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Tajrung
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Thank you very much in this thread was all I needed to know how to proceed
Mindpro
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That is so great to hear. I appreciate your sticking with it. Keep us posted as you proceed and let us know if you have any questions along the way. This was some initial info as a beginning magician, but we'll be happy to share additional info as you become established and begin to specialize in your chosen markets and progress your business and operations.

I've also heard from a couple of you expressing you were thankful for this thread on Thanksgiving. That was nice.
Tajrung
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I will
Andy Young
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Mindpro you said:

Truth be told, if someone is not getting the basics I have laid out in these 8 pages, maybe being an entertainer is not for them




Would it be correct in that if they didn't understand the business side, then perhaps they should seek out someone to handle that for them?

I would like to hear your thoughts on why an entertainer would be a business person also.

Thanks
TomBoleware
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I think it's good that Ed is learning all he can about marketing even before the show is completely ready. For me, and unlike many new to magic, this shows that he understands the show won’t just sell itself in the beginning. Many will work on an act for years without a clue about how to market the show. The truth is, having a great show or any other product for that matter means nothing if you don’t know how to get it out there in front of some prospects.

As Danny said, nobody will want to sell your show for you in the beginning. You have to first prove it can be sold.

Tom
The Daycare Magician Book
https://www.vanishingincmagic.com/amazekids/the-daycare-magician/

When you come to the point where you have no need to impress anybody, your freedom will begin.
ed rhodes
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Quote:
On Nov 29, 2022, TomBoleware wrote:
I think it's good that Ed is learning all he can about marketing even before the show is completely ready. For me, and unlike many new to magic, this shows that he understands the show won’t just sell itself in the beginning. Many will work on an act for years without a clue about how to market the show. The truth is, having a great show or any other product for that matter means nothing if you don’t know how to get it out there in front of some prospects.

As Danny said, nobody will want to sell your show for you in the beginning. You have to first prove it can be sold.

Tom


Thank you, Tom.
"All the world's a stage, but the play is badly cast!" - Oscar Wilde
Mindpro
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Quote:
On Nov 28, 2022, Andy Young wrote:
Mindpro you said:

Truth be told, if someone is not getting the basics I have laid out in these 8 pages, maybe being an entertainer is not for them



Would it be correct in that if they didn't understand the business side, then perhaps they should seek out someone to handle that for them?

I would like to hear your thoughts on why an entertainer would be a business person also.

Thanks


This is a great question Andy. Any business to even have a chance of becoming established, getting consistent bookings (full or part-time), and having any kind of success, required business knowledge. Now to be clear we are not talking about amateurs or hobbyists, and I am not addressing just Ed specifically, but in general, an entertainment business has little chance of even a touch of success with out entertainment business knowledge.

Danny said it well as he explained it above.

Anyone not understanding this even on the most basic of levels amazes me. Just because you like to eat and drink in no way makes you able or qualified to operate a restaurant or bar without food and beverage business operational knowledge. Just because you like to frequent restaurants or a bar in no way makes you educated or qualified to own and operate either of these. To think this is 100% incorrect and is really laughable.

The same for magic or performing of any kind. Just because you like to perform tricks in no way make you ready, educated, or able to own and operate a magic performing business. Most business requires tens to hundreds of thousands of dollars to be able to become market-ready, properly industry educated, and qualified to open the doors. Why is it magicians not not understand the very same as it applies to opening any type of business, including a magic or entertainment business?

Truth be told you will not find anyone with the proper entertainment business and operations knowledge, experience, and qualifications to conduct the business side of your operations. The reasons are many but mostly because if they were properly educated and qualified to do so, they more than likely would be owning and operating their own business. Secondly, as Danny pointed out, it would be too costly for most magicians (with the current magician's mentalities) to have someone do it for them. Now, if they approached starting their performing business properly, this could be done, but 99% of magicians don't. If a magician said "I am going to start a magic performing business. I am investing $150,000 for my first year and perhaps $75,000- $100,000 for the second year to do so, then this could work, as like a restaurant (from the above example) you would have enough for your own entertainment business education and maybe to spend $75,000 - $85,000 to hire a manager for your operations. Now again, most don't start their magic business properly like other businesses (yet still expect the desired results.)

