More often than not, our days are filled with tasks around auditioning. You know, searching the Pay 2 Plays, checking Twitter, waiting hopefully for something from a talent agent, sending out good vibes.
But what if...WHAT If...we could book a gig without auditioning???*
Yeah, I said it. Landing a gig without having to audition.
One day you get an email saying, “We have a project and you’re our preferred Voice actor. When can you record?”
Isn’t that the dream??
And you may be thinking “EXACTLY. It’s just that, a dream.”
Well, it doesn’t have to be. You CAN develop yourself into the kind of voiceover artist that clients dream of working with and reach out to when they have a fitting project. You can be that person that gets the gig without the audition.
The big question is, HOW? Build a customer base of loyal clients.)
When we land a gig, we work directly with folks that have the power to hire us again,… and again, and again. Basically, getting the repeat business, or losing it,)is in our hands.
Just showing up and doing a decent job isn’t going to make the difference though. There are plenty of voiceover folks capable of that. We have to stand apart from the crowd and provide OUTSTANDING customer service.
What does outstanding customer service look like?
If the customer is able to send the copy in advance, read it! Don’t get overly committed to a certain tone, as a client may take the copy in a different direction than what you think.
reading though the copy will allow you to prep necessary questions (“How do I pronounce x?”, catch grammatical errors, and read more smoothly and naturally when in session.
If the customer won’t have the finished copy until the session, or 10 minutes into a session they switch to a new copy their customer just sent over - yep. That happened,) then practicing cold reading is key.
Get those vocal chords warm and the mouth functional so that you’re ready to flow into a cold read in the directed session.
Take direction well.
If the customer wants something pronounced a certain way, or maybe they want an upward inflection vs a downward inflection, be able to hear what the customer is saying and adjust accordingly.
Some clients are great directors and some are hard to figure out even if you had a decoder ring. Mostly, a director wants options in order to put together the best final product. Be able to provide options. ABC reads or triplets of lines is a great way to practice.
Sometimes schedules change. Copy changes. Pick ups are needed. There are a LOT of moving parts when working on a project, and not all things can be controlled. Be flexible to the needs of the client and adjust as you are able.
Schedule time after the directed session to work on the needed edits. Often clients need a speedy turnaround, and voiceover is one of the last pieces to put in place, so they are often waiting on US.
We don’t want to be a headache or worry to the client, so send those high quality files over to them in a timely manner(usually within 24 hours unless otherwise agreed upon. Do NOT make the client chase you down to get the files for their project.
Side note Also invoice clients promptly. Often the invoice will need to go through Accounts Payable and get approvals, so don’t delay getting them the invoice. They need it so they can settle the project budget.
Stay top of mind.
When we have something of value to share, it’s totally appropriate to reach out to the client! It could be an article that made you think of them or maybe your new demo is out. Point is, stay in touch as you never know what project might be coming up next.
Basically, be someone others WANT to work with. You’d think this could go unsaid. But it can’t. We are NOT the star of the project, we are simply a small piece, and we should behave as if we’re a collaborative member of a team effort.
Voiceover is a pretty small industry, so if we’re unpleasant in any way, word will get around, and we can say bye bye to future opportunities.
It’s amazing to think that by doing these simple things, you’ll be ahead of your peers when it comes to client management. Because, when it comes to work, we all just want to work with people we like. We don’t want unnecessary complications or bad attitudes - there are enough of those in life.
With high quality work, quick turnaround times, flexibility to the customers needs, and a pleasant personality, customers will be over-the-top pleased. Make a customer’s life easy, and they’ll keep hiring you for as long as they can.
Always be networking and bringing on new clients to your roster list.
Fact is, keeping clients is WAY easier than finding new ones, so we want to keep our current clients happy. But we can’t always control what goes on with our clients.
So if they have a change in work or life, it could impact us greatly. For example, a new production manager is hired and all of a sudden they want a different gender for voiceover welp, that sucks. Or maybe the company shuts down all together. We can’t control the loss of those clients. But since we’re always networking and building relationships, a new client can hopefully fill the gap of the client we lost.
If you want to skip the audition and get straight to the gig, client management is the way to go. Build trust and loyalty with folks and you’ll be successful for the long term.
Always seeking new clients to treat like gold,