Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Try Not to Miss an Open Door

The morning began early- I had a lot to get done. There was music and SFX to be chosen for one project, voice tracks to be recorded for another project, files to be rendered and uploaded, e-mails to answer, calls to make, etc. I knew my afternoon was full - I had an appointment that would likely take until 5pm- so I was wasting no time getting everything done. At 1pm I received an e-mail asking if I could do an ISDN session at 5pm- and I knew it was going to be a very tight squeeze. Unfortunately, the client couldn't push it back any further. So- I gathered my belongings to head to my appointment early, in the hopes it would be over early- getting me home well before my 5pm session.

As I juggled my purse, my cell phone, my car keys, and my bottle of water (I like to always stay hydrated!) I made my way to the door. That's when a nice looking man in a dark suit caught my eye through the window just as he rang my doorbell. I had been spotted- there was no ignoring this visitor. I knew in an instant he was there to sell me something- I could tell by the little notebook he held in his hand. Plus, it's a billion degrees in FL- why else would someone wear a suit?

I cracked the door slightly and before he could say anything I blurted out, "I'm really in a rush- I'm sorry!"

Undeterred, he went straight into his spiel, "Hi- I'm starting a new business in the neighborhood- and doing a survey- do you have time to answer some questions?"

"No, I really don't." I said.

"It will only take a couple of minutes."

"I'm sorry- I'm really running short on time right now, do you think you could come back another time?" I asked.

He grimaced for a moment before replying, "It's only five questions."

"No, I'm sorry I really have to leave." And I shut the door.

Driving to my appointment moments later, something struck me. I had given this man a metaphorical open door- and he failed to use it! I asked if he would like to come back at another time, and he chose not to accept my offer. Whatever his mission may have been when he first knocked on my door was doomed to fail because he wasn't willing to go a little out of his way to make it happen. However, he was more than happy to have me go out of my way! A sure-fire recipe for failure if you ask me. Had he done as I asked, not only would he have had my complete attention, he likely would have won me over by showing me- and my time- a little respect.

Whether cold calling, e-mailing, or writing letters- I always like to end with, "Thank you for your time." Time is valuable and we have to respect it. Especially when asking someone for something (in this case, business). The big lesson here, however, is to never miss an open door. If someone is willing to hear you out at a later time- by all means be available! Jump though whatever hoops necessary to make it happen- you will be glad you did.

To sum it up- I made it to my appointment a bit early (Ironically it was for a 'stress test'- pretty sure I failed!), and made it home with time to spare for my ISDN session. All in all a good day- and one more valuable lesson realized!

Kara Edwards Voice Over


Philip Banks said...

If you talk to someone on the radio, Pilot to Air traffic Controller is a good example, then you press a button to talk and you release it to listen. It is not possible to do both. You are either talking and someone is listening or vice versa. Let's stay with the Pilot and the Air Traffic Controller. The Air Traffic Controller has been talking and so he assume that the Pilot has been listening to what he has been telling him to do. Actually, he does nothing of the sort, he does not assume at all. He waits for the Pilot to tell him what he has just been told to do (the jargon is "read back"). Air Traffic Controller knows what he said and after the read back he know that the Pilot heard him correctly. In business, how does this work?

As a person selling do you check to see if the person to whom you are presenting has heard you correctly? As a potential buyer do you do the same to the seller?

Here's the opportunity most Voice Overists miss. They're too busy shouting about how busy they are or talking about their brilliant careers they never allow buyers to get a word in edgeways.

"You've just HIRED a Voice over?? WHY DIDN'T YOU ASK ME?"

Answer's easy - He didn't like to interrupt.

Kara Edwards said...


Wonderfully said, thank you. :)


Bob Souer said...


Well said. If I'm so busy thinking about me and talking about me, I couldn't possibly notice the open door when it appears because that would require listening and paying attention to you.

To make the application even more clear in the voiceover realm, it's never about me or my voice; it's always about the client and their story that needs to be told.

And Philip, what a superb analogy! Thank you for that, too.

Be well,

Kara Edwards said...


Again, wonderfully said!! (I love you and Philip and all of your wisdom!) Although, interestingly enough, it was pointed out to me from another VO via Twitter- that it was I who had missed an open door yesterday. It was suggested that perhaps it should have been ME offering my card to the new businessman :) I love how life always offers up lesson after lesson!


Deelsu said...

The guy needs to brush up on his sales skills..

Kara Edwards said...

Hah! Dee- you are ever so correct :)

James Clamp said...

Hi Kara,

Great article. I believe that "Thank you for your time" are the MOST important words in business.


Christina Fadala said...

Kara, I always come away from your blog with much to think about and this time is no exception. I do agree with the comment concerning offering this business man your card and perhaps saying " I really do want to hear what you have to say but I'll be late for my appontment if I listen now. Here's my card and let's talk soon. Best of luck to you."

Thanks for sharing your valuable insights with everyone.



J.S. Gilbert said...

Perhaps it was you who missed a door opening. He was starting a new business in the neighborhood. Hmmm, the kind of business that requires radio or tv advertising or that might need a spokesperson.

We don't know if he was in a position to return and ask questions or if he only needed to speak to a finite amount of people. We don't even know what kind of a business it was. I certainly would have at least gotten that out of him.

Let's just say that you both had seperate agendas and while he may have missed out on getting your valuable opinions to 5 questions, you may have missed out on being a national spokesperson.