Even if you did, they are hard to come by. I have a team of professionals that do this. We typically use 6-8 experienced professional individuals, a team, that are all 100% entertainment business educated (no general business or marketing stuff). They specialize in graphic design, copywriting, promotion, marketing, social media management, press & media, publicity, production, booking, and complete artist management. They take the time to learn everything about the artist, their business goals, their markets, assist them to become market-ready, educate them to what they need to know even in just their role as the performer, and how to conduct business within their system when performing on stage, merchandising, and so much more.

As you can mention these are industry professionals, educated and specializing in entertainment industry operations, and executing on a professional level, and as you can imagine it isn't cheap and is cost-restrictive for most beginning performers. For the last ten years these services are only open to my consulting clients and coaching students, and my mastermind clients. They also offer alacart services as well for most that operate their own entertainment businesses as a resource for establishing their own team as well.

So aside from this option, it really only makes sense for them to be owner-operated. Like most other businesses or industries, they should invest in entertainment business educational operations, as it will allow them to learn industry operations most quickly, and see a return (ROI) much, much quicker. Just like a person would go to hospitality school and restaurant management training to prepare them for operating their (or others) restayrant. It would be like this for entertainment operations and management educataion and training.

In business the beginning is the most important. This is where you are creating the foundation for your business and entertainment business operations. This is not a place or time to cut corners or be incomplete in your planning and business foundation creation. So the real only logical answer is to step up, learn this, and become your own entertainment business operations manger/executor. As Danny said, plus it gives you the most control over your complete business and operations, especially in these crucial early stages. If your desire is to have someone else manage your entertainment business operations, they need to be trained anyhow, so again, you will need to know this information yourself at least to be able to recruit the right person, to educate them to your performing and business operations, and set them on the path to take over these responsibilities. But again, you the performer must step up and do it initially. If you need initial help find a consultant or entertainment business coach. Some times only a session to two or three can make the world of difference and will quickly pay for itself many times over.

I do not understand A.) why this is so hard for magicians/performers to understand (not meant specifically toward you Andy), and B.) why they are so resistant to this? Like any business, education must come first. Then application, gained experience, then growth and progress.

So my point was, if the performer is not willing to accept and understand this, they really shouldn't be in this business, and perhaps just remain a hobbyist.
TomBoleware
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Some famous dead man once said, ‘if you can’t explain it to a six-year-old then you probably don’t understand it yourself There is some truth to that because it’s easy for the professional to forget the past and just assume the student has traveled the same road


How did you book your first paid show?
What didn’t work like you thought it would?
What would you do differently starting today?
Is it better to call first or send an email?
How many times did you fail with marketing?

These are the types of answers Ed, and many other beginners, are looking for.

It’s easy for a beginner magician to think, ‘there has to be some secret to the marketing too.’ And it's also easy for a teacher to forget the past.

I personally think Ed is going about it in a smart way. He doesn’t want to waste time with a lot of stuff that flat-out won’t work in the magic business. But I also think he has to be careful with being too careful because running a business and especially something like a magic business, is a never-ending process. You’re always changing things and learning as you go. Plus it can be a very boring job, making calls, writing letters, and doing the simple stuff over and over and over again. Marketing is not rocket science, it can be a boring job.

And too, an entertainer is constantly marketing because the product that is being sold is YOU. Looking back a hundred years ago to when I first started, I probably didn’t do enough good free shows. You need that word-of-mouth advertising on your side as soon as you can get it. You can’t hold back on the free/cheap shows thinking you will do better if I were getting paid. To get more you need to first prove your worth more. Good worth of mouth can kick start the beginner better than anything.

Tom
The Daycare Magician Book
https://www.vanishingincmagic.com/amazekids/the-daycare-magician/

When you come to the point where you have no need to impress anybody, your freedom will begin.
Dannydoyle
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Back in the 90s when you sent promo material to an agent or whoever the smart question to ask yourself always was “what will make them pick up my material offs the desk as opposed to others?” As agencies we get hundreds of submissions a week so this matters. What draws the eye to your packet? Why are you different? What sets you apart from the other hundred I have on my desk TODAY?

