Wednesday, July 25, 2012

4 Reasons Why Voice Actors Lose Clients

As professional voice over talent, we certainly want to create and maintain our great client relationships.  There are many things we can and must do to grow our voice over business.  When we lose a long term client or simply don’t get repeat business from a new client, there can be many reasons. Some of those reasons are out of our control:  the client doesn’t really hire talent often, they lose THEIR client, their client wants to change the gender, age, style of the voices they use, etc.  However, sometimes, we might lose a client due to something we have or have not done.

The following is an article written by Edge Studio addressing four common and likely culprits that might cause us to lose clients.   Do you see yourself neglecting any of these areas?  Have you let some things slide due to keeping busy with other matters or just letting yourself get off track?

Read the article, and double check yourself to make sure you’re doing all you can to remain marketable and employable!

4 Reasons Why Voice Actors Lose Clients

The fact is, the voice over industry is continually evolving. So if you don't evolve along with it, YOU'LL LOSE CLIENTS.
Voice talent continually ask for our help. They say, "I'm getting less work than I used to." We ask why. They're either not sure, or they guess it's because they've been battling allergies, their clients must have wanted a new voice, there must be more competition, their demo may be getting old, a new agent opened up in town,....... On and on.
There Are 4 Reasons Why Voice Talent Start Losing Work. Read the sections that pertain to you
Story: A while ago, one of our clients hired a student we had just trained to narrate a large series of videos. They loved his voice.
Recently we hired him back to narrate another large project. This time, he no longer sounded good. He lost a good client. I asked if he'd been practicing. He said no.
You can fall into bad habits (no one tells you why you lose auditions!) Other voice talent will get better than you (watch out!) Clients always need new styles (new styles for podcasts, self-guided tours,...)
Solution: At minimum, work with a coach every other month to ensure you maintain. Preferably, work with a coach every month to become better and offer more clients more styles! Remember: your vocal delivery is your livelihood!
Story: A voice talent sent me an audition recording. Their voice was PERFECT. But their home studio quality wasn't. The client did not like them. (Note that some clients CANNOT DIFFERENTIATE between poor home studio recording and poor vocal performance.) After telling the talent this, she replied, "But this used to be fine." Yes, 5 years ago, her quality was considered good for a home studio. Today, however, clients are used to better quality.
Here are a few other examples of not keeping up with technology: Talent ask if they can fed-ex a CD to me. "Huh?" Why can't they FTP it to me? Or oftentimes we hear slight noises in recordings. Why? I guarantee the talent will lose some work. Fall behind in technology, and your clients may leave you behind.
Here are technology items to stay current with: equipment (editing on old software is slower, so you charge more, and bid too high) editing software / file type knowledge (unfamiliar with the new file extensions for flash? this scares clients) delivery methods (still have "fed-ex" on your rate card? you look outdated)
Solution: Hire someone to visit your studio once every 6 months for a tune-up. Have them update your software, show you new editing features, check sound quality, and set you up for new file types.
Story: At a recent voice over event, I was re-acquainted with a lot of old-timers who told me, "I'm not getting the amount of work I used to get!" Funny, I thought they hadn't marketed to me in years and subsequently I had forgotten about them and how talented they are.
Trust me: there is a reason why major retailers (Honda, Sears, McDonalds,...) continue to promote themselves. If they don't, competitors will eventually take over. IT'S THE SAME THING IN VOICE OVER.
Many old-times got all their work from a few clients and/or agents. But things change. Sometimes suddenly. Are you prepared? Or do you rely on a few select clients (who could suddenly go out of business), and meanwhile you're not prepared to market?
Here are marketing to stay current with:
marketing frequency (do you think single marketing efforts are still enough?) marketing types (do you think business cards are still all you need?) marketing messages (still trying to be a jack of all trades?) marketing quality (perforated edged, matrix printed business cards don't work today)
Solution: hire someone who knows voice over marketing to review your business plan (do you even have one? if you want to grow, you should have one). take a workshop at edge or even at a local college.
Professionalism: ARE YOU BUSINESS-LIKE?
Story: One of our clients got VERY upset with a voice talent who we hired recently. So upset, they chose to replace him with another talent! Obviously we won't hire that talent anymore. But the weird thing is that the voice talent didn't even realize what they did wrong!
Face it: our little industry has grown up. It's now a big, professional industry complete with a set of do's and don't's. And sure, as with anything, as time goes by, there are more and more changes. So for those of you who are beginning your voice over career, you MUST LOOK PROFESSIONAL from the start. And for those of you already immersed in the industry, you MUST CONTINUE looking professional. If you don't, you chance losing clients.
You MUST always stay on top of: appearing professional (the jargon, the sequence of events,...) dealing with corporate types: knowing when to ask which questions the general in's and out's of the industry the ever-changing politics of the industry (unions, agents,....)
Solution: Study the industry. Speak with folks who are in it. Read books. DO WHAT YOU CAN to come across business-like. This makes a BIG difference in the amount of work you get.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Voice Over Coaching

While I am not currently coaching voice over (never say never!), I do hear from many prospective voice over performers who want information about how to get into voice over.  I always direct them to the How To Pages on my web site.  In those pages, I have tried to give a thorough, general overview of the voice over business, what you need to know, and what you need to do.   You can scroll down to the bottom of that page for links to specific information on my site such as:
In addition to this information, there are blog posts numbered 1-10 scattered throughout my blog that discuss these items, including a discussion of why it's important to work with a voice over coach.

Today, I was asked  how one should go about finding a good coach.  Word of mouth and referrals from working voice over talent are the best means of locating those coaches who can truly give you what you need to succeed. Then, you need to talk with the coaches, which may require paying for an evaluation session in order to determine where you are, your potential, whether personality types mesh, and to see what kind of a feeling you get for how this coach works and how they plan to help you reach your goals. This is an important investment in your career and not something to be taken lightly. 

Some top notch voice over coaches that I have experience with are:  Nancy Wolfson, James Alburger & Penny AbshireMarc CashmanRodney SaulsberryJim Conlan, and Edge Studio.  All of these coaches work in person or remotely, if you do not live in their locale.

Explore their web sites, get in touch with them, and find out who seems to be the best fit for you.  And who knows, one of these days, I just may add my name to this list!