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Ken Northridge
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Atlantic City, NJ
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“Patience, you must learn patience.” -Master Jedi Yoda

There are some things you can do with marketing to give yourself a ‘high-falutin’ image, but the sure fire way is to steadily improve your show. If you’ve got the show people want, word will get around sooner or later. If you listen carefully to your audience’s reactions and comments after the show, you’ll know when its time to raise your prices.

Until then, enjoy the process. There are generally more shows at the bottom and the more shows you do the more input you will receive to improve.
"Love is the real magic." -Doug Henning
lou serrano
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Los Angeles, CA
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On 2010-01-11 22:28, Ed_Millis wrote:

So when one is first starting out (like me), you are usually seen in the places easiest to be in, because the people have invested (risked) the least in a totally unknown product. These are not always the most high-falutin' places "where the money is".

How do you avoid getting pigeon-holed there? "Those are the people calling me and giving me money, so I guess that's what I'm going to do." And they keep recommending you to their friends who want the same services in the same style - and for the same price!

I realize the ladder of success is not an escalator - it doesn't move me up unless I move myseslf in that direction! But what have y'all done along the way to get from where you started to where you wanted to be? (Which, in keeping with the topic, is "Where people expect and are willing to pay more".)


Hi Ed,

I always take the escalator over the stairs unless I'm looking for a workout. The quickest way to get from where you are to where you want to be is to educate yourself. Emulate the people that have already achieved the success you desire. I'm not saying emulate their show, instead emulate their business and marketing techniques.

Buy books, CDs, DVDs, and courses on marketing, sales, and business, find a mentor, attend business seminars, network with other successful entertainers, start or join a mastermind group, and above all take action on the knowledge you gain. That's exactly what I've done and continue to do, and it has worked wonders for me.


Lou Serrano
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Michigan now living in the Florida panha
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Profile of mightydog
"what are your rates?" My rates depend on your needs and expectations. A rate for a birthday party for "ten" nine to ten year old children will be different from a adult dinner party or a corporate event. After we discuss your needs and wants I can then quote a rate that is fair and reasonable to both of us.
Illusion and magic is the same, if it was possible to achieve the impossible by genuine powers then it wouldn’t be impossible and therefore it wouldn’t be magic. That’s why magic is an art; the art of creating the illusion of the impossible.
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Kevin Ridgeway
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Indianapolis, IN & Phoenix, AZ
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On 2010-01-08 17:07, Dannydoyle wrote:
Something to consider. Their "perception" of what you are worth is directly proportional to the place they see you when they ask.

Exactly Danny. That is the reason why many here should stop trying to be everything to everybody. That or accept that you will pigeon hole yourself into a price. There is nothing wrong with just needs to realize and accept it. If you enjoy doing your high end stage show, you may want to reconsider that Tuesday night gig at Fuddruckers.

There is a huge market that we stay away from on purpose. Many work this market with up to 20 dates in a 30-45 day period. These shows are easy and go for $1200-$1800 each. HOWEVER, we work a different market but interact with some of the same clients that book the first market. We go into these markets for 2-3 times the other price. There is nothing wrong with working the first market. But for us it would make it harder, if not down right unscrupulous(in my book), to book our show at the higher rate if we pigeon holed ourselves at the lower rate. I'm not saying this is right for everyone. But it is right for us.

This happens all the time in the college & theatre market. Many times they are the same venue...and sometimes they are the same booker. How does one present the same show for two EXTREMELY different prices? Well if one can do so they can work both markets. If they can't, then they will be in one market or the other. That or they have two different shows, which eliminates branding in my opinion. The previous is not true if you have no desire to brand yourself. If you do brand yourself...when people talk(and they do) and when the booker that paid your higher price, eventually finds out your other price...he will not be happy. It's no different that the acts we see that have a price they quote and a price the agent quotes. They literally undercut agents they depend on for work.

Living Illusions
Ridgeway & Johnson Entertainment Inc

Kevin Ridgeway &
Kristen Johnson aka Lady Houdini
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Profile of Oscar999
Big fan of Gitomer as well. For those of you with his, Sales Bible, look up How to Close in Five Questions, challenge. Worth it.

David Thiel
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Western Canada...where all that oil is
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I don't answer the HOW MUCH? question until I have an idea of what they are looking for. Simply quoting a price before defining the product and show requirements seems silly to me.

The clients will often meet the price if they understand that you can fill their need.

Until you do so, it's purely a numbers game.

Whatever doesn't kill you makes you stronger. Except bears. Bears will kill you.
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On 2010-01-06 19:59, Domino Magic wrote:

My advice is this - get some sales experience. Real world sales experience. Understand what the sales process is.

I have a ton of sales experience. Even though I'm a professional mentalist, I'm really a professional sales person. When I was a sales manager & trainer, one of the biggest obstacles my sales reps had to overcome was quoting the price. I would listen in on their calls and they would have a very smooth presentation UNTIL it came to quoting the price. Then they tap danced. Most sales reps lose the sale because they don't know how to close.

