Thinking like a magician in business
Using the skills of a magician in business.
My name is Stephen Simmons, I am a professional magician and this week I gave a talk on how to use the skills of magician in business.
One of the things magicians tend to be very bad at, is business. The vast majority seems to think show business is 90% show, and 10% business. I know this because I was one of them for many years. My idea of how to get more booking was to sit at home, practising my magic, going out once or twice a week to perform magic, give out a few business cards at the shows I did and wait for the phone to ring. Now don't get me wrong, I made a fair income just from doing this, but I just was not progressing as fast as I would have liked.
Then it hit me, I have to get off my arse and get those gigs! I had to make it 90% business and 10% show. There are a few areas that really helped project me towards a far better income, and a far better lifestyle just from doing a few tricks. In this blog I'm going to cover a few of the area I covered in my talk.
If you are self employed and want to better your chances of success, in my opinion, you need to go to networking events. If you are not already doing it, you should. Although they can be a daunting place to go to, its worth it, to build long term relationships with people who can propel you forward, and hopefully even get you more work. One of the tricky bits of networking is standing out (for the right reasons.) Far too often I get home after an event with a wad of business cards mixed in with pocket fluff, where do they go? Well more than likely into the draw with all the other business cards , or even chucked into the bin. And im fully aware that unless someone has a specific reason for keeping my card handy, it too, will end up in a smiler situation.
So the first area I spoke about was how to stand out and how to be memorable when networking. My job as a magician for weddings and corporate events, is to be memorable, and make the event stand out. I knew I could use these same skills I use in my magic performances at networking events to leave a lasting impression and make sure my card is not thrown away. In the talk I gave away a few great tricks to use at these events that are universal and not strictly for use as a magician. I wont give away the secrets here, but I can explain the psychology behind them. First, you have to make your business card personal to the person you want to keep it. I use a trick where I reveal a piece of information about a person I couldn't possibly have known, and I use my business card to write this information on. Now this card has meaning, it has a story, and what's more important it has a personal touch relevant to the person i'm giving my card too. I taught to secrets and we all had fun practising them on each other.
An important question to ask is who are you marketing to? What/who is your target market?
Although a concept almost everyone will have heard of, far less actually put this into action. I spoke about how to identify your markets, mine for example breaks down into 3 groups at first. Cheap, value for money, and premium. When I first started out I would have tried to appeal to the cheap group, basically getting paid anything just for the chance to perform. I speak about how I went about targeting this group, and how I worked my way up the professional ladder, up to where I am now, the premium market.
For the sake of this blog, allow me to briefly speak about the value for money section. This is the largest group, around 68%. It is the group that want a quality service for a fair price. They will shop around and try to get the best fit for their event. When I targeted this market, I needed to think like them, and think how they would go about booking a magician. I had to consider my perceived value. I couldn't look cheap, but I also couldn't look too high end which would put people off before even enquiring. I had to make a balance, and make everything about my business appeal to this market. This includes the website, business cards, photos and videos, even down to how I answered the phone. In short, everything has to appeal to your target market. I also spoke about how you can transition from one market to the other seamlessly, and re brand for a new target market over time.
one of the most important thing I have done is to track my marketing efforts. Again, it sounds simple, but after talking with countless people they are aware of it, but don't put it into action. In my talk I broke down exactly how I keep track of my enquiries, so I can make informed decisions about where to put my money. If for example I kept track of my marketing, I can know exactly what brings me more booking and what does not. If I know that I got 10 bookings from cold calling, and I spent, as an example, £100 paying for a sales person to get me those bookings – It works out at £10 per booking, which is very good! So I know I should continue, if not even increase my cold calling efforts, because I am seeing a good return on my investment. I give away the secret to how I track my enquiries and exactly how I handle them.
I wont talk too much about what sales tactics I use in a public domain, but I will give an overview of what I talk about.
Umm Ahh technique.
Lets be honest, we all want as much as possible for our time. I talk about how you can easily use add ons to increase your profit margins, and what's better, is to know if your client if going to buy into them before offering them.
Handling objections like a magician.
Answering objections before they are asked is an essential part of any sale. Being a magician and hypnotist, there is little tricks and tips that can easily help to close a sale. Sometimes it is just about asking the right way.
Its great to think like a magician when working in business, and you too can learn some of the skills a full time, professional magician puts into his business to make it stand out.
"Thank you so much for your session today, it was great. Can't wait to try the phone trick" - Sophie Delaporte. JCI Southampton president.