Guest Author - Dennis Regling
As a performer, we only have a limited number of days we can perform each year. We also find that the fees we can charge are sometimes limited by our market's ability to pay.
The question comes then, how can we increase our income without taking more time away from our families. David Copperfield has a secret. It's called BOR which stands for Back Of the Room merchandising. After his shows, David Copperfield sells T-shirts and other souvenirs. This has been used by singers for years at their concerts.
Whether you are a magician, clown, speaker or other performer, most gigs will provide you an opportunity to sell product after your presentation. Motivational speakers sell their books and tapes. Clowns may sell animal balloons. Singers sell CD's and shirts.
As a magician, you can sell magic kits, autographed pictures, T-shirts and books. Ideally, the merchandise will be personalized for you. You may sell a magic kit, but how much better if your picture is on the box. If you wish to sell a book of magic tricks, write it yourself or use an instant author program. Autographed pictures are great, and better yet if you personally sign them after the show.
Magician Greg Friesing in Niagara Falls charges his guests to have their picture taken with his tiger. Do you use a rabbit in your act? Get a digital camera with a docking port and you can sell and print pictures of your audience members with the bunny.
You can staff the BOR table yourself, with your people, or let your host provide workers in exchange for a small percentage of sales.
To increase sales, be sure to casually mention the BOR products during your show. Don't give an elaborate sales pitch, just let them know they will be available. Also, if you are pitching T-shirts, be sure stage hands and other staff all have a shirt to wear.
You can also sell your BOR on your website.
The key to success in all sales is to take maximum advantage of selling opportunities. You may even find you make more money at the BOR table than performing at some gigs.
Good luck, and if you have questions, send them my way.