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Reaching out to prospective clients?
Old 1 week ago
  #1
Here for the gear
 

Reaching out to prospective clients?

Hello there,

I've been doing post sound from my own 5.1 mix room for about 6 years now, working at a post facility for a few years before that.

Over the years my business has grown and I've had a few really busy years, and I've been making a full time living off of it, for which I am grateful.

It tends to pick up and slow down, ebbs and flows, but it seems as if networking has kind of maxed out for me. I try to go to lots of networking events, films events etc, and usually, end up talking to people who already have a sound studio locked in for their work.

It often feels like any attempts at marketing don't really do much, and the work just picks up when it picks up. During the slow periods, I often feel stuck about how to bring in new clients. I do make sure to keep in touch with old clients, though.

I'm wondering what you one-man post studios do to market yourself and find new clients outside of in-person networking? Do you just call up production companies and offer your services?

Thanks!
Old 1 week ago
  #2
Lives for gear
[When I started, my wife used to say I was out there selling 5 days a week just so I'd have a paying client for the weekend.]

Building a reputation is a full-time thing. Once you've figured out what makes you a better choice than the competition - whether it's your talent, friendliness, industry contacts, or whatever - everything you do has to support that USP. Surely you picked up some kind of reputation at the post house... build on it. If you're not sure, invite some of your old clients to lunch and ask them. They're media people and would probably be glad to give you marketing opinions. Even if you have a non-compete with the post house, it surely doesn't say you can't take someone out for a drink. (IANAL)

If you can't compete on one of those bases, you'll either have to compete on price (which can work when you're starting out, but becomes is a race to the bottom that can kill your business) or gear (which means you'll be clobbered by the next well-financed studio to come around). "Just give me a chance," isn't a good pitch by itself, unless you also give the buyer a reason to try you. Otherwise, it's a lot easier for them to call the folks they worked with last time.

So having a niche is an important part of your networking. Don't just say 'hi' at a get-together; mention what you did lately that points to your niche. Put your story in local media (as PR rather than ads, so the reader can accept it better). Keep coming around with your new and amazing reel updates.

And if the place is slow, either
a) Take on some pro bono or dirt-cheap promising student/indie project, where you can show off your niche; or
b) Take a break. Make sure your gear and books are up to date, then have some time off. You'll pay yourself back when there's a project in-house.


Worked for me...
Old 1 week ago
  #3
Today making a living in audio is a hit or miss proposition. If you do the best you can with every project and your rates are reasonable then you should be able to make a living off what you love to do. Unfortunately today there are always people who will do things cheaper and take business away from you. My mentor, who owned the best audio and video studio in this area was forced to close his operation when four of his biggest clients went elsewhere because they could get things done cheaper somewhere else. He was doing work for national accounts and regional advertising agencies. Some of these accounts had been with him for 20+ years but changes in management and or companies seeking to cut their costs they found someone else to do what my mentor had done for them for years. There was no one else at that level to fill the void. My mentor had been in business for over 45 years. His rates were reasonable for the level of services that he provided but none of that seemed to matter. I honestly would suggest that the OP not quit his day job and do this on the side for the time being. Things they are a changing...and not for the better. FWIW
Old 1 week ago
  #4
Lives for gear
 

A lot of business success has to do with sheer luck.

Of course we humans are exceptionally good at finding / inventing other reasons for it in hindsight, f.e. that we were uniquely good/talented/well connected/charming/sexy/workingourassesoffy etc.

The fallacy of uniqueness.

To your question, 99% of networking does never pay off.
When you're lucky the 1% is skyrocketing you somewhere.
Old 1 week ago
  #5
Lives for gear
+1 kosmo.

I was very lucky to pick a particular niche in a market where it wasn't served, in a time when business was still steady. YMMV.

Also, yes: most networking doesn't pay in immediate rewards. Unfortunately, it's impossible to figure out in advance which few efforts will.
Old 6 days ago
  #6
Here for the gear
 
act01's Avatar
It could be your expectations of networking are too high. I think of networking like dating. Networking events are just to meet people and start forming some sort of relationship. It's not about stepping into a committed relationship overnight and there's no guarantee you'll even get a date out of it. Anyone who's there casually or to have fun will notice the people selling and avoid them like the plague. It's sort of like going to the bar and seeing "that guy" who's hitting on every woman in the bar. In this industry, networking isn't about having a great sales pitch. It's about showing you're fun to be around. I know that's zero reflection of your work ability but this isn't exactly an industry grounded in education.

My approach is when you're in business for yourself you still have to have a tribe. The more help you give, the more you'll receive. It's been my friends/colleagues in sound that have helped me out in times of real need - not my clients. And it's all timing - I can't tell you how many times I've met a friend for lunch or a drink only to have them ask me about a gig a few days later. It's all about timing and being on someone's mind when the opportunity comes along. That way, you have a lot of people doing the selling for you and it's not just something you're doing on your own.
Old 5 days ago
  #7
Quote:
Originally Posted by aprilt View Post
It could be your expectations of networking are too high. I think of networking like dating. Networking events are just to meet people and start forming some sort of relationship. It's not about stepping into a committed relationship overnight and there's no guarantee you'll even get a date out of it. Anyone who's there casually or to have fun will notice the people selling and avoid them like the plague. It's sort of like going to the bar and seeing "that guy" who's hitting on every woman in the bar. In this industry, networking isn't about having a great sales pitch. It's about showing you're fun to be around. I know that's zero reflection of your work ability but this isn't exactly an industry grounded in education.

My approach is when you're in business for yourself you still have to have a tribe. The more help you give, the more you'll receive. It's been my friends/colleagues in sound that have helped me out in times of real need - not my clients. And it's all timing - I can't tell you how many times I've met a friend for lunch or a drink only to have them ask me about a gig a few days later. It's all about timing and being on someone's mind when the opportunity comes along. That way, you have a lot of people doing the selling for you and it's not just something you're doing on your own.
Very nicely said
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