At one time, I felt I needed a phone script to talk with prospective clients.
I was never sure what to say.
Or what to ask.
Over the years, I’ve realized I don’t need a script. I know what I need for my performance.
I ask a bunch of questions.
And I listen.
Just as important as asking questions is answering them. So here are some of the basic questions you may encounter, along with tips for responding to get the gig.
“How much do you charge?”
Clients generally ask this question when they aren’t sure what to ask.
My response is that I tailor my shows to the event, so before I quote them, I’d like to find out more about their plans. That will allow me to create a proposal that fits their needs.
“How long have you been doing this?”
Experience is important. Clients believe that someone with more experience is likely to be a better entertainment choice.
That isn’t always true. I know plenty of “professional” acts I would never recommend. Experience is only valuable if you learn from it.
I recommend you prepare for this question. If you only have six months of experience, own up to it. Then be able to rattle off several of your key performances during that time.
Acts with more experience tend to charge higher fees. But there are plenty of events that do not have large budgets. Your experience level may be right for those events as you build toward higher paying dates.
“Do You Have References?”
People feel safe with the recommendations of others.
You could say anything about your act. After all, you want the job. But past clients have no skin in the game. They won’t lie.
Have a couple of references handy in case this question comes up.
And offer similar references.
Sending a corporate client to a birthday party mom is not a good idea. Two different markets with two different entertainment needs.
Always ask after a show if you can use the client as a reference. Especially when they are telling you how amazing you were. Try to avoid passing along reference contact information if you haven’t cleared it with them.
“Is Your Act Clean?”
I’ve got to stress here that a clean act can play more places and earn more money than someone who uses language and adult topics.
There will be plenty out there who disagree.
I mean, look at Jeff Dunham – the highest grossing touring comedian out there. He uses language.
Look at the big comedians. They use language.
Yes – but here is the rub …
You are talking about the BIG comedians. The stars.
Comedy clubs do not pay much.
There are thousands of would-be comedians who will jump on an open-mic for free. Give them $50 for an opening spot and they will drive 8 hours to do it.
I know this because I have worked comedy clubs.
I am friends with a lot of comedians. I hired comedians for a room I booked. I know what they asked for. I know the fees.
And of those thousands of comedians, only a handful reap the benefits of the big time.
A clean act can work a comedy club.
It can also work a:
- birthday party,
- civic group,
- church function,
- corporate dinner,
- and the list goes on.
So let’s say you work clean. During the time your comedian counterpart works open mics and MC spots for small change … you could work a $100 birthday party and come out ahead.
If they never become famous – and the odds are against them…
You earned more doing a clean show.
But enough preaching – I work both clean and adult.
I started with clean and 90% of my performances are still clean. I also seldom use foul language in my adult shows. It isn’t needed.
So when the client asks “Is You Act Clean?” I respond with a question …
Can you define clean?
This may throw them for a second, so I continue…
Everyone has a different definition of the word. To some, it means no foul language. To others it means no sexual innuendo or content. And some are looking for a rating PG-13, PG or G.
Once they give you an idea of what they want, you can either assure them you can meet those guidelines. Or You can pass on the show.
“What puppets will you use?” “Can you use …”
I hate this line of questioning/requests.
My response is that I base the characters used on the responses to my show questionnaire. That way the characters will relate to their audience.
When I have clients request a certain puppet, I tell them I can’t promise that. Some of my characters look very cute – but their personality may not be right for the show.
“Will my guests be involved in the show?”
People love to see folks they know participate. Give a brief description of any audience participation material you perform.
Always pre-empt the question “Will they be embarrassed?” by stating the participation is fun. Your goal is never to embarrass anyone. You want to make those that help you the stars of the show.
Of course, only say that if it is true.
Give some thought to how you will answer these questions.
That way, the next time someone has you on the phone you can sound confident and professional. Which goes a long way toward making prospective clients feel good about hiring you.
What are some of the questions prospects have asked you? Share them below in the comments and let us know how you responded …