So, you’ve FINALLY gotten to a place where each syllable can be clearly heard without sounding over-articulated, your acoustics sound good, and you have a solid grasp of editing. Now, it’s time to go find new clients…
This is the part that puts terror into even the most seasoned voice-over artists’ hearts…. but let me tell you a secret; it doesn’t have to be scary. In fact, it can even be fun! But here’s the thing, you have to be really clear about the fact that you are offering yourself as a resource for potential clients, instead of trying to “sell yourself.”
As a resource, you take the pressure off of them having to “buy” you. Instead, your talent is used to create a solution for a challenge they might have, like finding the perfect way to introduce a new product, or train a sales force, or narrate a great book.
Here are the four steps of the prospecting/marketing lifecycle:
- Prospect – Identify Your Target Market. If you wish to do more commercial work, contact creative directors at advertising agencies. Audiobooks? Go to publishers. Google keywords and go straight to the source! You can also go through trade associations like American Marketing Association, Association for Women in Communication, American Ad Federation, eLearning Guild, Audio Publishers Association, etc…
- Establish Contact. By email, by phone, or in person. It doesn’t really matter how you contact them, just be clear and to the point. It’s also a good idea to write-out a script or template for quick reference, and even practice in advance. Have your contact information at the ready; share your business cards, website, and your demos at every opportunity.
- Follow up! Hear this loud and clear: they will never hire you just because you sent them an email, no matter how great your demos are. It is completely up to you to continue to develop the relationship; and that is what this is, a relationship. So, follow-up every three to six months, and keep yourself organized! Do not forget this step, it will make or break you.
- Shampoo, Rinse, Repeat. Or rather, prospect, contact, follow-up… over and over and over again. Even when you have “made it”, because clients change voices for their brands, so you’ll want to stay fresh in their minds. Make a game out of it…how many can you do in a week? Set a realistic goal for yourself: five, ten, fifteen. Once you achieve it, give yourself a little “atta boy” or “atta girl” with a trip to the cafe, a 10-minute walk outside, or, my personal favorite, an episode of “Better Things.”
You need to work diligently to actively find new clients. Very rarely will they have a need for you right away. Your persistence will pay off, I promise you.
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Jillian Nielsen is an expressive voice talent with over 14 years of experience in radio and television commercial and promotional voice-overs.