If the voiceover industry was like dog breeding…
Now there’s a contender for oddest blog post title of the year, wouldn’t you say? Trust me, you don’t need to be a voice artist OR a dog-lover to hopefully glean a little something out of this…
As some of you might now, if you follow me on Facebook, my family and I welcomed a new member of the family to our home this past weekend. Rosie, a 6-month-old Great Pyrenees-Boxer, walked into the house and within hours was acting like she had lived here all of her short life. She’s a sweetheart, too; very friendly, very loving, very playful, very…big. Forty-five pounds already, and we’ve still got 6 more months to go before she’s a grown-up!
We love her.
But we almost didn’t find out about her. My wife, who is the most ‘dog person-y’ person you could ever meet, is actually allergic to them, so we had considered buying a purebred Standard Poodle. Standard Poodles don’t shed, are hypo-allergenic, are great with children, and – despite the frou-frou connotations they carry – can almost look manly when their fur isn’t trimmed to look like they just walked through a styrofoam ball factory.
The fastest way to lose a customer
The reason I’m telling you this is because of the attitude we received from the Standard Poodle breeder. Now, we are conscientious, loving people who have had cats and dogs our entire lives, and who care for them as if they’re family – because they ARE family. We’re also the types of folks who consistently bring home strays or shelter-pets; however, we felt that due to my wife’s allergy, we could justify spending the hundreds of dollars it might require to purchase a purebred.
Imagine, then, our surprise when my wife emailed the breeder to get more information – and was basically told in a reply email that the breeder was too busy to talk, that she had all the information on her website (which we had already viewed), and suggested we ‘Friend’ her on Facebook – which my wife had already done. But, of course, a person that busy probably doesn’t have time to sweat little details like that.
Wow, great way to entice customers, huh?
So this got me thinking how preposterous it would be, if people in other industries treated their potential customers and clients the way this woman does. The following are actual excerpts from the breeder’s email (slightly edited for punctuation and grammar – she might make thousands of dollars with every litter of pups, but she ain’t no Rhodes scholar) along with my imagined version of a voiceover artist saying the same thing. Really, though, anyone saying these things in any industry is preposterous; perhaps you’ll see a parallel within your own industry.
When my wife very politely emailed the breeder back to say she wanted to speak with her directly because of her concern about the quality of care the dogs were receiving at the breeder’s, to get a sense of the personality of the breeder, and to be sure the place was not just a “puppy mill”…she never received a reply. We figure there are three possible reasons. Either: a) my wife insulted the breeder by insinuating that it was a puppy mill (which she was not); b) she insulted the breeder because the breeder IS a puppy mill; or c) the breeder is just so damn busy, remember?
Can you imagine telling a prospective customer or client these things? I understand it’s a farm and they’re busy and all of that. But we’re all busy. If we don’t take care to pay attention to what we say to others and how we say it – customers or not – our smug, negative attitudes will cost us. And I don’t just mean monetarily.
Remember, whether you’re selling dogs, doing voiceowork, or waiting tables…a little friendliness and consideration can go a long way. Haughtiness and impatience can go a long way, too – but in the wrong direction.
My wife and I know not all dog breeders are like this woman; there are some fine, wonderful places raising and selling purebred dogs. It definitely pays to do your homework, though. (Although it shouldn’t be assigned by the other person) Thanks to this breeder’s arrogance, we did some more searching and found out about a terrific organization called Lone Star Pyrs & Paws Rescue, a non-profit rescue group dedicated to Great Pyrenees dogs. Our Rosie, the only one in the litter without her breed’s trademark long fur, was the runt of the litter and the last to be adopted.
We’re glad she waited for us.
We’re tremendously grateful to the group for getting us in touch with our new family member. We’re also so grateful to the poodle breeder for turning us away, I’m thinking of thanking her personally.
By email, of course.