Saying hello and goodbye to the client.
I'm sure you are just as surprised to hear that as me. It seems complete common sense, but many magicians forget all about this simple courtesy, way too often.
The event is in full swing, and it's professional to arrive acting like you know the drill and can get stuck in without any fuss. Trust me, if you ignore this small politeness, you are doing yourself a disservice in the long run. Here's why:
Your agent is NOT your client.
It doesn't matter that a faceless entertainment agency hired you as one of a dozen magicians performing that evening. Your real employer is the client who booked the magicians.
The agent just helped them choose which magicians to use.
Before you start, always take the time to meet the 'booker' and thank him or her for booking you.
Don't assume the client already knows you have arrived.
Have you ever hosted a party? It's pretty stressful. Chances are you will be arriving just before the client is expecting their first guests to be turning up. They have a hundred things to attend too. Don't think that this means you aren't one of the 'things' that also needs to be 'arranged'.
Clients worry about entertaining their guests. They are thinking about your arrival well before you even started your journey to the event.
They may seem unconcerned about your arrival, but that's only because, by the time you arrive, they are punch drunk on organizing things, and have switched to 'host' mode.
Make sure you meet the client as soon as you arrive so they can 'tick off' that loose end. The cliant can then move on to the next thing that needs to be checked.
Even if the client isn't attending, they may have left instructions.
You might be performing at a massive corporate event, and think that there is no individual client to meet. This is almost never the case. Someone will have been given the job of organising the entertainment. In fact, in these situations it is even more crucial to greet the client. This will be the event planner. They tend to feel even more compulsion to organise you as they are held responsible by their management. Find out, at the time of booking, who is your contact at the event, and make sure you talk with them before you start. They may have been given important instructions to pass on to you. If you fail to do this, you can be sure the blame will be passed on to YOU by the planner, if the client asks them why something that should of happened didn't.
The client may have VIP guests that need special attention.
You know the saying 'who's the most important person in your company?' The answer is usually not the 'boss'. It's the 'customer'. Well, at a gig the most important person usually IS the boss, rather than the person that booked you. Unless you know where the boss or his/her VIP guests are going to be seated, you may disappoint the client. They DO need to brief you, and if they don't, you should ask to be briefed. It's vital that you work towards supporting the 'goal' of the event. Without knowing what that it, you are providing an inferior service.
You don't want the client to think you left early.
Some people think the worst of people as default. Often they can be right to do so. You and I know that you are a professional, but the client may have had a miserable experience in the past with an entertainer, or simply not be that trusting a person. Saying goodbye, shows you stayed as long as you were booked to do so, and by implication you went down well and enjoyed working at the event.
If the client did not see you leave, he or she can only go by the feedback from the people around them, that saw you. What if that person tells the client you were awesome but that they only saw you at their table, at the start of the dinner, what conclusions could the client make? Ensure that the client has no doubt that you completed your contractual obligation to them.
Even if, they are busy, they are expecting you.
Do assume that, just because, the client is dancing in the middle of the dance floor; they are not expecting a goodbye. It's essential that you wait until you can say goodbye. Looking back, the client may forget how swept up in the evening they were, but they will not forget that they didn't see you leave.
The client may be planning a thank you shout out.
Imagine you are getting in your car and driving out of the venue car park. The building is getting smaller and smaller in your rear view mirror.
Meanwhile, in the room the client walks up to a mic and asks for a massive thank you to the magician. The room falls silent as everyone looks around, wondering where you are. Someone laughs at the back of the room, and the client shrugs, makes a joke about you and moves on with the speech, awkwardly. Don't let this EVER happen.. I was once a guest at an event, when this happened. In fact, I was the person at the back of the room that was a little drunk, and laughed out loud as everyone searched for the magician. The host (an old friend) ended up asking the guests to applaud me as the only magician left in the room.
You get to ask for a testimonial
Saying goodbye isn't just about the client. Getting feedback as you leave is gratifying (Although you should not put too much weight on compliments at a gig). The real benefit to you is a chance to ask for feedback in the form of a testimonial. Also, to ask them to call your agent later in the week and let them know how talented you are.
"Thanks, I had a great time, and I'm glad your guests enjoyed the magic. Listen, it would really help me if you could let my agent know what you thought of me."
Trust me, the result of this short thank you, will do your career as a magician more good than any splurge in a magic shop!
You may be asked for business cards.
There is a darned good chance that the client is extremely proud of you, and has been talking to guests though the evening and soaking up the compliments. In fact, the guests have been spending the evening chatting to the host and complimenting them about how phenomenal the evening is. It's almost a certainty that some have asked where you were found. Some will have also asked for your contact details. Not only to book you, but also to simply flatter the host. The result: The client may very well ask you for some cards to give to their friends. Only a fool would miss out on this opportunity!
So in closing, I hope you see that it makes no sense at all to slink off at the end of the evening, without saying goodbye. Equally, it a colossal mistake to arrive, set up and get stuck in to the crowd, without finding the client first. Resist the temptation to do this, and you will find you get more referrals, you will be in demand with more agents, and you will never have left, not knowing that another magician was secretly laughing at the back of the room, and got all your applause!