Some Thoughts on How to Engage People in a Sales Situation Doing Caricatures

I draw caricatures in bars sometimes for tips. I’ve done it for almost 25 years. Part of that is approaching strangers and asking them if they want to get a caricature- without actually speaking to them (because it’s loud). My only prop is a sign that says, “would you like a one minute caricature? I work for tips”. Sounds simple right? Nope.

Tone, mindset, body language, mood of the crowd, time, wether I had a beer or not, the color of my shirt, how I smile... all of these things come into play and make difference between their perception that I am-

A) telling them to give me money so I can draw them

Or

b) Drawing awesome pictures for people and if they want to show their appreciation with a nice tip they can.

It’s obvious which one works better (and gets bigger tips), what’s difficult is discerning the difference and being able to replicate it at will.

Obviously its more difficult with a cold crowd. It takes finesse. There’s a lot of disengagement when I go at it as a business and try to talk people into it. The perception that people have is that I’m wandering around the room and holding up a sign that nobody wants. (No idea what I’m doing) so when I get to whomever has been watching they follow suit and disengage. Sometimes rudely.

Often rudely...

How I change that perception EASILY is to find the prettiest person in the place, or the most important or most visible at least. (Say if everyone is watching a band, I go to the table nearest the band).
- and I offer them a free caricature. Totally free. No strings attached. I yuck it up with them, people see we’re having fun together. The subject is laughing and when I give them the sketch they LOVE it, scream and hug whoever they’re there with. And then they give me a large tip usually.

If I noticed that people were watching- I go sit near them and check my phone, drink a beer, watch the band, chat with the bartender, door man, whatever. In a few minutes someone will usually come up to me and ask if I’ll go to where their friends are to draw them too. Next thing you know people are waiting in line or trying to get my attention to get me to come to the area that they’re in.

Engaged.

Speed Sketchers

© 2018 Adam Pate

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