I’m going to take you back in time. Back to one of my early Vent Haven ConVENTion days.

Then, I didn’t have the Learn-Ventriloquism Course. I wasn’t a part of Maher Studios. I was just a ventriloquist who made his living doing shows.

Lots of shows.

I was also pretty visible on the internet, so there were a lot of ventriloquists who knew I worked.

Two vents offered to take me to lunch.

We were still holding the conVENTions at the Drawbridge hotel during this time. That meant, to get lunch and be back for the next event, you had to drive somewhere to eat.

God the restaurant was slow.

Back to lunch … so while eating some fast food, one of the two vents looked me in the eye and asked, “How can I get $1,000 shows?”

“Charge $1,000.”

My reply may have sounded flippant, so I elaborated.

You will never book a $1,000 show if you don’t ask for $1,000. (And that price can literally be any amount.)

Now here is the rub – not every client can afford $1,000. So you have to be prepared to lose some shows. And there are few part-time or even full time acts who are willing to walk away.

So they play a game. How much do I think the prospect can afford? And as a result, they are afraid to ask for what they want. Meaning they will seldom, if ever get that higher priced show.

So how do you know if you are worth more? This question crosses my desk all the time.

How much are you worth?

If you are doing shows and the audiences are laughing, coming up to talk to you after your performance and hiring you for more shows – you are worth more.

If your shows have long dead spots with no laughs, people say “good job or nice job” and no one is hiring you – you need to work on your act.

Now that we have established a base line of value, how much should you be charging? For that, I refer you to two articles: How Much Should I Charge?¬†here on Maher Studios, and Your Corporate Entertainment Budget, on ComedyVentriloquist.com¬† The first article will give you pricing strategies. The second will allow you to see how a program adds value, or detracts from a client’s evening.

But what if you have trouble asking for a higher dollar amount?

Some people, especially magicians, fall into the trap of quantity selling. By that I mean (as an example)

  • For $250 you get me and a 30 minute show.
  • For $300 I will add my rabbit & produce it.
  • For $500 you get me, one girl and an illusion.
  • For $750 you get two illusions and a 45 minute show.
  • For $1,000 you get an hour show and three illusions.

The more you want, the more you pay. But what about if the client only wants 10 minutes? You have boxed yourself into a quantity/time situation.

I used that model for years as a magician. Then I discovered a host of issues wrong with that method.

If you feel uncomfortable charging more, there are ways to help you feel justified.

Namely: Customer Service.

Are you fast to respond when someone reaches out for a show? Do you stay in touch before, during and after?

Are you willing to listen to their needs and fulfill them, rather than trying to sell what you offer?

Do you personalize the program for the client? (Including sending out a questionnaire so you can tailor your act.)

Do you provide photos, bios, an introduction?

Have you ever considered making a quick webcam video with you and your puppet talking about the upcoming show? These little “commercials” can be shared on their website, in social media and add value.

Do you arrive early to coordinate with the client and other event professionals?

Are you flexible to the client’s evening? Most acts aren’t. They value their time over the client’s event. If the client runs late, they are charged more or the act is shortened.

Flexibility is a huge service.

The savviest ways to boost your fee have nothing to do with the length of your show or number of props.

It has everything to do with how you treat the client and fulfill their entertainment needs.

Have a great show AND first class service!