effects. The rest of my time would be spent finding out more about their events, their clients -- what they expect to come out of the shows etc...and explaining how I fit into their plans (given that I do.) [/quote]

Exactly


Brett you're a sales guy from what I've read here. You know it's what's most important to them that counts. I would also add making a "real" human connection to the equation. If you can do those two things AND entertain/fool them with your stuff, you're in.
Message: Posted by: IAIN (Jul 24, 2014 02:34PM)
[quote]On Jul 24, 2014, Scott Soloff wrote:
p.s. Iain and Bob got me into using these stupid smiley faces. Can't believe it... [/quote]

i planted that thought in your mind scott, cos I never use them on here...(over at the other place I do though)
Message: Posted by: TonyB2009 (Jul 24, 2014 03:25PM)
In all my career I have only been asked once to do anything like this, by a hotel. I said that I was not a hungry amateur who would audition for a single show. Hire me or don't hire me; I will be working that evening anyway. They hired me.

If I did agree to drop in and show them something, I would bill them for it. Just like they would bill you if they made a house call to you.
Message: Posted by: Marmen (Jul 24, 2014 03:34PM)
I am with Tony here.

I often make appointments to see people when soliciting trade show work because it is I who initiated the contact in the first place.In fact if I get called about a trade show I will suggest the appointment myself if the company is a local one. In fact I only solicit local companies for this very reason. However, if someone calls me out of the blue without any solicitation from me I may or may not go down to see them according to the vibes I get and how much money is offered. And also the sort of show it is. If they are seeing other people then they can forget it. My time is too valuable for that. If other starving magicians wish to go down there begging for work that is up to them. My days of responding to cattle calls were over a long time ago.
Message: Posted by: saysold1 (Jul 24, 2014 03:46PM)
[quote]On Jul 24, 2014, David Thiel wrote:
I actually push for face to face meetings -- particularly with large companies. Look at it this way: given that it's not a cattle call, but a large client who is interested in seeing me (I have a finely tuned BS detector) I jump at the chance to get a face to face. This is where you can make an impression that stands out far beyond what the other performers are offering.

I've done "meetings with mentalism" for MPI, ISES...conference coordinators at hotels and resorts. Would I pass up an opportunity to do what I do in front of an audience of people who buy entertainment? Is that a serious question?

You need to have certainty about two things: the power of your abilities to sell what you do AND the ability to detect whether or not this is an actual opportunity to show what you do in front of real potential clients. If you KNOW you have a solid act and you know these are "for-real" clients why would you NOT go for it?

In this case would I do a "free 15 minute demo?" Nope. I would go in and meet with them. I would play to the VP and at least one other person on the committee with one or two chosen effects. The rest of my time would be spent finding out more about their events, their clients -- what they expect to come out of the shows etc...and explaining how I fit into their plans (given that I do.)

Some of my most most regular clients have come to me this way. One of them booked me to work their booths and VIP rooms for six trade shows in a row. I made a very good fee on that. That same client had invited three other performers to come out when they were planning this series of events. Two refused. The other one who came wasn't a good match.

Regular clients are like gold. They book for trade shows, client entertainment events and their own retreats. They refer other clients to me. I think, in this age where there are so many poor quality performers, it's perfectly reasonable for a client who is expending a significant budget to want to meet the performer. I've seen some awe inspiring promo tapes...but nothing has the potential power of a face to face meeting...if you believe "sales" is about relationships more than dollars (which I do.)

Treat this appointment like a pro show, Brett. Knock it out of the ballpark and see what happens.

David [/quote]

Biy I learned a lot from this post - and especially your sound advice!

I did the demo this morning and they booked me on the spot - handed me a deposit check - done.

They even gave me a 15 min private tour of the pharma facory operation and clean rooms and shipping operations - crazy fun. Never saw that before.

So yes it helped in bonding with the client, and even though I bood 3-5 events a month now and never encountered this kind of demo, I will actually be far more happy to do them in the future.

The VP made the decison on the spot. I agree that based on the email or phone call one can quickly gather whether the tryout is worthwhile.

Thanks again to ALL!
Message: Posted by: saysold1 (Jul 24, 2014 03:52PM)
[quote]On Jul 24, 2014, Scott Soloff wrote:
[quote]On Jul 24, 2014, David Thiel wrote:

You need to have certainty about two things: the power of your abilities to sell what you do AND the ability to detect whether or not this is an actual opportunity to show what you do in front of real potential clients. If you KNOW you have a solid act and you know these are "for-real" clients why would you NOT go for it?

In this case would I do a "free 15 minute demo?" Nope. I would go in and meet with them. I would play to the VP and at least one other person on the committee with one or two chosen effects. The rest of my time would be spent finding out more about their events, their clients -- what they expect to come out of the shows etc...and explaining how I fit into their plans (given that I do.)

[/quote]


Brett,

I really can't add anything helpful. David put it as well as it can be expressed. And Bob nailed the bottom line - Why not?

Personally, I wouldn't do 15 minutes. S@%*, you know sales as well as anyone. Why would you treat this any differently than your business.

Let them do most of the talking, ask a couple of intelligent questions and hit them with one (David suggests a couple) demonstration(s).

Anyway, I'm sure it will go well. Keep us up to date.

Warm regards,


Scott :)
p.s. Iain and Bob got me into using these stupid smiley faces. Can't believe it... [/quote]

Thanks Scott -

I did 3 effects - and they were all pretty killer (PK, QB and booked). The VP (who was actually the company owner) had her sister there and I did the PK with the two of them across the room (didn't know they were sisters until after the effect was done).

