Over the course of the last week, month, quarter, year, I’ve reached out to a lot of prospective clients. It’s not a task I particularly enjoy, but it’s necessary. After all, just because you’ve “hung a shingle” doesn’t mean anyone is going to come looking for you. I trust that a name like “Vallancourt” is sticky enough for them to remember - even if it is frequently misspelled. Maybe I should have called myself the “Voicing Vallancourt;” but the idea of that cutesy alliteration makes me want to barf.
I digress. When I reach out I typically get one of the following responses:
Happy to listen to my demo - These clients are the very smartest in my estimation. They can tell I’m the man with pipes golden enough to make their voiceover projects come to life! My guess is that these folks are members of Mensa and had a 4.0 GPA in college.
Little or no use for voiceover -These clients must be unaware as to how much better their projects will be with a voiceover. Particularly my voice. Another voice might work, but not as well as my voice...
“We’ll put you on our list” - It’s a polite brush off that’s just vague enough to give you a glimmer of hope they might hire you (but they probably won’t). They’re typically nice people who don’t like saying no. Under the right circumstances you might be able to get them to buy a nonexistent timeshare. That is, if you were the sort of person who sold nonexistent timeshares. That would make you a horrible person who takes advantage of people, though.
No response - These people are obviously horrible and ignorant. Who needs them? I can grow my business without them. They probably flunked out of college.
Then there are those people that respond with something like the following:
“We post all of our jobs to [online casting/freelance site].”
Sounds promising, right? All you have to do is look for their jobs to post, and you don’t have to keep checking in with them. After they hear your voice a few times, they’ll hire you, right? And bingo! You’ve just made a new client…
Ummmm, no. It’s a brush off. In directing you to a third party site, the prospect is really telling you that they see no value in your time or talent. Any effort you put into responding to their auditions will, at best, result in a transactional one-sided relationship. There is no partnership to be had with these clients. You’ll spend a ton of energy auditioning for, maybe, one gig. Yay.
That’s not to say you can’t find clients on third-party sites. It’s possible, just not gonna happen with a producer who tells you that’s the only place they book talent.
A sustainable freelance business involves finding clients who want to work with you on an ongoing basis. That’s what’s known as relationship building. The more your clients see you as partners, the better off your business will be. These clients value your time and your talent and, more importantly, bring you repeat business, and possibly referrals. These clients are the best.