A millionaire magician’s advice for selling luxury travel: Travel Weekly

A millionaire magician’s advice for selling luxury travel: Travel Weekly

Arnie Weissmann

Arnie Weissmann

Until the yr 2000, Steve Cohen felt he was doing fairly properly as a chamber magician, lining up personal gigs in rich individuals’s houses in Chappaqua, NY, pulling in about $2,000 per present.

Then he met Mark Levy, a marketer Cohen describes as “good.” Levy noticed extra potential in Cohen’s act than Cohen did himself. He urged him to lean tougher into who he already was and to overtly place himself as “the millionaires’ magician.”

Cohen thought it was a crass concept. His spouse thought it was a crass concept. His mother and father and finest pal suggested towards doing it. “I assumed I might lose all my shoppers; nobody’s going to come back to a magician who calls himself that.”

But Levy was persuasive. “If you may’t hand over the $2,000 gate, you will by no means get the $20,000 gate,” he advised him, referring to cost per present. “Be true to who you’re. Go all in on that.”

Cohen moved his present to a room on the Waldorf Astoria in New York, performing in a long-tail tux. He peppered his speech with references to luxury merchandise. He instituted a costume code for patrons. And he started burning by means of his financial savings. Multiple occasions, he was able to throw within the towel, however he pushed forward.

Fast ahead 20 years. In that point, Warren Buffett has flown Cohen to his dwelling to carry out. He was additionally employed by Michael Bloomberg and Martha Stewart to do personal exhibits. Barry Diller booked a front-row seat and was an keen volunteer on the public present he attended. Cohen has carried out for Russian oligarchs, Middle Eastern princes, Chinese billionaires, the queen of Morocco and the (earlier) crown prince of Saudi Arabia. When he isn’t doing his weekend gig (two exhibits on Fridays and Saturdays, now on the Lotte New York Palace), he is flying world wide to personal islands, megayachts and villas to carry out.

And in time, he turned not solely “the millionaires’ magician” however a millionaire magician.

Most individuals who watch Cohen don’t shell out $20,000 to $25,000 for a non-public efficiency however pay $125 to $350 for considered one of 64 seats at his public exhibits. At the one I attended, it appeared that many within the viewers have been vacationers for whom the price of entry was a little bit of a splurge, although not more than they may spend on a Broadway present.

I spoke with Cohen afterward, and through our dialog it struck me there have been classes in his story for these selling, or aspiring to promote, luxury journey.

  • On the worth of positioning: “People need one thing that they cannot discover wherever else, supplied by somebody who affords them an expertise that’s distinctive and novel. That is one thing fairly useful to somebody who can afford something.”
  • On changing skeptics: “I by no means, ever put down individuals who problem me. They are available in anticipating they’re going to determine how I do what I do — it is a bit of a cat-and-mouse sport — however ultimately , they do not. And their doubt works to my benefit. One skeptic later known as out, ‘We paid for magic. You’re giving us miracles.'”
  • On understanding the underlying foundations of craft: “The themes of magic are traditional. Everything is a variation on considered one of six or seven tips: Vanishing an object, making it reappear, defying the legal guidelines of gravity, making an object penetrate one other, studying somebody’s thoughts, transposing two objects. You choreograph the weather, molding them and melding them into one thing completely different. So every part I do is unique, and nothing I do is unique.”
  • On selling an intangible expertise: “Magic at all times occurs in your head, between the ears. Once you’ve got satisfied somebody to imagine in what you are doing, they’re going to double down on their perception.”
  • On the significance of tuning in to your buyer: “Every present is completely different as a result of each viewers is completely different. Every present, I by no means know what is going on to occur, and I feel the viewers enjoys seeing an artist at work, creating and crafting each time. “
  • On setting limits for individuals who push limits: “I used to have a midnight present, usually booked by billionaires. Because they paid prematurely, they noticed me as dedicated and would usually come late, and I used to be already worn out from having completed two exhibits. So, I ended providing a midnight present.”
  • On the significance of shopper referrals: “At the tip of each present, I at all times say, ‘If you loved this, please inform your pals.’ My success is dependent upon phrase of mouth.”
  • On stretching your self however remaining true to your self: “At first, I used to be making an attempt so laborious to please, like a courtroom jester. It’s not like that anymore; we’re taking a look at one another eye to eye. a matter of who you’re and who you carry out for. If I lived in Iowa or Idaho, I’d most likely name myself the farmers’ magician.”

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