For those who get gigs...

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by Jacob L, Nov 14, 2011.

  1. Phone calls: What's your preference? I recall in Benji's $1,000 gig video he said the call caught him off guard and he "actually answered the phone." I'm guessing Benji rarely answers the phone when he thinks it's a potential gig because he has less time to think about the proposal and what to price and so on because he's on the spot (I could be totally wrong. Benji, you can correct me if you want haha). My question is, do you guys answer the phone when it's a number you don't know? It could be a gig calling. Having a voicemail allows you to dissect it like Benji explained in the video. It was pretty funny, because while I was watching the video someone called me, I answered, and booked a gig for a kid's party for that weekend (at least I think it's pretty funny). But, if I had had the person leave a voicemail, I might have had more time to think about the gig, and maybe get some more money out of it, rather than being put on the spot. At the restaurant where I perform, when people ask me how much I charge I tell them to send me an email because I'm not allowed to discuss other gigs while I'm on the job. This does two things, 1. Shows I'm acting professional by respecting my current employer (and them as well, I wouldn't discuss gigs with other clients while at their event) and gives me time to dissect the proposal when they send me an email because I don't have to have a right then and there response and possibly screw myself over.

    So what do you guys do with phone calls? Answer and seem like you aren't busy, or get a message to decipher the situation?
  2. Jacob you're very close to the reason on why I don't answer phone calls. There are several reasons.

    First, I'm a big believer on time management. I set my schedule for the day...and script every minute of the day. So will look like something like 8-10am (get ready, eat, work out) 10am-12pm (lead generation) 12pm-12:45 (lunch) 12:45-1:30 (return phone calls) etc etc. So every part of my day is scripted.

    When I script every part of my day, I don't do anything except what I have in the schedule. I don't answer phone calls until the scheduled time. I don't go on the internet, etc. So when someone calls, they usually call during a time that I'm doing something so they have to leave a voicemail.

    Another you pointed out...I want to get as much info as I can before talking to them. If they call me up and on the voicemail they say, "we are X company having an event and we want to know your prices" or if they say, "we are X company, we are having an event and I hope you're available because we want to book you" then I get information from the way they leave the voicemail.

    I can google the company/association and get an understanding of their event. If it is a huge conference then I know I can charge more. If they say they want to know my prices then I know that they're more focused on "budget" rather than "hiring me." If they ask for "availability" then I know they want me specifically and budget is a smaller priority.

    So I don't answer the phone because you can get a lot of information from the voicemail someone leaves.

    Another reason I don't answer the phone is because it shows them that you're doing other things. Your absence has the ability to increase the value of your presence. If you're constantly answering the phone every time they call then they will think you're not that you're less valuable. I always call back within 24 hours but I don't answer saying, "hello hello there? Do you want to book me for a gig?" just comes across desperate. And although magicians won't say those words, they come across the same way without knowing it.

    Another reason is because when I talk to them on the phone, I want to get them invested in hiring me. Just because someone calls, it doesn't mean they're going to hire me. So a phone call is just another qualification step.

    When they call, I want to be in a place where I CAN'T take notes. The reason is because once they give me details on their event, I want to say, "Ok I can't write anything down so can you send me an email about our discussion and the price I gave you. Then I'll send you a contract"

    I do this because the person who sends an email as soon as we hang up is the person who hires me. The person who waits for a day to send that email, doesn't hire me. I'm getting as much commitment from them as possible. And when they send an email, I have everything on file. I know how much I quoted them, what the event is, how many people, etc.

    So I prefer to return phone calls and not write anything down so I can tell them to send me an email that describes what we talked about...the person who sends an immediate email, ALWAYS hires me.

    Those are the reasons why I don't answer the phone. I've gotten into the mentality that it is better to return phone calls instead of answer them.
  3. Here's my take which is a bit different than Benji's, but then again we are completely different performers and this is not my full time job.

    I will normally answer the phone EVERY time for potential gigs because for the most part I am either booking a birthday party gig or a wedding reception in which my prices are pretty much set so I can honestly talk to them and give them my fee. If they don't like it I know they will go somewhere else cheaper and I am fine with that because I know what I am worth. I'm not going to perform 200 shows a year at $50 a piece. I'd much rather land 20 shows that are going to pay between $150-$500.

    My other option is that on my "Contact" section of my webpage, it has the client put in the Date and Location that they are requesting my show. If they put down a Country Club, then I know I am most likely booking a higher end show and price is probably not an issue.

