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Client Appreciation Events: 14 Ideas to Make Yours a Success

Client Appreciation Events Corporate Magician Steve BarcellonaClient Appreciation Events: 14 Ideas to Make Yours a Success

Client appreciation events are an important way to demonstrate an all important message to your clients; that they mean more to you and your organization than just a name and a number on a balance sheet. It give you and your representatives an opportunity to build rapport and trust in a natural way. Client appreciation events also pay a huge compliment to your clients. The loyalty that they build is a measurable way to create business growth. Here are some tips for client appreciation events.

4 Reasons to Have a Client Appreciation Events

  • Your clients want to know that you value their business, they really like to feel appreciated. This one reason alone may help you hang on to clients for years without doing anything other than a periodic phone call.
  • Clients who feel appreciated are far more likely to stay with you through a down market and are more likely to give you referrals!
  • If sending an impersonal birthday or holiday card is all you do to keep in contact with clients throughout the year, it is past time for you to step up your game.
  • Want to reach next-generation clients? Invite your clients’ family and friends to attend your events. There’s no faster way to make a good first impression than when your clients are happy, relaxed and personally engaged with your firm.

The 3 R’s for Your Client Appreciation Events

The goal of any client appreciation event is rapport, retention and referrals.

  • Rapport- Give yourself a chance to strengthen rapport and build on relationships in an easy environment. The conversation gets a lot easier if there is something else to talk about besides business.
  • Retention – It is incredibly important to make an emotional deposit into a client’s mental bank. By far the best thing to be associated with is a fun, pleasurable evening.
  • Referrals – The most powerful way to build on a business is through referrals. Clients will freely offer up your name to friends and family with just a little push from you.

What kind of event should you have? 4 great ideas

  • Happy Hour or Cocktail Party – Happy hour events are fun and if your clients partake in alcoholic beverages, they have a way of loosening people up to a degree that allows engagement. Plan a two to three hour event where you can offer two drinks and hors d’oeuvres. It is a nice relaxed environment making it easy to move around the room, meet people and answer questions. I regularly perform strolling magic for a client who holds an event like this on a regular basis at an upscale hotel lobby bar, which is the perfect ambiance.
  • Coffee and Dessert Party – Desert parties can be a perfect solution. They are great if you have a clientele that is a bit older or maybe wouldn’t participate in a happy hour. They’re informal, inexpensive, and fun and because the environment is relaxed, attendees don’t feel pressured or awkward and are more likely to open up. Spring for some special desserts, something out of the ordinary. Again a hotel or a nice restaurant with some ambience would be great for this type of event. A Mystery Party guest could definitely liven it up.
  • Wine & Cheese tasting – A classy event where you can mix and mingle with your clients. A lot like the happy hour. Have a table where the wine is served and explained. Keep it casual instead of a full blown wine class.
  • Dinner and a Show – This is a wonderful way to really show your clients how much they mean to your organization. Start with a cocktail hour and then dinner. After you make a short presentation an hour of standup comedy magic that ends on a high, positive note will send everyone home raving about your event and will be sure to garner referrals. This can be a perfect holiday event.


3 Ways to get the word out about your Client Appreciation Events

  • Newsletter – Make sure you let your list know about your event in the newsletter. It needs to be in at least two editions and make sure you ask your clients to RSVP.
  • ­­­­­­Website – A blog post or a page on your website with a form for clients to RSVP is a great place to direct interested parties.
  • Phone Calls – Make sure your most important clients get a personal invite.

Be careful you can’t invite everyone. You want them to feel special and having a huge crowd won’t accomplish that goal. Somewhere between 50 and 100 will make a manageable group, this way you can spend some time with everyone. It is better to have two or more events than to have a group so large that there will be clients that you never get to.

Make your event something they will want to tell their friends about. A great event will make it easy for them to mention you the next time they talk to their friends and family. “We went to an event that our (your firm’s name here) put on and it was amazing! It was so much fun that I can’t wait for the next one.”

If you are searching for someone to wow clients at your event, please get in touch to learn more about how I can help you at your next client appreciation event.  Click here and fill out the form for more info.

Steve’s Introduction

Steve’s Introduction

It’s important to have someone introduce the show. It gets everyone’s attention and gets them focused and quieted down so the show gets off on the right foot.

Sometimes, before we get started, some remarks are going to be made or there will be an awards presentation. It is best to have these things happen before the show. Whenever these festivities have concluded the MC should go into one of the following introductions.

If you read them as written you will get at least 3 laughs. I have seen many people try and adlib, I have rarely seen people make these remarks funnier, but it is up to you! Have a good time with it.  Remember, we are trying to get everyone relaxed and change any preconceived ideas they might have about what is to come.

This first one is the one we will most likely use.

Introduction 1 (No Music)

Our entertainer this evening became interested in magic at an early age and after years of practice… he still isn’t any good.

