Jay SilvermanMeet Jay Silverman, the resident Advanced Self Marketing Guru at VoiceCoaches.com.
Learn about the concept of how to make the administrative assistant (or bulldog) your friend to get to where you want to go when marketing your talents for voice over work!

Jay Silverman gave the first lecture at the Voice Coaches Advanced Marketing Expo and enlightened us to an area of marketing savvy that not everyone observes as crucial to their success. This morning, Jay discussed how to get in with the front person or the “bulldog” at organizations. This is the person who is ultimately responsible for you achieving or not achieving your goals when trying to promote your voice to a company or organization.

He started by asking us a question “Have you ever needed to ‘stretch’ yourself when you are marketing your talents?” Sometimes we stretch a little bit when we are marketing. Although it may seem like your professional experience in the beginning is limited, remember to highlight all of the experience you have volunteering or in rehearsal (mic time). In this way, you™re not breaking in anymore, but for every new prospect that you encounter when marketing your voice, there will be an instance when you need to break in somebody else, effectively, confronting the bulldog at the gate.

The bulldog at the gate is that front-end person at whatever business, advertising agency, or recording studio that you are looking for work opportunities with. What do you need to do in this case? Learn how to get in with the front-end person. Establish and maintain a personal and professional relationship with those people who are key to your success. You™ll meet all kinds of people, producers, copywriters and a host of others that you’ll want to network with. There is, however, one person who holds your future in their hands in a variety of ways, and as we covered above, that person is the bulldog at the gate.

The bulldog at the gate could be the receptionist, the administrative assistant, the secretary, the person who answers the phone and opens / distributes the mail, who does all the typing, copy work, and addition to all of the responsibilities noted earlier, has to satisfy the boss and not mess up. Quite the job description, isn’t it?
In order to get to the person you need to speak with, you will have to pass through the bulldog first. In the majority of cases, she is just as important if not more so than the person you are trying to reach. This person decides whether or not you get through to where you want to go.

For instance, you need to be careful about making a good first impression with your marketing materials and present yourself as best you can. Make as positive and professional of an impression that you are able to, and your efforts will help you to get through to your desired contact. Something to focus on is the quality and appearance of your marketing materials and how effective they are as a vehicle to promote your voice.

Your “Family of Publications”, which consists of letterhead, postcards, promotional materials, cover art, etc, needs to promote you and brand your business. When someone receives marketing materials from you, albeit different print materials, they should still be able to associate you with your brand and remember past items that they had received from you. These promotional materials need to be professional and visually pleasing to get past the bulldog. Representing yourself in a manner that the bulldog feels comfortable passing your materials on to who you want them to go to is the best bet for achieving your goal.

You might be wondering why we are constantly referring to the administrative assistant or bulldog as a female and not a male. After some extensive research on the Internet, Jay discovered that 93% of the people who work in the position of administrative assistants are females. This person has to accommodate the needs and wishes of her boss politely and confidently, all the while getting everything done, regardless of how she is feeling that day. In large business, there is a team of bulldogs who are responsible for a number of tasks.

Do not just walk in or cold call if you want an appointment. Send the information to the people who work there, let them know who you are, then make a phone call to schedule a meeting. Oftentimes, the most important request or order that someone in the position of bulldog will receive from their boss is œDon™t let anyone disturb me, I™m busy. This is a direct obstacle to you getting through to the person you want to reach through the administrative assistant.

If the administrative assistant asks you “Do you want to through to voice mail?”, this is usually a dead end. It is in your better interest to simply develop a good rapport with the administrative assistant and follow up consistently until your needs are met. If you know about an industry and are familiar with their jargon, that is invaluable to them and they will pay a premium for your services. i.e. pharmaceuticals, science, automotive, etc.

Research is key to making the bulldog your friend. Do your research on Google. Find the contact or team page and gather the information. Look at the clients they serve, listen or watch the work that they™ve done, pick your favorite job and identify it in your letter as something you admire. Tip: Google business quotations and find 4 or 5 that you think would hook the interest of the person who opens up that letter.

Writing an original letter crafted from the research you have gleaned with a great deal of personalization is an excellent way to get the bulldog on your side. If you develop a rapport of respect with this person, you will then have an ally within the company who will advocate on your behalf. Jay had several other wonderful points and even included a template on how to craft a letter that I have not mentioned here.

Key Point: The most important aspect that you need to take away from this article is to treat other people with respect, gain permission to send in materials, and make those marketing materials unique and attractive to the person who decides whether or not your demo or resume will see the light of day.

About Jay Silverman, Advanced Self Marketing
In addition to his experience as a professional Voice Actor and announcer, Jay is a public speaking and training expert. His experience in communications training spans the corporate, government, higher education and not-for-profit sectors. In addition to his work with Voice Coaches, Jay teaches both under graduate and graduate classes in communication and advertising at The Sage Colleges and The State University at Albany.

Jay also trains new business owners through the regional Entrepreneurial Assistance Program. As a former State Government Executive and Ad Agency Vice President, Jay offers our Advanced Self Marketing Teleconference clients an exceptional advantage in building lasting success.
Source: Jay Silverman Staff Bio, VoiceCoaches.com

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Lecture Content © VoiceCoaches.com

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Stephanie Ciccarelli is the Co-Founder and Chief Brand Officer of Voices.com. Classically trained in voice, piano, violin and musical theatre, as well as a respected mentor and industry speaker, Stephanie graduated with a Bachelor of Musical Arts from the Don Wright Faculty of Music at the University of Western Ontario. Possessing a great love for imparting knowledge and empowering others, her podcast Sound Stories serves an audience that wants to achieve excellence in storytelling. Stephanie is found on the PROFIT Magazine W100 list three times (2013, 2015 and 2016), a ranking of Canada's top female entrepreneurs, and is the author of Voice Acting for Dummies®.


  1. Thanks Jay!
    Your session was great. I enjoyed hearing your strategies on working with people on the front lines of an organization.
    It was nice to hear hear you emphasize the importance of developing relationships with everyone at a company, not just the decision maker.
    David Ciccarelli, Voices.com

  2. What a wealth of knowledge Jay has and he shared it wonderfully and joyfully with everyone.
    Sharing with us how to build EVERYONE up that we encounter in the business is what separates the TRUE PROFESSIONAL that Jay is, from the rest of the pack.
    Thanks Jay and thanks Stephanie for posting this!!
    Anthony Piselli
    Professional Voice Actor

  3. Hi gang!
    Adm assistants ARE people. And you’ll go a long way by being nice to them. Complimenting them (legitimately, not going overboard) in your follow up letter to the company is a good idea as well.
    Excellent article. I’ll study and learn, and PROSPER!
    Cheers, prosperity and happiness to all! Love being a part of voices.com!
    Professional Voice Artist


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