Here's a bit of advice you should take to heart. My old sales manager many years ago told me this and it's stuck with me 20+ years later. Just because you can't afford the price, doesn't mean they can't afford.

Price is what hangs most sales guys. They can't afford $2,500 for the product, so they project that to the potential client. It's almost like they're embarrassed about the price.

What do I do? When I have all the information I need,and I've explained the benefits of having me at their event, I just tell them the price. No drop down menus on a web site, I don't tell them that I'm expensive (I am, but I don't tell them that), no "jokes that it's a million dollars". I don't insult them, I just confidently quote my price.

Good stuff there, I also spent 20 year or so as a sales person, sales manager, trainer and marketing director before I started my career as a entertainer

A.B.C. ~ Always be closing, sometimes subtly, sometimes not so much. Be confident, know your product (yourself) and know your show at your investment is a excellent investment in entertainment that will benefit your client

Clients who pay 4 or 5 figures (or more) for an evening's entertainment are often much easier to work with, more pleasant, provide more amenities and are a better all around expereince and more likely to hire you back

All those plum engagements aren't always available and I've worked my share of tough shows but with more experience the better shows come with time

I often work the DC market which includes a lot of NOVA (Northern Virginia) which beside traveling through is great, I'm close enough to work the Baltimore market also but it usually doesn't pay as well. Just the way it is. But you can find gems everywhere


THEN DELIVER A GREAT PRODUCT, GIVE THEM MORE THAN YOU PROMISED, THEY ARE BUYING YOU as well as your show, make time for them personally if they would like it, take time to talk even when it's questions you've been asked a million times. Act like it's the first time you've heard it, upbeat and enthusiastic (when appropriate)

Often you will be working with PR people, operating directors, administrative aides or whomever in the company, make sure you make them look great. They will be the ones recommending you to other companies or hiring you again either there or at another company in a few years (as long as you make them look like they did a great job hiring you and you make it easy for them)

If they are asking for a rate right away, they might be a tire kicker or trying to book an inexpensive children show.
Usually I respond with what are you looking for? (puts me in control of the conversation), I can ask a few questions to find the best fit, lead them to the show I think they would be best with while leaving options

If they want cheap I'm not the right fit for them and that's ok, not everyone can afford a Lexus or needs one. I can be polite and refer them to someone who might fit what they want. If they want cheap I don't want to do their show so it benefits me to refer them to someone good who might be able to do what they are looking for and do it well

and while making a customer happy I can also help out one of the very few acts I refer

Yeah that was a lot and not in lineal fashion but it might be useful to someone here
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Scott Burton
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Great post Vick. You gave a lot of valuable information and your experience and knowledge shines through.
Mike Maturen
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On 2010-01-05 22:52, Jim Snack wrote:
Sometimes I answer playfully, "A million dollars," then pause and add, "plus travel!" Then I respond as Lou does, saying "Actually , it you have a particular event in mind?"



I like the way you handle this. Humor lowers defenses and shows that you CAN entertain!
Mike Maturen
World of Wonder Entertainment
The Magic and Mayhem of Mike Maturen

AUTHOR OF "A NEW DAWN--Weekly Wisdom From Everyday Life"

member: International Magician's Society
Al Angello
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Eternal Order
Collegeville, Pa. USA
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Customer: how much do you charge for a party?

me: how many people will be attending your party?

customer: 20 people, how much would that be?

me: what date are you looking for?

customer: June 6th, how much would that be?

me: is it an childrens party, or an adult party?

customer: my son's 5th birthday, how much?

me: where do you live?

customer: across town, how much would that be?

me: I could do my 45 minute comedy juggling audience participation magic childrens birthday party show for XXX dollars.

I want to both look like a pro, and have my price quote include a few facts as well.
Al Angello The Comic Juggler/Magician
"Footprints on your ceiling are almost gone"
Sam Sandler
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Mostly good info on this post not much more to share but here is my take
and I agree with living illusions a lot on what they said

I am in a position that most clients don't ask how much I charge any more as 98% of my clients are repeat or referals from other clients or have seen my show somewhere. I have worked very hard to get to this point and glad to be here.

however I do get calls for my show and yes the question of how much comes up right away
I usually respond " although I can quote you my standard prices which range from $500-$5000 I aim to meet my clients budget needs and exceed their expectations with my spectacular show."

at this point we know if they can afford me or not for at least one type of show.

then its get the info and explain the benifits of my show and what I provide for the price I will quote

although I do perform in a few differnt markets I feel I have done a good job separating them (price wise) so that I don't get some one calling that saw my day care show asking me to perform at there corporate gig for the same price.

again good stuff here - got to love the Café you guys are great!

sam sandler- America's only full-time DEAF Illusionist
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