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Magician Shaun
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I had a Gig inquiry today while I was driving back from setting up a different corporate gig. I spoke to the lady on the phone for about 15 minutes. We agreed upon 1.5 hours of walk around for her company christmas party and a fee. I told her I would send the contract to her as soon as I got home. I get home, put all the information into the contract, write an email and send it out. About 5 minutes later I get a reply email from here apologizing that her "office manager had booked someone else in the interim and the deposit was already paid so she had to cancel with me."

It is really irritating because I spent probably 30 minutes of my time dealing with this and it was a done deal. Then within the few minutes it takes me to get home, they book someone else.

First, what could I have done differently in this case? When doing business with business clients usually when they say, "Ok, I want to book you for x time, send over the contract." It's a done deal. I mean how often do you deal with this and how do you respond to the client? Honestly, this is making me way too angry and that is why I am posting about it here.

Posted: Nov 13, 2013 2:59pm
Is there some way to turn this into a future booking? Some way to leverage their guilt at screwing up and make money from it? I mean verbal contracts are binding. A verbal agreement is what we had and she broke it. I guess that is why I am so ****ed.
TomBoleware
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Until they sign you haven't really made a deal.

People walk around in stores asking questions all the time.
They also take things out of the shopping cart and put it back on the shelf.
Not much you can do, you can't make them buy.

Ask that they keep your information and consider you for next time.
Be understanding and show your best side. Keep em on your mailing list.

Tom
"Entrepreneurs are willing to work 80 hours a week to avoid working 40 hours a week"--Lori Greiner

www.tomboleware.com
Magician Shaun
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Actually an oral contract is binding. If someone calls me and says they want to book me for a date and time and we agree upon a fee that is an oral agreement. I will refer you to Texaco vs. Penzoil where in 1984 Getty Oil was sold to Penzoil with a "handshake deal." Afterward Texaco offered more money and Geddy was instead sold to Texaco. Penzoil sued and was awarded 11 billion in damages for "tortious interference" with the oral contract.

The fact is suing a client for a few hundred dollars for breaching an oral contract is not worth it or good business practice in most cases. The reason it is so irritating is that if I had gotten a request for another booking that was too close to the time the other client agreed upon then I would have had to turn it down. Now instead of losing one booking I would have lost 2.

Also the law as well as most peoples understanding of how business is done in a service industry is very different from tangible goods. As performers we often require a written contract and a deposit but when someone agrees to a date, time, and fee the show is basically booked. The rest is formality. I will refer you to the incident where you are writing up the written contract for the previously orally agreed upon terms and while you are doing that you get a request from another client that interferes with the show you are currently putting in writing. If the first show isn't booked yet then what do you tell the client on the phone?
Donald Dunphy
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I've had people book a show, and even hold the contract for a bit, before cancelling. Although losing the booking stings, I would be grateful that it didn't get dragged out. This all happened in the matter of a few hours, instead of over the course of days or weeks.

Send a note saying "Thanks for your consideration. Perhaps we'll get to work together in the future."

Then, move on to pursuing other shows, and don't get yourself worked about about losing a show.

There is an expression that I read in Dale Carnegie's classic book, "How To Stop Worrying and Start Living", that applies here. That expression is, "Don't Saw Sawdust."

- Donald

P.S. When you get worked up about losing a show booking, it can give the impression that you are desperate for work (as opposed to the impression that you have lots of show opportunities out there).

Bob Burg talks about this concept (he calls it "emotional posturing") in his book, "Endless Referrals". He talks more about the general idea of doing a sales presentation, but not getting the sale... so the concept applies to selling shows. You can lose a sale at any point, even after you think you've made the sale.

Here are a couple of brief articles about it:

http://www.burg.com/2012/04/emotional-po......to-live/

http://www.burg.com/tag/posture/
Donald Dunphy is a Victoria Magician, British Columbia, Canada.
Mindpro
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You could have asked for and taken a credit card deposit when you had her on the phone. The problem would have surfaced then if at all.

Really there's nothing you can do but as you mentioned use it as a catalyst for a future booking.
bunkyhenry
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Move on.
TomBoleware
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You say her 'office manager' booked with someone else.

