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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » Tricky business » » Generating new leads (0 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

rtgreen
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Inner circle
Portland, Oregon
1322 Posts

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Just to start a conversation:

Other than the standard "tell people about yourself and hand out business cards", how many creative ideas can we come up with to generate new leads for our businesses?

For the fun of the conversation, the more unusual, the better.

Thanks,
Richard
drwilson
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Inner circle
Bar Harbor, ME
2191 Posts

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Richard,

Don't tell, do.

Two words: publicity stunt.

These sometimes take a while to pay off, but they can create a terrific awareness of the performer. Ace Starry has written a post on Anatomy of a Publicity Stunt in which he crafted a stunt to get coverage for his client. I have done stunts that are only designed to generate news coverage at a time the I have public shows coming up. Even if people don't make it to the show, they all know about the guy who did the stunt. Perceived danger is an essential component for my stunts, but this would depend on the performer.

Yours,

Paul
magic4u02
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Eternal Order
Philadelphia, PA
15111 Posts

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Well, this may not be unusual, but I will name a few of my own secrets that I use and have made habit for coming up with leads every day and all year around. For my wife and me, coming up with new leads and keeping track of them is an important step in the process we go through for our festival and fair markets as well as others.

- One of my biggest tips is to start what my wife and I call a "Leads Binder or Database". This is a binder or online ACT database that is mainly used for anytime a new lead is spotted. I use a binder mainly and I have it set up by month and then by week.

Whenever we see or find a lead, we gather all information that we can and it gets placed into a plastic sleeve that then gets placed into the binder according to month and date.

The idea behind the month and date is that if I have or see an opening in our calendar, I can immediately go to that section of our leads buinder and find a lot of different potential suspects and leads to do a mailing to. It helps me to keep it all organized.

Now how do we find leads? Let me give some ides we have put into place.

- We are trained to always keep our eyes out for any poster or sign as we are driving. because our main target market are festivals and fairs, we always see signs and banners around. What we now do is have camera phones and we take pictures of these signs and banners as we pass them. This information can then be downloaded and recorded when we get home and entered into the leads binder.

- Every Thursday we get the local papers from a lot of different areas in our performance area. We get these as many have a weekend section in the paper. This is a gold mine for potential leads that are perfect for us as we deal a lot in family crowds and shows. Many of these have sections in them for family events and things to do during the weekend etc. This is a wonderful way to acquire a lot of leads.

- The Internet is also a wonderful tool for finding leads if you just have some patience. I have my favorites categorized and sites saved under different categories such as cub pack sites, festival sites, chambers of commerce sites, parks and recreation sites etc. This way they are categorized and always available and at my fingertips when I need the information for new leads. A little bit of research using search engines like Google.com and others, will land you a lot of great and useful sites you can use for lead generation.

- I also use my past clients as lead generators through a referral reward program. I always give them a thank you kit after every performance and part of that kit talks about referrals and encourages them to do so. We have received many leads simply by remembering NEVER to forget your past client and always staying in touch with them.

- Business cards. I always have them with me and on me and in every location and every car. It just becomes habit for me to have them and to use them. Having cards does you no good sitting in your box. You must be willing to not only give them out, but be active enough to get cards in return.

There are a ton of others, but I will leave it at this for now. I know some of these may not be unusual, but they are some of the things that have really worked wonderfully for my wife and me and the system we set into place.

I will try and share more later on. I hope this interests others and gets people chiming in.

Kyle
Kyle Peron

http://www.kylekellymagic.com

Entertainers Product Site

http://kpmagicproducts.com

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jlevey
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Inner circle
Montreal, Quebec, Canada
2136 Posts

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Building upon one of Kyle's many excellent suggestions... if you live in a major city area, be sure read the newspaper's business section every day.

Track the rise and fall of the medium-to-large companies. Highlight, cut out and enter into your database companies that are gaining momentum, especially those that have just met with financial success.

In contrast, if a company just laid off 1,000 workers, this will usually make the the news and will cauton you from calling to find out about their interest in having a special event or celebration (at this time).

But if the company's profits have suddenly surged, there may suddenly be real reason for them to celebrate their success with their staff and/or stakeholders.
At the very least, because they are financial healthy, you should plan to call them to explore their anticipated entertainment needs. But wait a few days to pass, since the day on which their success is announced in the paper, they may be flooded with congratulatory calls from friends, family and clients.

Before you call the company, look them up on the web. Aside from learning about what they do and how many staff they have, they may list profiles of key management people (ie. Head of Human Resources, in Canada, often take responsibility for organizing the company's special events. The Marketing Director will be responsible for Product launches, and trade shows).

