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p.b.jones
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Hi,
Pretty much a British thing I think but we tend to like to give praise freely,but would not like to be asked to do so, with regards Christmas it would kind of be like asking people to give us a gift. we are taught as children it is good manners to be grateful if we receive things but not to expect them, if you are caught asking people for things then atleast in my house my dad would have given me a slap.
Phillip
Cheshire Cat
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I didn't go away with Clive for 4 days at a time by the way in the 1980s (hello sailor!); I'm talking about myself and Sue, my wife.

STILL don't know your Country or main line of entertaining Starrpower! But anyway, yes, it seems to be a quiet Christmas 2004. As mentioned to Candini in another thread (who also seems to be having a hard time), we are fortunate as we are trading on our reputation and birthday speciality. But to anyone selling magical entertainment to a wider audience it appears to be hard going. We have Customers with top-class restaurants/wine bars who also say their bookings have just not materialised for December 2004.
p.b.jones
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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!

Hi,
I think the thing is many of us have no desire to be Paul daniels but rather be comfortable (financialy) enough to be able to do what we want, not what we have to. If you are happy with your income and your social/family life balance without having to solicit/ market for work then why bother?
phillip
Emazdad
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Hi Starrpower,

Both Billy and I work the same way, we don't do any marketing, just a good show. We both do on average 30 shows a month, more during the summer and December.

We both do this full time and do mainly 2-Hour Birthday parties, we only do parties for ages 4 to 9, (8 if it's a boy, and we don't do any adult work at all, all our work is entertaining kids.

Round here anyone who only does the 1-hour of entertainment at parties will not be half as busy as us. They tend to pick up the bookings from those that were too late to get any entertainer who does the 2-hours.

I take it you don't specialise in kids entertainment.
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.
Billy Whizz
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I'm the same as Clive, Ace and Philip. I turn more work away than I can handle. So maybe magic parties are more popular in the UK than other places. Or maybe we have more to offer in the way of entertainment.
Judging by previous post made by others in different contries, the impression I get is that you go out and do as much magic in an hours show as possible, trying to show how 'clever' you are. Over here in the UK (that is me and Emazdad, I've never seen Ace or Philip's show) we tend to make the entertainment and fun more important than just the magic.
Fernando
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I always get suspicious of people who are actively marketing all the time. If they are marketing constantly and talk of nothing else day and night it is always a sign that the show itself is no good.

This particularly applies to children's entertainers who do birthday parties but to a lesser extent other branches of magic as well.

All quality promo proves is that you have a good printer and graphic artist. It doesn't mean that YOU are any good. In fact the fancier the promo the more likely the act is mediocre. Not always of course just usually. I expect there are people on this very board who have fancy promo and websites and are actually quite good. However they will be the exception rather than the rule.

The reason is pretty obvious.You certainly have to market hard at the beginning of your career but once you have been around a few years if you are not getting work without constantly selling yourself then there is something wrong with your show.You should have enough word of mouth and repeat bookings so that you don't need to be constantly marketing yourself day and night.

I used to book people at one time. Alarm bells would always go off if the promo was too fancy.It often meant the performer was quite awful and had to produce an expensive fancy brochure to try and convince people he was worth booking.

However I once had a magic business and did a fair bit of mail order. I was always amused that the bigger and more celebrated the star the crappier their promo was. Business cards would always be very amateurish. Their letterheading was awful and the paper quality was inferior. Yet these were the highest paid acts in the business and also the busiest.

However I could always tell the starving magicians. They were the ones with the fancy brochures that they insisted on sending me.

Next time you admire a fancy website look more closely. The performer may not be doing as well as you think. The crappier the website the busier they are.

Fernando's rule you know.
RonCalhoun
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Folks, please believe me when I said I'm happy for those of you that you “don't do any active marketing.” Unfortunately, I have to market my services.

The reason for my post is I'm puzzled.

Starrpower has ask for our help. He posted a question “So, how do you use reference letters?”

He said, "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."

In the spirit of “magicians helping magicians” I would suggest the people who don't use reference letters remember Starrpower is asking for our help.

Oh and By the way, Starrpower just might not be trying to book birthday parties. If he is trying to book school shows reference letters are a must.

Personality, I know I have booked trade shows because of the large number of reference letters I include in my promo package.

Again, I'm happy for you folks that you don't have to do any marketing.

But if someone ask about card moves why would you tell them you only do coins and berate him for asking for help.

Ron Calhoun

PS Yes I understand this is posted in "The little darlings" but there are more markets for kids than just birthdays.

Frankly I'm surprised at the postings in “Use of reference letters”.

Starrpower ask for help.

QUOTE: “So, how do you use reference letters? 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.

Here is the help he got.

I don't need to ask customers for references to convince people to book me.

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.

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.

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?

We also turn away more people than ever because of the things we now don't do, i.e. weddings, Christenings, outdoors, houseparties.

Both Clive and myself more or less trade on British 2 hour Birthday Party stays.

I'm the same as Clive, Ace and Philip. I turn more work away than I can handle. So maybe magic parties are more popular in the UK than other places. Or maybe we have more to offer in the way of entertainment.