Fast forward some 30 years and the problem is amplified! The internet is the primary means of promotion for many. Now what is it that sets you apart from all those guys? What makes you the one to click on? If you have clip art things just like 90% others as logos and such, even if you like it you will be lost in the mix. What sets you apart from the crowd? Even if you are just trying to be local and trying only to do kids shows others are not. Others will do these things and it takes away from your efforts.

I remember in the 90s a group (I believe it was The Village Idiots.) sent promo to a cruise line. They sent a bowling ball with it just to stand out.

My point being is that with the internet you must stand out even more now! Even just being a part time guy doing a few kids shows will want to stand out because you’re competing against those that will.
Danny Doyle
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<BR>In a time of universal deceit, telling the truth is a revolutionary act....George Orwell
Mindpro
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I agree and it is not just with agents. Actual self-booking clients are gathering promotional materials from several to many performers when looking for entertainment for their event. Especially when using services such as Gigmasters/Bash, GigSalad, Party Pop, and the others. They are often receiving 10-20 performer's materials within 18 minutes of posting their lead. Often times close to double that amount within 24 hours in many cases. So in both cases you are spot-on.
TomBoleware
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Outside the major cities, kidshow magicians don’t really have a lot of magic competition. The real competition is that parents have so many other choices, bounce houses, pizza places, movies, etc. That’s why it's important for the local magician to take part in social media and local events as much as possible. Got to keep your name out there or the non-magic places will beat you to it. Parents turn to Gigmasters, GigSalad, Party Pop, etc, simply because they don't know there is a local magician.

Tom
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https://www.vanishingincmagic.com/amazekids/the-daycare-magician/

When you come to the point where you have no need to impress anybody, your freedom will begin.
Fedora
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Yeah, I wanted your opinion on something mindpro,
earlier you wrote about elevator descriptions, I've
been working on one.

In your example you suggested (company name > your name > etc.

It seems a bit more natural to me to list my name than company name,

For example, "my name is tom jones and my company is just okay entertainment,
I am a professional magician that performs strolling and stage magic for
private events throughout the phoenix metro area" (not actual names)

Vs. "my company is just okay entertainment and my name is tom jones etc"

Do you believe it matters which is listed first?
Mindpro
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What I provided was more of a template for everyone's use. The most important part of an Elevator Description is that it sounds natural yet professional. So if you feel starting with your name feels better for you then go with it.

I only used the business name first as it usually is the first thing they hear and remember, and in most cases I prefer them to remember the business name than my own, but if you prefer to lead with your name that is great. As log as it flows well for you and the recipient.
Fedora
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Thanks, it's a good idea to have your person to person introduction
planned ahead of time, don't know why I didn't think to do it before.
Mindpro
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Yes, as it is both a great introduction, a great way to start becoming comfortable talking about yourself and your business, and most of all a great way to open the door for the recipient to express an interest to learn more or ask questions allowing you to provide additional information.

It is also an excellent way, when applicable, to continue right into your Sales Performance to present your business as you outline and create with all of the other elements I provided back on page 6 of this thread (Sales Performance/Presentation.)

Like your Elevator Description you also want your Sales Performance/Presentation to be as well known like the back of your hand and fine-tuned into a natrural sounding, flowing professional presentation.
Mindpro
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I've had a couple of questions about business things like websites, phone numbers, toll-free phone numbers, payment accepting types, etc. I was asked why I was not covering these and the answer is quite simple - all of these are aspects and decisions that are made in the Foundational step of creating your entertainment business. This is also part of sequential learning.

As I have stated throughout this thread the Foundational step, along with the Mindset aspect are the initial first two things to address and work out. While I haven't given every element of the Foundational step we have touched on referred to some. Things like:


Deciding Part-Time or Full-Time
Deciding On Type Of Performace(s)
Determining Geograhical Markets/Areas
Determining Performance Markets
Deciding On A Business Name
Deciding On Business Entity
Offerings/Packages
Options/Add-Ons
Pricing
Determining Business Goals
Creating A Business Plan
Creating A Marketing Plan
Creation Of Elevator Description
Creation Of Promotional Materials

to name just a few. As I have said, this is not the full Foundation step or all of the questions, decisions, and aspects to the Foundational Step, but a starting point.

