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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » Tricky business » » Starting in trade shows... (0 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

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Shimi
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Israel
107 Posts

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Hi Joe
I just saw your home page.
Great job.

Shimi
Sid Mayer
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Santa Fe, NM
656 Posts

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Display builders and show equipment suppliers are excellent sources for trade show contacts. They know who, when and where about exhibitors and are in a position to make recommendations.

Cultivate them, impress them with your magic, show them that you are business-like and you may get surprisingly good results. The hard part of getting into the trade show field is getting started. This is how I did.

People such as Bill Goldman and Bud Dietrich make a much more than decent living in trade show work to say nothing of the many private and corporate gigs that result from it.

But, make no mistake, the actual work is not easy.

Sid
All the world's a stage ... and everybody on it is overacting.
john blaze
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PA
82 Posts

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Joe (Page) Turner,
How did the show go? What did you learn? What worked best? What didn't work? How was the response by the attendees? How was the response by the people that hired you? It's cool that you jumped in and did this. I hate it when magicians make a big deal out of telling other magicians what they should do, how they should do it, and that they shouldn't do it, if they're not 100% ready for it. If we all waited, we'd all still be waiting. So enlighten us my young friend.
Joe M. Turner
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Atlanta, Georgia
249 Posts

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I've just gotten home and my feet are killing me. It was worth it. In addition to bringing in some extremely good leads for the company, I got a number of very promising inquiries about my own services.

I have already been informed that I will be getting a glowing letter of recommendation, and we're putting next year's dates on the calendar as soon as they confirm that they are exhibiting.

It was a fantastic experience and I will post more about it later. I have 2 days off and then it's back on the road for a week. Nice to be busy, though.

JMT

Okay, now that I've had a good night's sleep, I can share some thoughts...

First, I do think it is important to spend some quality time customizing your presentations to fit the messages. However, it is not necessary to become obsessive about giving every action or prop in your act a connection to the product. I had great success with even the simplest segues into a discussion of the product. I ended up customizing two routines fairly extensively, scripting them with a lot of tie-ins and mentions of the product, but a lot of the incidental material I performed used my regular presentations with just a hint of sales pitch thrown in at appropriate moments.

Second, I think it's important to prepare routines that can work for just one or two people as well as your full scale pitch. In some of the slow times at a lightly-attended show, you may only have 3 or 4 people walk past the booth in a given 30-minute window. Even if you stop all of them -- which I usually did -- you simply cannot build a 12 person crowd out of 4 people in 30 minutes. So don't depend on having, say, 5 people at the podium in order for your routine to work.

Follow Paul Green's advice about taking care of your feet. Get good shoes, good insoles, and be nice to your body. Having been in a heavy-travel job before, the same rules apply with regard to eating healthy foods and getting plenty of rest.

I think I may have been the first trade show magician to ever work this show. None of the exhibitors and only 2 of the attendees I talked to had ever seen another trade show magician at all. I got several inquiries (from non-competitors of my client) and expect to book additional work from those. I made sure not to pass out cards while at the booth, with the exception of one time when the man who hired me specifically told me to make sure I gave my card to a particular person he had been talking to.

I did not get to do the stand-up routines as often as I would have liked. The booth was designed to allow close-up at a podium on one corner, and had a classroom/theatre area on the opposite corner. I had routines for both areas but because the traffic was so light, the company opted not to try to do a lot of the formal presentations and we kept to the informal side -- I drew them in, gave them some bullet points about the company while performing, and introduced them to a sales person for a demonstration of the product. It worked great.

I had not seen this before, but the company invested in putting my name and picture into a lot of their advertising. My name was incorporated into signs on both sides of the booth, and my photo was put into the slideshow playing on all the computers and the big monitor in the classroom section.

One thing I suggested which worked well was to use the classroom in a different way. It faced the break area of the hall -- where drinks & snacks & tables were -- so during the lunch-breaks and other explicit break times, I would put on a lapel mike (not too loud) and do some of the stand-up scripts I wrote for one or two people who happened to be in the booth at the time. However, I drew a larger crowd at those times because others on break could see and hear. We attracted a couple of good leads from that strategy. I made sure that I was seen to be performing for the people in the booth, but it was no accident that people in the break area could see and they did mosey on over to watch me while they ate.

The company's primary competitor was at the adjacent booth and our booth traffic was easily 10 or 15 times what they got over the two-day time. We left them in the dust.

