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I’m writing this post for you at a wine bar. It’s 12:30 in the afternoon. This is one of the great benefits of being a freelance audio engineer! Freedom to do what I want, work from anywhere, and make my own work schedule. I have clients later tonight recording with me so hopefully I won’t get too hammered on this sunny day in Florida.
Today I’m going to share with you an insider tactic to help you get clients. This will be for the engineers that don’t have that much confidence to sell your service. For the engineers that don’t want to be annoying when approaching potential leads.
There’s a way I get potential clients into my studio and sales funnel to pitch them my audio engineering service. It’s a guaranteed way to get the sale and earn that precious income. And so far, since the 5 years I’ve been using this tactic, I’ve had a 97% closing ratio. Nearly everybody that I pitch my engineering work to with this strategy ends up hiring me.
Free 30 Minute Consultation
What is it?
The 30-minute consultation is getting your potential client to a private meeting with you or your associates and finding out what problems they face and how you can HELP solve it for them.
It’s designed to increase your income, and get more clients.
It’s a one-on-one meeting. You ask the prospect questions and you LISTEN. Talk LESS. Build rapport and figure out what their biggest dreams, goals, hopes, and fears are.
Once you know what the prospects pain points are, you can customize your pitch catered to their needs, wants and desires, and close them on the sale.
This is sales 101 at it’s finest. And the BEST businesses and audio engineers know this and use it everyday to stay booked and earn a living.
Before we get into the tactics and mechanics on how this works, let’s first touch base on the most important takeaway from the consultation:
-This is all designed to EARN INCOME.
-The only way to earn income in this biz is to get your customer to TRUST you 100% that you can solve their problems.
What are some common problems of audio engineer customers?
I mainly work in the indie music business and here are the common challenges my customers have:
These are just a few common problems most artists face. Notice it’s not that technical. It’s more abstract.
They don’t care if you have the greatest engineering know-how. Recording artists are creative people. And creative people need help with direction and what to do with their art.
So a deep understanding of their needs, wants, and fears will instantly set you apart from everybody else and get you paid more because you’ll know exactly what they need and how to help them.
Engineering these artists is only half the work. There’s lots of psychology and people skills involved with this.
How can you help them?
To begin with, you’ll need to customize your pitch for every consultation you do. It’ll never be the same. But having templates, systems, and guidelines in your supply to help you streamline the process will make things hassle free.
The top performers have systems.
Some common scripts and templates I’ll use:
“I understand how you feel. Most of the clients I work with face the same challenges. I can help create your buzz by helping you make amazing, professional sounding music you can share, promote, and sell.
You’ll be able to connect with and build your fan base with this music project. First, we’ll brainstorm your project and lay out a game plan for the production process. Second, we’ll start production and I’ll help guide you every step of the way on what sounds good and throw in some creative ideas to help make an excellent recording.
Having a professionally recorded project will help you get your name out there because people will take you serious when you sound like the pros. I suggest we start by booking a 4 hour recording session and then go from there.
After recording is done, I’ll mix the songs and make them sound the best! It’ll cost you (your pricing fees) and what you get is the studio, engineer, recording, editing, mixing, burned cd, mp3s, pro tools files, and 3 amazing songs you can promote, etc? I have times available this Saturday and Sunday.
Which day works best for you?”
This is my exact script on what I’ll say based on the consultation.
Notice the wording, how I talk about THEM. And notice how I tell them everything my price includes and what they can expect from me. (This creates high value when customers know exactly what they’re paying for). Notice I give them options on which day to book. Always give them choices: “This or that”
When I started implementing this tactic my business skyrocketed. I went from being afraid to pitch my service, to making it easy to win and using a system with word scripts to help deliver value and close more clients. And I’m able to close 97% of the prospects I give consultations to.
This one little thing you do can increase your income immensely!
This is the magic approach! The hassle free way to get new audio engineering jobs and not be annoying.
I guarantee this will work for you. I’ve been teaching this to friends, students, and studios and they’ve been getting huge success.
