Looking for more clients who want to purchase your voice over services?
Philip Banks, a voice over talent based in Scotland, is always entertaining, consummately witty and perfectly blunt.
How do you get your demo in front of potential customers while being respectful and staying on good terms?
Today’s guest blogger answers these questions and more for your reading pleasure.
Prospecting – Dig A Little Deeper!
By Philip Banks
“Philip, how did you get started?” asked Jim. I told him and assumed that what I believed to be obvious would be obvious to him. Oh how wrong was I.
“Get a list of people and telephone them to ask if they use the services of freelance Voice Overs.” Sound OK?
I thought so, except Jim simply got a list of local businesses and called them. WRONG. Before you make the call you need to be 90% certain that the person you are calling is going to answer yes to the question.
The trick, if there is a trick, is to spend more time digging for prospects than calling people.
Right, let’s start project 100. You need 100 names and telephone numbers.
What do you want to do? For whom would you like to work? Are you able to do long form audio like elearning? OK, type “elearning production” into a search engine. Visit the websites and look around, it will take time.
Is there any evidence to support your theory that this company uses voices?
Prove to yourself that they may find a use for you – PROVE do not guess. In the Contacts or “About Us” section is there a name, something like, Joe Smith Head of production or Audio Producer? DIG DIG DIG.
The more you do this the more your investigative instincts improve. From every search you need a company, telephone number and contact name.
Unless you have no alternative DO NOT EMAIL – YOU MUST TELEPHONE.
“Hello my name’s Philip Banks and I’m calling to ask if you ever use freelance voice overs”
If you’ve done your homework you will get a yes. If not offered a name, ask for one, the one you already know and ask if you can speak to them for a moment. “Hello my name’s Philip Banks and I’m calling to ask if you ever use freelance voice overs”
Assuming the answer is yes.
“Would it be OK for me to send you a demo? (before they say anything) You’re allowed to say no by the way”
In 18 years I have had one person say no to me.
“That’s great, I’ll send you one today. Thanks very much”
If you are asked for a link to demos on a web site do that instead of a demo CD.
Here is the BIGGIE – NEVER EVER EVER ASK FOR FEEDBACK
If you are tempted to ask for feedback:
NEVER EVER EVER ASK FOR FEEDBACK.
To be certain you have fully understood – NEVER EVER EVER ASK FOR FEEDBACK!
You are looking for work not a critique.
Prospecting is the key. No selling required. If you have been thorough in your search for names and numbers and your demos are good enough you will get work.
An Example of Successful Prospecting
As a way of finishing this piece here’s the story of a job I managed to secure over ten years ago.
I read in a newspaper that Pilots and crew of a new helicopter were going to be trained using CBT, Computer based training. On noting the name of the company I saw they were about 5 miles from me. I visited the office armed with an audio cassette. “If you have any projects that require a professional voice please get in touch”.
Note that I didn’t tell them what I knew.
As it turned out the CBT was going to be 45 hours with 38 hours of speech content. Over an 18 month period that one job earned me around $25,000.
Any specific questions about prospecting, feel free to ask.
Want a demo evaluation? Pay Nancy Wolfson to give you one as it’ll be money well spent.
I can identify with what Philip is saying coming from the perspective of a client who does hire voice over talent and purchases stock photos for this blog. Not only am I not necessarily expecting to give a critique, I have little or no time to do so. Yesterday afternoon, I was pleasantly surprised by a nice phone call from Philip to further discuss the article and we spoke at length on the subject.
While speaking, it was acknowledged that for whatever reason, something has developed in this industry where voice talent, in addition to desiring demo feedback from their own prospective clients offline, also have expectations to receive feedback from clients they are auditioning for online, for instance wanting to know details such as if a demo has been listened to, what the client thought of the performance and also why they were not chosen for the part. You may see some parallels drawn here to the article Philip wrote.
Both Philip and I agreed that the client’s feedback regarding an audition or a demo submitted, regardless of how you first got their attention, is a cheque in the mail or a payment made for your services.
To give you an example, while I may not remember to provide a rating or submit a comment on an image I purchased, the very fact that I did purchase the image is a vote of confidence for that photographer or artist. This vote of confidence and proof of purchase shows up under how many times their image has been downloaded, adding my decision to invest in their works to the silent testimonies of others.
Similarly, if you are hired for work, you have a client list or testimonials. If you’ve been hired through Voices.com using SurePay, you have another means to display feedback from your clients available to you that serves the same purpose.
Any Comments on Prospecting?
Looking forward to hearing what you think.
Best wishes from your friends on either side of the pond,
Philip Banks and Stephanie Ciccarelli