Obviously before you create your promo or Elevator Description you have to decide things like business name, location/address, phone, email, domain, and so on. This is why sequential order learning is so important.

So on the topic of business names we already address this is in the previous pages, also touching on logos. You will need this info as well to create your one-sheets, brochures, business cards, etc.

I think domains should be .com domains that are easy to remember and not too long. While I am not a fan of city or county in a domain, I can see it being acceptable to some extent if you only serve one town or area. I'm not a fan of county as most do not search by counties, now some do such as maybe Dade county and some more rural areas but I still think it is unnecessary and you can find better options.

As far as phone numbers, I am not a fan of toll-free numbers as most phone services or cell services allow for non-local calls and texting as part of your regular package. If you do not want to appear too small or local, toll-free may be a better choice. The one time I am a fan of toll-free numbers is when using a vanity phone number. For years I had (800) HYPNOTIST and it worked well as it was easy to remember. One DJ service I consulted got (888) THE-HITS years ago and it worked out fantastically. They also got it for one of their local prefixes years later and dropped the toll-free version.

I am a big fan of vanity numbers of any kind, especially if they can match your domain which these days can be difficult.

As far as addresses some use their home address, some use P.O. Boxes, and others use a business street address. Again the choice is yours based on some of the other decisions you make in the Foundational step. You don't want to sound too local or podunk or unprofessional, yet some do not want to sound too big, corporate, or national. I am not a fan of home addresses for different reasons.

Remember with all of these things you want to keep professionalism, convenience, and the customers perspective and way of thinking in mind. Try to stay away from generalizations like www.magicforalloccasions.com. Stay away from too common lazy names - TheMagicofDavid.com. Think of branding when you are considering these. This is where business names, liners, positioning statements, USPs, and slogans can also come into play.

As I said in a previously deleted post, there are literally 100 things that need to be thought through, considered, and decided before ever getting to market. These are all part of the Foundational level.

Plus things we have yet to touch on such as insurance, preferred response flow, call to actions, and more.
Mindpro
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We touched on earlier in this thread about the process of getting a booking with Tajrung. This is a very important part of entertainment business operations. This is the process from the first contact with a prospect to actually receiving the confirmation, contract, and deposit. I will detail this a bit more but first wanted to see if what your process might be (if you are willing to share)?

This is another of the many things that needs to be determined and in place before going to market.

It may begin with an inquiry from a prospect, handing out your business card to someone, or some other way, but it is important to have this charted out in the right order an din place, while it appealing to both the prospects perspective and your own operational needs.

What's your process?
Fedora
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I guess Tajrung is busy, but the subject of having a set process got my attention.

Admittedly, I don't have much of a "process" as it were, usually, a person contacts, (usually email)

i ask questions about there event (by phone or email) to see if it's something I can help them with.

If not I point them in the right direction.

If I can help, I explain my services, and how it relates to there need, and answer any questions,
i than give an offer for a service, if accepted I send a confirmation letter or contract.

Obviously, this is more "haphazard" than a "process".
Mindpro
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Thanks for sharing Fedora. Believe me, you are not alone in your "haphazard" approach. I know several of our kids performers here and that I have worked with that do not even use a contract or request or require a deposit. Seems most simply do what they want or feel is best for them which I understand. It fluctuates or varies from market to market. I have heard them say things like "for kids parties I just email a confirmation and do not request a formal contract or deposit." Yet they do have a contract and require a deposit if it was for a company event or an event whee they had to travel an hour our of their home area or such.

Sometimes I have heard guys (and gals) say it is too formal or intimidating (having a contract and deposit). It is also an example of kids performers themselves having a differing approach for kids events than other markets or types of events. While we have booked kids parties for years and always have required a contract and deposit, we have heard some say it was one of the reasons they went with us because they just didn't feel others were as professional or they weren't as confident that the performer would actually show up.

This is not about kids performers but was just pointing out the differences.

I agree it can be a perception thing but more so it is a business thing. It is also a great example of the difference in operating from an industry perspective and not. Some performers just want to keep it less formal, I get it.

