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Leland Stone
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Profile of Leland Stone
Lightning doesn't strike twice in the same place, eh? Coupla months ago a lady called on Wednesday to ask about a show for her twins THAT Saturday. Sorry, booked. I sent her a card/marketing packet. She called yesterday for a show on...yes, THIS Saturday...and yes, again it's already booked.

I appreciate waiting for the last minute to buy in hopes of getting a deal -- a great strategy for sniping on eBay or squeezing a car dealer. The downside is that the buyer limits their options to whatever's left. Or, in this case, coming up empty handed.

So, how do YOU handle last minute callers?

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Profile of leapinglizards
Double my price and insist on payment via credit card in advance.
Leaping Lizards!!! Who knew it was possible.
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Arlington, Virginia
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Profile of rossmacrae
How? Usually with resignation ... this isn't a strategy the client is using, it's a habit, and he/she is used to either shopping around until she finds what she wants, or doing without. Which means that you (or any magician) aren't that important to her, or she'd have arranged in advance - or else she has no idea that you're any more than "fast food", so either way there's an increased chance that this customer doesn't value you and won't treat you right (and can't be taught to do so).

If I have a "hole" to fill, I get regular price. If I have to tweak my schedule (rush from one place to another, worrying about traffic delays all day) I might ask for a premium price, or just not take it.

In any event, it's like the people in "Deal or No Deal" ... even if you "lose", you haven't lost, it's money you never had in the first place.
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Profile of Magic_Steve
On 2007-09-25 17:21, leapinglizards wrote:
Double my price and insist on payment via credit card in advance.

Amen. I'd double my price, and insist on cash when I arrive. Or if they want to pay with a creditcard, they can Paypal me the money.
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Profile of SoCalPro
Sometimes I'll charge them a "stupid tax". If they pay If not, no harm no foul. Smile
Donald Dunphy
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Profile of Donald Dunphy
Hi Leland -

When you explained for the second time that you were booked up, did you invite her on the spot to book now for next time?

Something along the lines of, "Gee, I'm sorry that we haven't been able to work together yet. That's twice now. My schedule is pretty full, but sometimes I can fit people in if I know with a little more time. Do you know the date of your next party? Maybe by planning a few months in advance we can find a date that works for both of us."

This is just an idea of offering to book now.

Another way to do it is to offer to call them closer to their next event date. For example, here's how I handle a Christmas show inquiry where I'm already booked. "I'm not available that date, because someone else booked me about a month ago. Many people contact me in August or September for their date. Would you like me to call you and then mail to you next fall, when I start booking my Christmas shows?" Then I get their name and address and phone. I send info now, but also reconnect the next August / September.

Of course, sometimes I just offer to book next year's date now. (Like in the earlier paragraph).

- Donald
Donald Dunphy is a Victoria Magician, British Columbia, Canada.
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Profile of johnobryant
I used to get this scenario all the time. I then posted on my website... "Many clients booked John way in advance to get the date they want and the entertainment they need." I really make sure I stress this. I have cut the amount of last minute calls, while at the same time booking way more gigs.

If I do get a last minute call (which still seems to happen) and I am already booked I will let them know that someone booked me in advance. I still get their contact info and send them promotional material. I will then call another local magician (if it is a birthday party show) and send the gig their way, while at the same time keeping most of the profit. I will usually also raise the price because it is last minute. Either way I get money...and money feeds me.

Leland Stone
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Profile of Leland Stone
Thanks for the input, Magi Smile

I had another last-minute client today, and I was able to squeeze in her event (she agreed to an earlier afternoon appt., so I can make my evening gig). What the heck, I quoted a figure that was, let's say, "75 cents" higher than normal. Got the gig...

These last minute calls are getting to be around a third of my calls. Does anybody plan things in advance anymore? It's often cheaper that way, especially if one's booking Magic here in OC...

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Cornwall, Ontario, Canada
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Profile of gardini
We live in a instant gradification society, because of the internet people can just book\buy almost anything when the thought occurs to them and for some reason they just can't grasp that magicians tend to book a season or to in advance.

I really don't think there's much we can do to advoide it. I ended up printing on my business card ( 10 percent discount on all bookings over two months in advace)
This seems to be helping a bit with the people that look for deals.

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Profile of gadfly3d
My 2 cents. My thinking is if its a year in advance and I'm booked I can't do it, but if its tonight and I'm not booked I can do it. Last spring I got a 1 am call for a show that was 6 hrs. away. The money was right so I did it.

Gil Scott
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