Tag Archives: Voiceover

On-Hold Messages: Why They Are Vital For Your Business

Customer on-hold are left in the cold

Every interaction you have with your customer is vital to the success of your business. From the radio and TV commercials you run to get customers in the door. To the way you treat the customer after the sale.

Everything you do needs to be designed to communicate your message.

Why should it be any different when a customer calls you on the phone?

Think about this. A customer has taken the time to pick up the phone to call you. Maybe that customer is ready to make a huge purchase. Or maybe a question about your product or service needs to be answered.

Regardless of the nature of the call, you have another opportunity to interact with that customer. However, the person who answers the phone isn’t the one who can answer the question. So the caller is placed on hold. Stuck on Hold

If that caller hears silence it may seem like they’ve been hung up on and they may hang up.

Or worse, what if that caller gets placed on hold and hears a radio station that is running a commercial for one of your competitors? Uh-oh! That can be a huge problem. You may lose that customer and the sale to your competition and probably never even realize it.

There are also legal ramifications to playing a radio station or other music to your on-hold callers. If you don’t have an ASCAP license you can’t legally play copyrighted music through your phone system. And even though the radio station you’re playing to callers has paid its ASCAP fees you still aren’t legally able to retransmit that signal. The radio station likely won’t mind — they want all the listeners they can get. However, playing a radio station over the phone is actually a violation of the law.

But with a telephone on-hold message, you can solve these problems. And give yourself another opportunity to sell to that customer. First, your customer will realize they haven’t been disconnected. Second, they’re hearing about your business.

You’re reinforcing your sales message. You can tell the customer how important you think they are. Plus you can tell them about products or services they might not be aware of.

Third, you won’t be violating any music copyright laws with a custom-produced telephone on-hold message.

Sick of being on-holdYou never want to leave customers on hold for very long, but it’s an inevitable part of daily business. Why not use that time to make your customer feel important and take another opportunity to interact with your customers?

I began producing telephone messages-on-hold for clients across the country more than 15 years ago. A custom-produced on-hold message can be updated on a regular basis to reflect changes in products, services, prices, and specials. They’re easy to update for holidays or special promotions. And they’ll give your business an edge over the competition.

Take a listen to my On-Hold Messages demo right now. If you’d like to learn more about telephone on-hold messaging please call me at (303) 915-9317 or email me at tim@weboutloud.com.

 

 

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I Love This Job!

No matter how many times I record voiceover projects, I always get a charge out of doing the work.

Every once in a while, though, a project comes along that gives me an extra boost!

Getting to do the voiceover for a high definition video tour for the sale of the Joe Cocker Estate in Crawford, Colorado was both an honor and a thrill.

I’ve been a long-time fan of Joe Cocker’s music so having the opportunity to be the voice talent for this real estate video tour made me smile.

Proud to be the voice talent for the Joe Cocker Estate virtual tour

 

Voiceover Coach Warnings

Like with many things, the voiceover industry has brought out the scammers. There are people who  will take your money while saying they’ll help launch your voiceover career.

Caution-bad voiceover coaches are trying to steal your moneyOften these so-called voice coaches will hold a weekend seminar telling you that by the end of the weekend, you’ll be ready to start making money as a voiceover artist. They’ll even send you out in the world with a “fully produced demo” to show off your skills.

Oh, if only it were that easy to get in the voiceover business and find work.

For most of us, becoming a voice talent is something that takes time, training, practice, hard work, disappointment, perseverance, more time, more training, more practice, more disappointment, more hard work, more practice . . .

You get the picture. Voice-over is not a get-rich quick business. It’s not something you learn in a weekend seminar.

More than a great voice

Like most voice talent, I get calls and emails on a regular basis asking me how to get in the business. Most of the time it’s someone saying, “People tell me I have a great voice and I should do voice-overs.”

There’s a lot more to voiceovers than having a “great” voice. In fact, there are very successful voice artists who don’t have what people consider a “great” voice. Instead, they know how to “use” their voice. They know how to interpret copy. They know that you don’t deliver a commercial the same way you do a corporate narration or an eLearning course.

Then I hear from the people who say things like, “I do a great Porky Pig voice.”

You know there’s a guy named Bob Bergen who is already the actual voice of Porky Pig, so chances are you won’t be getting a call from Warner Brothers anytime soon.

But these are the kinds of dreams that these predatory voiceover coaches prey upon. They’ll tell someone that by taking their weekend seminar it’s the easy path to voiceover riches.

Don’t waste your money

Get good voiceover coaching and don't waste your money on scammersWhatever you do, keep your credit card in your wallet and don’t sign up for these get-rich quick voiceover classes. You’ll not only waste your money but in the long run you can hurt your chances of having a successful voiceover career.

It’s been said over and over again, don’t record your voiceover demos until you’re ready. Trust me, you won’t be ready to record your demo after a weekend.

Dave Courvoisier has written 5 Ways To Spot Predatory Demo Coaches on his blog that has some good tips on how to avoid these scammers.

Before you take any voiceover training, do your research and be sure the coach you’re going to study with has your best interests in mind and isn’t just trying to line his or her pockets.