His company Barcellona Presentations helps corporations and associations get their events off to a great start, by providing motivational comedy entertainment for banquets and sales meetings throughout the Midwest…whether they like it or not.

His main goal is to make magic cool, hip and sexy.
Instead of dumb, geeky and lame.
But face facts, it is really just a desperate cry for help.

Let’s put some magic on the menu with a warm round of applause for the master of magic and mirth…Steve Barcellona.

(Lead the applause, when I get to you we will shake hands and
then you walk off and enjoy the show!)

Occasionally, if there is a long walk out prerecorded music might be used to cover the transition. In that case we will use the second introduction which ends a little differently because the music has an announcer’s voice on it.

Introduction 2 (Music Intro)

Our entertainer this evening became interested in magic at an early age and after years of practice he still isn’t any good.

His company Barcellona Presentations helps corporations and associations get their events off to a great start, by providing motivational comedy entertainment for banquets and sales meetings throughout the Midwest…whether they like it or not.

His main goal is to make magic cool, hip and sexy.
Instead of dumb, geeky and lame.
But face facts, it is really just a desperate cry for help.

Thank you all for coming and on with the show!

(Walk off as music plays Steve on)

Awards Banquet Planning Tips to Make Winners Feel Like Stars

Shine A Light from above

Steve Barcellona Comedy Magic St. Louis, MO Awards Banquet Planning Tips Tp Make Winners Feel Like Stars

It is awards banquet time again; time to recognize those employees or volunteers who have done outstanding work on behalf of your company or group. In addition to the plaque or certificate what else are you going to do to make the award winners feel honored and most importantly special? Here are a few tips to make them feel like the stars of your awards banquet.

Treat your award winners like celebrities
At a recent awards banquet, I performed strolling magic in the VIP suite for the winners. Having a special area for your awardees and their families makes them feel special and honored. Have the room stocked with drinks and appetizers. Make them feel like celebrities; remember most people never make it to the VIP room.  

Big stars sit down front
Did you ever notice that the likely Oscars winners always sit down front with George Clooney? Reserve some tables down front for you award winners. It is a simple way to make them feel special.  It will also make for a smoother presentation because it will be easier for them to get to the stage for their award. Having stairs front and center, instead of the sides make stage accesses quick and easy.

Red Carpet Photos
Capture professional photos as award winner and special guests arrive. Those “hurry up” onstage snapshots rarely look good. You don’t want everyone to remember the evening with eyes half-closed and a head half-turned photo do you. Where appropriate, arrange for a professional photographer.

Cap the evening off with Great Entertainment
After dinner and the awards are finished treat everyone to some laughs. Not everyone will be a winner, but everyone should have a good time.  I recommend to my clients interactive, high energy comedy magic show.  If you have many awards 30 to 40 minutes will be perfect if you have only a few awards 45 minute to an hour will be the right amount of time.  The entertainment should be light and something that gets people having fun. An inexperienced entertainer or a long winded speaker will kill the night. People that are laughing are having a good time and will have wonderful memories of the evening. Make this year’s awards banquet amazing!

How To Hire An Entertainer For Your Holiday Party…Part 2

Holiday time at Davidians

How to Hire An Entertainer For Your Holiday Party Part 2

Here is part 2 of my recent interview with GigMasters.com. They were looking for some insights to help guide clients in booking entertainment for all kinds of events. I thought it would be useful as kind of a “How To Hire An Entertainer For Your Holiday Party”. This is Part 1, please enjoy and spread it around if you like.


GigMasters: Do you prefer to work adult or children’s events? Or both?

Steve: I almost exclusively perform for adults. There are a couple of children’s charities that I work for. The Juvenile Diabetes Foundation and Shriner’s Hospital are two groups I can’t say no to.

GigMasters: What services/specialties do you offer?

Steve: I have a package called “The Evening of Comedy and Magic” That I consider my specialty. It starts off with strolling magic during the cocktail hour and finishes with an hour show after dinner. It is all self-contained and hassle free for the client and it really makes for a complete evening of entertainment.

GigMasters: What is the most interesting/unique event you have ever worked?

Steve: I sure have had some interesting things happen. I remember one time at a medical society awards banquet an older gentleman accepted his award and then fell off the stage. Thank goodness he was OK. He just bounced up like nothing happened it looked like he was made of rubber. Then there was the time a pipe broke in the ladies room. That was a mess! Ladies were screaming so loud that it was obvious something bad had happened. A few of them came back looking like they fell in the lake! But you learn to take it all in stride.

GigMasters: Anything else you’d like to share?

Steve: People always tend to shop performers by fee. The assumption is that all performers are the same and it all comes down to price. Rarely are the best, most experienced performers the cheapest. Realize that if you have 100 people at your event and you only want to pay a performer $300 that is only $3 dollars a head. What kind of entertainment can you get for $3 dollars out in the world? A trip to the movies is $7 to $10 bucks. Always hire the best talent you can afford. This year’s event is only going to happen once, don’t take any chances.