The biggest challenge most audio engineers have is they’re afraid to ask people to pay them. Don’t be! You are the doctor that can help the sick. Customers have pain. They need you. You can fix it. And you’re gonna charge for it!
This is getting deeply inside the head of the client and figuring out EXACTLY how you can help them.
How do you get potential clients to your consultations?
You ask people. Or you can put the free consultation ad on your website, email, text message, etc….
Here’s what I use on my website:
This is a couple of snapshots from my website. When clients find me they’ll see options to book the free 30 minute consultations. And I usually do the consultations first before I ever ask them to book time with me. This helps me qualify clients and ensures we are a good match financially and personally to work well together. The free 30-minute consultation will make your business easier by working with the right clients, and kindly turning down business that is not good for you.
And remember this, when you’re asking people to come to the consultation, never talk about money or pricing. What your selling is an appointment. If they insistently demand for price quotes, give it them. But you’ll have a greater success rate if you get in front of them first. If they ask for pricing right away, I’ll say things like “I have several pricing options based on individual budgets, let’s meet first and figure out which pricing option will work best for you”. I have different rates for pay by the hour, booking block time, and doing full albums. It’s really hard to give them an accurate quote unless you know what they need first, hence the free consultation.
A lot of times clients will call you and ask for price quotes and then compare you to the other engineers and go for the cheapest. But what we want to do is find out what they need first, tell them how you can solve their needs and deliver value with the best quote like how I did in my script.
The 30-minute consultation is always free. And psychologically, it’s something concrete that clients will get. They get 30-minutes with an expert engineer..
Sometimes you have to customize your pricing. But when you do it in this manner, you demonstrate high value. In the clients head, they’ll know you can help them do what they want. You tell them you’ll solve their problems. And at this point, they will pay whatever your fee is if they trust you and like you.
The smart and serious customer pays for value. And they usually won’t negate your fees when you start the sales process with a free 30-minute consultation. Getting high paying customers that don’t whine and complain is the Smart Audio Income philosophy.
Here’s a guideline on what kind of questions to ask clients in your consultation:
And you want to make this a relaxed interaction not an interrogation. Have music playing in the background. Offer snacks and beverages. Use a notepad and take notes.
Tell stories on how you helped similar customers with the same problems. This will put them at ease. The best trick I know is to smile. Smile a lot. It’s infectious. It’ll lighten up the mood and you’ll earn their trust. And when you earn trust, they’ll pay you. You have to be a great salesman.
Who do you know that’s a great salesman or is really outgoing and everybody loves them?
Most of these people types are like puppies that are excited to see you when you get home from work. They smile, they give you tons of attention, and they make you happy. Be that puppy in the consultation. These puppies are the engineers that get the most work. Clients love them.
I recommend you read some books on sales, human behavior, and self-improvement. Invest in yourself. It’ll pay off HUGE!
One book I read a few years ago that resonated with me was:
It’s a great easy read that’ll teach you how to be likable, get more friends, get more business, and make living a good life easy.
In summary, the Free 30-Minute consultation is a psychologically-engineered tactic to turn potential leads into paying audio engineer clients. It doesn’t matter what field your in. It works for all types of audio engineering jobs.
And remember I have a 97% closing ration using this.
If you want to increase your income, book more business, and get more audio engineering jobs, then you should implement this tactic into your daily regimen.
P.S. Got questions, recommendations, success stories? Comment below. I read every single one.
Herrrrrow my friends :),
First of all I’d like to thank the SAI subscribers that took the time to comment on my Reddit Post from the last email. You are amazing! So far it has something like 70 plus comments on what audio engineers aspire for in their career.
They say things like:
“I want music to be the center of my life.”
“I want to pay down debt and support my family.”
“I want to have enough status that clients seek me out instead of me seeking them out.”
“I just want to work on music projects I’m passionate about, and if it pays, hell yea!”
Any of these things sound familiar?