If you are happy with your income and your social/family life balance without having to solicit/ market for work then why bother?
El_Lamo
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Starrpower,

If you are making calls to the market that you are breaking into, then you could:

While talking to the prospect, show him a blank piece of paper. Fold it up. Hand it to him. Ask him to make it invisible. Smile, tell him, since he is not a magician that he can just put it into his pocket.

Then ask him what he would want out of your performance. Hand him an invisible pen. (Mime). Ask him to write out few things on your invisible paper. Hold it out for him. (Mime). Have him make some brief notes. You may be able to turn a few phrases... nudge nudge.

Then say, hmm, this pen isn't working here. Maybe it will work better if we write something on the sheet in your pocket. Have him retrieve the page from his pocket and open it so that you can make notes.

He or she is now holding your excellent letter. Now, be prepared to do something else that is entertaining. {Meaning, I recognize the magic is limited above, but it gets your letter in the prospects hands in a face to face meeting.)

Cheers - El Lamo

P.S. When people enjoy my shows, I ask them to write something. I always do this and have done it for both magic and other workshops that I deliver. I have been doing so for over twenty years. I still ask, because I want to use current quotes and comments.
Life is a system of circumstance presented coincidently in an illusory way.
RonCalhoun
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El_Lamo

thank you at last some one trying to help.
Starrpower
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I'd like to apologize to those Brits who thought (still think?) I was being bitter or condescending. I was not; I am duly impressed with ANYONE who is so well-known in their market that they do NO marketing.

To Cheshire: I am in Wisconsin, USA. Not far from Chicago, I get a lot of bookings there and throughout the Midwest U.S. I am primarily a hypnotist, but my background is in magic. I like to do magic, but it's not my sole income. At the going rate for kids' shows here, I could not afford my 5 bedroom, 4 bath house I am building on a kids' performer's income ... at least not the income they get here! Personally, I don't *want* to do 4 shows a day ... I'm too lazy!

But, I DO have to market constantly. It has nothing to do with a poor quality show. For example, I do a lot of after prom shows. Every year it's a new comittee. I can't rely on word-of-mouth ... unless it's coming from MY mouth!

I want to be on control of my own future ... it's too important to leave in the hands of others.
RonCalhoun
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Ok you guys fooled me too

You said you did no active marketing then I saw your great web sites.

http://www.billywhizz.biz

http://www.absolutely-unforgettable.co.uk

http://www.emazdad.com

In fact absolutely-unforgettable has a great way to use his “clients letters” check it out its great

http://www.jonesp6.freeserve.co.uk/general/
Click on “clients letters”

Sorry Fernando you said “Next time you admire a fancy website look more closely. The performer may not be doing as well as you think. The crappier the website the busier they are. ”Sorry Fernando these guys don't have “crappier” websites.

Their sites are great and they sound busy to me.
Fernando
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Yes, but every single one of them has admitted in previous postings that their website is not that important to them.
RonCalhoun
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I'm sorry, I'm confused.

”The crappier the website the busier they are. “

and these busy performers have great site because their sites aren't important to them.

Guys, guys, guys please lets stick to the topic "Use of reference letters" and try to help each other.

Here are my questions.

Of the performers that do you use reference letters or client letters or testimonials,

If you ask for them, how do you ask for them?

Do you include them in flyers, brochures, or on your web site?

Thanks
Mike Robbins
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Quote:
On 2004-11-24 01:24, RonCalhoun wrote:


If you ask for them, how do you ask for them?

Do you include them in flyers, brochures, or on your web site?

Thanks


I ask them for them. After a show when the contact person comes up and tells me how great the show went, I simply ask them if they'd do me a favor and write a quick letter to me stating what they just said. I tell them that people will listen more readily to them saying how great the show was, as opposed to me saying it.

I wait a couple of days and then send out a thank you card. That helps to remind them. If they said they'd send a letter, I'll give them a follow call two weeks after the show. If that doesn't get the letter, then I don't follow up any further.

Let me also say that I do this only for my corporate and fundraising shows. I primarily market those. I do not actively market kids shows at present as it is too costly for too little return. That and we have a guy running around undercutting and bringing prices down. A typical customer for a kids birthday party is a Mom who is just trying to find someone at the cheapest price and she calls all the magicians in the phone book and goes with the cheapest. I'm not the cheapest.

As for how I use the references, I've pretty well answered that in an earlier post. And, yes, my website is bringing in more and more business all the time. In fact, it's something that separates me from the competition. I get lots of compliments about how it communicates what I do clearly. I'm not sure it would be all that important if I did just, or primarily, kids shows. You can see the references at:

http://www.robbinsmagic.com/lowband/quotes.htm

Mike
The fool doth think he is wise, but the wise man knows himself to be a fool.
Shakespeare
p.b.jones
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Hi,
None of my letters are requested, they are just sent to me after the shows so as far as I am conserned this was not active on my part. web sites to me are still non active marketing, you put it up and carry on. Yeah it took me a little while to write/design it but that's all
Phillip

After a show when the contact person comes up and tells me how great the show went, I simply ask them if they'd do me a favor and write a quick letter to me stating what they just said. I tell them that people will listen more readily to them saying how great the show was, as opposed to me saying it.

