Ask the Pro, Ventriloquist Bob Abdou | What Exactly Do You Do?

ventriloquist central ask the pro with bob abdou

Here’s more advice from ventriloquist Bob Abdou:

Last weeks blog stirred up some good comments and calls. I am glad these articles are helpful.

I enjoy sharing my knowledge and experiences. The main reason I do this is because when you do a good show, I get work. When I do a good show, you get work.

I want to see all be top notch professionals and my advice is not fluff or sugar coated.

One of the calls from last week was from a ventriloquist that was new to the biz. I asked him what exactly does he do? His answer was short & sweet. I told him I liked what I heard and asked if I could use our phone conversation as an example for this week’s story. He agreed.

So here’s a question for you all: What exactly do you do?

If a client calls, could you tell them what you do in 2 minutes? In 1 minute? What about 30 seconds? That’s the challenge I propose to you all.

Before we go into detail lets examine what you got so far. You have professional puppets and you are dressed like pros. Your equipment is clean and your sound system can play a stadium if need be. You have the package now do you have the content? This is the answer you have to convey to a client in sealing the deal. It will be like driving a Mercedes without a steering wheel, what good does it do you if we look the part but can’t deliver?

There is a gas station called Quick Trip based out of St. Louis. The employees are trained to say “hello” to everybody that walks through the doors, why? First it makes a customer realize they are noticed and second it lets the customer know that they are not just some number. They are individually spoken to and it makes the customer feel welcome inside the store.

When the phone rings, do you answer as if it was a business line? Is your speech easy to understand? Do you have too many concerns that make it uneasy for the client to give you a “yes” right away? Basically we need to say what the client needs to hear without being labeled uneasy to work with. You never want to talk you way out of a gig by having poor phone habits. Going into too much detail can derail the conversation and will bore the client. Once that happens the client is ready to hang up and nobody wins. So when that phone rings, you must be ready to give your speech that will get you work. Isn’t that what we all want a paid gig?

Here is a quick tip to help when a client calls:

When you talk to the client and they say their name, repeat it back. This will show that you are focused on them.


Client: Hello Mr. Smith, name is Sally from the public library

You: Hello Sally, thank you for calling, how are you today?

If you have trouble remembering names, you need to have paper near by, write their name down as soon as they mention it. When you say “Sally” again to her, she will feel like you took the time to remember her name and it will make her feel like you care and you are a good listener. They don’t need to know about the cheat sheet

Don’t argue about minor details with the client throughout the whole conversation.

If they call you a puppeteer, don’t correct with them

If they ask too many questions, don’t sound exhausted

If they don’t book you on the spot, don’t lose interest,

If they sound unsure, don’t make it worse

Remember this, the way you speak to a client will determine whether they hire you today, next week, next month, next year or never!

When it comes to talking on the phone, PLEASE don’t do business with clients while driving, pull over and talk.

Nothing screams “unprofessional” from our end if we have road rage or cause an accident.

You can lose phone service from your cell phone. Who hasn’t said this: ..can you hear me now, hello, hello?? The client will call you back and your phone displays a busy signal. You call them back as the same time and it displays a busy signal, this is very frustrating. After 20 minutes of playing phone tag, you are finally connected again and information is now forgotten and the phone conversation doesn’t have that zest it did at the beginning.

So if you are driving, don’t answer the phone to do business. Don’t get me started about trying to write down information on a napkin on your knee.

Just don’t do it, there I’ve said it.

So how long should we talk about our business to a client?
Two minutes is too long to describe what you do and the client is bored.
One minute is still too long to tell a client what you do because one minute feels like an eternity.
30 seconds is just the right length for a client to determine whether you are hired.
Want to take the 30 second challenge in describing your business to a client?

If so, I want to help. If you contact me through my website at

Email me your website, contact phone number and location (US location please)
I will look over your website and try to understand your type of entertainment.
I will call you without notice within 2 months and act like a client
I will critique your call and help you in getting a Yes from a client.

Let’s get that steering wheel back on your Mercedes. This will show your client that they made the right choice in entertainment. Just don’t talk and drive.

Bob Abdou/Mr.Puppet

As always, thanks Bob!



Dan Willinger is a ventriloquism enthusiast and ventriloquist figure collector. He has been collecting for over 25 years. He created the Ventriloquist Central Collection. It now has over 100 ventriloquist figures and over 50 of them are Frank Marshall figures. Because of his love for the art of ventriloquism, Mr. Willinger created the website Ventriloquist Central. For more information about the website, go to:

Copyright 2011 by Dan Willinger

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