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The Business of VO: Client Expectations

Researching clients. What do you look for? How do you speak their language? How can you get your foot in the door? Anne and Gabby cover these topics and more in this VO BOSS podcast. Rev up your business model and have a pen and paper ready!

“Being a voice actor and trying to do everything it’s like throwing darts at Jell-O. You’re just not going to get anywhere. Nothing’s ever going to stick that way. There’s too many avenues and there’s too many options. It’s overwhelming. Who wants to try to do that?” – Gabby Nistico

Check out Episode 3: Client Expectations on iTunes and Stitcher


Quick Concepts from Today’s Episode:

  1. When we’re talking about vocally branding ourselves in the industry, it really helps to have a targeted audience

  2. Remember – it’s about your client, their needs, and how you can best serve them that counts

  3. Make sure that you have those skills to be able to back it up, and that you have done your work in terms of training, honing and perfecting your craft as a performer.

  4. Know yourself well enough to know the things that you enjoy, the things that bring you joy, the things that you have the talent to back up, and fit them into your business

  5. Make sure you know how to speak the language of the client that’s hiring in your arena.

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Referenced in this Episode

Direct links to things we brought up ++

  1. Research your client’s brand to speak their language  – Google!

Full Episode Transcript

VO: Today’s voiceover talent is more than just a pretty voice. Today’s voiceover talent has to be a boss! A V.O. B.O.S.S. Set yourself up with business owner strategies and success with your host, Anne Ganguzza. Along with some of the strongest voices in our industry. Rock your business like a boss. A V.O. B.O.S.S. Anne: Welcome everybody to the VO Boss podcast. I’m Anne Ganguzza along with my lovely co-host, Gabby Nistico. Hey Gabby! Gabby: Hi! Anne: Today’s podcast we’re going to be talking all about the business of VO client expectations. And so, Gabby, this leads us to the discussion of our particular different backgrounds and how we are able to market to our clientele. What is it that makes your voiceover business perhaps different than mine? And how do you market to your clients? Gabby: When we were talking to Elaine Clark, she said something that was really awesome about wearing multiple hats, but not wearing the entire hat rack. And that’s really what this is all about. So, me as a professional voice actress, I would say my specialties, my focuses every day definitely my commercial work. My… to… I guess the specialty areas that I’m known for throughout the voiceover community because I coach for them, is radio imaging and tv promo. And then I also have some really specific character voices that I market. Because I do accents, but not too many. I’m not like a character animation actor. I just have like a very small handful of things that I’ve perfected over the years. So, when I go about branding and marketing and getting my voice out there and my website, those are the things that I focus on. And they all have their nice little neat, compartmentalized boxes in my business plan. Anne: And I think that that helps you to market more effectively, actually, rather than trying to market to the entire… Because really, you know, when we’re talking about, you know, brands and perhaps vocally branding ourselves in the industry, it really helps to have a targeted audience and I know we’ve spoken about this in the last few episodes. That targeting your clients and your audience is super important because you can speak their language and market to them directly and again, serve their needs. Again, it’s about your client. It’s not necessarily about you. Gabby: Yes. Anne: And so, if you can really discover where it is that you fit vocally in the industry, and what markets you fit into best, then I think that’s a great first step into being able to be successful in those markets. Gabby: Well, it is. And it’s weird because it is about you, but it isnt about you. It’s kind of both at the same time, because yes, you have to know your strengths. You have to know those skills that you have, that you possess, that are superior, but at the end of the day, it’s not about what those skills do for you, it’s what do those skills do for the clientele that are going to hire me and how do I get their attention with that? Anne: Excellent point. Gabby: Yeah, and you know, the other thing I always tell people this. I’m like, look. Being a voice actor and trying to do everything it’s like throwing darts at Jell-O. Like, you’re just not going to get anywhere. Nothing’s ever going to stick that way. Because there’s too many avenues and there’s too many options. It’s overwhelming. Who wants to try to do that? Anne: Exactly. Gabby: Anne, you know, your business model couldn’t be I don’t think more different than mine. And you’ve got a whole different area of expertise, so let’s talk about that for a second. Dive into your stuff. Anne: Exactly. Well, and I think that’s great because, and yet we can co-exist together and work really well together. So, for example I… Gabby: We are not going to sing Kumbayah. That is not happening. I’m laying the law down on that. Anne: You know, I’m typically known for, you know, my narration style, my narration voice, my telephony work. That’s actually, it’s funny because I always try to bring it back to the point that it is stuff that I find joyful as well, so not only does it fit my area of expertise, but it’s also stuff that I find truly enjoyable, and so I excel at that. And I think that that’s a… it’s a great way for you guys to kind of figure out where you should start off in the industry. And I think I mentioned it before that, you know, you can evolve