This is the scheme of things in the magic business. Complications arise when a magician, who may be good at using his thumb tip, lacks salesmanship. He prides himself with having an astonishing Vanishing Silk routine, but struggles to get birthday moms to hire him.
They are hobbled by the absence of skill to sell their program (called marketing and salesmanship). These skills involve prospecting (finding where the clients are), selling (convincing prospects to hire the show), and after-show relationship (keeping in contact with past clients to sell to them again in the future).
Those steps in salesmanship and marketing are alien to many magicians except for the precocious and for those who have been in the game long enough to have learned these disciplines on the job.
For this reason, many magicians rely on party shops and organizers to sell their services on their behalf.
Even I do, too, although I pride myself with a smattering knowledge in marketing and selling. I have party organizers and agents who book shows for me. I am thankful for the time they spend to sell my show and for their ability to convince clients to hire my services.
In their enthusiasm to get me booked, though, some agents sugar-coat their sales talk. They trust I can accomplish the feats they tell prospects I can do. These are harmless hypes. So far, I was able to live up to my billing.
However, usually, I am uncomfortable with sales talks, whether hyped-up or accurate. The reason could be because I’m not a salesperson deep in my bone marrows, so any bit of inaccurate claim bothers me.
For example, in last Sunday’s party, I was introduced by the emcee like this: Experience the magic and mystery of Master Leodini. Sir Leodini, who is a former banker, an accomplished public speaker and a graduate of UP is well-known for his comedy in magic.
That blurb made me wince. For one thing, I did not graduate from UP but from Cebu Institute of Technology (CIT). For another, I am not Master Leodini. In Philippine magic, somebody has already staked a claim on the title “Master”. He is my friend, someone I respect for his quality magic. Thus, I am not, must not, and cannot be “Master” Leodini. Sir Leodini would be more like it.Or Mel Gibson look-alike.
At another time, I arrived at a corporate Christmas party. The marketing manager who hired me through my agent was gushing with excitement when she met me back stage. “Your agent told me you have a hilarious show. We are excited to watch you perform. We’ve never seen a live comedy magic show before. We are raring to laugh the whole night.”
Now, I’ve never claimed my show to be comedy. I can make children laugh with a breakaway wand and some adults with hack one-liners, but to make an audience laugh the entire night is well beyond my ability.
But the client expected me to do just that—make them laugh the entire show.
You can imagine the pressure I put up with that night trying to live up to the comedy magician billing. I almost chickened out and jumped out of the window, screaming, “What had my agent got me into?”
- Selling Illusions (innermagicclub.wordpress.com)
- Leodini’s Magical Avatar (innermagicclub.wordpress.com)
- Do You Want to Make People Laugh? (innermagicclub.wordpress.com)