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Can You Up-Sell Voice Over
Services? Sure! Here's How ...
By David Brower
Voice Actor

As consumers, we are surrounded by the “up-sell.” But do we use it as well as we should - or even could - in our own voice over business?

Here are just three examples:
Fast food:
Everybody has their own version of “super-size,” right? Would you like fries with that? How about some ranch dressing, its only 25cents? Would you like small, medium, or large?
You name it and they are asking you with each and every order for an “up-sell.”
McDonald’s, in their drive-through, now gives you an automated (no, not a real person) sell. You drive up and they pitch you on a mocha or specialty sandwich and then 10-15 seconds later a real person comes on to take your order.
Clothing stores:
Would you like socks with those shoes? A tie with that shirt? A scarf with that blouse? A top coat with that suit?
These are endless, right?
“Hi, welcome to Starbucks. Can I start you off with a Carmel Macchiato?”
And then you place your order and they say, “What else would you like with that - a pastry or fresh fruit?”
And on and on, right?
What other examples can you think of just in your world? I’m thinking there are a lot.

OK, so how do we get this done in the world of Voice Over?
How many VO talent do you know who “up-sell” what they provide their clients?
Do you “up-sell”?
Following is how I do it - and believe me, there are a lot more ideas than what I’m sharing here. So use your imagination and discover what works for you.

First, never ever ask a client what they think. This is basic sales 101. You always ask them how they FEEL!
If you ask how they think, you will get an analytical answer. But if you ask how they feel, you will get an emotional answer.
Since 85% of all sales are based on emotions (according to an old AT&T survey that I remember from a previous life), you always want to ask the FEEL question.
Make sense?

OK, next. What is in your tool kit that you can use to help “up-sell” a client?
Note: I use “tool kit” because I refuse to use “bag of tricks.” It’s like saying, “I’m just calling to touch base,”and I hate that. It’s lazy.
Suppose you just finished a voice only project for a client. Here are three ideas that you might consider using:
1. John, how do you feel about that project?
Oh good, I’m glad you are thrilled with it.
How would you feel about adding some music or effects to it, just to add a different dimension to what we’ve already created?
2. John, how do you feel about that project?
Oh good, I’m glad you are thrilled with it.
How would you feel about using a modified version of this in other parts of your marketing plan?
Well, for instance, maybe an in-store use; on your website, or including it in your blog; or maybe even embedding it in emails to your client base.
Heck, John, we could even figure out a way to put this on Facebook and Tweet it to your clients if you wanted.
3. John, how do you feel about that project?
Oh good, I’m glad you are thrilled with it.
You know, one of the things that a lot of my clients like in their marketing plan is a consisteny - a continuity of things.
How would you feel about using my voice for your on-hold messaging as well your radio and TV ads?
So you got them to “bite,” right?
Now you need to close the sale. Here are couple of ideas for that:
1. John, I’m thrilled you feel that’s a good idea to explore.
How about if I put together a couple of options for you to consider?
Note: You always want TWO options, not one. If they only have one, then their answer is either yes or no. But if they have TWO, then their answer is either A or B - which, by the way, means you already sold them. It’s just a matter of which one they choose.
2. John, I’ll be happy to put these concepts together for you.
When do you feel you would have some time to go over these ideas? Maybe Wednesday at 10 a.m. or Thursday at 2 p.m.? Which do you feel would work the best for you?
Note: You always want to give them TWO specific appointment options to choose from. Not only for the same A or B choice, as mentioned before, but if you ask them to come up with an appointment day/time themselves they won’t do it. At least, they won't offer in most cases, because again, it becomes an analytical question and you want an emotional answer.
Here's another up-sell tactic I use (but beware - it drew considerable "discussion" when I recently blogged about it).
I advertise an “introductory offer” on eBay of $14.99 for a very simple voice over.
As a dentist offers you a free exam to try and get your business, I offer - only on eBay - this ridiculously cheap incentive to try and get people in the door, as well.
I’ve been fortunate to turn about 10% of those who pay the initial $14.99 price in to “full-price” paying clients.
Plus, I have spoken at two nationally-recognized voice training programs on this subject because of its success. The idea, by the way, is borrowed from a friend of mine, and with his permission, I changed it a bit to make it my own.
Some chastise me for the low-ball price, and others applaud me for this unique "out of the box" marketing idea to grow my business.

For the record: Now in my third full year of voice acting, I will fully replace the net amount of my six figure income from the automotive marketing job I had prior to doing strictly voice over work.
I am only able to do that by charging a fair price and by providing excellent customer service.
When you figure that 65% of my business comes from referrals, I believe that speaks volumes about my approach to my craft, as well.
Speaking of referrals, that's another article, coming soon.
David Brower is a former radio and television professional and was an automotive advertising specialist for the 8th largest automotive company in America. After doing voice work on a part-time basis for over 15 years, “Poppa” is now a full-time voice actor and audio producer based in Loveland, CO. He has voiced and/or produced automotive commercials in over 40 markets, produced a 20-voice animated cartoon, and has clients in Germany, Norway, and India. And he writes a popular blog, Poppa Unplugged.


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Comments (4)
Bill Nevitt
2/16/2011 at 9:56 PM
Hello David: The ingenuity you are using has obviously served you well! Agree, giving the customer choices vs. "yes or no" answer is key to continuing the discussion. Great job! BN
AL B Conahan
2/16/2011 at 4:00 PM
Thanks, David. You remind me that you are never too old to learn a new trick. It makes me "feel" good about what I'm doing. I'm into my second year as a re-emerging Voice Actor. Looks like I have a lot to do to catch up with you.
Johnny George
2/16/2011 at 11:12 AM
David - You're right on target. Thanks for the inspirational & useful ideas. I "feel" good about these!

Paul J. Warwick
2/16/2011 at 8:28 AM
Amazing how the precepts of Sales "always" work!
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