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« What to do if you have NOTHING and need to start your magic business. | Main | Lessons from helping a friend »


It's not what you know, it's who you know.

This is an old saying in life. It hints at elitism, but the more I think about this, the more it is true.

Most of the great "breaks" and great experiences I've gotten in business have come from people who I know, who I've become friends with and who I've kept in touch with.

Examples: (These are not ego strokes, they're real world examples of what I'm talking about.)

  • The client I've performed over 50 shows a year for over the past 15 years came to me because they saw a friend perform and asked if he had a big magic show (Illusion Show). He didn't, but he recommended me. I've grossed done well over a million dollars worth of work with that one client!
  • When I went on tour with Country Music Legends Brooks and Dunn, Rascal Flatts and Brad Paisley - they found out about me from a body paint artist who had a booth next to us at a trade show. I hadn't kept in touch, but my business partner had - the result - 39 concert dates over 4 months and an awesome summer.
  • Each June I perform at high schools throughout California - all of them booked by a good friend of mine who literally has more business than he can handle during that time.
  • My first high dollar corporate speaking gigs came from one of my best friends.
  • My first international shows came from people I knew and had ongoing friendships with.
  • My first National TV Appearance came as a result of dinner with my best friend and Teller.
  • My first Internet TV appearances (podcasts) were all the result of my friendships.

Here's the key...

Not one of those relationships that I mentioned above were in place to get business. I was a friend to each of the people involved FIRST - then business came as a result.

Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and other social media sites are helping us keep in touch with each other easier and easier - but it's real life, personal relationships that pay off the most, and not  just in monetary ways.

The key to this NETWORKING is to honestly look out for others along the way. As a result, others will look out for you too. There's a saying that "What goes around, comes around" and I believe that to be mostly true - I even have an EXTREME personal example of this that I'll write about sometime soon.

Some tips on how to get the ball rolling in your own business:

1. Always help a potential client find what they need - even if you are not personally available for the event. They'll remember YOU the next time, and those who you refer them to will remember you as well. Also - be sure to capture that persons information so you can help them the next year - be sure to add them to your e-mail list!

2. Always pay a commission on referrals sent to you. If not in cash, then in some other meaningful way - a gift card for dinner out, a box of Omaha Steaks or a small gift. It's not required (in many cases), but I can tell you that I tend to think of the people who have "thanked" me before I think of those who haven't when I'm referring gigs.

3. To have a friend - BE a friend.

Finally, and I wish this went without saying, but if you are called in to cover an event for one of your friends clients - respect their relationship with that client in every way possible.

I have one magician that I send to cover my top client. If they ever call him directly he makes it clear that he was just filling in for me, and that before he can book anything with them, he needs to check with me. As a result - I know I can trust him and I send him 2-3 decent gigs a year.

I have a couple of hypnotists that I book regularly to cover my overflow of high school grad nights - they always refer the shows back to me - even if they get the calls directly.

This is the way that I personally treat people and I'm happy when I get the same treatment in return - your friends will appreciate it too.

I'd love to hear your comments - please leave them below.


1:00 a.m., March 22, 2010

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Reader Comments (1)

While reading this post I got a call from somebody who had passed my name on to one of their friends for a show. Networking works!

March 22, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterLeif David

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