(Success Magazine)

Last year, Sony Corp. unveiled a $5 million state-of-the-art trade show booth at a broadcasting convention. But the little Anchor Audio booth next to it attracted all the attention. it didn’t have bright lights or glitzy graphics. It did have Joel Bauer, a North Hills, Calif., magician who specializes in trade shows. Bauer performed elaborate magic tricks, read people’s minds, and kept a running dialogue extolling the virtues Anchor Audio Inc., a leading supplier of portable sound systems.

The right talent can attract a crowd of even the weariest trade show conventioneers. But the real trick is making the connection between your company or product and the performance. Bauer catches the attention of passers by by holding a $100 bill in the air. “How often do you have the chance to win $100?” he asks. He doesn’t ask if they’d like to see a magic trick; he launches into one. Bauer puts the crowd at ease by working in jokes and clever repartee. He slips in praise and description of the products featured in the booth. The result: Conventioneers leave with a positive feeling they associate with the company and the desire to know more about it’s products.

Bauer performs, Bauer drills clients about their products and marketing strategy. He individually tailors his acts around their needs. “Joel created more leads for Anchor Audio in a handful of minutes than we would collect in an entire day,” says Jon Peterson, Anchor’s vice president of marketing. Bauer and his associates perform for 72 corporate customers at shows around the country.