Gonna be hard to enforce that agreement if the person you talked to was just a secretary or janitor. Smile



Tom
"Entrepreneurs are willing to work 80 hours a week to avoid working 40 hours a week"--Lori Greiner

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Dannydoyle
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Quote:
On 2013-11-13 15:44, Gr8gorilla wrote:
Actually an oral contract is binding. If someone calls me and says they want to book me for a date and time and we agree upon a fee that is an oral agreement. I will refer you to Texaco vs. Penzoil where in 1984 Getty Oil was sold to Penzoil with a "handshake deal." Afterward Texaco offered more money and Geddy was instead sold to Texaco. Penzoil sued and was awarded 11 billion in damages for "tortious interference" with the oral contract.

The fact is suing a client for a few hundred dollars for breaching an oral contract is not worth it or good business practice in most cases. The reason it is so irritating is that if I had gotten a request for another booking that was too close to the time the other client agreed upon then I would have had to turn it down. Now instead of losing one booking I would have lost 2.

Also the law as well as most peoples understanding of how business is done in a service industry is very different from tangible goods. As performers we often require a written contract and a deposit but when someone agrees to a date, time, and fee the show is basically booked. The rest is formality. I will refer you to the incident where you are writing up the written contract for the previously orally agreed upon terms and while you are doing that you get a request from another client that interferes with the show you are currently putting in writing. If the first show isn't booked yet then what do you tell the client on the phone?


Yea you try to enforce an oral contract over the phone. Let me know how that works out for you.

What can you do? Nothing. Move along. Even after a contract is signed if the boss had another act you have very little recourse. Any contract, oral or otberwise, is only worth what you are willing to pay to enforce it.
Danny Doyle
<BR>Semper Occultus
<BR>In a time of universal deceit, telling the truth is a revolutionary act....George Orwell
MichaelDouglas
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This is a normal part of the magic business as I've experienced it. One thing that does come to mind is that when talking with a potential client, you could ask if they are the final decision maker, or is there someone else that needs to approve it. That will help to accurately set your expectations.

I don't believe that I have a sale until I get two things: The signed (electronically) agreement, AND the deposit. Once they have that much skin in the game, then I'm turning away other work for that time slot. If I don't have those two things, then I'll tentatively accept a second gig for the same time but I'll tell them that I have someone else that has inquired about that time slot first but they've not submitted their deposit to lock it in. I let client #2 know that I'll call client #1 and find out the status and then quickly call them back.
Al Angello
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You never had a deal. Get over it and move on.
Al Angello The Comic Juggler/Magician
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http://home.comcast.net/~juggleral/
"Footprints on your ceiling are almost gone"
dearwiseone
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You say it was a done deal, but it doesn't look like a deposit was paid. In my book, nothing is "a done deal" until a non-refundable deposit is paid.

I highly recommend you not book any show until a client has paid their deposit, which is non-refundable. You could have billed that on your phone, just after speaking to her, then you wouldn't have to worry about anything.

I'm guessing the reason they cancelled on you and not the other guy was because he charged them a deposit. In the end, they had to go with him!

I say chalk it up to a learning experience and keep on.

Best wishes,
Kevin
Mindpro
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This is why contracts and deposits exist. This is also why you only deal with the decision maker.
Donald Dunphy
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BTW, whenever I get an inquiry and I'm already booked up, I still try to get the contact's info (name, phone, email, show date and time, etc.)

Usually so I can send them my info, with permission, in case they change their date (or if they want to book early for next year). I can keep them in my database for next year's marketing.

And I also have that info in case another person backs out and I need to fill a date.

- Donald
Donald Dunphy is a Victoria Magician, British Columbia, Canada.
Magician Shaun
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In this case it was a Christmas Party for a Dr's Office. The person I spoke to was the Dr. who owns the office. She definitely was the decision maker. I was never implying that I would try to enforce the Oral contract. I was simply stating it as the root of my frustration. The reason I didn't take the credit card right then was due to the fact that I got the call while driving.

I posted it more for ideas on how to avoid this in the future. The booking was lost because both the Dr. and her office manager were looking for entertainment. The Dr decided to book me but didn't communicate that to her office manager. By the time I got home (20 minutes later) and sent the contract over, the office manager had booked someone else and paid the deposit.