into different areas but all of the areas that I’m known for are all varients of the same skill that I excel at and that I truly enjoy. And so, whereas, you know, you would be known for, you know, radio imaging or your commercial work, I’m known for, you know, corporate narration, E-learning, telephony, and I have also a couple of characters that I do. And, you know, but again I wouldn’t say that I do character work per se. Gabby: Yeah. Anne: Like some of our guests, you know. And so that’s their area. And so we know the areas that we’re good at and it took us a while probably, I would say for any of you newcomers to the industry. It’s okay, it will take a little bit for you to figure out where it is that you fit in best. And it’s something that I think that you can, you know, also find out with the help of a good coach. They can help you know, steer you, or say to you that, you know what? Your vocal type sounds really great in this type of, you know, scenario. Or this type of market. Gabby: It’s essential. You have to have that. I mean, it’s like… I don’t know if anybody else had this experience. I think this is what it was like for me in junior high. We were, you know, given the opportunity to go meet with the music teachers when it was time to select instruments and join the band or join the orchestra and all of this silliness. And I remember it was kind of like they just, they did the most amazing thing, though. They basically just poured like an entire classroom of kids into our theater room and kind of went, “Here are all the instruments. What calls to you guys? Like, what speaks to you. And we got a chance to… Anne: Yeah. Oh that’s great. Gabby: …play and you know, kind of be silly and, you know, be goofy with them and ultimately that’s kind of how everybody chose what instrument they were going to go forward with, and many people of course wound up taking that on to high school and then beyond, so that’s what your coach enables you to do. They kind of go, “Here are all the instruments kiddies. What do you want to bang on today?” And then you learn from that process and figure out, yeah, where’s my home? What calls to me? Anne: Exactly and it’s not that you shouldn’t try. You know? Every… I’m always, you know, I’m a lifelong learner, so I’m always encouraging student to just, you know, take a class in promo. Take a class in, you know, commercial. Take a class in narration. Whatever it is, because you’re not going to know unless you try it, and then, as you experience it, as you learn different techniques that are essential for that particular style of voiceover, you’ll find out if it suits you, if you enjoy it, and again I think a big thing is, does it call to you? I love that you said that Gabby, about does it call to you. Because I’m a big believer in that. So, yeah, does it call to you and is it something that you enjoy, because you’re probably going to work hard at it and you’ll want to excel at it, and that will make you, I think, a good… …that will make you excellent at it. Gabby: Absolutely. The other piece to the puzzle is when we start looking at that all important branding piece that we’re always talking about. You will see that there are threads, there are similarities, commonalities to the different things that you end up gravitating toward and that make up your career. Anne: Absolutely. Gabby: And that as a whole is oging to help to construct your language, the way you present yourself, and the things that you’re comfortable with. People that know me well, who’ve been to my website, I mean, for God’s sake, it’s called Voiceover Vixen. It’s edgy. Yeah. Anne: It’s you. It screams you! Gabby: But it’s edgy and it’s, there’s language that I use and things that I do that many, many voice actors would look at and go, “No, ho, boy! No, no. That’s not for me! I can’t. I can’t do that!” And that’s okay! That’s totally fine. I completely respect that, but at the same time, that works for me. I’m willing to put myself out there in that way. Anne: That makes you stand out. Gabby: Right. But if I was trying to box myself in to something that was maybe more conservative or more corporate, it wouldn’t really work and I wouldn’t have the same success. So, that’s one of the reasons we need to all sort of look at those little moving pieces and figure out Anne: I think that’s great! Gabby: Yeah. What does it mean for me? Anne: And I think it’s something too, like, you know, I came from a corporate, well actually, alright. I always say… I did. I came from a corporate background and then I went into an educational background and then I went into voiceover. But I knew when I worked in the corporate, in the corporate world that, you know, there were certain things in the corporate world that I didn’t, like, my beliefs were not, you know, aligned to them. And I knew that I would be better off, you know, working in the educational world because I love to teach, I love to share. You know, my experience in the corporate world, you know, at the time it was kind of a cutthroat sort of experience. Where everybody was like, you know, hanging on to information and there was all sorts of meeting and that, for whatever reason, it just at that time for me, it was, it didn’t, it wasn’t making me happy, so to speak. And so, when I did go into the educational world, that was something that allowed me to be more of myself and to really express more of myself and to allow mysel…grow. Grow my skills in that area. And then it became more of a creative venture where voiceover really fulfilled that in me. So, I always try to stay true to my heart and to what was calling to me to really kind of you know, figure out where it was that I belonged. Gabby: And I think that’s genius. And I mean, I totally get the corporate side of things, because you’re too progressive for that, but… Anne: Thank you, Gabby! And I don’t want to, I don’t want to, you know, I’m not