I recommend to anyone interested in pursuing working in the trade show market as a magician a book called A Modern Trade Show Handbook by Seth Kramer. Seth details in the book, the types of magic he performs, his promotional material, the correct sound system and staging needed, how he works with clients, the list goes on and on... Seth really goes into great detail on what it’s like to be a Trade Show Entertainer!
Here are 10 Trade Show Tips by Seth Kramer
Trade Show Tip 1
Being a good (and successful) trade show magician is not about the tricks you perform and it’s not about you and your ego. The secret to being a good trade show magician is knowing that it’s all about the company you’re representing and their product or services.
Trade Show Tip 2
In a pinch, an aerobics step makes an excellent riser. It’s adjustable, inexpensive, and can be found in any local sporting goods store.
Trade Show Tip 3
You can start your show with effects such as the Cups and Balls, or the Three Shell Game that require a table top, but as your crowd builds, you will want to get the tricks up off the table and into the air so the majority of the crowd can see what’s going on. (My friend Bob Kohler’s Ultimate Three Fly is an excellent choice for a trade show trick that plays at chest level.)
Trade Show Tip 4
Don’t ever give out your business card without receiving one in return. By obtaining a reciprocal business card, you can follow up with that contact after the show with a casual email or voice mail.
Trade Show Tip 5
Trade Show pioneer Mike Rogers gave me some advice early in my career (besides always telling me to “slow down, you’re not going to a fire”). He said, “Seth, you need to know your tricks inside and out so that you can perform them in your sleep if necessary. You shouldn’t have to think about any aspect of your tricks. You will need to focus most of your attention on the product information and how you will deliver the message to the crowd and connect with them.”
Trade Show Tip 6
Finding the ideal spots in your show for your marketing messages can be tricky. One exercise I’ve found to be helpful is customizing every show I do. I’m not talking specifically about trade shows here; I mean birthday parties, family shows, anniversary parties, a restaurant gig, etc. You can always find out some key details about the guest of honor when you book the show, or ask about the unique features of a restaurant before you start working.
Trade Show Tip 7
Don’t get a reputation as someone who will try to undercut another working performer by approaching their client when they aren’t around. Chances are that word of your visit will get right back to the performer as soon as they return. Karma has a way of biting you in the ass. As they say, what goes around comes around. There’s plenty of work for everyone; just go out and get it on your own.
Trade Show Tip 8
Just as you are there at the show to gather crowds for your client, the other magician’s and presenter’s are there to do the same for theirs. It makes little sense to try and one-up the competition by performing your show non-stop in an attempt to keep the other performer from doing their job.
Trade Show Tip 9
Make your product pitch interactive. Ask questions during your pitch and try to get feedback from your audience. If you are able to connect with your audience and create a rapport, you will find that you are in a unique position to qualify potential leads for your clients’ sales team.
Trade Show Tip 10
Become a student of sales. The bookstores are full of books (and audio books) that will teach you how to sell more effectively. Make a promise to yourself; For every five magic books you read, read one business book.
Thanks Seth for your input and helping our readers break into the industry!
Aaron Clark (The Amazing Ziggy)
My Name is Aaron Clark and I'm know as The Amazing Ziggy. I've been a Professional Magician for over 20 years performing all over the US and internationally, but mostly for events on the east coast in the Atlanta Area.