Should I have stopped the car, written down her CC info and taken the deposit right away? So when she said, "I want to book you for 1.5 hours." My reply should have been, "Ok let me get your credit card information for the deposit and I'll get the contract right over to you." Would that have avoided this?

My reply to her about having to cancel with me was, "That's too bad. Please keep me in mind for your future entertainment needs."
Mindpro
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It's A.) really too bad as it sounds like you did what most of us would have done, and B.) as MichaelDouglas said it's just part of being an entertainer. Unfortunately it just happens. I agree with your thoughts as that's about all you could do really.

It's also a numbers thing. There's always going to be one or two of these that happen every once in a while and all we can really do I guess is be frustrated and move on. Hopefully another or even better opportunity will come in as things do happen to work out that way once in a while. Hang in there.
TomBoleware
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I agree, you did all you could do.

Even signed contracts don't do much to guarantee you the money. In my daycare business I use signed agreements that would hold up in court, but I've never been to court to enforce one, and in almost twenty years, I have had many opportunities too. Just not worth it having a local person out bad mouthing you behind your back. They will never tell the whole story and you will never get the opportunity to defend yourself. Best to keep your reputation as the all around good guy.

Move on.

Tom
"Entrepreneurs are willing to work 80 hours a week to avoid working 40 hours a week"--Lori Greiner

www.tomboleware.com
Al Angello
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Mindpro is right
I had an agent call me yesterday who said that I came to him highly recommended by his customer secretary. He loved my web site, and is $XXX. enough money? I said yes and the deal was done.

The bottom line here is that these wheels were turning long before he dialed my number.
Al Angello The Comic Juggler/Magician
http://www.juggleral.com
http://home.comcast.net/~juggleral/
"Footprints on your ceiling are almost gone"
dearwiseone
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Quote:
On 2013-11-13 19:38, Gr8gorilla wrote:
Should I have stopped the car, written down her CC info and taken the deposit right away? So when she said, "I want to book you for 1.5 hours." My reply should have been, "Ok let me get your credit card information for the deposit and I'll get the contract right over to you." Would that have avoided this?


Yep, that's what I would do. It sounds like that's exactly what the other guy did (the one who got the gig). How could it have hurt? Pull over, run her card as she read it to you over the phone, and PRESTO!, you've got money. It wouldn't have avoided everything, she still could have cancelled, but you wouldn't be as bitter because you were reimbursed at least $100 for your troubles and time, as you indicated in your original post.

When people call to book a show with me, even a birthday party, I make it crystal clear that nothing is booked or reserved until the deposit is paid. Even my birthday email says that. I get their info, the address, etc., then ask for their credit card for the deposit. I tell them I'm billing the deposit right then, and they should receive a receipt by email in just a minute.

Plus, charging her a deposit, even if she would have cancelled, would probably have helped her in the future. If she booked two entertainers, and didn't get her deposit back, you can bet she won't make the same mistake next year, she'll make sure that only one person is looking for the talent:)

I highly recommend billing deposits. There's simply no reason not to!

Best Wishes,
Kevin
charliecheckers
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I would definitely send her a card to restate that you understand the situation that occurred and that you were disappointed, mostly because you could already visualize how much her staff would have enjoyed your performance (and mention a specific reason why). Then mention that you would really appreciate a chance at their next opportunity.
It sounds like they were just searching for entertainment without anyone specific in mind. If you do not follow up - you will be forgotten.
Dannydoyle
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Life is what happens while people make plans for it. This is not a big deal. It happens.

On non refundable deposits I offer for the following.

Yes it may teach her that one person needs to do booking. But in reality it was a snafu. To charge her for such a thing is to GUARANTEE not ever getting called by her or anyone she knows ever. If you want to be that guy over a phone call go right ahead.

In reality you are out nothing. I can't even see personally why this is a big deal. I absolutely bet the job was not lost in that time frame but that they simply had not communicated in a few days. You could have run the credit card and kept the deposit and angered a potential buyer plus everyone she knows. Certainly that is an option. Not the one I would go with but an option no less.
Danny Doyle
<BR>Semper Occultus
<BR>In a time of universal deceit, telling the truth is a revolutionary act....George Orwell
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