As prefaced in my former posts, I seldom perform magic at events anymore.
I wet the whistle by accepting some free charity events for causes I care about, mainly to keep my skills on par and to buy back some good karma.
For me to take a day off client work for Ellusionist or other clients (not in the magic niche), it would have to be a very high paying gig to be worth my while.
Unfortunately the UK market has decided a price for entertainment and it’s not as high outside of the greater London Area. I once had to justify why my hourly rate was more than a man’s son, who was a surgeon no less.
“He saves lives, but you’re charging more than him?”
The older I got, the more picky I became. I had an agent based in Swansea that used to be book me gigs too, but my parameters of whether I’d take the gig or not became too narrow.
- I won’t perform for kids. Lost gig.
- I won’t perform at the same time the wedding band is on, people won’t be able to hear me. Lost gig.
- I won’t perform for 5 hours to a group only 100 people strong. It’s best to leave them wanting more. Lost gig.
For me, performing magic is supposed to be enjoyable, so when a customer was open to suggestions on where a magician was suitable for their event, I’d bend over backwards to get that gig.
Chasing cash payments from the Groom’s Father, who has been entrusted with your fee for the evening wasn’t my idea of fun.
I reached a point where I only performed under these specifications:
- Must be paid upfront
- 2 Hours performing… MAX
- I won’t perform for kids, no matter how much they love magic. Parents are just looking for a free baby-sitter so they can go and get drunk. Who can blame them? My style of magic doesn’t translate well to kids anyway.
Me: “Think of any word”
Kid: “Uh huh”
Me: “Okay, it begins with P right?”
Kid: “Nope! It starts with a buh (B)”
Kid:”Nope… Buh-tato. Botato”
Me: “You mean POTATO! P… Puhh. I give up.” *Walks away*
I started to realise that I had to find my gigs, and not for my gigs to find me.
In this blog I’ll teach you 3 exciting ways to get gigs. Some of what I did to secure the big ones and ways I’ve recommended friends get gigs when coaching them 1-on-1.
BONUS: Let me tell you a goldmine in advance. An Asian wedding – Muslim or Sikh – is a celebration of mammoth proportions. Word of mouth recommendations are through the roof and with the amount of attendees at the events I performed at, it was likely that someone in my audience was getting married within the next few weeks too.
You’ll have a blast and the value placed on the event being perfect means you won’t have to worry about securing your fee.
Step 1 is finding what sort of events you want to do. Is it corporate events? Weddings?
Where do most of these events take place? Posh hotels? Great! We’re thinking the exact same thing.
Here’s a list of job titles for the people likely to book you:
– Wedding Co-ordinator
– Events Manager
– Entertainment Officer
– Events Co-ordinator
– Corporate Events Manager
Now all you do is pick a local hotel name. I used to live close to the Celtic Manor Resort and secured gigs via this method in their Caernarfon suite.
Currently, the nicest hotel near me is ‘The Vale’ in Cardiff.
This list will give you all of their registered LinkedIn employees and their jobs. I’m looking for… Gotcha!
Charlotte is a winner. Let’s connect.
<< SCREENSHOT REMOVED TO STOP READERS CONTACTING THIS PARTICULAR GIRL OR PRIVATE MESSAGING HER ON FACEBOOK, WHICH SOME HAVE. THIS IS TO DEMONSTRATE THE PROCESS, NOT FOR SOME OF YOU TO MESSAGE THIS ONE PERSON >>
Now all you have to do is send Charlotte a small message to show your intentions. Be polite and be professional.
After this is done, continue down the list and find other ‘events people’, maybe the Manager is in this 4 pages of search results too. Cast your net wide and you’ll catch more fish.
I made that line up. It’s probably not true about the fish, I imagine it’s good to be focused. Who cares? You get what I’m saying. HUSTLE!
Let’s preface this paragraph with It’s against Meetup.com’s terms to organise a meetup purely to sell members something. HOWEVER, if your intentions are pure, like mine, and you just want to meet other business owners in person then that’s okay.
What’s that? They found out you’re a magician. WOW. What are the odds?