If you haven’t got a chance to check out what people are saying visit the link here:
At Smart Audio Income, my mission is to help you reach your goals and beyond.
I’ve had so much fun in my career, from working in the studio with grammy winning artists, to living on a tour bus for 3 months and traveling with 3 top tier artists across the US for 40 plus shows, and even getting surprised by one of my favorite artists randomly showing up to the studio to record a song.
It’s mind boggling in hindsight writing this email and remembering all the crazy shit I’ve done.
This is a very creative and rewarding industry. And I want you to be successful in this crazy weird industry and get paid to DO WHAT YOU LOVE.
That’s why I started this. I want everyone to not have to wade through the bullshit side of this profession. It’s kind of a secret on how people get paid to do this. And I’ll uncover all the secrets I know to you. Just be patient, and trust my systems.
Nothing happens overnight, but if you stick with me, read this blog, subscribe to my private email list and invest time into improving yourself and learning, imagine where you’ll be 6 months, 12 months, 2 years from today.
Alright so let’s get to work!
I’ve recently asked my private email list: What’s The One Thing You Have Trouble With?
I got some really great responses. And I’m going to share with you what one reader had problems with.
I’ll edit out specific names, locations, etc.. because I don’t want to be a bozo put subscribers on the spot.
Today we’ll cover:
How To Turn Your Free Work Into Paid Work (just a few simple steps) and also….
How To Get Clients That Pay For Value And Trust Your Service
So What’s the MAIN problem you face earning a living as audio engineer?
Enter: Tim Baker
“I’ve been engineering and mixing for quite some time. Of course I was offering free services in the beginning until I recently had the confidence in my sound and quality from experience and getting my schooling in Arizona for Audio Engineering in multiple areas.
So I am in a transition stage to get paying clients and they still want it for free. I’m building a portfolio of music as I go of recent work. And I’m trying to use social networking to reach out to artist other than just local artist.
And another thing I find an issue with is the area I’m in isn’t so supportive of other artist in the area to better themselves and think they can do it all and are closed minded so it’s hard to get people to accept my services.
Any advice on what direction I could take would be great. And secondly turnaround time I feel is a big thing as well for mixes. How would you keep a consistent turnaround time with clientele changing on you?
And to answer the last question Yes I would be willing to invest in myself with a premium course if I feel like I’ll gain more from it than looking it up online. But yes I would invest.” -Tim
Thanks for your response.
It seems like you may be asking the wrong types of clients for your service if they expect it free.
I’d suggest to position yourself and your service as something premium that will attract only the serious artists that will gladly pay premium rates for value.
One quick fix I’d suggest that I did was to charge more. If your rate is $25/hour, bump it up to $50/hour.
Using human psychology, your higher rate will cause your prospect to perceive you as a top notch pro that’s able to command higher prices, and in turn, provide higher quality work.
The perceived value is “If I pay Jimmy $50/hr, I will get the best work done!” Versus, “Bob down the street only charges $20, I wonder what the quality is like?”
Think of Apple charging triple the amount for computers vs. windows based PC’s. PC’s have the same tech/specs if not better than Apple, but Apple has the perception of being top quality. “I’ll pay more for Apple because it’s better” But in fact, it’s the same technology.
Charge higher, position yourself as the best, attract better customers, that pay MORE.
Another interesting case you’ll find in charging higher rates is you’ll quickly filter out the serious artist from the fakes. You’ll have better clients, more money, and have more fun! These higher paying clients also complain less and you’ll have lesser challenges working with them. They are also usually smarter and will trust you to do your job.
Where as the lesser paying client will demand the WORLD, MOON, and STARS from you and complain a lot. I know this from personal experience and also from interviewing top performing engineers.
You might think, “if I charge more, I’ll lose out on more customers”. It’s okay to think this though.
You may miss out on a few low paying clients that will use you and never return, but you’ll gain a higher paying client that’ll will stick around and keep hiring you as long as you did a good first job.