When you call the company, ask the receptionist (ever so politely) for the name, e-mail and telephone number (with extension) of the key person that sits on the company's social committee. If the receptionist tell you that there is no Social Committee, simply ask who helps to coordinate special events at the company (ie. awards night, staff x-mas party for the adults --or kids, if this is your target market). Again be very polite and appreciative of the receptionist's time and willingness to help since it may be "her" that helps the president to organize the company's events.

If the person's name is difficult to pronounce and spell, ask the receptionist how to pronounce and spell it correctly. You might also ask her to suggest other people within the company that might have an interest in knowing about entertainment for future events. Write these names (along with their titles and contact info) down.

Be sure to thank her for her time.

If you hear multiple phone lines ringing in the background explain to her that you know she is very busy and that you don't mind being put on hold while she answers another call.

When she returns to your call, ask her if she might be kind enough to suggest the best "window of time" to reach the "best" person (the person most likely to be responsible for hiring entertainment or presenting your web site and /or proposal to the rest of the members of the company's social committee).

If you are able to establish a very friendly rapport over the phone with this receptionist, you might even take the time to explain what it is you do and gently encourage her to visit (and bookmark) your web site to see some neat photos and see how you can bring fun, laughter and amazement to the company's future events.

If you have a really good rapport, ask her if she would be willing to forward your site to the key people within the organization with a note about how you will be calling to follow-up and assess their future entertainment needs.

If, from the start, the receptionist doesn't seem very interested, polite, or helpful, still be sure to thank her (ever so politely) for her time and acknowledge that you can see that she must be extremely busy, therefore "is there a better time to call back for this information when the phone lines will be less demanding?"

Thank her for her time and call back later that same day or the next day at the time she suggested.

Just a few tips to consider.

It's not easy, it takes great persistence and great politeness, but I have found that the above can take us far in our efforts to "get" to the right person/people.

Perhaps, like Kyle, I will try to revisit this thread and suggest other methods for success. For example, networking is a great way to increase contacts, leads and ultimately secure contracts, but do not limit your networking activities to your own inner circle of hot and warm contacts. Instead, ask your warm and hot contacts to provide you with the names and contact points from their own inner circle (warm and hot) of contacts. One person will lead to another, and you are off and running...

Hope the above is helpful.

All the best!

Jonathan
Jonathan
Max & Maxine Entertainment
Magicians with a touch of comedy!
___________________________________
www.maxmagician.com
www.mindreadershow.com
www.monsieurmagic.com
rtgreen
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Inner circle
Portland, Oregon
1322 Posts

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You guys are great! Thanks very much for being so open about how you work. I am learning quite a bit.

I've never been brave enough to stage a publicity stunt, though they are a great idea. There is a great book on the subject: "Publicity Stunt!" by Candice Jacobson Fuhrman. It is a history of stunts and has many examples of stunts that worked great and stunts that flopped. One of my favorites was the formation of the "Society for Indecency to Naked Animals" This caused a furor with its campaign to make it manditory for animals to wear clothes.

Kyle: You make the process seem exciting - like spying. I especially like the idea of keeping your radar up for posters and flyers.

Watching the business cycles in the newspaper is also a great idea, Jonathan. It seems obvious when you said it, but it never occured to me that success breeds celebrations that would need entertainment.

Thanks,
Richard
drwilson
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Inner circle
Bar Harbor, ME
2191 Posts

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Richard,

I don't have that publicity book, but it sounds amusing. I recommend Publicity Stunts by Jon Jensen, which I got from Misdirections in San Francisco, and Steve Santini's Everything You Ever Wanted to Know About Entertaining with Escapes, available from the unnameable dark one himself. I have an old book by Arnold Furst called How to Get Publicity in Newspapers, which is a bit dated but has some good ideas. There is some great stuff at the Café on publicity stunts.

What I like about publicity stunts is that if they work, you are famous locally. I did a show a couple years ago, a five-hour drive out of town, where absolutely nothing is happening. My host arranged for TV coverage. When the TV crew showed up, one of the people helping me set up the stage said, "So, you're famous?"

"Yes, I am," I said.

Actually, I hadn't ever had any TV coverage for my act, but part of my snake-oil pitch persona is that of course I'm famous. If someone just walked into my show cold, they would think that everyone else was in on it but them. People don't want to seem out of touch, so they go along. Group behavior in primates is a subject worthy of careful study.

Yours,

Paul
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