You’re now the most interesting person in the room. Keith just sells lavender soap to everyone’s mum on eBay. You can make chewed gum new again.
Getting to know these people on a personal level may inspire you to chase avenues of your business using tactics they’ve used before. It can help you on many levels to have new friends who are likeminded.
After building tens or even hundreds of new relationships, of people who own businesses or throw events, it’s only natural that one or more people will ask you to perform at their local office party, mother’s birthday bash or University Summer Ball.
Half of marketing is exposure, and 1-on-1 interactions with people most likely to need your services in future is worth all of the Facebook advertising impressions under the sun.
Meet real people and with a cost of only $9.99 per month, it’s cheaper than most online advertising too.
It’s an approach nobody is taking. So you have the monopoly on this method. You’re now the biggest fish in the small pond.
Some will do this and succeed, so don’t cry about it when your competitor has a bunch of new gigs because you couldn’t be bothered to meet some strangers for a coffee last Thursday.
THE PHONE CALL
I’m surprised how many people are afraid to pick-up the phone. My girlfriend won’t even call her friends to confirm something, she’d prefer to text and wait 9 hours for a response.
“BUT NOW IT’S TOO LATE, YOU COULD’VE JUST CALLED TO CONFIRM WHAT TIME EARLIER.” Okay, that’s a different story.
The truth is that the phone is one of the most under-used implements in securing gigs.
Cold-calling is horrible, but what if it was a warm call? What if you told a teeny-tiny, sneaky little lie that got you past the receptionist and the voicemail?
Wouldn’t you want to take it?
People who work in offices are busy. There’s cake everywhere, Lisa is wearing high-heels she can’t walk in and Tony’s forgot to fill the printer with paper. Fucking hell Tony! Not again…
It’s often the case that a cold-call interrupts their super busy day and you get asked to send an email that they’ll never read/respond to.
Them: “Sure, sounds great. Just email me what you’re saying to firstname.lastname@example.org”
Why am I emailing you? We’re on the phone talking.
Here’s a sneaky little hack.
Remember that LinkedIn girl earlier? Charlotte.
What if you were to make a phone call to the Vale Resort and say:
“Can I speak to the Events department please? I’m just returning Charlotte’s call.”
RETURNING HER CALL. That’s important.
Don’t use their surname/last name. If you know each other, you’d be on first-name basis.
The beauty is, Charlotte is probably so busy, bless her. She’ll be all confused when she hears ‘returning her call’ from the receptionist, that she’s 100% more likely to take it.
I used to use this LinkedIn tactic to cold-call when I had a bet with the sales department in a previous job that I could get more accounts for our products. It worked.
It’s exactly the same with booking a magic gig. You’re going to speak to ‘Charlotte’ and ask to book a meeting with her or her team to discuss their upcoming events this year.
Why? Because you’re a close-up magician who’d be perfect for X, Y or Z.
They already know a guy? You’re better.
That guy is Gary Jones? Look elsewhere.
Now don’t step on my toes. Poor Charlotte of Cardiff’s Vale Resort is likely to get spammed with emails from all of you after this blog goes out. Chase venues in your local area.
A phone call helps you cut through the likely and unlikely candidates for your services, instead of waiting unproductively for 7 days for an email response.
“But Geraint, making a phone call isn’t new!” It is for most. Trust me.
Unless you have a huge pot of money to waste each month, online advertising probably isn’t for you.
The standard online conversion for websites is between 2 and 8%. For every 100 people you send to your website, you might get 2 enquiries.
I’m sick of seeing magicians post offers on their Facebook to be viewed by other magicians.
A dolphin doesn’t show a shark it’s fish. Stop showing your competition what you’re up to, and if you’re paying for the privilege of it, natural selection in online marketing will slowly kill off your business.
Asking to be on the preferred list for entertainment at a hotel is cheaper than a sponsored post, and calling Michelle at Revolution Vodka Bar is way easier than handing out business cards at a Wedding Fayre.
Work smarter. Not harder.
I want to see a lot more of you getting the gigs you deserve.
Want more personal help? Perhaps 1-on-1 coaching is for you.