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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » Tricky business » » BOR sales (0 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

Tony S
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I know there's been lots said out here about Back of Room sales, but I wanted to let you know about my first foray into this part of our business. I booked a show with a local PTA for their family night, and I thought this might be a good time to try my hand at BOR sales. I asked if I could set up a small concession selling magic kits. The PTA ran this by the school principal who promptly turned down my request. The PTA president called me back a day later and said she wanted to buy 15 magic kits to raffle off. At $15 a piece this generated an extra $225 in revenue, and $160 in profit.

This happened simply because I asked a question. It never hurts to ask!

If this continues to go well I may even expand my product line!!!
We are all about as successful as we choose to be.



www.anthonysisti.com
James Munton
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Tony,

Congratulations!

I've found the easiest and most successful way of getting permission is to simply ask the PTA representative when you arrive at the school.

I just say, "Oh, by the way, I usually sell my magic books after the show and give the PTA ten percent of the proceeds. I just wanted to make sure that's not a problem."

You will very rarely have a problem when you put it like this. Also, towards the end of the show after I mention that I have my books for sale, I add "...and because this is such a great school, I am going to donate a portion of the proceeds to your wonderful PTA! Let's give them a big round of applause!" You'll sell a lot more product this way.

Avoid asking the principal. They are used to saying "no" to everything!!!

Best,
James
Donald Dunphy
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I had an experience a few months ago, where I asked a PTA for permission, that had booked a show for an evening fundraiser, and I offered a whopping 25% of the BOR proceeds, but they voted "no" at a PTA meeting. (Next time I don't give them the choice... I explain that they have to let me do BOR or they pay my normal, higher fee).

Just be warned that not everyone says yes.

But congrats on your success.

- Donald
Donald Dunphy is a Victoria Magician, British Columbia, Canada.
Tony S
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James and Donald,
Thanks for the tips and information. I appreciate it. Do you guys do your BOR sales yourselves, or do you have someone else do that for you?

Thanks,
Tony
We are all about as successful as we choose to be.



www.anthonysisti.com
Jim Snack
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Great advice from James and Donald.

Whenever I do a family show I always sell magic books and tricks afterwards. I usually ask permission that evening by explaining that I give away a free magic book to a child during my show and that often parents ask to buy one for their child. If they don't mind, I'd like a table down front where I'll be available after the show to visit with the audience. The answer is always yes.

Jim
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Donald Dunphy
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Do you think it puts undue pressure on them to ask them last minute?

Just curious as to why it is not communicated earlier. I'm sure most of you try to communicate other things with your customers earlier.

- Donald

P.S. Tony, I've done it both ways. Handled the BOR table personally, and also let others handle it. It depends on which show I am doing, and how much of the show set-up / clean-up can be handled solo by my partner.
Donald Dunphy is a Victoria Magician, British Columbia, Canada.
magic4u02
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I handle it a lot like Donald and Jim as well. I always ask in advance if it would be ok to sell my wares and have a place to meet and greet my audience after the performance. It is also backed up and stated in the signed contractual agreement between myself and the client also.

I usually ask them this in advance and usually after we have booked the show and I am going over details with them. I find this is a good time to ask since they have already booked the show, have gotten a chance to know me and feel comfortable with what I am providing to them.

I usually state that during my performances, I like to give each assistant on stage a small gift or magic trick as my way of saying thanks for helping me out. Usually after my performances, parents and children ask me if they might also obtain one for themselves. I also state that I like to have a place to meet and greet my audience after the show and to sign any autographs for anyone who might like one. This is my way of thanking my audience for coming out. I state to the client that this table also serves that function quite nicely.

I usually have no problems with getting allowed to do this BOR at any event I perform at. I think the key is to be upfront with them and honest the entire time. Then once you get approval, get it in writing on the contract so that you are covered in that way as well.

If I feel like there may be a problem with BOR, I usually offer to host a drawing or raffle for a free magic set or sets and that I would be willing to do this for them as part of the agreement. Part of this agreement would also allow me to sell my other BOR items as well.

As far as handling the BOR table, I am lucky that my wife and I are a team. Usually She runs down to the table right after the performance is over and starts the BOR sales as I clean the stage quickly and bring my stool over to the table.

One thing I do that works quite well, is to say I am signing autographs for any child who might like one as a souvenir of a fun night. I give them coloring flyers or signed magicians assistant certificates. I position my stool right next to the BOR table. This creates a line that goes out to me to sign their stuff and then they have to go across the BOR table afterwards. It really tends to draw people in.

Kyle
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Jim Snack
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Kyle has hit the nail on the head. That's the right way to handle it.

Jim
Jim Snack

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magic4u02
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Jim:

Thanks for the kind words. A lot of what I now do for BOR has come from experimenting and learning each time out and not being afraid to try new things. The best advice is to be open and honest about your BOR with your clients. Usually in this fashion, I never have too much of a problem with it. On the other hand, the worst thing you can do, is not to tell your client at all. Having them see you do BOR without first asking permission, is just not a proper way to being a "solutions provider" to your client.

Kyle
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James Munton
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I agree 100% with Kyle that you should get permission. Like Jim, I've never had a problem asking on the evening before I do the show. It's no big deal.