 

Battling a Cold or the Flu

It started the day after Christmas.

That scratchy throat. Feeling like I needed to cough.

I tried fighting it, but within a day or two I was completely out of action.

The flu hits hard

Tough to do voiceover when you've got the flu Not just out of action with my voiceover work. Out of action completely. I couldn’t do anything but sit on the couch and watch bad TV. Really bad TV.

Two days after I got sick, it hit my wife. We were quite the pair. Sitting on the couch feeling miserable.

I guess that as a voice talent, if you’re going to get sick the week between Christmas and the New Year is better than any other. Most of my clients had sent through work earlier in December and the last week of the year was a slow one. I only had to postpone one session at an outside studio.

No one likes sick days

Cold and Flu Season is never pleasant for anyone, but when you make your living using your voice it’s especially difficult. A cold or the flu makes your voice sound bad. You sound hoarse and being stuffed up doesn’t help either.

Plus, when you’re self-employed you don’t get to take a sick day and get paid. If you’re not working, you’re not making any money.

For me, it was a constant cough. No matter what I did I couldn’t stop coughing. I was taking cough medicine, using cough drops, but the coughing wouldn’t stop. My stomach and chest muscles started to ache from all the coughing.

And all that coughing just made my throat raw and my voice began to sound worse and worse. There’s no way to record a voice-over project when you sound the way I did.

Natural remedies

Along with the cough medicine I was taking, I tried some natural remedies.

I tried drinking tea that is supposed to help your throat. It was soothing on some level, but I’m not sure it did much to help my throat feel better.

The tea tasted a little better when I added some honey to it, but again, I’m not sure it did much to help my throat. And it certainly didn’t alleviate any of the coughing.

Another thing I tried was acupressure. A few years ago, I stumbled across Acupressure Points for Colds and Flu and some of the techniques actually helped me feel a bit better.

Getting back to normal

I’m finally starting to feel better. I’ve still got some congestion and have to cough once in a while, but I’m definitely on the mend.

While I’m not at 100% I’m certainly feeling way better than I did a week ago.

And best of all, I’m back in the studio doing what I love to do.

 

Choosing the Right Voice is Critical

Imagine Darth Vader without the voice of James Earl Jones.

Darth VaderThere’s a video making the rounds that shows footage from Star Wars before the voice of James Earl Jones was added to Darth Vader’s character. The video features the voice of David Prowse, the actor who was actually inside Vader’s costume.

You may have seen it across social media sites recently. In fact, I sent it out on my Twitter, Google+, and Facebook feeds earlier this week.

It’s pretty funny to hear Darth Vader with Prowse’s proper British accent.

If you haven’t seen the video, here you go:

Naturally, seeing that has got me thinking about how important the correct voice is to any project featuring  a voiceover.

It’s about more than just a good voice

But it’s not just about the sound of the voice. It’s about how the voice actor delivers the lines. James Earl Jones not only has a great voice, but he knows how to deliver the lines. He’s got “acting chops” as they say.

 Here he is in a classic scene from Field of Dreams:

 It’s not just about the lines and the voice, it’s about how they’re delivered. The combination of the lines, the voice and the delivery is what makes it successful.

In that Field of Dreams clip, imagine if Timothy Busfield (Kevin Costner’s brother-in-law in that clip) was delivering James Earl Jones lines. It just wouldn’t work. As an actor, he might be able to deliver the lines, but a critical piece is missing – the correct voice.

So it’s the combination of a good script, a good voice, and a voice actor who knows how to deliver.

Not  every voice  is the “right one”

As a voice-over talent, I realize that my voice isn’t right for every script. I could never do a voice for a character like Darth Vader.

So when it comes to auditioning for voiceover jobs, I pass by those that are looking for a voice or style that isn’t in my range.  I realized a long time ago that my voice and style was better suited to long-form narration like explainer videos, corporate, industrial and medical narrations, real estate virtual home tours and things like that. I’ve also done plenty of commercials – but I don’t try for “monster truck” type spots.

It may sound arrogant to some, but when it comes to things like narrations and eLearning, I know how to deliver the lines. I know that because I’ve had clients and producers tell me that frequently. I also know it because I have those clients hire me more than once.

What do you want it to sound like?

If you’re a voice seeker and looking to cast a voice for a project, think about what you want the final product to sound like. Don’t run out  and hire the least expensive voice talent you can find. Don’t hire the first voice talent you come across. Choose the right voice for your production.

I’m always happy to provide a potential client with a  custom audition of a portion of their script so they can decide if I’m right for the project. But I’m not unique in that respect. I don’t know of any voice-over talent who refuses to provide a custom audition – it’s part of what we do.

Before you make a decision on which voice-over talent to hire, ask for an audition. Send each talent you’re considering a short piece of your script. Pick a portion of the script that’s the most important part of your project. You’ll be able to tell if it’s the right voice and the right delivery with only about 30 to 60 seconds of voiceover.

So remember, combine a good script with a good voice from a voice talent who knows how to deliver your script.