I hope some others will chime in with their process, then I will share what is a more complete process as promised. Many just see this as their "confirmation process" where in reality it is a combination of marketing, positioning, relationship building, and of course professionalism.
Mindpro
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I was hoping we'd hear from other working performers here as to their process for a point of comparison, but after a week I will just get to the complete process I promised.

Let's put this in the right perspective and context...It does absolutely no good to attempt to market if you do not have these components and process firmly in place to convert the inquiry or lead into a booking. This is the essence of an entertainment business. Unlike a physical product-based business, as an entertainment business we are providing a service. We are a service-based business. We must keep this in mind at all times in all aspects of our business. This makes a difference to our process.

As we've already covered, all aspects of the Foundational Level will come into play here from deciding on Consumer or Professional markets, to pricing and/or packages, add-ons, upsells, and everything needed to position your business.

We took that information determined from the Foundational Level to create our Elevator Description, promotional materials, and most of all your Sales Performance/Presentation. We spent the time and made the effort to get to this exact point.

We did this all in the right sequential order. Now is where it all comes together to create bookings and revenue.

Once all operational components are in place and you are market-ready it is time to start implementing your marketing plan that you have created in your Foundational Level. Since you have selected your performance markets, that will dictate to whom and how you are marketing and the many types and facets of marketing. Direct, target marketing is what you should be focused on derived from all of the foundational work you have completed. This will generate the greatest interest and ROI. You should now know who you are targeting and what your Expected Response Formula (ERF) is. This should dictate how to reach and market to these targets.

So now the process continues...

First Contact - this may come from any of your marketing efforts, handing out a business card, brochure, one-sheet, visiting your website, viewing your video, responding to your advertising or promotion, responding to a referral, responding to your call to action (CTA), or any other means of hearing about you. We understand when most prospects contact you they want to speak with someone to answer their questions or to obtain additional information. They likely have never done this before (shopping for and booking entertainment) and are seeking some assistance and guidance. They want to learn about what you offer, your experience, knowledge, and why they should consider your services. Are you right for their event? Do you understand their needs? Do you have experience and knowledge of their needs and type of event? Why should they hire you? What else do they need to know? Are you insured? And many other possible questions. You should have the answers to these questions and more to be fully prepared to both present your services and the reasons, features, and benefits that make you the right, or perhaps the only choice for their event. Your addressing these questions and presenting your services should take them from curious to confident in you being their best booking choice/option. All of this is comprised in your Sales Performance/Presentation.

In the process of this you need to be asking details and gathering information on them, their event, and mostly their expectations. Your whole goal is to present your services, why you are their best choice, and in learning their expectations, gathering all of the information you need to know - date of event, type of event, location of event, hours of the event, hours of the performance, details on the performance venue (staging, electricity, type of performance, age range of audience, expected number of guests in the audience, package or price of choice, setup details) and all of the other necessary pertinent details. All of the proper questions should be created in a Information or Lead Sheet (one is included if you have my Entertainer's Business Toolkit).

All of this is to be part of your Sales Performance/Presentation. That is why this, along with your Elevator Description (and Lead Sheet) are essential to have properly created and in place before ever going to market. Not just having these, but knowing how to use and incorporate them into the process.

All of this when done properly should have you well-positioned for serious consideration for the booking if you are a good match. In this process you have qualified if you are properly suited for the booking and meeting their expectations.

At this point one of 4 things will happen...

1. They will want to book you

2. They will want to get back to you for a number of reasons (to have a chance to talk to others involved in the booking decision - spouses, board or committee members, to have a chance to speak to other performers (who will now be compared to you on all levels), need to speak to the venue first, or just to have a chance to digest the information and education they have just received from you.

3. They were just calling to gather info and not certain they actually want entertainment at their event.

4. They have decided not to book you, that you are not the the best choice for their event (this may be due to many reasons from not being confident in you, not feeling you understand their needs, not feeling you have enough experience in their type of event or market, you did not present yourself/business well, you didn't answer their questions well enough, there could be a pricing concern or issue, or any of a number of other reasons or issues. Most of the time it is not a pricing issue as many magicians always feel, it is something else or greater.

