The Secret to Business Success: Sales
Like any business, to be successful, magic requires not only a good product (our show), but also effective marketing and sales techniques. Marketing is the process of getting our business known. Sales is the act of actually selling the product or booking the show.
The Secret to Business Success is and always will be sales. The old adage build a better mousetrap and people will beat a path to your door is not true. People have to know you have the mousetrap for sale - marketing. Then, they must make a decision to buy it - sales.
There are many books and videos that teach how to do magic and put together a fine show. If you are a professional magician, or considering taking that step, I would assume you have indeed put together an entertaining show. There are many fine marketing books available at your local library. There also many articles on marketing written for magicians in my archives. An internet search will provide a large list of marketing programs for the magician. But sales itself is often overlooked.
Many magicians develop an excellent act, an entertaining website and even send out scores of sales letters. Yet, they book very few shows for their efforts. Why? Because they fail to convert the interest they generate into bookings. They fail to close the deal when someone phones from their ad. They are not salespeople. They are performers and some even become pretty good marketers, but they never develop into sales people.
They buy marketing program after marketing program, looking for the one secret that will fill their calendars. They buy complete ready-to-go shows with the hopes that the quality of the program (and the included marketing materials) will sell itself. Indeed, most of the marketing gurus fail to give any instruction on how to actually close the deal. They promise to have your phone ringing off the hook, but never tell you what to say when you answer it.
Part of the problem, I believe, is that too many have bought the lie that people hate salesmen. People do not like to be sold anything, it is true. They do not like to be pressured to buy. But, people do like to buy. They do like to be assisted in making the buying decision. They like to know they are making a wise and informed decision and they depend on good salespeople to help them. Your job as a salesperson is to help the prospect make the right decision.
I hate going to Wal-Mart and K-Mart simply because there are no salespeople. No one offers to help me find the product that will meet my need. No one helps me to make the right buying decision.
Several years ago, I went to a local hardware store, looking for a circular saw. The clerk showed me where the saws were, but I expressed that I thought they were too expensive. Yes, they were all high quality saws, but I didn't see why I should spend the extra for one of those fine tools. The clerk, who is a friend of mine and an experienced builder, let me go to K-Mart and buy an inexpensive saw.
If my friend had only explained to me why I needed the better quality saw, I would have bought it. I definitely would have been happier with it. I have since bought a high quality circular saw. It will last me lifetime and is far superior for my needs. My friend was an excellent clerk and a fine craftsman, but he was not a salesman. He let good business walk out the door and buy an inferior product.
You may be an excellent magician, but if you are only a clerk, you will let many prospects go down the street and higher an inferior magician. Rather than making an intelligent decision, maybe paying a little more and being delighted with their purchase; they end up disappointed in the act they do book. Why - because you did not a) show them how your show would meet or exceed their needs and b) help them to make a decision and be comfortable with that decision.
Over the next few weeks, I will be posting several articles on the art of salesmanship and how magicians (and other entertainers) can learn and use this skill to grow their business. I welcome your questions and input as they will help me make this series the best it can be for you and others.
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