disrespecting the corporate world because I know there’s a lot of people that have jobs, it just wasn’t for me. And I knew that right away. And, you know, anything that doesn’t bring you joy, I think you need to take a look at. Gabby: Right. People sometimes ask me, they go, you know, radio imaging, what is that for you? Why do you do it, why do you pursue it? And all this. And I go, you know, I have a radio background yes, but that’s not really the driving force behind it. The driving force for me, honestly and truly, is the copy. I get to read… imaging is one of the only places I get to read the most outlandish, sarcastic, irreverent, ridiculous things on a daily basis, and I love it! I love the absurdity of it. Because that is me! I relate to it. Anne: Uh huh. And I love to learn, which is why I love like, really good narration copy or you know, I use to install telephones and I was geekily excited by that. I mean, I can’t even explain that to people! But I love the fact that, you know, if you call me up on the phone and you don’t get anybody live, that you’re going to hear my voice. I love that challenge and that’s why I enjoy it. It’s really funny and there’s some really fun copy in there that’s challenging to make it sound, you know, friendly and warm, when in fact you know the person on the end of the line is going, “Oh my God, just get me to a live person!” So, yeah, that to me is the challenge and that’s what brings me joy! Gabby: So, so, okay. Let’s talk about a takeaway out of this. Because we’re going to call that, like I don’t know, part one for this podcast. And the takeaway there is, know thyself. We’ve all heard it. Know thyself. Know yourself well enough to know the things that you enjoy, the things that bring you joy, the things that you have the talent to back up, obviously, and being able to put those handful of voiceover categories down on paper and making sure that you have all the skills, again, to backup those areas. Anne: Absolutely, and I think another good takeaway would be to not be afraid to try.. try all of it, to discover if it is indeed something that, you know, you would excel at, or that you… it brings you joy, and something that you may evolve into. I think they’re all going to be closely related to where your passion is. Gabby: Now, we look at the client expectations. So, what does that equate to? Well, we know what we enjoy doing and we know that we have the skill to back it up. But do we know how to speak the language of the client that’s hiring in that arena? Anne: Excellent, excellent point. Gabby: Hugely, hugely important. Because, obviously, if you’re not speaking their language, they can’t find out, or vice versa. Anne: Exactly, exactly. And I think it’s… Gabby: And that’s… It’s where so many talent get frustrated! Anne: Yeah. I think it’s super important for every talent to do their homework. So, if you find that you have a particular market or a niche area that brings you joy, that you want to pursue, you know, find out what it is that your clients are looking for. Like, how are you going to speak their language? What is… what do they talk about on a daily basis? And what are their needs? That, I think, is going to really help prepare you to be able to serve them, with your voice. Gabby: And by the way, from a business standpoint as well as a performance standpoint, think outside of the box when it comes to these genres. We all know the majors. Yes, of course, commercials, narration, and corporate and IVR and telephony and promo and imaging, and video games and you know, lions and tigers and bears, oh my! But, What speaks to you? I have over the years, have met some really amazing voice actors who are off kind of in the fringes doing their own thing. I knew a guy in Texas, this is the wildest thing, but like, you think about it and go, “How cool is this?” so, he literally owned like, cattle and a ranch and had like, horses and whatnot. I’m such a city girl, i’m like, I don’t even know what that means! Anne: What do you mean? Cattle? Gabby: You have a cow? Like, an actual, like, moo? So, Anne: City girl. Gabby: But, he loved the rodeo. And so, he made it a personal mission to meet with, promote to and market himself to rodeos. The guy literally does almost every commercial throughout the southeast for rodeos! Anne: I love that. Gabby: And he has a whole business built around that. It’s his it’s his mainstay. I’ve met guys who do it for car dealers. I’ve met people who do it for concertes and event promotion. So, if you have something that you’re really passionate about, I don’t care what it is – think of it as it’s own genre, maybe. Especially if you’ve got the hutzpah to go after it, and turn it into a business. Anne: Exactly. And there’s an excellent example with someone in the industry who happens to like Jeeps. Gabby: Ahhhhh. Anne: Yes! Anne: Our good friend Kelly! Who has a love for Jeep and so she created a campaign just for Jeeps, to become the voice of Jeep. Gabby: Yeah. Kelley Buttrick has been going after it for, I think it’s been like a two journey. And she’s created this amazing amount of buzz. She has been interviewed umpteen gajillion times for this, she’s landed herself on tons of trades and magazines and like, it’s… Anne: Exactly. Gabby: …amazing the amount of attention that she drew to this cause and subsequently the work that it brought her! Anne: Oh, Absolutely. Because she was able to go outside of the box and to really, you know, make her own… …make her own way and whether she gets hired by Jeep or not, she really has paved the way, no pun intended, paved the way for her own business and excelling in her own business and making a market for herself. Gabby: Absolutley, because for the next few years at least, if not longer, people are going to encounter her and go, “Oh man! You’re the Jeep girl! That’s you! You’re the Jeep lady!” and she has absolutely made a mark that