I had the pleasure of spending an evening last night with a friend last night who’s a world-class magician.  His card work is flawless and his ability to entertain is superb.  As I was watching him work, I again realized that parallels can be drawn between successful magicians and those who are successful in communicating in business.

You can come up with a quick checklist of those parallels:

  • The messaging is clear.  A famous magician once said, “Confusion is not magic.”  Well, confusion does not make for successful communication of your corporate or product message.  What does your company do?   Who can best benefit from your products and services?  What solution do you deliver to people that helps them get past their challenges?  You need to be able to clearly communicate those messages.  If not, you confuse….and if you confuse, you don’t get the sale.
  • The focus is sharp.  Magicians who are among the best are great at getting you to focus on what they want you to see.  Now, I’m not suggesting that you try to distract or confuse your customers with smoke and mirrors, but it’s important that you be able to help them stay focused on how your product/service can best help them.  Case studies/customer testimonials are a great way of doing that; your prospects will be able to focus on the fact that someone like them was able to solve similar problems with your stuff.
  • You’re one step ahead.  Magicians thrive on this; it allows them to confound their audiences.  As a business professional, if you can stay one step ahead of your competitors, you win.  Moreover, if you can understand your customers’ needs before they’ve even had a chance to recognize what they may be, you’ve stopped being merely another vendor…and have become a trusted advisor and partner, who’ll earn their repeat business time after time.
There are obvious differences as well, of course.  Chief among them, you may never be perceived as trying to fool your customer or prospect.  But there are enough parallels that you may want to think like a magician.  By doing so, you’ll be able to astound your customers.  And who knows, you’ll occasionally be able to pull a rabbit out of a hat.