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Starrpower
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So, how do you use reference letters? (I *assume* you get them, correct?!)

I just got the best reference letter I've gotten in years ... and it just happens to be in a market I am breaking into. I generally just use them to reinforce my program when asked, or include them (or excerpts from them) in a promo packet. On occasion I will use them as a flyer in themselves, which is what I'm doing with this recent letter.

What other uses have you found for reference letters?
Cheshire Cat
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To be quite honest Starrpower, 'thank you' letters and e-mails seemed to have taken the place of reference letters these days. Perhaps it's because people know we are so well-known and busy.

Either way it's not a bad idea to give excerpts of them on your website, whilst at the same time protecting the privacy of the person you are quoting.

I think Andy Walker in New Zealand uses this to great effect if I'm not mistaken, and a visit to his site would not go amiss.
Andy Wonder
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Quote:
On 2004-11-22 12:16, Starrpower wrote:
So, how do you use reference letters?


Allow prospects to read them.
Andy Wonder, Auckland, New Zealand
Emazdad
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I get lots of thank you letters, they all go in a folder on my shelf. If anyone did feel the need to see them I'd show them the contens of the folder.
Yours Funfully
Clive "Emazdad" Hemsley
www.emazdad.com

"Magic is a secret, without the secret there is no magic"

Remember there are only 3 types of people in the world, those that can count and those that can't.
Mike Robbins
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I use them on my website and in my promo packages. I usually take one or two of the best paragraphs and use them. I did receive one last year, however, that was embarrasingly strong all the way through. I put a full copy of that one in my promo package.
The fool doth think he is wise, but the wise man knows himself to be a fool.
Shakespeare
Starrpower
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Cheshire wrote:

To be quite honest Starrpower, 'thank you' letters and e-mails seemed to have taken the place of reference letters these days

***

YIKES! What a terrible concept to accept! I *never* leave it up to the customer to decide. I ASK them to write 'em, and make it easy for them to do so!

Not have reference letters? There might as well not be a Christmas!
Cheshire Cat
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Do you draft a letter and tell them what to put as well?

:stircoffee:
Emazdad
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<<<<Not have reference letters? There might as well not be a Christmas!>>>>

If it's not voluntary and from the heart what's the point? When I get a nice letter thanking me for a wonderful show, and enclosing a nice picture from the birthday kid it really makes my day.

If I had to ask people to write them it wouldn't be the same honest heart felt letter and therefore worthless.

I don't need to used them to convince people to book me, and I never have been asked if I have written references. What would be the point of sending out an information pack with them in? By the time they finally came back to book me the date/time slot would have gone to someone else.
Yours Funfully
Clive "Emazdad" Hemsley
www.emazdad.com

"Magic is a secret, without the secret there is no magic"

Remember there are only 3 types of people in the world, those that can count and those that can't.
magicgeorge
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I think we may have had this conversation before. I too, never ask for a reference letter for the same reasons as Clive. In fact, I don't think anyone would send a 'reference letter' of there own free-will they send thank you cards and e-mails which can be used for reference upon asking.
I include a few quotes from them on my site but haven't thought of any other way of using them.

George
Starrpower
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Well, Clive, I think you miss a lot of marketing potential. It is very common to get reference letters. Students ask teachers for them in order to get into colleges. College graduates ask professors for them when interviewing for jobs. And, yes, we can ask customers for them in helping secure future bookings.

When people say nice things, I have them put it in a letter. And, yes, I have even written them myself on occasion. For example, I once had a long-term contract working a cruise line. The clout a letter from that line carries with prospects is enormous. However, the entertainment director was just not the type of person to do things for others ; he wasn't rude or selfish, he just had other more important concerns with his job. After speaking with him, I sent his secretary a suggested letter, she typed it up on their letterhead and he signed it. That letter got my work with such companies as Nabisco, Southwest Airlines, and Alcoa.

An unsolicited "thank you" letter may do more to boost your ego, but a calculated campaign of securing and using testimonials is invaluable in securing work.
Emazdad
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As I said Starrpower, I don't need to ask customers for references to convince people to book me. My last words when I leave a show, are "If your impressed with what I've done, please tell your friends." Them telling their friends voluntarily about how good I was will bring in plenty of work.

