Here are some methods that I don’t use personally but I am quite sure they work. An old pitchman’s trick is to start mumbling to yourself. You talk out loud about the product or what you are going to do. You do NOT look up or make eye contact, at least you sense there are a few people watching. Then of course you pounce, bring them all in a little nearer and then get to work. It takes a bit of nerve to use this method since the magician may feel a bit silly and self conscious talking to himself but he soon gets used to it and it does work.
Here is the sort of thing the magician might say using a deck of cards, “I am going to make a deck of cards, walk, talk, snort, jump through a hoop, and do a tap dance right here on the table. i am going to make them disappear, reappear, one at a time, two at a time, all at once and vanish right through thin air.” After a couple minutes of this type of thing the nucleus of the crowd starts to gather.
Famed trade show magician Eddie Tullock used to wait until a couple of people walked by and asked them, “Have you had your lesson today?” They would respond, “what lesson?” and he would reply that he was talking about a lesson in the card game Bridge and that would get him an opening to start.
Noted Trade Show magician Danny Orleans stated on a magic forum that he would spot the name tag of an attendee and say something like, “Peter! You’ve arrived! We were just saying, ‘Is Peter going to show up’ and Abracadabra, you are here!” The attendee is taken aback and and doesn’t immediately realise it is a ploy until it is too late and before he knows it he is sucked in.
Some magicians have used larger tricks to gain attention especially one that makes a bit of a noise such as producing coins from thin air and dropping them into a champagne bucket or coffee can. Others have used the famous trick where the magician links metal rings together. This makes a bit of noise as the rings clang together.
Not every magician knows how to gather a crowd and this is possibly the biggest challenge of the inexperienced in the trade show market. However, it can be done quite well by those who know what they are doing.
In my next post I will describe a method that I have never used at a trade show although one day I might. I think it may be a a little flamboyant for a trade show and so far that has inhibited me from trying it. However, I did it often at consumer shows when I was selling trick decks of cards. Of course consumers shows tend to have a less sedate atmosphere than trade shows. I also used it in department stores and it would bring crowds out of nowhere even when traffic was quiet. I will tell you all about it later.//