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MARKETING
If You Want Repeat Voice Over Business,
Consistently Show Customers You Care
January 6, 2016

By Paul Strikwerda
Voice Actor

We like to be reassured. Our need for reassurance has to do with a deep human desire: the wish to be accepted. Itís this universal, comforting feeling that we matter, that we are safe, and that everything is going to be alright.

Itís what lovers love, preachers preach, and what politicians promise. The person able to reassure us the most, gains our trust and gets our vote.

Our voice over clients are no different. They want to know that they are in good hands, and that their money is well spent. It is your job to convince them of that fact.

Selling is about reassuring. Before the sale, during the sale, and after the sale.

THE DOíS AND DONíTS

As the client is making up his mind, here are a few things that will make him feel confident that youíre the right person for the job. This is what you have to do:
  • Listen carefully
  • Read and follow instructions
  • Ask questions
  • Respond in a timely and personal way
  • Be clear about your policies
  • Demonstrate knowledge and experience
  • Use plain language, and avoid jargon when dealing with inexperienced buyers
  • Use correct spelling and grammar
  • Be as helpful as you can
  • Only take on jobs you know you can handle  
WHAT NOT TO DO

"But isnít this what youíre supposed to do as a professional?Ē you may ask.

Well, youíd be surprised to learn that many so-called pros:
  • Make assumptions
  • Focus on themselves
  • Donít follow basic instructions
  • Leave clients hanging
  • Have no studio policies
  • Try to impress by using language clients donít understand
  • Send out poorly written emails
  • Do the minimum to get the job done
  • Bite off more than they can chew  
By treating clients that way, these colleagues risk way more than losing one specific job.

WIN THEIR CONFIDENCE

Hereís my second lesson: Selling is not about making a sale. It is about winning a clientís confidence, and building a relationship.

Your aim is never to make a quick buck. Your ultimate goal is to cultivate a long-term connection.

Now, once the buyer has decided to hire you, donít think that everything is A-Okay. Your job to reassure him or her is far from over. You still need to prove yourself.

You might have the best testimonials and reputation in the world, but some clients just donít care about the opinion of others.

SELL YOUR VALUE

This is the question they want answered: "What can you do for ME?Ē

Thereís only one appropriate answer: you have to deliver a stellar product that is worth more than the price paid. Remember: youíre not just in the business of providing a voice over (or other freelance service). You are in the business of adding value. Thatís what youíre really selling. 

KEEP COMMUNICATING


Thereís one other thing you must do at this stage: you need to keep your client informed of your progress.

This is especially important when youíre working on longer projects such as eLearning modules, and audiobooks.

If youíre behind schedule, let your client know. If youíre on schedule, tell your client too.

REASSURE AFTER THE SALE

Letís say everything went according to plan. Your customer is happy with his or her purchase, and you are ready to move on. But are you really done?

Absolutely not!

This was just the beginning of a relationship, and some clients may need additional assurance that they made a solid investment. Thatís nothing new.

One of my best buddies just bought a car, and he is showing it to all his friends. Of course he is proud of his new Subaru, but what he is secretly hoping for, is some kind of confirmation that he made the right choice. In other words: he wants reassurance after the purchase was made.

So, what can you do to give a client a warm and fuzzy feeling once the audio has been delivered?

Well, show some gratitude! Send your client a thank-you email, or - better still - a handwritten card. Let them know how much you enjoyed working with them

The key thing is personalization.

Avoid clichés such as, "I look forward to working with you again,Ē or "if you have any questions, donít hesitate to contact me.Ē

If you have done your job and you did it well, they WILL get back in touch with you.

PAINLESS WAY TO PAY

Also make it painless to pay you. Some authors will tell you to invoice a client as soon as possible. I always wait a few days.

Number one: I want to be sure that my recording is approved before I send the bill.

Number two: I donít want to give the impression that Iím all about money.

Donít wait too long either. Catch the client in the afterglow of their experience. That way they still remember what theyíre paying you for.

Ask clients what their preferred payment method is. If your client prefers PayPal, use PayPal. If your client likes TransferWise, use TransferWise.

And when the check clears and the money is in the bank, send another thank-you note. Always reward desired behavior!

So do yourself a big favor (to receive repeat business): consistently show your customers that you genuinely care.
---------------
ABOUT PAUL
Paul Strikwerda is a 25-year veteran of the voice over industry whose Nethervoice service features German and Dutch voice overs, translation and evaluation services. Born in Holland, he has worked for Dutch national and international radio, the BBC and American Public Radio. Although 90% of his work is in English, Strikwerda also records in Dutch, German and French. Clients include Novartis, Johnson & Johnson, and the Discovery Channel. And he is author of the new book, Making MONEY In Your PJs: Freelancing for voice-overs and other solopreneurs, and publishes an informative and entertaining blog, Double Dutch.

Web: www.nethervoice.com
Double Dutch Blog: www.nethervoice.com/nethervoice

Making MONEY In Your PJs: http://makingmoneyinyourpjs.com

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Comments (2)
Susan Manhire
1/6/2016 at 12:49 PM
Great article, Paul. I recently posted a small, but similar article on LinkedIn, which shared my thoughts on why I believe my VO business grew in 2015, in spite of industry challenges. We both seem to focus on putting the client's vision first.

Here is the link: https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/article/humble-secret-success-susan-manhire

Best wishes for good health and prosperity in 2016!










Dani
1/6/2016 at 10:39 AM
Love this post!

I printed self-designed cards via Moo and sent handwritten notes to every 2015 client for whom I could find an address. As I wrote them, it occurred to me that I should do this after every job. (I often send emails, but never cards.) Thanks for validating my instincts!

Here's to 2016!
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