way. So, we’re all striving for that in a sense. You have to find your own. So, with that client expectations. It’s almost like a client needs analysis, but you’re doing it yourself. You’re sort of analyzing what it is that they’re looking for. And picking apart a CNA. Anne: And today, it’s so easy to be able to do that! We have information at our fingertips. I mean, Google is right there! So, you know, Google and YouTube and, you know, I’m always telling people to like, go to the website. There’s a lot you can tell visually by looking at a website about a brand, a company’s brand and how they want to sell that brand to the market, and there’s just, you know, look for commercials that are out there, you know, on YouTube or, you know, listen to commercials on television. Start to listen for trends. And then see if you are, you know, your potential client is following those trends and if they aren’t then maybe you can get on trend if you have, you know, an example if you have a millennial voice, which is a trend these days, you know, go for a company that you are interested in and see if maybe they are marketing to that audience. And if you have that type of voice that fits their brand, then absolutely it would be something that I would pursue. Gabby: Yeah. You’re trying to achieve this like, almost homeostasis of brand alignment. Where you want these companies and everything they represent and what their business model is to come in contact with your business model and go, oh, man, they get it! This person is totally us. Why wouldn’t we want to work with them? Anne: Absolutely! And the least amount of work that they can do to have that brand be seen out in the world and in an excelled, or I should say, in a better light, you know, because of your voice, you know, the better. So if you can just be there and present them with a solution, so that they don’t even have to go searching for it, I think that that really will help you to accelerate your career into the stratosphere. Gabby: Totally! The other part of that, that is amazingly simple in a way, it’s almost like, I feel like it’s trickery, like it’s a black hat thing, is that so many of these companies despite the fact that we’re digital and social media and you know, everybody always says, “we’re disconnected, we’re disconnected, where there’s no human interaction anymore, that’s not really true. Companies are striving for personal connection. They want that, they crave it. And so, when they meet a like minded partner, because that’s how they view you. It’s a partnership. You’re not just this random person. When you uphold their ethics, their, you know, beliefs, values… Anne: Yes. Their values. Their… Yeah, their mission statement. Gabby: Yeah, you’re like, you’re family, you’re part of the team, and they’re proud of that and they want to accelerate the efforts of everyone involved and so that’s really huge to them. Sometimes… Anne: Absolutely. And the more you know, the more you know coming into it, let’s say you book the gig and the more you know about the company and their product and what it is that they’re trying to accomplish and how, you know, this product helps to you know, I guess fulfill their mission statement. The better off you’re going to be, because they’re hearing a voice in their head. Right? When they create that campaign, they’re hearing the voice when they’re writing those words they’re hearing that voice that’s going to bring their brand to life. And so the closer you can get to that voice, the quicker and the closer you can get to that voice the better. And I think the more… they’ll just come back to hire you again and again because you get it. Gabby: Absolutely. And the incredible part about this is that most of those types of jobs are booked without ever having an audition. Anne: Yeah. Gabby: And if there is an audition, it’s an audition of one! It’s just you. They’re just sort of going, “Hey, we just want to hear a quick sample. We just want to make absolutely sure that we’re all lining up.” And then it’s yours! So, really incredible stuff. And I see that happen a lot. I’ve had it happen, other voiceover actors have it happen where, it’s just you’ve done such an exceptional job of displaying your image and your message that the companies that are like minded just immediately respond to it. Anne: Yeah. They gravitate towards you. Gabby: Really, really killer stuff. So… Anne: Excellent episode! Gabby: Yeah! Do that homework guys. We’re always, you know, pounding that home, I know. But it’s critical! It is important. Anne: Our takeaways again remember to make sure that you do your homework for your clients. Understand what it is, what their mission statement is, what their brand encompasses and how you can best serve it. Gabby: Make sure that you have those skills to be able to back it up. That you have done your work in terms of training, honing and perfecting your craft as a performer. Anne: And evolve into those markets and find those markets by pursuing what it is that brings you joy. And then practicing that and excelling in those skills. So, find it by understanding what it is that brings you joy. That about wraps up this podcast episode. Thanks so much for listening guys, I’d like to thank our sponsor, ipDTL for our quality connection end for this recording. Gabby: You too, can record like a boss! Anne: You can find out more at From all of us at the VO Boss podcast, have a kick butt week! Gabby: Stay focused and rock your business… Anne and Gabby: like a boss! Anne: A V.O. B.O.S.S. Gabby: Like us on Facebook at VO Boss Podcast and Twitter at VO_boss. Or you can subscribe… Anne: on iTunes or Stitcher. VO: Rock your business like a boss. A V.O. B.O.S.S. All rights reserved. Anne Ganguzza Voice Talent in association with Three Moon Media. Redistribution with permission. Coast to coast connectivity via ipDTL.


Gabby Nistico no longer appears on the VO BOSS podcast.