Just make sure you have a good product to sell and it is not overpriced. Magic wands, magic books, magic kits, posters all do well. I used to have several items, but now I just offer my magic book. At $5 it's a no brainer and almost every kid in the room ends up buying one.

If you do have several items, set your prices at round numbers: $5, 10, 20, etc.
You don't want to be wasting time with working out the change. Also, if you give them too much choice, they won't be able to make up their mind and you'll lose a lot of sales. That's why I decided to have just one item.

Make sure you have your contact information on the products you sell - why miss an opportunity to market your birthday parties or other shows?

I also have free give-aways (bookmarks with my contact info!) so that the kids who don't get a book go home with a little something.

Ideally, I try to have my table near the door so everyone walks past as they are leaving. That's why it's called Back Of Room sales. More accurately it should be called By The Exit sales!

Although Kyle has the ideal situation with his wife assisting with the sales, often one of the PTA members will offer to help on the table which is great. That way you can get through the line more quickly. She takes the money and I autograph the books for the kids.

In addition to school family nights, I've found that Cub Scout Blue & Gold banquets are an excellent venue for selling the books. Several times I've had the Pack Leader offer to buy books for the entire pack. When this happens, I give a good discount.

Best,
James
Donald Dunphy
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In the situation I encountered, the PAC (my area equivalent of PTA) was concerned about the issue that selling BOR would create pressure for parents to buy things when they might not have the money ("We're already spending enough to attend"... less than $5 a person, if I recall).

I had offered to give away free activity books to every child, whether they bought other items from our BOR or not, so there was no pressure on the parents to buy. But this was the explanation I was given.

By the way, the PAC sold concession items like food and drink, so they must have not been too concerned about sales pressure from the kids.

- Donald
Donald Dunphy is a Victoria Magician, British Columbia, Canada.
Tony S
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Thanks, everyone for your help and advice. I truly appreciate it.

Donald - similar to your story, I already know that the PTA at tomorrow night's show is setting up a food and beverage concession. I can't complain too much though, as they did purchase 15 magic kits.

Kyle - thanks, as always, for sharing your ideas.

Jim - Thanks again to you, as I probably wouldn't even have booked this show, and many others, without your success in magic course.

Tony
We are all about as successful as we choose to be.



www.anthonysisti.com
magic4u02
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Tony,

You are the one that should be thanking yourself. If it were not for you taking direct control over your own success, you would not be seeing such great prosperity as you have seen recently. It is always hardest to take that first step. However, once you take that step, the next one gets a little more easy. I commend you for what you are doing and wish you much success in reaching your own goals.

Kyle
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Starrpower
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It's in my contract. I just assume it's not a problem. I don't shy away from it, but I don't make a big deal out of it, either. I've never had a problem.

If there would be a problem, however, I think I'd cut the PTA in for a % and have THEM man the booth! Less work for me, $ for them, and I'd still make a few extra dollars.
magic4u02
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That can certainly work as well. I also have it stated in my contractual agreement as well and this is a big help as they sign it and I sign it long before the gig is performed and we are both in agreement over its terms.

Kyle
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Tony S
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Starrpower and Kyle,
Do you discuss the fact that this is in the contract with the client prior to sending them the contract?

Tony
We are all about as successful as we choose to be.



www.anthonysisti.com
magic4u02
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I do not tell them that it is in the contract. However, I do always mention about BOR when we are talking about the specifics for the event and what solutions I can provide to them.

For me, I always wait until I know for sure that the event is booked. Then I can talk to them about the specifics for their event and what needs do they have that I can offer solutions for. I find this then gets them to know me a bit more and comfortable with what I am offering them. At this point, I can then bring up the fact about BOR and how I handle it and we address it at this point over the phone or via e-mail.

Because we discussed it ahead of time, I always ask them questions such as this and others so that I know for sure what the facts are for the event and what it is I am providing directly to them and what they are providing me. Only then can I send out a contract.

I tell them that the contract will cover off on everything we agreed upon and will be a way to make sure everyone is on the same page so that there is less they have to worry about on the day of the event. I tell them it will all be on the contract and they should receive it in a day or two.

In this manner they already have talked about the BOR ahead of time, so when they see it, there is nothing new to them since we talked about it already. It usually works out well for me when I handle it in this fashion.

Kyle
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Starrpower
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It depends on the venue. I don't sell things at all shows. However, I generally do explain to them about selling "souvenirs" when we get to the pricing. I let them know it's one of the reasons I am able to keep a reduced rate for their types of programs. I tell them in a way that makes it sound like a nice addition for them (which it is. The kids get to take home an very reasonably priced souvenir and it satisfies and encourages a new-found interest in magic -- and kids WILL become interested, they always do.) Most times, the planner is excited to hear I have items available, as they are used to this; any music acts they bring in usually have CDs for sale, so it's not a new concept.

The only drawback I can imagine is if this is a fund-raiser, and they want any and all monies for themselves. This is reasonable, and I would handle it as described in my arlier post if I encountered it.

BTW, I would never attempt to sell things during an in-school assembly, or similar show. IMO, the only fair venue is one in which people are there by choice.
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