Pricing for Magicians, Part 2.

Conjurer's Coffee Break - Episode 015


- Hey, welcome back.
- In the first part, I spoke about pricing and how you have to have to be 100% happy with the fee you quote.
- And for many of you that means raising your prices.
- It's hard, but in order to be satisfied in your work, it has to be done.

- Now, of course, there will be some resistance from clients who say you're too expensive and that's why in this part I'll talk about some of the ways you can handle that situation.

- First up though, when a client asks for a discount. Don't take it personally.
- We all want to get the best value, and even when you think someone can afford it, they might just not see the value you in it.
- I once did an event, before I learnt what I'm about to share with you, where someone knocked me down by £50.
- On the day, I found the client and he reeled off my £400 from a stack of about £3000 cash, and I thought... "Gee, could you not afford the extra £50?" but the point is they just didn't get the value.
- I heard this example on the podcast Two Magicians, One Mic, but it's worth repeating...
- You could, in theory, pay £20 / $20 for a chocolate bar, but you probably wouldn't unless it was something really special, right.
- So, affordability and value are completely different.
- I'll be coming back to this topic later down the line.
- For now, just don't take it personally.

- OK, with that out of the way, let's start with the main lesson of today which is to "negotiate, never discount!"

- If someone asks for a discount, and you just say, "yeh sure, no problem, I'll reduce it by £100" or whatever, then either you weren't 100% sure about your price in the first place, or the client has won and you've lost.
- You know, if you feel like you're being cheated then you're unlikely to go over and above for that client.
- In effect, the client also loses out on getting the best performance they can.
- So, the first part of this is being confident that you price you quote is a fair one.

- And the second part is remembering that a negotiation is about finding a win-win situation.
- There is still a way that you can offer the client a lower rate, whilst still being happy with the result.

- Remember that your fee is an exchange. It's the effort you put in vs what you get back.
- If the client wants to pay less, then you can take something out of the package you offer them.

- Here's just some of the things that might help you to find some wiggle room:
- The obvious one is to reduce the amount of time you're performing for.
- I only do this for close up magic, as the difference between a 30 minute stage show and a 45 minute stage is show is negligible. The effort is in the setting up.

- I might also tie in a discount to the timing of the event. If they want me to finish at 11pm, 2 hours away from home, then I might reduce the price if we agree that I can finish at 10pm.

- Did you see the magic word there? We're looking to find something that we can agree on.
- If you take one thing away from this episode, try to incorporate that word into your vocabulary more.
- "Let's agree that..."

- A similar example, is if shifting the timings allows me to get a double booking on one day, then that might be worth offering a client a discount.

- Another obvious one, is a reduction in price for multiple bookings, eg.
- 10% off each show, if you book two or more.
- This, of course, doesn't work so well for private parties where they are only asking about one event.
- As I've mentioned previously, there are multiple models for running a business with magic.

- Something that I have offered in the past is a reduction in price if the client allows me to bring along a photographer or videographer to the event.
- For these events, I probably lose money or at best break even, as I have to pay another supplier, but this has been worth it in the past.
- I must be honest, I don't do this one so much these days, but it can be good if having more photos and videos would be useful to you.

- Likewise, you could ask for a review, provided that you do a good job.
- Clients love this one, as they get a discount, and all they have to do is a few minutes of writing.
- However, my concern is that this is something that happens after the event, and so you might forego your full fee, and end up not actually getting the review.
- For me, I only use this one for a very small £10 - £20 discount.

- And my final one, where I might give a discount is where we agree that their booking is not for me, but for "a performer" - either myself or one of my magician colleagues in my place.
- I judge all of these negotiations on a case by case basis.
- This one in particular is not appropriate for all events, but where it is, this allows me to accept the gig, but also frees me up to drop out of it, if another booking comes in at my full rate.

- The other way of thinking about negotiating is keep the price the same, but to add something on.
- As you will know, if you've listened to the podcast before, I am massively in favour of magicians learning more parlour and stage magic. I have a podcast planned about that topic coming up.
- I often have new routines I want to try, so often I can throw in a 15 minute group performance, for free.
- Or if required, for children's magic, I can add on balloon modelling, as a fee extra.
- The key is to find something that doesn't add too much to your workload.
- Don't for example, offer to perform an extra hour or provide a custom themed illusion.

- All of this episode only applies, of course, if you even want to negotiate.
- When someone asks for a discount, you can simply say no.
- I often do just this. I say no, and restate why I think I would be best for their event.
- Often the client isn't expecting a discount, and is just asking because they think they should.

- And in fact, as your bonus for listening though so far, I'll give you one more tip that I have started experimenting with, and that is to give an offer up front.
- For my children's magic, I offer £20 off my top package if it is booked for a morning slot, which is usually a quieter time.
- What it means though is that if someone asks for a discount, I can negotiate as I've outlined above, or I can reply and I'm able to say that I've already provided an offer.
- Of course, some won't want the top package, or the morning won't be convenient so it's not a "catch all" solution, which is why I say I'm still experimenting with this.
- Perhaps, it's really just a nicer way of saying no.
- I'm also looking for an equivalent for my close up magic.
- Let me know what you think in the comments for this episode at

- That's also where you'll find every past episode and where I'll post all the upcoming ones too.
- Don't forget to share the conjurer's coffee break podcast with friends, and subscribe wherever you get your podcasts from.

- At this point, I'd like to recommend the book Never Split the Difference by Chris Voss. I'll link to it in my show notes.

- OK, one final final thing.
- Remember, if the client still doesn't have the budget to negotiate with you, you can recommend that they don't have a magician.
- Perhaps their budget is just too low.
- And that's the topic for next week.

- Until then, as ever, thanks for listening.

Additional Show Notes

- Some of you will have disagreed with me in this episode and the last. That's OK. I'm OK with that. These are just some thoughts that if they are helpful to you or spark a conversation, that's great. If not, then feel free to disregard them.

- Here's a link to the book I mentioned.

Never Split the Difference - Chris Voss

There's also a TED Talk and several videos online. I'll let you search for those yourself.

- The key takeaway though is to agree with the client. Find a win-win situation for both of you, not just a discount where the client get's everything because you're desperate for the work. In short, be less desperate, I guess.

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