I've said it before and I'll say it again, I don't do any active marketing. If your shows good enough you don't need to.
Yours Funfully
Clive "Emazdad" Hemsley
www.emazdad.com

"Magic is a secret, without the secret there is no magic"

Remember there are only 3 types of people in the world, those that can count and those that can't.
TrickyRicky
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Hi guys!
Instead of letters, I have the customer phone in and leave a sentence or two.
I then edit down to a reasonable file--MP3, and transfer them to a small cassette player.
When a customer calls and want references I play the tape so they can hear it right from the customers mouth.
I also would email short pieces of my show MP3 to customers.
Most computers have MP3 players.
I have sold a lot of customers with that system
Richard Lyn "Tricky Ricky"
Brent McLeod
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Quote:
On 2004-11-22 19:48, Starrpower wrote:
Cheshire wrote:

***

YIKES! What a terrible concept to accept! I *never* leave it up to the customer to decide. I ASK them to write 'em, and make it easy for them to do so!

Not have reference letters? There might as well not be a Christmas!



What say you did an average show & the host wasnt too impressed for whatever reason!!

Would you show this letter to future clients!!

Much better to recieve a nice thank you-without asking!!
Starrpower
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I disagree. First of all, passive marketing is NO marketing. You get what you ask for. If you're relatively busy doing nothing, think how much better you'd be doing if you ACTED on it!

Secondly,: Clive, following your advice, David Copperfield and Paul Daniels would never advertise. They spend more money on promotion in one week than I've probably spent my entire career.

Thirdly, you don't ask for letters from poor shows. That would be stupid -- just as stupid as Clive saying after a poor show, "If you thought the show was poor, tell your friends!" It just isn't done.

Fourthly (it there a word as "fourthly"?), studies have shown that, when something bad happens, people tell EVERYONE. When something good happens (which is what is expected of a business) nobody really says much unless they're asked.

So ask!

More negative things are said about busineses than positive things. Not my opinion, but study results (I can probably find the source if you'd like.)
Emazdad
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<<<<I disagree. First of all, passive marketing is NO marketing. You get what you ask for. If you're relatively busy doing nothing, think how much better you'd be doing if you ACTED on it! >>>.

How much better can it get? I turn away more and more people away all the time because my diary fills up. If I took on any more work when would I play golf?
Yours Funfully
Clive "Emazdad" Hemsley
www.emazdad.com

"Magic is a secret, without the secret there is no magic"

Remember there are only 3 types of people in the world, those that can count and those that can't.
Cheshire Cat
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We also turn away more people than ever because of the things we now don't do, i.e. weddings, Christenings, outdoors, houseparties. So no reference letters are necessary from anyone. But 'thank you' cards and e-mails are always greatly appreciated.

Now Starrpower, there is interestingly one thing I agree with you on here! You make a mistake, or do something they don't like, and boy - you get massive publicity! Provide a good service and they don't rave about it do they? They just think it the norm. if they have not had an entertainer before, or not seen anyone to compare you to. Pity, but this is human nature. However as long as their muted satisfaction turns to recommendations then I guess who cares?
Chrystal
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Hi,

Interesting topic, but I'm with Clive on this one although Starrpower you also have a good arguement as to why people should market.

People have such busy lives that most find it an intrusion to be asked to write a letter unless of course they are well known to you. I've never asked any customers in my 17 years of performing for a letter of reference. Rather, I've always relied on word of mouth and you are correct about if your show is a poor one - people are apt to tell many people about it far less statistics show than if they are happy. Go figure? Then again that's human nature.

Saying that, it goes in contridiction with my business background and hey!- twice I was even nominated for entrepeneur of the year by members of the Chamber of Commerce. (So I do have some background regarding marketing and promo) You've made some really valid points Starrpower and you do know what you're talking about.

Each of us has to find what works best for us. I think promo is really important, especially for those starting out - but once you've got a good client base established, your show speaks for itself.

Chrystal
Starrpower
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Clive, you are certainly fortunate. I'd say most of us envy you ... and I'd guess most of us are not so busy that we turn away work without ever having to promote or advertise. I'm also guessing you are a millionaire. If everyone ran a business like you, radio and televison would go off the air due to lack of advertising!

I'm not being sarcastic; I think it's great you get more work than you can possibly do without any form of promotion. However, I still work at it, as I assume most of us do. I even have business cards, for Pete's sake! And I see scores of acts at booking conventions, buying tapes and attending marketing classes, etc. I know of magicians -- GOOD magicians whose names you might know -- who have slow times. You are definitely in the minority.

So, I ask for testimonials. And they have paid off. I am just asking how others use them ...
Cheshire Cat
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We know little about you Starrpower - it just says "magician/hypnotist". No indication of Country. Both Clive and myself more or less trade on British 2 hour Birthday Party stays. Believe me, the work IS there to justify everything Clive says. In fact in the 1980s we used to work seven days, yes seven days a week, and then take about 4 off and go away for a few days.

Tony.
Starrpower
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No, please don't get me wrong. I wasn't being sarcastic ... I *DO* feel he's fortunate to be that busy, because I am not!
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