But ya the best part was learning the clients needs and explaining how I could fit into their event of 400 guests. As many of you kinow I have a sales background already which can be helpful in handling questions and making the close (let the client essentailly close themselves).

Yes the smiley faces are cute - stick with 'em :-)
Message: Posted by: Scott Soloff (Jul 24, 2014 05:57PM)
Happy all went well!

Warm regards,

Scott
Message: Posted by: mastermindreader (Jul 24, 2014 06:02PM)
So did you get the gig? And did they have other performers coming in to "audition?"
Message: Posted by: Marmen (Jul 24, 2014 06:27PM)
Yes. That's what I want to know. I bet he was the only one.
Message: Posted by: sandsjr (Jul 24, 2014 06:28PM)
He says he got the job in the post above.
Message: Posted by: Marmen (Jul 24, 2014 06:35PM)
Yes but he didn't say if he was the only one under consideration.
Message: Posted by: mastermindreader (Jul 24, 2014 06:43PM)
[quote]On Jul 24, 2014, sandsjr wrote:
He says he got the job in the post above. [/quote]

Where? I didn't see that in his post. The word "booked" was the title of an effect he did- at least that's how I took it.
Message: Posted by: sandsjr (Jul 24, 2014 06:44PM)
He wrote this...
I did the demo this morning and they booked me on the spot - handed me a deposit check - done.
Message: Posted by: mastermindreader (Jul 24, 2014 06:45PM)
Oh. I overlooked that post and was simply going by his last one.
Message: Posted by: sandsjr (Jul 24, 2014 06:46PM)
Yeah, they looked like duplicate posts at first glance.
Message: Posted by: saysold1 (Jul 24, 2014 07:16PM)
You guys are awesome!

My understanding is they were going to interview others. That's what the owner/vp stated when I arrived.

The interview started on this exciting note: "Are you going to pull a rabbit out if a hat," she asked.

That's always a great mentalist starter right? 😄

I did some interviewing of their needs first as you guys suggested, and then explained what a mentalist does - then went right into some routines.

My final words were to thank everyone in the room. The vp then told her assistant to engage my services and said "no need to interview anyone else." They gave me a credit card today for deposit - all happy - and learned something new today.

Fear not the client try out if it feels solid and legit.

Thanks again to all you guys.
Message: Posted by: Marmen (Jul 24, 2014 10:28PM)
You were lucky that time. Congratulations! Oddly enough you have confirmed to me that my policy of not doing cattle calls is the right one. You were obviously the first one in. What would have happened if you were the second or third one to come in but somebody equally good got there before you? They would have been hired because they got there first.
Message: Posted by: John C (Jul 24, 2014 10:50PM)
I was paid once to audition for a trade show pitch against another performer. It was awesome cause it was the company that was going to put the movie screens in jetblue airplanes. They paid my trip to Orlando and paid for the audition.
Message: Posted by: saysold1 (Jul 25, 2014 12:16AM)
[quote]On Jul 24, 2014, Marmen wrote:
You were lucky that time. Congratulations! Oddly enough you have confirmed to me that my policy of not doing cattle calls is the right one. You were obviously the first one in. What would have happened if you were the second or third one to come in but somebody equally good got there before you? They would have been hired because they got there first. [/quote]

Yes in my sales job I would always ask if they were interviewing others and I preferred to go last.

But selling houses is not quite the same as selling entertainment.

With a house there was always the component of people shopping for a salesperson who tells them what the customer thinks their home was worth. They might want to see 2-3 agents before one tells them what they want to hear.

In entertainment I think I would prefer to be first, then try to seal the deal after the demo.
Message: Posted by: RenzIII (Jul 28, 2014 01:34PM)
I was asked to do this twice in 30 years, both clients booked, one them for many years and counting, small company called Con Edison,
and it was quite lucrative., bit of effort payed off for me.

Nowadays with references and video, should not be much of a problem.

I also no longer really advertise , I work via word of mouth & referrals.

The idea is not to get clients that are looking for a magician or a mentalist, rather looking for you spicifically.
Message: Posted by: sandsjr (Jul 28, 2014 01:46PM)
I think it comes down to using your common sense and your intuition. It's not cut and dry. I would not let my ego dictate how I would handle this type of request, I would use my business sense. In most cases I think I would do it, in some cases maybe not.
Message: Posted by: Marmen (Jul 28, 2014 05:14PM)
I will do it most of the time providing nobody else is under consideration. If that is the case then they can go and stuff themselves. At the same time I put a hex on the other magicians for being such a nuisance and getting in the way.
Message: Posted by: saysold1 (Jul 28, 2014 05:34PM)
Yup - thankss again for all the input you guys.

Hey Renzo - thanks for the feedback and I liked your site a lot.
Message: Posted by: RenzIII (Jul 28, 2014 06:14PM)
[quote]On Jul 28, 2014, saysold1 wrote:
Yup - thankss again for all the input you guys.

Hey Renzo - thanks for the feedback and I liked your site a lot. [/quote]


Thank you buddy, nothing wrong with a little hands on promotion.
Sometimes people just want to get a feel of who you are in person.

So as long as they are not asking you to drive 3 hrs for the 15 min demo, lol

All the best to you!
Message: Posted by: John C (Jul 28, 2014 08:23PM)
[quote]On Jul 28, 2014, sandsjr wrote:
I think it comes down to using your common sense and your intuition. It's not cut and dry. I would not let my ego dictate how I would handle this type of request, I would use my business sense. In most cases I think I would do it, in some cases maybe not. [/quote]

Pretty much makes sense?