And keeping these higher paying clients coming back will make up for the lost business of problematic cheapo flaky artists. The higher client is loyal and doesn’t want to have to find another engineer.
But when you charge a higher rate, be sure your prospect client knows EVERYTHING included in the price.
You DO have to justify why they are paying this price. I’ll teach more of this in the premium course I’m getting ready to launch.
Ask yourself, “Why am I this price?” “What value can I provide?” “Am I faster, do my mixes sound better, do I give the client more stuff than others?”
Most of the time, just understanding what problems the client has and being able to help them fix this problem will put you at the top of the ranks.
Remember, you’re solving the Artist problem of sounding radio ready and getting their music sounding so good it will impress their friends and make them stand out from the crowd.
They want to focus on the music while an engineer/producer works behind the scenes to ensure their vision comes out of the speakers properly.
When you pitch your service say things like this: “Artist, I can help you make your music sound amazing so you can promote it, sell it, and reach your fans. All you have to do is focus on the music, while I worry about all the tech/audio/wizardy”
Talking like this will make clients think of you as “Jimmy can really help solve my problems.”
One of the secrets to staying booked as an engineer is this subtle psychology that goes into making people comfortable with you enough to not only hire you, but pay you a lot of money.
It’s all about them not you. Talk endlessly about them and their music. Talk about their goals, dreams, and music. Get a good understanding of what they really NEED and then pitch them your service and explain HOW it fills their need. “My service will help you get famous by sounding professional.”
Hope this helps. I know It’s lot to digest. But digest it and you will get paying clients. I guarantee.
Oh and as far as mixing turnarounds. I have this problem a lot with new starting new sessions everyday and getting backed up with having to complete mixing on old sessions.
The trick to fix this is to don’t sleep and work everyday, lol. If you have this problem then it’s a good thing. Your booked solid!
Also, try using templates to speed up your workflow. I use a Pro Tools template for recording that’s also set up for mixing and mastering. All my tracks are routed to busses with all the plugins I need. So when I start a new session everything runs smooth, fast, and easy. I also do editing and rough mixes as I’m recording.
By the time everything is tracked, I’m about 60 percent done editing and mixing. This takes lots of practice and I’ve learned this from billboard chart topping engineers when I used to assist with them.
Do free work to develop relationships, build a demo reel and increase your credibility to shop for new paying clients. I talked about this in my ebook.
If you’re doing free work now for friends or whoever, that’s okay, you can use your finished work as your demo reel to share with the new clients that will ask for samples of your work. You can put the samples up on a website or soundcloud and prospect clients can hear that you know what you are doing.
Key Take Aways:
Now go out and get to work!
What’s worked for you? Have any success stories with these tactics? Please share with us in the comments.
In my experience, taking career risks has usually paid off big. Sometimes it doesn’t pay off.
But when it does, it makes the risk worth it.
My first career risk involved me moving to a city (Los Angeles) from (Orlando) where I didn’t really know anybody or know exactly what I wanted to do. All I knew was Los Angeles has a huge marketplace for audio work in the film and music industry.
Without hesitation, I packed up my stuff, flew to LA, slept on my aunt’s couch, with hopes of making a career as an audio engineer. It was an uncomfortably risky decision I made. Yet it was exciting too.
I had no car. Had to get a bus pass. No money in my pocket. Just my family there to feed me and give me a place to sleep (super grateful for them!)
I ended up working at 2 part-time jobs at Disneyland doing inventory management and Marriott selling timeshares. Tried really hard to get audio work but just couldn’t find any because I was fresh out of college and simply didn’t know HOW to find a gig.
It was a hard time. I was doubting myself on the huge risk I took moving to LA. My girlfriend ended up dumping me. I hated my 2 jobs. I spent lots of valuable time waiting for the bus to get to my jobs. I was about ready to move back home to FL until my buddy Chino calls me.
Chino offered me to move to Chicago and do an internship with R.Kelly at his recording studio.
My second big career risk: Work for free and move across the country again.
