Every time I conduct a survey of magicians on the magic forums, they always say their number one problem is not booking enough gigs. The majority of respondents also overwhelmingly state that they have been practicing magic more than ten years.
I'm sure many of the people answering my survey aren't professional magicians. For all I know, they've never worked a gig in their lives and they're really hobbyists that dream of getting paid to perform but won't ever try.
There are a lot of reasons magicians don't book as many gigs as they'd like, but the number one reason is that they simply don't do anything with the knowledge they have. For instance, a good friend of mine will never give magicians free marketing advice again. Every time he does, he ends up spilling his guts for hours and then feels insulted when the person he helped doesn't take action.
My friend is a good guy so when he hears sob stories from magicians, he's willing to bend over backwards for them. Well, he was, until he realized he wasn't helping people by giving them free advice. If it's free, they don't think it's worth much. Now he charges a coaching fee and the result is that they take action.
I handle things a bit different. I charge fees for magic lessons as well as coaching fees for sales and marketing. However, I'm still willing to help just about anybody to a certain extent. Let me give you an example.
My phone rang one afternoon and I was in a particularly good mood. It was a magician and he had some questions about working restaurants, marketing, etc. I told him everything he wanted to know.
He said, "Wow, none of the other pro magicians I know would share this stuff with me in a million years. How come you are?"
First, I explained, Southern California has about a zillion people in it. I'm pretty sure there's enough to go around for everybody.
Second, I told him that I honestly doubted he'd do anything with the information I gave him. I explained that so few people do anything at all, that I could probably tell him step by step what I do every day and he still wouldn't take action. I didn't say this to discourage him, but instead to challenge him to be different than the majority of people that simply dream about a life as a professional magician.
I go to the trouble to help as many people as I can because I look at the first conversations like a free consultation. If they like what I have to say and they start calling me on a regular basis, I bring up fees.
The only people that come back are the ones that take action. If they do something, anything, they'll get in contact again. The rest know if they call me and I ask what they did with the info I gave them and their answer is, "nothing," they better not bother, I'm a busy dude.
I'm assuming if you're reading this, you want to become a professional magician. Make no mistake, when you make that decision, you are also becoming a business owner. Even if you only perform magic part time for a little extra income, you're still running a business.
When magicians realize this, they normally lose interest and return to the world of the hobbyists. Once in awhile they'll take a little run at it again, remember it was hard work, and once again return to their local magic club meeting. They do this but never really push through and make that extra effort.
If you're still with me, I'm glad! I'm not trying to bum you out, I'm trying to help you break the cycle of being a pretend magician so you can start to make money and become a real, professional entertainer.
With all of that out of the way, let's talk about booking more gigs!
Now that you've accepted you are in fact in business, you have to accept that you're also in sales. Here's the bottom line: EVERYBODY is in sales. When you interview for a job, you're selling your skills. When you approach a girl at a bar because you want to ask her out, you're selling yourself (unless you're a politician, in which case you may be paying).
Ironically, the first secret to booking more gigs is Integrity with a capital I.
Let's talk about integrity and how it leads to more gigs. My list of the basics include showing up on time, delivering what you promise, providing a guarantee, benefit oriented service, and basic human decency. It should be obvious that by doing everything on my list, you will book more gigs.
Although I said my first secret to booking more shows is integrity, there's a secret within that secret. I already told you what it was. Seriously, I just gave you a gigantic, humongous, super duper secret, one you may have heard before but don't really understand. Here it is again.
In my list above, if you went though it quickly, you may have taken one of the items for granted; the guarantee. Listen closely. Guarantee your show. Promise a full refund. Promise more than a full refund. Offer to pay the fee for a different magician to perform at their next event if they don't love you. Man, I just thought of that, that's a good idea. I almost want to backspace over it and use it for myself before you get the chance. Race ya!
I can't emphasize enough how important guaranteeing your show is. That one simple change will skyrocket the number of bookings you get. I've been performing my entire life and I've never had a single person ask for a refund.
However, you're thinking, what if they do? Then, so what? Give their money back. Do you want money for a show if your client isn't satisfied? Let's say you don't offer a guarantee and you bomb. The people reluctantly pay you. Would you be able to sleep that night? I couldn't, and you shouldn't be able to either. You'll probably give them their money back anyway, or at the very least, not charge them the balance.
Besides, let's say you don't offer a guarantee and you book an average of four shows a month. You read my little report here and decide to tell all of your clients that you offer a 100% money back guarantee. Now you start booking six shows a month. Every month, you average six when it used to only be four.
It's going great and then one night something goes wrong. You kill a dove on stage and children start crying. The parents ask for a refund so they can pay for their child's therapy. If this happens once during the year, you still made a whole lot more money offering the guarantee than you lost refunding one show. If you're refunding so many shows that your guarantee is losing you money, then fix your show and leave the birds alone.
I'm going to say it one more time so it's crystal clear. Offer at least a money back guarantee on all of your services and products. If you can't confidently do that, you shouldn't be charging money for it. This is integrity and if you have it you will book more shows.
In order to have integrity with the world, you have to have integrity with yourself. You have to feel good about yourself and what you're selling. It's very hard to sell something if you don't believe in it. If you had to sell a piece of junk car to a little old lady and you knew the car was no good, it'd be hard to do. As a magician, you're selling yourself and you must feel good about yourself.
Sales are all about how you feel. If you aren't confident and you don't feel good about yourself or your services, then people will pick up on it.,
Let's say you're going to several restaurants trying to get hired as a magician. Most people try to get a customer or client to make a sale when you should really be trying to make a sale to get a customer or client. In other words, when you approach restaurant managers, if you're most interested in being of service to them you'll have more success. You know you have it right when you make sales and end up with long term friends. I've been at all of my restaurants for several years and I have a personal relationship with all of the owners and managers even though it started with me approaching them for business. The bottom line is that one of the real secrets of sales is relationships.
Another way to get more gigs is by doing more than what's expected. Most people deal with a fair exchange. You make a sale for a certain dollar amount and provide exactly what you said you would.
Instead, find ways to over deliver for you clients. Do little things that go beyond the call of duty. Put your client before yourself and you will work more. How much more should you do? Well, it's up to you, but my rule of thumb is that I always want the client to receive at least 10X the value of my fee.
To close this section on getting more gigs through integrity, let me mention something important about your mindset. It's important that you detach yourself from the end result of the sale. By detach, I mean don't become needy. If you focus on being of service to the client instead of thinking about your fee, your energy will be different. You may not make every sale but if you get attached to making a sale, you'll almost always blow it.
It can be hard to do if you're desperate for money and really need the gig. Stay focused on the needs of the client, not on selling them. Pushing people into buying and acting needy are two of the biggest turn offs (but easy to avoid).
Respect what you do. In other words, you provide something to people that helps them. When people reject you, don't take it personally, and don't feel guilty for selling. If you're providing true benefits to people and you're doing it with integrity, you will work more and more.
If you do feel guilty, figure out why and put an end to it. Is it low self esteem? Fix it. Is there something you're doing that's unscrupulous? Stop it. Any shortcut you take that's hurting the client and making you feel guilty will impact your sales and cost you more money than doing the right thing and selling with integrity.