Crowd size

There are different opinions about the size of the crowd a trade show magician should attract. Some of the photographs on this blog of me performing give a deceptive picture since they depict the beginning of the show before the crowd has had time to gather but it will give a general idea.
One school of thought among trade show magicians is that the bigger the crowd the better.

It is not rocket science to draw a massive crowd. I have been drawing crowds most of my performing life which goes back decades. Sometimes my crowds are very small (perhaps 10 to 20 people), sometimes and most often around 20 to 30 people. A lot depends on the traffic of the trade show in question.

I have on a few occasions drawn the kind of crowds some trade show performers advocate–that is somewhere between 100 to 150 people.

However, that is not necessarily beneficial although it certainly gives the illusion of being so.

First it can draw complaints from other exhibitors and can get an exhibitor closed down. And any pitchman of any experience will tell you that a really large crowd can actually DECREASE the amount of leads.

I still remember meeting an exhibitor at a trade show and he told me “We once hired a magician to represent us but we will never do it again” Naturally I asked why. He told me, “He was very good. He got MASSIVE crowds! But we paid him ten grand a day and he never got us a single lead!” And this was a big name in the trade show magic business.

So bigger isn’t always better. And I charge nowhere near ten grand a day either!

Sure there may well be some exceptions to this policy. Some performers do claim they get good results for the company by working this way. Perhaps they do. The companies who have gone this route don’t share their R.O.I. results with me!

However, the only way I can see this working is on a very large booth with a lot of space inside the booth rather than have the performer work to people in the aisle otherwise it will block up the entire aisle and lead to complaints from show management and other exhibitors. You cannot possibly work like this on a 20 by 10 booth for example. And they wouldn’t have the budget for it anyway. These performers charge massive fees. They work one show per hour and to build such a massive crowd they have to do a 30 minute show. If the booth is too small for this activity the sales people would be blocked off from doing business until the show is over. So that is half an hour wasted time.

These performers often work on a small stage high enough for the entire crowd to see them and of course this adds up to extra expense.

Contrast this to the way that I typically work. Small crowds on a continuous basis. The show lasts around 12 minutes or so, I bring the people on to the booth to talk to the sales people then I start again. And work continuously and my crowds are not so gigantic that the sales people can’t go about their business.

I charge smaller fees (no ten grand a day I am sorry to say!) and can work on a much smaller booth.

Each to their own and this is the way I prefer to do things. It has worked very well over the decades I have been active in this work..


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