Ask for What You Want and You Just Might Get It

Ask for What You Want and You Might Get It in the Voice-Over Business

Fear is one sneaky little critter, and it can be a pretty crafty foe when it comes to stopping us from doing all kinds of things…

Like asking for what we want.

I’m not talking about asking for what we want by slamming down our fist with a ridiculous demand. I’m referring to polite and non-threatening requests that can help us get ahead in our career – and the world in general.

What Can Happen When We Ask

Let me give a couple of examples from my own recent experience, both of which came up during projects I was completing for voice-over business clients. In both instances, some changes occurred during the project and I felt the fee amount that we had originally agreed upon needed to be raised a bit to adequately compensate for the additional work and usage involved.

It would have been SO easy to ignore that feeling in my gut and just finish the project, thereby avoiding the risk of rocking anyone’s boat. But, experience has taught me that when I feel the urge to make a request, it is best that I speak up.

So, I emailed a very polite message to each client explaining why I felt the pay should be more than what we had originally estimated.

In both cases, the request resulted in a pay increase. In one, it also prompted a phone conversation where we discussed improving our pricing policy moving forward. In the other, the client more than doubled what they originally offered!

Why Asking for What Your Want Matters in the Voice-Over Business

Asking for what we want can be especially important when it comes to being fairly compensated for your time and talent in the voice-over business. The market can often seem diluted with so many vying for the same jobs; we might think low pricing is the way to win. But, in many cases, voice-over clients are very willing to pay for better quality and more value.

And in ALL cases, we’ll never know… unless we ask.

Not every request for a pay increase necessarily results in one. I’ve had instances where a loyal client had a very tight budget on a particular job, and I agreed to a lessor rate than usual. We were still able to discuss the issue in a positive light, and lay the groundwork for future opportunities.

Asking for what we want is magical that way. And it sure beats what can happen when we’re too afraid to speak up.

What Can Happen When We Don’t Ask

When we’re too fearful to make a request, bad things can happen. For starters, we’re not likely to get what we want because people won’t have a clue as to what that is. We can then start to feel resentful, which can make us unhappy in our work as well as our lives.

Feeling resentful toward the people who are helping to pay our bills is self-sabotaging, and absolutely deadly in the voice-over business.

Fear can still stop us from making our request. We may be afraid of being rejected. We may be afraid of making someone upset. We may envision a confrontation, or think that the request will change our relationship with the person in some way. It’s human nature to want to be liked, to make people happy and we may fear that making a request will result in a negative outcome.

While fear may be playing all those games in our head, we need to remember that the basic reality of the situation is much simpler. In a business situation, what is the worst thing that will likely happen if we politely ask for what we want?

The person might say, “No.”

And “no” is not the end of the world.

“No” is not a rejection of me as a human being, it’s just a rejection of my request. And an opportunity to perhaps make an alternative request that will elicit a different response.

Even a rejected request is still preferable to being unhappy, resentful or not getting what we want simply because we’re too afraid to ask for it.

So, how about you… Was there ever a time when you felt fearful around asking for what you wanted but you did it anyway and you got a great outcome? Please comment and share your story!


6 comments on “Ask for What You Want and You Just Might Get It

  1. Larry Wayne on

    Have you been reading my thoughts, Debbie? My wife frequently tells me, “You don’t charge enough for your vo work”. So, when discussing fees with a client, I will now often say “And what is your budget for this job” only to be surprised that their budget was higher than what I figured I would be willing to do the job for! I have also had several situations where being willing to do one project at a lower rate for a client has brought me more work from that client. All that to say I admit I am sometimes on the low side of where the market is for vo, and this needs to be the year I ask for what I want!

    • Debbie Grattan on

      Larry – I’m glad my words sparked something inside of you. It’s a nice gift when a client offers a budget that’s more than what we would have charged. Sometimes, it’s good to let them make the first move. You could be surprised at the positive result!

  2. Howard Ellison on

    Extraordinary! My wife also raised this issue today, about a gig I do regularly.
    I appreciate the ongoing booking (ego thing?) so I fear rocking that boat. And yet I know I’m better now than when I started on it – and on other jobs I too have more than once enjoyed the warm feeling of being offered more than I asked.
    You’re right Larry – we should take Debbie’s message to heart.

    • Debbie Grattan on

      Hey Howard, so funny that the WIVES of both you and Larry were raising this issue. I think we often feel our spouses are under paid and under appreciated. But it does go both ways. I find in the end, it all evens out.

      But good to be in the practice of making strong requests. I do it all the time, in all areas of my life. It makes me feel quite powerful. But I admit, sometimes it can backfire too, if I get a little too confident. And sometimes, jobs go away if I don’t meet their bid. I’m okay with that too. The line needs to be drawn, and it can be different for everyone, depending on where they are in their career.

  3. Debbie Irwin on

    Spot on, Debbie. Just today I had a conversation with a client about where we were in our IVR project, since for a variety of reasons the fee I had estimated was reached and there was still more work to be done.

    Fortunately he’d requested the estimate, which is just that, so I felt that I had grounds on which to legitimately broach the subject. He didn’t expect the additional work to be done without additional cost, but I was still somewhat uncomfortable having the conversation.

    But practice makes perfect!

    • Debbie Grattan on

      Debbie – thanks for your comment! Yes, I completely understand how uncomfortable it can feel to have a conversation to ask for more money. I try and think about it in different terms to put it in perspective. If I’m buying a car, and I’m quoted a price on a particular vehicle, but then I want to add GPS and chrome wheels, I can assume there will be an additional charge. Today, I had a client ask me to provide some copywriting services (to trim a 3 minute segment into 2 min.) and provide 2 versions of it (one faster one) – so I emailed back that I would be happy to do so and outlined the additional charges for the extra time/work involved. We must value ourselves and our services to help our clients value them as well. Thanks again for reading and sharing your thoughts!

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