Guest Post by Tim Mannix
If your town is like mine, the competition factor is continually increasing as the entertainment market grows. However, I will say for the record that I do adhere to the belief that there is enough work for all of us, so I willingly pass this tidbit of information onto my fellow performers.
Since running my own ad for the last year and I have quickly become accustomed to the price-shopper. This type of shopper when calling doesn’t particularly seem interested in fact-finding about my experience, expertise or the type of show that I offer.
Price is their hot-button. They desire the bottom line price and have every intention of hanging up as soon as possible and continuing their dialing-for-quotes.
Their thinking seems to be “all magicians are the same, so what’s the difference except price?” The answer seems to be education.
Therefore, one of the techniques I utilize is to begin asking them as many questions as I can about their event or child’s party. Once I engage them, I can begin building some sense of rapport and educating them about my show and me. The idea is to elongate the phone conversation and to gather as much information as possible, which will aid in personalizing our brief encounter. Courtesy is foremost, but I begin by informing them of specifics about my show, i.e. intense audience participation, appearance of a rabbit, balloon animals, etc.
This added information helps to create intrigue and can entice them to ask questions that they might never have thought to ask themselves.
Obviously, price comes up quickly if they haven’t already asked in the first sentence, and I quote my price to them with a ring in my voice that says “And it’s so inexpensive” and wait for reaction. When the caller begins the impending hang-up , I ask one final question, “How much did you have in mind?” I steer clear of asking them about their budget or what price they’ re willing to spend since they can quickly advise me that I am out of range. This question brings about a dollar quote from the caller. Regardless of the price they quote, I inform them that I offer a discount if they are willing to be listed as one of my testimonial contacts. I explain that it affords me a list of individuals who are willing to be contacted regarding my show. I am confident in my show and ability so, this can provide me with an additional positive referral source. The response is usually positive.
I have turned many shoppers into advocates by offering a $25 discount. My feeling is that it is a win-win situation for everyone, and it beats losing them as a client. As long as the customer feels they are getting a deal, they will usually book me. Many people have called back since my competitors don’t seem to offer such opportunities. This technique assures that my referral list gets continually updated and generates an invaluable source when I encounter a client who requests unbiased feedback from individuals who have booked me in the past.
To date, I have found only two occasions where clients have requested my testimonial list, and they usually call only one person on the list, which is my most current show. Also, be sure to include show dates next to the contact name.
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