How To Hire An Entertainer For Your Holiday Party…Part 1

Dolby Holiday 2006 24

How To Hire An Entertainer For Your Holiday Party

Recently, I was interviewed by GigMasters.com. They were looking for some insights to help guide clients in booking entertainment for all kinds of events. I thought it would be useful as kind of a “How To Hire An Entertainer For Your Holiday Party”. This is Part 1, please enjoy and spread it around if you like.


GigMasters: What should a client consider when looking to hire an entertainer for their event?

Steve Barcellona: First thing, always look at testimonials on GigMasters website and the performer’s website. Do they have any video testimonials? If the performer has glowing recommendation from past clients that is a pretty good indication that they have a quality act.

Second, clients should always match the performer to the event. What kind of event is it? Is it an awards banquet, holiday party, conference or is it a children’s party, school assembly. Some magicians are great at children’s birthday parties, some are great for family events, and still others excel at corporate events. Clients should always look for the specialist. A lot of performers like to think of themselves as an “all occasion performer” not many are great at everything. I would hate to hire a general practitioner when I needed a brain surgeon.
Also, you should watch their video to get a good idea of who they are.

GigMasters: What questions should a client ask a Comedy Magician that they are considering booking?

Steve: Clients should get a good idea of what kind of act the perfromer has. Are they a stage performer? Do they perform close up? How does what they describe fit in with what you have planned? Always keep in mind that it might be worth it to adjust a bit if what they describe sounds like it would be really something special.

Also, they should always find out what kind of audiences the performer has worked for in the past. Are they groups like yours? How large? Are they events like yours? Most importantly, what kind of questions is the performer asking you. Does it seem like he has done this before? That is pretty important.

Gigmasters: Once a client books you for a performance, what details should be discussed prior to the event?

Steve: I always get all the details down on paper in the form of an agreement. It is nice for you and the client to see everything in black and white. That way there can be no misunderstanding. It is always nice to meet the event planner earlier on the day of the event. That way you know exactly where to set up. You can also handle any last minute changes together.

Oh yeah, make sure the performer has a good GPS’able address. You would be surprised how often people take for granted that there address is on the map!

GigMasters: Please tell us – when did you get started with magic, and why do you do perform?

Steve: I have been performing magic since my teenage years. My mother worked for a publisher and she brought me home a couple of magic books. Once I showed a little interest she kept bringing more. And so began the spoils of a misspent youth! I took a short break from performing to work in the corporate world, but I realized that life is too short not to do the things you really love to do…It just happens that I like to lie, cheat and keep secrets. (My wife hates that joke)

GigMasters: What kind of gigs do you usually book?

Steve: I do a lot of corporate and association events. At banquets I usually perform strolling magic during the cocktail hour as a mystery party guest. Then I do a really funny comedy magic stand up after dinner show. It is the kind of thing you would see in a comedy club, but clean, PG13. I also perform at hospitality suites and trade shows and some private parties.

Part 2 coming soon…

Planning Ahead Is The Key To A Successful Event


It happened again just this morning…Someone called me, frantic, to see if I was available this weekend for an event. Surprisingly I get phone calls like this a couple of times a month. I feel sorry for event planners like this, the amount of stress must be huge. It would be so much easier if they just planned ahead.
It is never too early to start planning your event. The sooner you pick a date the easier it will be for your guests to plan on being there. Three to six months in advance is a good time frame. Hotels, banquet centers, professional meeting planners, caterers and yes entertainers, will still have many dates open making it easier for you to get the date you want. It always amazes me when someone will call me a few days before an event in desperation. I always try to accommodate, if I am available, but skip the hassle and plan ahead.
I have already started to get requests for holiday parties. I know it is over 100 degrees outside who is thinking about holiday parties! Well some people are, I have even booked a couple. Plan ahead and pick your date and then give me a call.

Event Tip #101 – The Magic of Name Tags

005: Hello!

When ever I walk into a cocktail hour or corporate event and I see name tags being handed out I know I am about to have a great night. It is so simple but so rarely seen at events. A name tag can take the pressure off everyone. No one has to remember anyone’s name they can just relax and have a good time. You can make it simple and have everyone write their own name tags with a marker. Have them write something as a conversation starter, for example, if your event is at an auto museum everyone can write the name of their first car or their dream car. You can ask them a question and have them answer it on their name tag under their name. Questions like, what is your favorite kind of food or restaurant? What is your favorite vacation destination?Or they can write any interesting fact about themselves. Use your imagination and make it fun.
I love them because as I work the room, performing for people in small groups, they allow me to introduce people to one another. They also allow me to seem like part of the company or group. I have even heard people say “He was great, he knew everyone’s name!” Name tags are a simple and effective way to make your events successful.