This one line lost me a client, here is how it went down

As a voice-over actor, having prerequisites for committing to any given project goes a long way. Making sure you’re on the same page with your clients will help you determine when to dig deep, when to stick to a beaten path, or when to let an opportunity go altogether.

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Last week, a representative of an international media company reached out to me on LinkedIn with a business inquiry. The conversation opener/project brief read as follows:

“(This is a movies promo) Please Send Your Bulgarian sample, Mention your rate, length could be 30Sec, 45 sec and 60 Sec.. And also you tell the charge of translation.”

I thanked them for their interest in my services. It’s always a pleasure to record for the local market. The initial description sounded vague, so I asked the representative what other information about the project they were at liberty to disclose.

“so as of now the client want promos in specific language…so plz tell charges for that only for now
share contact details and charges for the same
email or whatsapp”

At this point in the conversation, a couple of red flags began rising in the back of my mind.

#1: The person I’m in contact with is unable to provide industry-relevant details about the job they’re headhunting for (more on that later).

#2: My email, website, phone number, and communication channels are readily available within the Contact information section of my LinkedIn profile.

I thanked the representative for elaborating and asked if they’d be willing to introduce themselves. A bit of etiquette quid pro quo, if you will. Reciprocity when it comes to common courtesy, business or otherwise, is a hill I’ll die on! The representative wasn’t having it.

“kindly send Your Bulgarian sample
and your email id

I directed the representative to my profile’s Contact info section, invited them to download whichever sample from my website best serves their current needs, shared my rate card containing a detailed breakdown of my pricing per project type, and politely asked them to drop me a line should they need anything else.

“upto 1 minutes charges please”

What followed was an attempt to salvage a talk with a customer reluctant to meet halfway by going through the rate card they’d been provided. Shit, man! It’s a 2-page .pdf, not War and Peace…

Don’t get me wrong. Helping a layman client navigate industry jargon is one thing. Handholding “THE BEST VIDEO PRODUCTION COMPANY IN CITY X (redacted for privacy considerations)” is quite another.

I found myself guiding my collocutor through what I needed to know about their project while simultaneously keeping my inner asshole at bay. In order to arrive at a fair rate for what was still an apocryphal brief, I asked for:

  • distribution channel(s) for the final product i.e. where it will be played (TV, radio, theaters, web, etc.)
  • duration of the campaign
  • estimated audience reach
  • the project’s deadline
  • the project’s budget
  • the representative’s company banking details, tax ID, payment terms, as well as any other information they deem relevant to their accounting and invoicing purposes

The end result?

“send your email id”

That’s when I decided to let this one go.

I thanked the representative for their persistence, clarified that translation does not fall within the scope of services I provide as a voice-over actor, and mentioned that the internet is full of amazing talent. In parting, I offered that if they’d like me to recommend a service for them to use, all they have to do is ask.

At the time of writing of this post, they are yet to reply.

As an international business, if your representatives are ineffective communicators and/or are unable to gather and make use of basic, publicly available information during outreach, they are effectively compromising your results.

Whether it’s digital marketing, writing, or voice-over, consider taking a look at these courses. Additional training helps you get to know your industry better. It provides context and, ultimately, improves your ability to communicate more clearly with professionals from your niche.

Life is too short for “send your email id”.

Do your due diligence.

Communicate clearly and in detail.

Provide a quality service.

Do meaningful work.

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