Long story short, I accepted that internship, worked for about 2 weeks, I got hired on staff as one of the studio assistants, learned how to engineer from some amazing engineers, worked with grammy winning artists, and made lots of important connections that later helped me in my career. Later, I then moved on to working freelancing and starting my own business.
Did the risk pay off?
Yes. Ten folds!
There are several ways and also several types of risks you can take that have HUGE potential for future career success.
You can learn more here from some top performing tech industry entrepreneurs and experts.
If you want to learn more on how you can advance your skill set and career by taking ‘risky’ jobs than you definitely don’t want to miss reading this article online by Tim Ferriss (one of my favorite authors). I especially like risk #1 of finding jobs that pay less in cash but offer tremendous learning experience.
Have you ever taken a career risk that paid off? Share your stories in the comment sections! We’d love to hear from you.
Horrible job search techniques are one of several mistakes people make in trying to get an audio job. Not having a proper system in place to actively seek your dream job will yield you no results and waste your precious time.
The “Shotgun Approach” is what most amateur audio engineers do to try and find audio jobs. They send out their resume dozens of times to jobs that looked interesting with no rhyme or reason. Often, we use the logic, “something has to stick, right?” Wrong!
The other common approach is just as ineffective — The “Wait and See Approach.” We send out a resume –wait…wait some more, feel terrible, and get demotivated. And then, do it again!
The right way to do it, the way top performers land audio gigs, is to get laser focused and specifically pick 1 job title and 3 companies you’d like to work for. Then work backwards to get to know people at these companies and get the inside scoop on if the job is right for you. This is called “Natural Networking.”
For example, here’s how you do this technique:
Step 1) Pick a job title- “recording engineer, dialogue editor, etc..”
Step 2) Pick 3 companies you want to work for- “Ocean Studio, Cartoon Network, Skywalker Sound”
Step 3) Use social media or company websites to find current or previous employees that work at the company and get their contact info. (use linkedin, facebook, twitter, etc. and search for people that work at “company”) Look for people that have the job title you want or better yet, the higher level people (managers, hiring agents, presidents)
Step 4) Send them a quick 3-4 sentence email introducing yourself and asking for a meeting. Tell them you’re interested in the company and are conducting research for jobs. Get a 15 minute coffee meeting and just talk about them and the companies “needs” for the position you’re interested in.
Most people are going to respond. Some aren’t. But that’s okay. If you send 10 of these messages a week, you’ll get between 5-7 responses. Remember that people love helping other people. But most people never ask. And asking is the best way to get your dream audio job.
By the way, most people are busy and may not meet, so emailing back and forth or a quick phone call is okay too. Just make it easy for the other person, and never intrude on their time.
Some questions to ask in your natural networking interviews in your meetings:
This is the insider info that top performers obtain and use to their advantage.
Imagine, you were able to get this data from a current worker of the company on your list. And you tailor your resume based on what you’ve learned the company needs. And even if you don’t have the experience, companies hire people they know and trust. You’ve just met with somebody from the company, and as long as you didn’t act like a weirdo, you should be able to get connected directly with an interview.
This is how top performers get audio gigs. You may have heard that you have to go out and network. But it’s not going to a sleazy event and talking to people that want the same thing you do: a job. It’s a more natural approach. And getting specific on what you want.
The audio jobs aren’t really advertised on the web or on job boards because the smart audio engineers are snagging them up before the companies can post these jobs.
It can be intimidating at first when you do this. But don’t let fear get the best of you.
You deserve a better quality of life, and you deserve your dream audio engineering job.
If you’re shy like I was in the beginning of my career, I suggest reading How To Win Friends And Influence People. This book helped me overcome networking anxiety, helped me communicate better, and got me more friends.
So if you’re sick of what you’re doing now, and want your dream audio job, then follow these guidelines to get you what you deserve.
What are your successes? Did you do these techniques and face any challenges? Comment below and share your story with us! Share this post if you like it and think it could help your friends. Give first, get later! Stay awesome!
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