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Philip Banks Teaches You How To Get and Treat Prospects

By Stephanie Ciccarelli

November 14, 2008

Comments (16)

Philip BanksLooking for more clients who want to purchase your voice over services?

Philip Banks, a voice over talent based in Scotland, is always entertaining, consummately witty and perfectly blunt.

How do you get your demo in front of potential customers while being respectful and staying on good terms?

Today's guest blogger answers these questions and more for your reading pleasure.


Prospecting - Dig A Little Deeper!

By Philip Banks


"Philip, how did you get started?" asked Jim. I told him and assumed that what I believed to be obvious would be obvious to him. Oh how wrong was I.

"Get a list of people and telephone them to ask if they use the services of freelance Voice Overs."

Sound OK?

I thought so, except Jim simply got a list of local businesses and called them. WRONG. Before you make the call you need to be 90% certain that the person you are calling is going to answer yes to the question.

The trick, if there is a trick, is to spend more time digging for prospects than calling people.

Right, let's start project 100. You need 100 names and telephone numbers.

What do you want to do? For whom would you like to work? Are you able to do long form audio like elearning?

OK, type "elearning production" into a search engine. Visit the websites and look around, it will take time.

Is there any evidence to support your theory that this company uses voices?

Prove to yourself that they may find a use for you - PROVE do not guess. In the Contacts or "About Us" section is there a name, something like, Joe Smith Head of production or Audio Producer? DIG DIG DIG.

The more you do this the more your investigative instincts improve. From every search you need a company, telephone number and contact name.


Unless you have no alternative DO NOT EMAIL - YOU MUST TELEPHONE.

"Hello my name's Philip Banks and I'm calling to ask if you ever use freelance voice overs"

If you've done your homework you will get a yes. If not offered a name, ask for one, the one you already know and ask if you can speak to them for a moment.

"Hello my name's Philip Banks and I'm calling to ask if you ever use freelance voice overs"

Assuming the answer is yes.

"Would it be OK for me to send you a demo? (before they say anything) You're allowed to say no by the way"

In 18 years I have had one person say no to me.

"That's great, I'll send you one today. Thanks very much"

If you are asked for a link to demos on a web site do that instead of a demo CD.


Here is the BIGGIE - NEVER EVER EVER ASK FOR FEEDBACK

If you are tempted to ask for feedback:

NEVER EVER EVER ASK FOR FEEDBACK.

To be certain you have fully understood - NEVER EVER EVER ASK FOR FEEDBACK!

You are looking for work not a critique.

Prospecting is the key. No selling required. If you have been thorough in your search for names and numbers and your demos are good enough you will get work.


An Example of Successful Prospecting

As a way of finishing this piece here's the story of a job I managed to secure over ten years ago.

I read in a newspaper that Pilots and crew of a new helicopter were going to be trained using CBT, Computer based training. On noting the name of the company I saw they were about 5 miles from me. I visited the office armed with an audio cassette.

"If you have any projects that require a professional voice please get in touch".

Note that I didn't tell them what I knew.

As it turned out the CBT was going to be 45 hours with 38 hours of speech content. Over an 18 month period that one job earned me around $25,000.

Any specific questions about prospecting, feel free to ask.

Want a demo evaluation? Pay Nancy Wolfson to give you one as it'll be money well spent.

Yours sincerely,

Philip Banks

~~

Perspective

I can identify with what Philip is saying coming from the perspective of a client who does hire voice over talent and purchases stock photos for this blog.

Not only am I not necessarily expecting to give a critique, I have little or no time to do so.

Yesterday afternoon, I was pleasantly surprised by a nice phone call from Philip to further discuss the article and we spoke at length on the subject.

While speaking, it was acknowledged that for whatever reason, something has developed in this industry where voice talent, in addition to desiring demo feedback from their own prospective clients offline, also have expectations to receive feedback from clients they are auditioning for online, for instance wanting to know details such as if a demo has been listened to, what the client thought of the performance and also why they were not chosen for the part.

You may see some parallels drawn here to the article Philip wrote.

Both Philip and I agreed that the client's feedback regarding an audition or a demo submitted, regardless of how you first got their attention, is a cheque in the mail or a payment made for your services.

To give you an example, while I may not remember to provide a rating or submit a comment on an image I purchased, the very fact that I did purchase the image is a vote of confidence for that photographer or artist. This vote of confidence and proof of purchase shows up under how many times their image has been downloaded, adding my decision to invest in their works to the silent testimonies of others.

Similarly, if you are hired for work, you have a client list or testimonials. If you've been hired through Voices.com using SurePay, you have another means to display feedback from your clients available to you that serves the same purpose.


Any Comments on Prospecting?

Looking forward to hearing what you think.

Best wishes from your friends on either side of the pond,

Philip Banks and Stephanie Ciccarelli

Related Topics: clients, hired, how to, industry, jobs, Philip Banks, Prospecting, samples, Siri, voice actors, voice over demos, voice talent, voices, voices.com


Comments


    Great blog, Phillip. It's always nice to hear some real "how-to" advice from someone who has actually done it. Keep up the good work.

