Connie Terwilliger – ISDN Voice Talent

June 6, 2011

Work. Invoice. Thank. Promote. Repeat.

Filed under: Business, Marketing — Tags: , , , , — connieterwilliger @ 7:47 am

It’s really a simple recipe. Do the job. Send the invoice. Thank the client. Promote the results (to the right places at the right time). Repeat.

OK, perhaps it isn’t all that simple. And I am still struggling – after all these years – with the thank yous and the promotion part of the formula. The repeat part is one of the keys to actually making a living in this business. And if your database is bloated with old leads you may be missing those repeat opportunities.

If you are just starting out, this formula is predicated by knowing what you do well and finding the people who want to buy what you have to sell. If you have been in the business for a while – or a long while – you may have the same problem I am trying to address – too many names in my contact list. And if you are trying to add new qualified leads to your list, that method is evolving.

For the newbie – a quick review…

Part one – knowing what you have to sell. You have to know what sets you apart from the rest of the people selling themselves as voice talent. What kind of scripts showcase your unique sound and style? Some of this can be developed in classes, workshops and with coaches. But so much of it is really done on our own as we listen, analyze and talk back to what we are hearing as we go about our normal day.

After you truly know that you can compete in an area of voiceover, it is time to create a demo that showcases this particular talent. Just what constitutes a demo these days continues to evolve, and will depend in part on what you do well, where you live, what kind of technical skills you have – and whether or not you subscribe to web-based casting services with their unique SEO/SEM.

Part two – finding the people who want to buy what you have to sell means basic marketing skills. This is an element of voiceover “training” that most classes leave out. And it is arguably more important than your talent.

The Internet is both a blessing and a curse. It has made some of the search for potential clients somewhat easier and certainly much more expansive as you can now market globally. But it is changing the way we approach people

I recently heard a story on the radio about how social networks are playing a much more important role in the search for potential clients or employess. People want to work with people who other people trust. While preferring to work with people you know and trust isn’t new, the days of approaching a complete stranger with your resume and getting the job are waning as more and more people jump into the referral pool.

My summer-time goal is to whittle down my huge contact list and focus on those who actually know my name and what I do.

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3 Comments »

  1. Connie,

    Keeping track of people is an ongoing battle for me. I tried having LinkedIn go in and update come folks in my database and somehow it managed to wipe out the comprehensive contact info, leaving behind a single email address in many cases. Said email address often being the person’s gmail or hotmail account.

    I currently have 8,000 or so people in my database. It’s hard to tell how many are duplicates, represent information that is 10 years out of date, or whether I actually have met 17 people named Robert Michaels.

    But in today’s world, where many jobs may come from someone who referred me to someone, or where people change jobs more often than they change underwear, it’s also difficult to eliminate anybody.

    And in a world where a few hundred bucks for a website and a quick trip to Vistaprint gets you some shiny new business cards, it’s sometimes almost impossible to tell whether a commercial “producer” is somebody who recently lost their job at a radio station, or a person that has won 2 or 3 Gold Lions.

    I tend to think that the unique selling proposition often loses out to well leveraged SEO.

    A few nights back, I attended our local big industry mixer (film, tape, commercial, etc). There were actually only a few people who I have had as clients in attendance and as I engaged them in conversation I heard emerging patterns that included, “we have a guy working with us who has taken some acting classes and we try to use him as much as we can” or “I do the scratch tracks and after listening to them, the clients want ME to do the v.o.”

    It got worse as I made my way through the crowd introducing myself to others in attendance. There was the make-up girl, who also did voice over. There was the location scout who also did voice over. The food stylist that also did voice over. The graphic designer who also does voice over and the bartender who was starting voice over classes in a week.

    There was nowhere to run and nowhere to hide.

    Unfortunately, they all knew my name and what I do and they all wanted to corner me, in an attempt to get me to hire them to do voice over or to share my “secrets”.

    Comment by J.S. Gilbert — June 6, 2011 @ 8:16 am

  2. Yes, you are so right. If I don’t have notes on someone – how they came to be in my database in the first place – it can be that I might delete someone with referral or hiring potential.

    I listened to a webinar a few months ago that discussed ways to sort your database so that you are focusing on the people with the most potential to do business with or who could refer business to you. Assigning them a number code – 0 to 5 – with 0 being people you really don’t know and who don’t know you (although I see your point about not really knowing if they know you or how they know you) – and 5 being people you can ask for anything. Of course, your 0-5 could have slightly different words attached.

    After thinking a lot about what 5 actually means, I cannot think of one person I could go to and say, “Hey, I need some work, send me some!” Perhaps I missed the point.

    I have a lot of 3’s in my list – which I assigned to people who know me generally (business related), have worked with me, and have been happy with what I do. My 4 at the moment is more personal – people who know me face-to-face and with whom I interact socially as well as on a business basis.

    Perhaps I am overthinking it – but you have to have SOME sort of system.

    I can relate to the difficulty in eliminating people from the database. But it is easier when the emails bounce back and the websites are parking places for the domain. But that takes time to determine.

    Comment by connieterwilliger — June 6, 2011 @ 9:07 am

  3. Great reminders, Connie! It’s simple, but not always easy…

    Comment by Amy Snively — June 6, 2011 @ 11:33 am


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