Cold calling may be the most hated part of growing a business. Even though it sounds a little intimidating, it is really an important part of any business and in my case, a voice over business. It’s one of those things that everyone knows is important to do, but it’s so easy to ‘forget’ to do - it’s something unpleasant. The thing is that, as I’ve started to cold call for voice over jobs, I’ve realized what I’ve known my whole life - people are generally really friendly.
Who do I call?
For me so far, I’ve been calling creative directors of media production agencies. They are in charge of multimedia projects and multimedia projects often include voice overs. It makes sense to market yourself to the people in charge of hiring for video and audio projects. On the other hand, there are a lot of potential clients in the world of voice over. Creative directors are an obvious marketing target, but what about e-learning companies, YouTube channels, online companies, colleges offering online education and other less obvious options. As technology develops more and more, there will be even more of a need for voice over actors. The potential client list is endless.
Where do I find people that may need my voice over services?
All over the place. More specifically, online databases. A good one is Mandy.com which is a huge database full of every different type of media company imaginable. Besides that, you can just browse the internet looking for people that you think may need voice over actors and market to them. My plan is to start marketing to the less obvious people and reach out to companies that might not be working with a media production company. The start up companies usually have less established connections, so I’ll try and be their first point of contact when it comes to voice acting.
What’s the dialogue?
These are going to be relatively short conversations, but it’s important to have a dialogue. I got my script from Bill Dewees and I’ve been using it so far with my cold calls. Here it is:
Hi, my name is Joe Murphy and I’m a full time, non- union voice actor. I was wondering if you could help me today?
This question makes the conversation a bit easier, because the person on the other side of the phone call knows you are not there to sell to them, you are there to introduce yourself. So far, everyone I’ve spoken to has said, “Sure!” After that, I say:
I was wondering if you could connect me to the creative director or the person in charge of dealing with voice overs.
If they’re not the person to talk to, hopefully they’ll connect me with the right person. Make sure to thank them for their time before moving on. Once I’m talking to the right person I’ll say:
I was just wondering if you’re currently accepting voice over demos?
Again, so far everyone has said, “Yes, sure.” The last thing I ask for is an email to send my demo to:
Great, do you have an email that you’d like me to send it to?
After they tell me what email to send it to I say:
Thanks for your time, I’ll send you my demo now.
Usually people don’t want a file to download to their computer, especially if they’re getting a lot of voiceover submissions, so I just send them a link to the “demo” page of this website where they can listen to all of my demos.
Don’t actually sell anything during the call…
Everybody hates telemarketers, so don’t be one with your voiceover business. The trick is to not actually sell anything on the phone. The point of cold calling production companies and creative directors is to introduce yourself and let them know what you do. That’s it. This takes a lot of pressure off you, because you don’t have to try to convince them to buy anything. You’re simply letting them know that you are available to voice their future project. That way, during their next project when they need a voice actor (and they like you), they’ll give you a call and you’ll get the work.
I’ll be doing this without any expectation of getting work. The only immediate goal of these cold calls is getting some exposure with media production agencies. That’s it. I just want them to know that I have a service that they may need at some point in the future. I think this will be much more effective in the long run rather than trying to get paid immediately.
Once I make the call and get the information from the creative director or whoever I talk to (name, phone number, and email), I have to follow up with them. Even if the call is perfect and it’s clear that they are interested in hiring me soon, it is worthless if I don’t stay in their minds. They are busy people. A lot of other people are vying for their attention, so I need to call and say hello every once in awhile. When I call, I’ll introduce myself again and remind them of who I am and the fact that we spoke earlier.
Continue to follow up…
Once you follow up once….follow up again...and again so that you build up the relationship with the prospective client. You want to stay on their mind. It’s easy to think that the more often you call, the better your chances will be to get hired. This can be dangerous because you don’t want to call them so often that they get annoyed with you - then they’ll never hire you. My goal will be to call people every 2 months to remind them of who I am.
Keep track of call and emails.
It’s my philosophy that you can improve absolutely anything in life if you keep track of it. So, let’s track these cold calls. I have an excel spreadsheet on google docs where I enter in the name and information of the person I called and when I called them. I set it up so that once I enter the date, it starts a 60 day countdown. Once 60 days pass, I’ll get a reminder to contact them again. So far I’ve been writing down every single person I get in contact with. In the future I may just write down the people that I think will give me the best chance of eventually getting work, because my list will eventually be very long.
As with any aspect of this business, my goal is to just keep on repeating the same important tasks over and over again. Keep calling. Keep emailing. Keep auditioning. Keep marketing. That way over time I will have taken massive action which will lead to a snowball effect of more and more work for my voiceover business.
Be grateful and always thank people.
In business and in life people often forget to say thank you. This is such a simple and basic human behavior, but it is crucial to success. Say thank you for everything. When I call people I am grateful for them taking time out of their day to speak with me, even if they don’t hire me. When I email people, I am thankful that they took the time to read the words I’ve written. When I audition, I am grateful for the people that listen to and consider that audition. It’s easy to be thankful when someone is writing a check, but it’s even more important to be thankful when there is no return in sight.
I'm busy working on my blog posts. Watch this space!