I drew in one lead of interest -- a man and woman who were clearly not planning to stop at the booth -- but I drew them in and in the course of the magic I discovered their company's name and qualified them as a hot lead. By the time it was over, they had asked for and received a thorough demonstration of the product and the guy who booked me said that that lead was definitely brought in by me, and it looks like a pretty good bet that they'll sell the job. It will be a major contract for this company.

I could have drawn a "crowd" of other exhibitors to our booth if I had wanted to. During down times, I walked around, met the neighbors, did a trick here and there... just being friendly. But the other exhibitors are not the people my client wanted at their booth. They are either selling a competitive product, or are not in the right type of business to use their product. (For example, there were insurance companies there who do not use the kind of software that my client develops.)

So I'm not sure how valuable it is to gather a crowd of spectators who have no real interest in the company just so I can do another show while the real target leads sit in an hour-long presentation by an industry bigwig.

Maybe I'm wrong. It happens occasionally... usually when I open my mouth or begin to type.

Overall, I couldn't have asked for a better introduction to this part of the magic industry. It was a great experience and I'm relieved to have a successful trade show under my belt. I'm still just a newbie, but now, I'm a newbie with a legitimate testimonial and a repeat customer.

JMT
...
Regards,
Joe M. Turner
[email]jmt@turnermagic.com[/email]
www.turnermagic.com
john blaze
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PA
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Thank you very much, Joe! Congratulations. By the way, how did you stop the people?
Shimi
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Israel
107 Posts

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Hello Joe, Thanks for sharing.

I have seen many trade show magicians. Most of them do the same effects. What do you do if you find out that there are other 5 magicians on the same floor

Shimi Smile
Steve Hart
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Palm Bay, FL
383 Posts

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Shimi has presented a good question.

It is true, you walk through a trade show and you might find several magicians working the floor in various booths. They are all doing the same tricks. Or it may appear that way to the spectator.

Why is this true? Maybe the magicians have choosen these effects because these are stronger, effective, more conducive to trade show work.

When you are working under pressure, I know it is easy to adapt the effects that we are most familiar with. We know they are good tricks and people enjoy them.

But this is how we all end up doing the same effects.

The secret...... Be Creative!

There are several ways to do this. Change your routines, change your props, change your persona, or create something completely new. Learn how to allow the creativity to flow through you.

This is not easy. This is your challenge.
This is what will keep magic alive and in the long run, you will make more money if you do it right.

Steve Hart
Cape Canaveral, FL USA
www.SteveHartSpeaks.com
www.magic2motivate.com
"Motivational Magicians are some of the highest paid magicians, find out why?"
MichaelG.
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I had the privledge of seeing Joel Bauer In Lecture at Denny and Lee's shop in Baltimore. The Lecture lasted from 7pm at night till 7am the next morning. I left at 5am and got in a lot of trouble with my wife, But that's another story.

His advice was priceless for working trade shows. Some of his suggestions for getting in the door included some of what Mr. Steve Hart has already said, about crashing a trade show, Maybe not the best way, but I can see it working. He offered some creative ways to get badges (some are pretty shady, but hey it takes guts,)

Once you are in, you find a booth that does not have a lot of traffic and find the manager and make small talk about how things have been going. Then offer to help. Joel would tell them to get ready for a crowd of 30 people and then he would over-deliver a crowd of 100-300 and after performing a small set turn the crowd over to the sales reps. Then he would offer to work the rest of the event for X amount (not cheap) and offer to help with future trade shows.

It takes guts, but it definitely can work. If you ever get a chance to see Joel Bauer in person don't pass it up. Whether you like him or not You can learn a lot from him.
Vilago
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Buy Paul Diamond's "It takes guts, ******" lecture notes. About $12.00, and you'll have all you need to break into this field. Everything I've read so far is a confirmation of Paul's advice.
illusionmaster
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Boulder, Colorado
31 Posts

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I found Paul Diamond's booklet more informative on the trade show subject than the Eddie Tullock videos.

It's a great place to begin if you are thinking about breaking into this market!


Jes
Smile
vernon
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Scotland
551 Posts

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I saw Joel Bauer quite a few years ago in London, as I was passing through at a gambling fair, I had just finished working for The Hyatt Regency casino in Thesaloniki (Greece), and he was good. I am not afraid of hard work and look forward to expending into this lucrative field of the craft, that is after I get off Tenerife and move to LA.
Vernon
Brent Allan
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Chicago
415 Posts

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I know many of the trade shows in my local area have a very explicit rule of "No magicians or performers" for their trade shows. Has anyone else run into this type of thing?
Turn your business card into a relentless salesperson that brings you business!

http://www.TransformYourBusinesscard.com
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