Hi,
But in reality even if the show was crap the booker is unlikely to say hey mate crap show! if it was mediocre they are liable to tell you it was good then when you ask for a reference they will probably oblige because they feel obligated after having said that to you. so I agree with others that if you have to ask for it it is not worth the paper it is writen on except as a dishonest marketing tool.
phillip
Billy Whizz
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Quote:
On 2004-11-24 01:03, Fernando wrote:
Yes, but every single one of them has admitted in previous postings that their website is not that important to them.


My website doesn't get me any extra work, because by the time people that enquire from it get back to me, the time slot they want is usually gone. The site is more for reference. If someone wants to know what I do, I sell my show on the phone and also mention the web site to have a look at photos or the party timetable. I also have a venue list on there detailing suitable venues with telephone numbers.

I can see what you're saying regards promo material Fernando. But, even though I turn away more shows than I can take, it is still very important to me to have 'first class' material. Why have a first class show but second class material. Doesn't make sense to me.
Cheshire Cat
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So now we are starting talking about our houses are we? Ok then, I own two, in a prime high price area (did that make me feel better? Not really).

So Clive, Billy and Philip - we know what kind of businesses we have, we know what we, and other pro. 2 hour Birthday Entertainers in Britain earn. I guess we should be keeping it a secret instead of splashing info. and advice out for the world to see here. We don't want too many people in the business do we? I suggest we drop it at that!

Good morning ladies and gentlemen.

Tony.
Peter Marucci
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Okay, ease off, everybody.
Starrpower, who had identified his locale, asked simply how we get and use references.
Congrats to all you guys who claim you are so busy you don't ask for, or need, reference letters; but that really doesn't help Starrpower.

When I follow-up on the show with a thank-you letter, I sometimes (depending on the occasion) ask for a reference letter. I have never failed to get one yet.
I then take one or two pertinent quotes out of the letter and include it, with the initials of the person and name of the group, on the back of my brochure.
Here is an example:

What others say about
the Magicomedy
of Peter Marucci . . .

“This very talented sleight-of-hand artist is back to delight the Jubilee audience.”
-- Royal Bank Seniors’ Jubilee, Roy Thomson Hall, Toronto

“You have a lot of talent and your pleasant personality goes well with it. I will certainly recommend you.” -- E.K., Canada Trust, Toronto

“Our audience loved the subtle one-liners and great magic . . . You can be sure we will recommend you highly.” -- J.J., Wellington Waterloo Senior Games banquet

“I would highly recommend him.” -- S.C., Finger Lakes Magic Club, Ithaca, New York

“You truly do have magic in your hands and laughter in your soul -- all wrapped up in an easy-going, warm manner that truly captivates your audience.” -- R.R., past president, Royal City Toastmasters

“Marucci is a master and has been entertaining audiences for decades.” -- Entertainment columnist Alan Argue

“A highly talented and dependable entertainer . . . we would not hesitate to recommend him.” -- A.H., M & M Meat Shops

“An entertaining and exciting show.” -- Fergus Public Library

“The audience loved Peter’s off-beat sense of humor.” -- review, The Grand Magic Show at Theatre On The Grand

“You were terrific!” -- artistic director J.S., Theatre On The Grand

“We had many comments on the high calibre of the performance.” -- Elora Arts Council

“Thank you for making this a magic Christmas.” -- Wellington Terrace

“Everyone thought you were great. You sure are a Magicomedian.”
– D. and I. L., Mount Forest

“Your show delighted the audience and kept the children spellbound.” -- M.A.S., Family and Children’s Services of Guelph and Wellington County

“Thank you for a wonderful show.” -- St. George’s Church, Guelph


This covers everything from private, home birthday parties, to huge corporate clients.

Hope this is of some help.
Emazdad
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Hi Ron, even my website is passive, I don't bother putting it on search engines etc, it just sits there, It's mentioned on my yellow pages ad so people can use it to find more info on me.

I think the thing that we all disagree with is the asking for references, by all means use references to generate work if needs must, but shouldn't they be voluntary references. A voluntary reference carries much more wieght than a forced one.

An asked for reference will say something like,

We had Emazdad and he was very good, the kids really enjoyed his show, I'd be happy to reccomend him in the future..

A voluntary reference would say,

Dear Emazdad,

I just had to write and thank you for the wonderful show you put on for the children, I've never seen them sit for so long, and laugh so much. Susan hasn't stopped talking about Marmite the lion and is already pestering us to get you for her party next year. Thanks again, Sarah Smith.

Which one of those do you think would impress a client more?
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.
Fernando
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I didn't say you shouldn't have a quality website or fancy promo. You certainly should.

I am merely making the observation that many (if not most) who do have a lousy show.

You will often find that performers who are busy all the time and have no need to market will fall into procrastination and laziness and not bother to keep up the fancy promo and letterheads because they don't need to.

So this is why you will often see crappy promo from busy performers. I am merely saying that crappy promo is a sign that the entertainer may be actually very busy indeed.
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