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MARKETING
Voice Over Work Is Out There

... You Just Gotta Go After It
September 20, 2012


By Tim Davisson
Voice Actor & Co-Founder, Web Concepts of America

After reading the recent VoiceOverXtra article How To Fail In Sales, I feel compelled to add to the discussion. Here's my story ...

Earlier this year, my 40+ year career in radio ended. My first 15 years was as a disc jockey, production director, occasional program or music director in Akron, Cleveland, and Tampa. 

In 1983 I moved into radio ad sales. That shocked many of my on-air co-workers who said: "Why are you going to sales? You're too good on the air to do THAT!"

Nice compliments, but it was something I had to try, and I'm sure glad I did.

RADIO BIZ CHANGING

But in recent years, seeing the way the radio ad business was changing, I started looking for a "side business" in some area of media that I could transition to full time as my own business - as a way to supplement retirement from radio.

At the same time, few years ago -  at the insistence of one of my advertisers, and over my strong objections - I started voicing their spots on radio.

Our creative director, Chuck Matthews (who's also a VO guy who does a lot of station imaging and car spots all over the U.S.) encouraged me, saying I'd be a great fit in VO work.

But I quickly became very much in awe of the hundreds, if not thousands of truly great, talented VO people.

Hey, I have VO skills, but I'm not anywhere as polished as many current VO people are.

WORK THE STREETS

Long story short: I discovered that my best fit in VO was out "in the streets" promoting and selling VO projects to businesses.

Oh, I still voice some of my client's radio/TV spots and their website videos' audio tracks. But selling is my main thing.

And, you know what? As I've gotten more and more into the VO industry I've found there's practically nobody doing what I do: mainly, VO project selling.

I've found that many VO people - who are very, very talented, and perhaps have done a lot of regional, even national VO work in 2012 - complain they don't have enough VO business now.

And they complain that all the "good VO work" is being done "on the two coasts."

WORK IS WHERE YOU FIND IT

However, I've discovered there is VO work out there. You've just gotta go out and find the business for yourself.

And while going into the booth is fun, nothing happens until a client buys a VO project.

Most businesses, especially local businesses, don't even know VO exists, and what it can do for their businesses.

WHERE'S THE FIRE?

Most VO people I've met would rather set themselves on fire than try selling their VO services.

That's a shame. There's literally millions and millions of dollars out there for VO work in every size market, if we just go after it. Talk about missed opportunities!

While selling is a skill - and not everybody buys, and rejection can be discouraging - if the reluctant VO people would just get out there and promote themselves, they'd be surprised that it can and is being done successfully.

THE NUMBERS ADD UP


Heck, sales is similar to hitting in baseball: if you get 3 hits in 10 at bats, you're a .300 hitter. And if you do that long enough, you'll likely go to the Hall of Fame.

A 30% close rate is very doable in VO. If you just try.

Hope I've shed a positive light on selling VO projects. It's out there ... if we just go after it.
------------------
ABOUT TIM

Based in Ohio, voice actor and former radio broadcaster / sales manager Tim Davisson is
co-founder of Web Concepts of America, a business that writes, creates and voices video announcements and content for business websites.

Web: www.webconceptsofamerica.com
Email: kd8gz@hotmail.com

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Comments (6)
Rick
1/9/2013 at 7:41 PM
This---and many articles like it---are missing one key point: TO WHOM ARE WE SELLING? Ad agencies? PR firms? Marketing firms? Radio/TV stations? And among these targets, to whom do we send? The head honcho? One of the many crestive directors? Do they hire VO talent directly, or will they just point us (if they feel like it) to their casting director or a talent agency with whom they work? At whom exactly should I aim my efforts? Do I go straight to the client business itself? Will they shunt me to their ad agency?

With all respect, everyone is saying the work is out there, but no one is saying WHERE and HOW. A lot of us may be well-trained in VO but not so much in selling.
Jim Conlan
9/21/2012 at 10:28 AM
Right, Tim. As a VO trainer, I know that many of my most talented students won't get much work because they are reluctant to prospect for it. At the same time, many business-communication companies like yours and mine are urging their clients to add impact and prestige to their websites with audiovisual content. Companies who lead or want to lead are discovering that their website is more than just pretty pictures: to stand out they need well-crafted audiovisual content.
Ron Whittemore
9/21/2012 at 9:53 AM
Thanks Tim...appreciate the positive, encouraging perspective to the VO community!!
Paul Strikwerda
9/21/2012 at 9:13 AM
I totally believe that there's plenty of voice-over work out there, Tim, and you're right: clients won't come knocking on your door if they don't know where you live and what you have to offer.

It's actually pretty easy to get work in this business... if you're willing to work for beer money. The question is: can one build a sustainable, full-time career charging reasonable rates, i.e. run a profitable business?

In order to do that, we have to start selling based on benefits.

Benefits are the positive effects people derive from using our service. Itís the pleasure people experience after getting rid of their frustration or pain.

Smart sales people sell benefits. Stupid sales people slash prices. Any idiot can close a sale by cutting the price (and go broke in the process). It takes brains to sell benefits.
JAY LLOYD
9/21/2012 at 12:41 AM
Good thoughts, Tim. You & I have a lot in common...dj to management. Remember the old radio axiom: "Disk Jockeys drive flashy sports cars; salesmen drive Mercedes!" There is a great deal of difference between those who are good "on-air performers" and those who can go out and "sell the station." How many small town radio station owners have FORCED deejays to become salesmen, and then wonder why they can't do the job? But it's a different world today; the jobs are out there...be selfish and just go get 'em!"
Linda Joy
9/20/2012 at 11:25 PM
Hi Tim,
Really like the '30% is a good close rate' analogy - I needed to hear that :)
Thanks!
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