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Four Big Reasons You Might
Be Losing Voice-Over Clients
By David Goldberg
Producer, Coach & Owner
Edge Studio
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.
While all of these reasons are valid, they are usually 100% avoidable.
We organized the steps you can take to prevent yourself from starting to lose work into four categories. Which ones pertain to you?
Are you no longer training?
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. But this time, he no longer sounded good. He lost a good client.
I asked if he'd been practicing. He said, "No."
There are three reasons why continued training is so important:
  • 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, etc.).
At a minimum, work with a coach every other month to ensure you maintain good habits and sound. Preferably, work with a coach every month to become better and to offer more clients more styles!
Remember: your vocal delivery is your livelihood!
Are you resistent to technology change?
A voice talent sent me an audition recording. Her voice was PERFECT - but her home studio quality wasn't. The client did not like it.
Note: 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, five 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 FedEx a CD to me. "Huh?" Why can't they FTP it to me?
  • Often 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 FedEx on your rate card? You look outdated.
Hire someone to visit your studio once every six 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.
Are you complacent?
At a recent voice-over event, I was reacquainted with many 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, McDonald's ...) 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 strategies to keep up to date:
  • Frequency. Do you think single marketing efforts are still enough?
  • Types. Do you think business cards are still all you need?
  • Messages. Still trying to be a jack-of-all-trades?
  • Quality. Perforated-edged, matrix-printed business cards don't work today.
Hire someone who knows voice-over marketing to review your business plan. Do you even have one? You should, if you want to grow.
Take a voice-over marketing workshop - even one at a local college.
Are you business-like?
One of our clients got very upset with a voice talent we hired recently. So upset, in fact, that they chose to replace him with another talent!
Obviously, we won't hire that talent anymore, either. 
But the weird thing is that the voice talent didn't even realize what he 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.
Especially if you are beginning your voice-over career, you must look professional from the start.
And if you are already immersed in the industry, you must continue to look professional. If you don't, you chance losing clients.
For instance, always stay on top of:
  • Appearing professional. The jargon, the sequence of events ....
  • Dealing with corporate types: Knowing when to ask which questions.
  • General in's and out's of the industry.
  • Ever-changing politics of the industry. Unions, agents ....
Study the industry. Speak with folks who are in it. Read books.
Do everything you can to come across business-like. This makes a BIG difference in the amount of work you'll get.
David Goldberg is a voice-over producer, coach, and the owner of Edge Studio, a major voice-over recording studio and voice-over education company based in New York City, with additional studios in Fairfield, CT and Bethesda, MD. Edge Studio offers a large variety of in-person and telecourse workshops, including Talk & Pro 101 seminars. It also produces audio for major clients including Disney, VW, Microsoft, National Geographic, and frequently casts voice talent who have trained and produced demos there.


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