If you have put the proper effort into creating the right and best Sales Performance/Presentation you will likely book a conversion rate of 40-60% of the prospects you present to.

Once they have decided to book you and confirm your services you now need to switch you attention and efforts from marketing, selling, and presenting your services, to confirming your professional services with the client.

Elements of a Confirmation

Cover Letter/Email
This presents the confirmation and tells them how to proceed - read carefully, agree to terms, sign and return signed agreement, accompanied with any deposit you require, all by a specific date.

Contract/Performance Agreement
This is the document that confirms the booking. It should include all of the terms, conditions, and details of the booking, including price, payment terms, setup details, cancellation terms, and any other elements to securing your performance. This can be as simple as a basic one-page agreement or an actual contract. This is a legal agreement between you as the Performer (Artist), and the client as the Purchaser.

Rider/Performance Instructions
This is the document that insures everything is to your specifications upon arrival to accommodate all of your performance needs - location, stage or performance area, electrical access, dressing/changing room, time needed for setup/breakdown, load-in/out entrance, onsite contact from host and venue, and any other performance details or requirements.

This can be in the form of a formal Rider or a simple one-page checklist or bullet points. You may prefer to have this page signed and returned as well to show that they have read and acknowledged these needs or requirements.

If you have only a few basic requirements it may be able to be included in your contract or performance agreement if applicable.

Promotional Material/Artwork
If the booking is for a public event you may want to provide your artwork or logo to be used in their advertisements or promotional materials. If you have posters, fliers, table tents, postcards, or other materials for their use they can also be included in the confirmation materials.

These are the basics that should be part of every confirmation. For professional markets or venues additional materials may apply but since this thread is for beginners, we'll keep it just at this provided above.

It is important to understand that you do not have a confirmed booking until you have a signed agreement by both parties. Once you receive their returned materials sign, scan, and return the fully executed agreement back to the client for their records. Remember, a contract or agreement is a commitment to protect both parties in the business transaction. It can be as formal or casual as you desire but the contents should be the same either way. As a professional service provider these confirmation contents are both accepted and expected. This is a mutual agreement to insure a smooth event and that both parties are on the same page throughout.

A deposit should also be included in the agreement. It may be refundable if cancelled properly or non-refundable as desired. Most use the deposit and contract/agreement to confirm the date and time of the event. Since you are committing to their time and agreement and to take your availability off of the calendar to book anyone else, most state that their deposit is non-refundable.

Samples of all of a variety of all these forms, lead sheets, agreements, contracts, receipts, emails, etc. are all included in my resource "The Entertainer's Business Toolkit." You can also create your own as well if preferred.

If these documents are not signed and returned by the date in these forms a followup contact (call or email) be be required to remind them of the return deadline.

Once received print, sign, and return the executed documents back to the client.

Then shift your attention to the information that will be used to accompany the gig. First add it to your calendar. Next copy the Lead Sheet (printed or digital) to accompany you to the gig. This is the best document for reference leading up to and at the gig. Also for use in post-gig followup with the client. This followup may include a post-event survey, feedback on your performance from the client, review (testimonial), rating, etc.

Remember that your professionalism should be present and part of every document, form, contact, email, phone conversation, and materials you have with the client. There are directly representing you and your business.

Also, touch base with the client the week of the event or the week before the event to tend to any last minute details and to make sure nothing has changed (times, location, number of guests, or any other information.) Remind them how/when the final balance payment is to be made and payable to whom, and their preferred way to pay.

Throughout all of this you want to progress and continue your relationship. Some send out a an email or series of emails just to build excitement and to assure you are looking forward to their event. With titles like "We're Getting Excited And Hope You Are Too" or We're Getting Closer To Your Event."

Again, this is a process that continues throughout operational execution.

These materials represent you and your business so they must be professional in all aspects.

This entire process should have a smooth, easy, yet professional flow to it. It should help them in every step of the way as well. It should make booking you easy and convenient. Because you have a professional process and use professional materials they will take you seriously and yet feel confident to trust their event to you for the best results. This entire process is just as important as your show/performance. In reality all of these operational steps are a show in itself. It is the show behind the show. It is what makes a great, positive, and professional impression in every step of your interaction with the prospect, now client.
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