Clearly, the topic in yesterday’s blog touched a nerve. See: “When Does an Offer Become Offensive”
Nearly 800 readers voted with their visit. This is an issue people in our business care about…or they should.
That was inconsiderate of me, though, to admonish, but not advise. Not unwarranted, but not very helpful.
One of the earliest responses to yesterday’s blog came from J Michael Collins, and I’m reprinting it below, because it’s spot-on:
There are four questions any reputable coach should be able to answer with an easy yes:
1.) Can you provide me with references of successful VOs who would attribute some or all of their success to coaching with you?
2.) Can you provide me with references of people you have turned away because you didn’t feel like you could help them succeed?
3.) Can you provide me with recommendations of other coaches or organizations who might be helpful to me?
4.) Do you offer an unconditional money back guarantee on your coaching & demo products?
Thank you J Michael! Love it.
I’ve also written about this before, [FIVE WAYS TO SPOT PREDATORY VO DEMO COACHES/SCHOOLS] and am copying it below as an aide to those who are still new to this business, and haven’t been able to find their barometer yet.
Let me know in your comments below if I’ve missed something important.
5 ways to spot predatory VO Demo Coaches/Schools
1) They will typically promise that a weekend’s work in their studio will result in a dynamite demo you can take to any agent any where to get voiceover jobs. Beware the over-complimentary feedback and get-rich-quick promises. VO learning takes time, demos take time, and successful voice-over careers are rarely realized in a weekend. Even Ted Williams had some radio background training.
2) They can’t really give you names and contact information of truly satisfied past students when you ask. You should be able to get at least 5 names from them of people who are effusive in their praise.
3) When you Google them, their business, or their history, you find that no one’s ever heard of them, their Google search results are sparse, and their trail leads nowhere. Good studios and coaches leave friendly traces of success and unsolicited recommendations in their wake.
4) Their website, the studio, their equipment, and even their business cards look schlocky. Not all demo studios look like a million bucks, but good ones will work like a well-oiled machine. Eager VO wannabes need to beware of voice-0ver phishing techniques. If their website and their business cards DO look slick, but you’re still wary…revisit #3.
5) Their ads and marketing materials use a lot of superlatives, are short on details, and long on promises. Ask plenty of questions about their methods, their experience, proof of their promises, and don’t be rushed. If they’re that good, they must have a long line of students waiting for weeks to get in.
Honorable mention: They demand you pay them a princely sum up front. The good ones will only ask for a reasonable retainer to get started, and the balance upon completion.