    Posted by:

      Actorfest is tomorrow 11/15 at the Hammerstein Ballroom on 34th street between 8th and 9th aves in NYC. NBC, TELEMNUDO, NICKELODEON, THE N, and TELSEY + COMPANY will all be holding open casting calls. Doors open at 8am and it is free to attend.

      Thought you might like to know. You can more info at www.actorfest.com.

      Posted by:

        Being a longtime fan of Mr. Banks, I took his advice and ran a search on Elearning Production but added New Jersey to it. I landed a new potential client on the second phone call! Sounds like his method works to me...

        Posted by:
        • Tom Dheere
        • November 14, 2008 4:08 PM

          Thanks for the great advice! Actions like these seem so logical yet I'm sure often overlooked. As a fundraiser in my "real life", fully researching potential donors is critical. Knowing as much as possible about potential clients, or supporters, is essential to getting to YES!

          Posted by:
          • Linda
          • November 15, 2008 9:34 AM

            Hi Philip

            Thanks so much for your unrelenting good advice and humour.

            James

            Posted by:

              Brilliant, actionable stuff. Just another great reason to be a VOICES.COM subscriber. I'm getting schooling 24/7, 365 days a year!

              Thanks Philip!

              Posted by:
              • JC Haze
              • November 15, 2008 11:06 AM

                The all important marketing aspect of this business is so often neglected when people decide to dive on into the pool. And when the reality strikes - that marketing must be done - there isn't a clear understanding of what it means - and time, energy and money are burned without concrete results. Philip's advise here is "spot" on.

                Posted by:

                  A really useful article.More, please

                  Posted by:

                    Hey Stephanie-

                    This is great. I'd love to include this in one of my Voicebank.net blogs.
                    I can send them to your site... Let me know where to hyperlink.

                    Thanks.
                    Tracy
                    Voicebank.net/Voice Registry.com/blog

                    Posted by:
                    • Tracy Pattin
                    • November 15, 2008 12:06 PM

                      Wow----great stuff.

                      Brian

                      Posted by:
                      • Brian Whitaker
                      • November 15, 2008 12:06 PM

                        yep wonderful )
                        Ksusha

                        Posted by:
                        • Ksusha Carmes
                        • November 15, 2008 12:07 PM

                          All true...and what's also remarkable is that only 5% of the people this advice is directed to will use it. Thank gawd! More for the 5% of us that have done all the work Philip detailed so nicely.

                          Posted by:
                          • Paul Boucher
                          • November 15, 2008 12:08 PM

                            Don't ask for feedback on your demo?

                            So, I guess that means my practice of requesting the prospect wear the enclosed USB Galvanic Skin Response Analyzer while listening so I can download the reaction in real-time is also off the table?

                            Seriously, I find your advice to be excellent, and consistent with client-centric thinking I've seen in other lines of work. A prospect who's gearing up for a big project will be alienated by a request to rate your demo, and convinced that your focus is on your own needs, not the client's. After all...how many of those annoying customer survey pop-ups do you fill out on the web? Don't have time? Neither do they!

                            Being new to voices.com, I agree with JC Haze. I'm spending way too much time with the blogs and podcasts, but it's been worthwhile!

                            Posted by:

                              This was great information. Thanks for sharing!

                              Posted by:
                              • Maria Berry
                              • November 15, 2008 8:09 PM

                                Howdy,

                                After re-reading Philips comments I thought that I'd throw this out for you to consider. It springs from the idea of requesting a critique of your demo which I agree is not a good idea. I can think of several reasons that could encourage you to ask for feedback, but the one I want to talk about today is "fear of rejection".

                                One of the many hats we wear is "salesperson" whether we like it or not. And one aspect of sales that is difficult for many, maybe most salespeople, is asking for the sale. If I never ask you to Hire me, you never have to say "No." What a relief! That means I still have a chance, I haven't been turned down, I'm still in the running, and so on.

                                BUT, asking for feedback is essentially harmless, it doesn't require a final decision from the client, and I'm not rejected from the job. Really though, feedback is not the same as getting hired, which is where my focus should be.

                                What to do?

                                Submit my best effort. Thank the Client for their interest. Keep in touch with the Client. I may get this job, or not, but I will always look professional. And if I don't get this job I've done nothing to keep me from being considered for the next opportunity. A win-win situation.

                                Just a thought for today,

                                Tom

                                Posted by:
                                • Tom Dolan
                                • November 20, 2008 2:01 PM

                                  Thanks for the piece, Philip. Everything you say about making sure your prospects are sound before you start is true. It's the difference between making cold calls and "warm calls".

                                  That said, the number of people I know who won't pick up the phone to make the enquiry in the first place staggers me. Getting on the phone to prospective clients is a great way to let them hear what you sound like (no, don't do it when you have a cold or you're in a bad mood).

                                  It puts me in mind of what someone once said to me about flipping coins and finding a guaranteed way to make more of them come up heads…

                                  (Answer: you just have to flip more coins!)

                                  Posted by:

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