    So in short, yes, I answer every phone call as soon as it rings "hoping" that it is a potential show and that I can book them before we get off the phone and send them their contract within the next few days.
  4. #4 Jacob L, Nov 15, 2011
    Last edited by a moderator: Nov 15, 2011
    Thank you guys so much for the reply! You two were the ones I was aiming for haha.
    Benji. I read the email you sent about scripting your day, my day job schedule is a little sporadic at the moment, so it's hard to schedul each and every part of my day when each day is different. I'm about to get some more consistency, so that'll help me. Also, how do you act when you call them back? You don't want to sound desperate, but you also don't want to sound disinterested, right?

    Rick. I guess I need to my prices more set before I start answering every call. I've done 2 shows for 50 bucks, but I obviously need to step it up if I want to get more. Of course this means putting out a really good show, which, like I mentioned above, I can work on more once my schedule settles down a little. I was hoping you would answer because you mentioned in a previous thread how you "got home, just booked a wedding reception gig...." and I was like "What did he do that so fast?" haha

    I think for now I'll not answer every call, but if I happen to, I'll get a commitment from them via email before we move further. Benji, do you quote them a price during the phone call when you ask them for the commitment? Or do you give them a quote after they've sent it?

    Thanks again for the replies!
  5. #5 formula, Nov 15, 2011
    Last edited by a moderator: Nov 15, 2011
    I'm with Rick on this one but I like Benji's style. I always try to answer my "magic" phone since someone is taking time out of their day to talk to me about having me at their event.
    I do a mixture of what has been said, getting all the details in an email is my preferred choice because (as Benji said) I can then do some research and everything is on record. My goal is to get booked, believe it or not some people won't book you if you're not expensive enough for them so I try to answer the phone but I then put myself in Benji's shoes and don't take notes but say I whether I think I'm free or not and that they should put all the details on an email.

    Giving a quote on the phone will separate the men from the boys Jacob. I usually give a rough estimate over the phone and then explain that I will give an accurate quote once they confirm the event details.
  6. Jacob,

    When I call the person back, I just tell them that I got their message and start asking them questions about the event.

    I always try to figure out...are they calling to hire ME? Or are they calling to hire a MAGICIAN/MENTALIST?

    If they're calling to hire me, then they're already sold. If they're calling to hire a magician then I'm already starting on a bad foot.

    I always give a quote over the phone when I call them back because if you don't, you come across as someone who doesn't know what they're doing.

    The only reason I tell them to send me an email is just to get commitment from them so I can determine whether or not they're going to hire me. Someone who says, "I'm going to hire you" is different than someone who says, "I'm going to hire you" and then sends you an email as you requested. The person who sends the email gets priority over others.
  7. Valid points Benji. I like the fact that you are getting an email commitment from your clients because the clients that you are booking obviously will take the time (hopefully) to type up an email and send it to you.

    Most of the people who I am working for are not going to type up and email and send it to me, if I don't answer the phone, they will probably just find the next magician who does pick up and ask what their price is for a kids birthday party / event.

    Here is what my booking looks like.

    1.) Client calls me or has contacted me via my webpage.
    2.) I ask them all the details I need to know and give them my price after to trying to "sell" them on doing a few "add ons" as I call it
    to my standard half hour show. What is an add-on some of you are thinking? Each option selected is above and beyond my $100 half hour show
    and adds $25.00 on to the bill.

    a.) longer show - 45 minutes of magic instead of the 30
    b.) balloons for all the kids and a big birthday party balloon hat
    c.) giveaway goodies or prizes

    9 times out of 10 my clients do the (b.) add on for the bday parties and if it is for an older crowd in their teens or twenties they most likey pick option (a.)

    3.) I recheck the notes that I have taken and tell them that I am going to type up the Entertainment Agreement / Contract and can either send a hard copy to their home address or email it to them as an attachment and they can sign it and mail it back to me with the deposit.

    4.) I make it a point to get it sent out the next day.
    5.) Go perform the show, get testimonials and photos emailed back to me, and thank them once again.
  8. Sorry i only read the first post so when i kind of re-write something that has already been said then ignore it, although repetition is the mother of knowledge.

    Anyway, i usually get my running gigs via e-mail(because that is how it goes in estonia). Rarely does someone call me to ask for a gig but when they do then i usually let them guide me through their idea(s) and then i ask for their e-mail to give them a few ideas and maybe even put down the actual pay. This has worked for me since i do not get much "first contact phone calls". They usually e-mail me and then call when they need to clear up a few things. Also as i own a smartphone i tend to reply faster via e-mail than by phone. Since 3G is widely available it is massively easy to reply to e-mails on the spot, walking or carrying out any tasks of your day. Although i do agree with benji that scripting your day is one way to do it but keeping in mind that you might not have 10's of gigs pouring in each day then thinking about phone management is the least of your problems. Once they start getting out of hand change the system.


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