This week a job came in from a repeat client. I actually saw the booking posted on Voice123, but it was with a different gal from the production company than I had worked with before. When I submitted the read, I mentioned I had done work for both their agency and that client. I heard back right away that they were booking me. Great!
They sent me the script and asked for my rate. They needed a RUSH turn around, but I was not charging them an extra fee for that. Since they were a repeat client and I was available I didn’t want to nickel and dime them. Anyway, I made a mistake almost right away. The voice over job I did for them was for an explainer video with usage limited only to their website. I assumed, again, I assumed that this was the same. I assumed this because the top of the script was labeled in bold font “VIDEO SCRIPT.” I initially quoted the job based on the last, recent voiceover work I did for them and the assumption that it was a video.
I got a reply that the price quoted worked for them and they just wanted to have a quick call to go over their notes on the script. We set a time for in 15 minutes so I could turn in around really fast.
On the call, it was great to catch up with the client. As a full-time, professional female voice over actor, building client relationships means a lot to me, and phone calls like this always provide an opportunity not only to better understand my client’s unique and specific needs, but also to get to know them. How better to build a relationship than to actually speak?
Anyway, we jumped on the call, and my client immediately mentioned the television run. I resisted the urge to interrupt her and listened. I then resisted the urge to immediately discuss the rates, and instead focussed on her needs: discussing the new product and the script. Then, after we covered that, I delicately circled back with a “You mentioned this is a tv spot…” segue. I calmly and clearly explained that I had assumed, and yes that was on me, that the job was again a video as the script was labeled video in multiple places. I asked the client two key questions:
- How long is the tv run (length of usage?
- Is there social media usage too? If so, is the social media usage organic or paid placement?
Now, these questions should have been asked in my initial reply email when they were casting me. I should have asked them before I threw any numbers into the air. And as a long established professional voice talent, I should have know better.
I was extremely apologetic, my town was calm, but I also explained that I could not do a TV spot for an internal video rate. I then offered and did send my client the GVAA Rates guide, so that they could better understand what my pricing was based on.
Luckily for me the clients were very nice and understanding. It was clear that I thought it was a video and did not know it was a television commercial. The woman that I spoke to said that she would reach out to the rest of her team, find out the length of the run, and find out if there was social media usage and that they would get right back to me confirming the rate I had suggested.
It did work out. It turned out it was a four month local tv run in Mississippi, with no social media usage for now. We discussed pricing in the event that the client decides to add that usage down the line, or when they see the final spot.
I will never be in such a hurry, even when I tell myself it’s for the client, that I skip major parts of the information gathering process. The point of having years of experience in the industry is not only to serve the clients well and to provide an outstanding level of service, but is also for precisely these scenarios, when years in the industry should teach us to take a breath, pause, and look at what we are dealing with. I realize that if I could make this basic mistake, anyone can. So do yourself a favor, ask questions. Enjoy the dialogue and back and forth. Don’t be afraid to hop on the phone and clarify a few details. I realize the clients in this scenario could just as easily have been inflexible about the budget, and that would have led to a very different blog today.