Nervous clients and how to reassure them you really do know how to say words out loud

Sometimes, new clients need extra reassurance that you are indeed the right voice for their job. And of course, every client wants to know their hard earned cash is going to be well spent and know absolutely that they’ll be delighted with the results. No professional voiceover wants any of their clients to have ‘buyer’s remorse.’ Obviously every client, every job needs a different approach and every job we pro voices record is absolutely bespoke. And this means we might not have an *exact* replica of the kind of voice a client needs in our portfolio – especially if they want something a bit, well, unusual.

But sometimes, Reader, this worries nervous clients. Especially clients who aren’t used to working with voiceovers.

“Well, Emma, I’ve listened to your demos but I can’t hear anything where you’re saying our product name!”

“That’s because I’ve never said your product name before. This is the first time I’ve worked for your brand.”

“I need to know you can say it!”

“I can say it for you now if you like?”

“I want you to say it in an audio file. Many times.”

“You want me to record myself saying your brand name?”

“Yes. Just to prove you can!”

Sometimes – before a client will confirm a booking – I’m asked to provide examples as close as possible to the script they want me to record. This might mean me sending samples of me reading stuff that rhymes in sestina form, stuff that sounds like a Liverpudlian talking toothbrush, stuff that sounds happy AND sad at the same time, stuff that’s me doing a happy/sad Geordie accent in a computer voice, while rhyming. 

Clearly though, it’s sometimes just not possible to provide samples that are an exact fit for every potential job. The vast array of types of voices, project, brands, advertising message and broadcast media makes that pretty impossible. A voiceover’s demos are not akin to a wallpaper sample book.

So how to say that to clients?

“Well, Emma, we want to know you’re capable of recording our project. We want to be reassured.”

“You can listen to lots of samples on my website, read my recommendations, listen to the sample I’ve sent you…??”

“Yes, but you’ve never recorded OUR project before.”

Of course, sometimes, clients are angling for you to record THE WHOLE THING before they’ll commit to hiring you. That’s a bit like going to a restaurant, ordering a meal, eating it then refusing to pay for it.

You can imagine how pro voiceovers (and chefs) feel about that.

Speaking personally, that kind of thing doesn’t foster a mutually respectful client-supplier relationship.

So I do a quick sample where necessary, keep my fingers crossed and hope the client BELIEVES I really am capable of saying the words: “Thank you for holding.”


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Emma Clarke

Emma is an award-winning voiceover, broadcaster and writer. Want to find out more about Emma?
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