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How To Fail In Marketing And Sales:
Are These The Actions You Avoid?

September 18, 2012

By John Florian

(VOXtra) - Recently I let VoiceOverXtra subscribers know that I need help in marketing all the opportunities and benefits that advertisers receive at VoiceOverXtra. (And if you missed that notice or want to see it again, here ya go:

I'm grateful for the wonderful response from voice actors - especially to "meet" people and learn about their varied careers and the tremendous variety of talent we all have in so many fields.

But what stands out from some resumes and communications is the absence of mentioning actual experience in marketing and sales. I mean, the "legwork" of calling, emailing, servicing prospects and clients - and the resulting successes.

My hero in how to do this right is Alan Sklar, the velvet-voice of countless voice over projects, an experienced sales pro, and frequent VoiceOverXtra contributor (type his name in the SEARCH box above).

In fact, Alan often talks about his "past life" in the sales world, and how he relishes the hunt for new clients.

And that's the key to VO success today - skill as both a voice actor and marketer of your services.


So my search for help in marketing/sales leads me to thoughts about how we as voice actors must be skilled in sales as well as voice acting.

And while I prefer to consider life in a positive way, it's sometimes most memorable to flip to the consequences of NOT doing something correctly.

Hence, here's a brief list of How To Fail In Sales. The product, of course, is your voice over service.
Note: this list is hardly complete. Add your thoughts to the COMMENTS below!
1.  Do not enjoy the hunt, the pursuit of new business.
2.  Do not enjoy meeting, talking and communicating with people who are new to your life - learning about them, and how YOU can help them.
3.  Do not believe in yourself and your product.
4.  Do not commit to success, and doing what's necessary to succeed.
5.  Do not research your prospects and figure how you can help them, prior to your initial contact.
6.  Do not thoroughly understand your product and how it can help your prospects.
7.  Do not courteously follow up all communications, and in a professional manner.
8.  Do not impose discipline on your time, structuring the day/night to accomplish your tasks (maybe not in the order intended, but as well as possible as chaos unfolds).
9.  Do not organize your thoughts, actions, desk and plans of action.
10.  Do not keep track of everything with a contact management program.
11.  Do not maintain and communicate (to yourself!) written reports on contacts and successes per time period.
12.  Do not take time off to clear your brain.
13.  Do share your political and religious beliefs if you want to limit business to like-minded individuals.

Yes, success in sales requires quite a different skill set from voice acting. But try to succeed in voice overs without either!

Now please feel free to share your additional thoughts below in the COMMENTS. And take the new VoiceOverXtra POLL about your attitude toward sales (box at top right of this page).
John Florian is the founder and publisher of VoiceOverXtra, the voice over industry's online news, education and resource center. Also a voice actor with a career background in magazine editing and publishing, he created VoiceOverXtra in 2007 - a company that has grown to offer thousands of online articles and resources, plus many live and recorded webinars, a how-to book division and more, dedicated to the success of voice actors.


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Comments (8)
John Florian
9/25/2012 at 6:53 AM
Rosie - my option to surgery would be this: After researching a prospect on the web (or elsewhere) to learn as much as possible about their needs, call to learn a) if they are accepting new voice talent, b) who to work with there, and c) how they desire communicating with you and receiving your demo (email, CD?). This gives you direction on how to work with that particular client. If they're local, you've got an advantage. VISIT! Just go there. Hand-deliver your CD. You might just be offered a tour and handshake.
Rosie Goodman
9/24/2012 at 11:57 PM
"THANK YOU" John for the article. I did enjoy it but would rather work in surgery for 12 hrs. than contact possible clients! I was wondering, which do you do first in your approach of "emails & calling?" Do you do one or the other first???
Sincerely,Your webinar fan,
Rosie G.
9/19/2012 at 4:21 PM
Yes, John... I love your To Do Not List!
So I'll try my best to not do any of those not dos when I'm doing what I ought not to do!

Thanks... Rick
Ralph Hass
9/19/2012 at 3:03 PM
Do talk in character voices. After all, today is Talk Like A Pirate Day.
9/19/2012 at 12:58 AM
John...I can see why you respect Alan Sklar. And, Alan...I wholly endorse your technique with the "gatekeeper"...the receptionist. She's frequently the ONE you have to get past. Spending inordinate time with her could seriously get you to a decision-maker! All part of the "sales strategy."

I spent 3 yrs of my youth as a registered Private Investigator in Los Angeles...and 20 yrs as a news reporter. Let me tell you, no one wants to talk to a P.I. But EVERYONE wants to talk to a reporter! They might get their name in the paper! If only I'd known!

The lesson learned is, you should consider whatever "tool" you have to accomplish a goal...namely, getting to the "decision-maker." It's key to making the sale!
9/19/2012 at 12:16 AM
A veritable plethora of pearls...Thank you, gentlemen!
John Florian
9/18/2012 at 4:18 PM
Alan, talk about being a prince! Thank YOU for this very welcome marketing advice.
Alan Sklar
9/18/2012 at 4:03 PM
John...You are a prince. Thanks for your kind words. I often feel that Sales and Marketing are more fun than acting. When I was running our family paint distributorship, I loved traveling in the field with our salesmen and opening new accounts. It was easy to open a new hardware or paint store account by offering a lowball price on gallons of Odorless Paint Thinner. The store owner would grab it and happily fill out the Credit Form for my bookkeeper, and even order a few other items.

But how do you open a new account in the VO business? How do you get the producer's attn?

I've begun lately to send non-invasive emails to producers. I get his email from the company website. I put all the website information into my contact software (ACT!) In the email I introduce myself, offer some info like 1) home studio 2) warm, deep, authoritative voice 3) embed a few demos.

If their website states that they specialize in med/pharm projects, I embed my Medical Demo and ask them to take a peek at my website. I also attach only the first page of my Testimonials (From "Satisfied Customers') with a note at the bottom that there are 11 more pages if they'd like to see them. -:)

I prefer calling and schmoozing with the receptionist, turning on the charm and asking her for some coaching. Who does the hiring? What kind of projects do they produce? Receptionists have a very boring job and often get yelled at. If the receptionist has a lovely voice, I sometimes say "Charlene, you have a beautiful voice. Your boss should hire you to do VOs."

That does it. They tell me everything. A salesman is a rogue! Watch out, ladies.

Thanks again, John. May your business grow and prosper.
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