How to Speak to Your Customers Like a Pro
You've got the skills to create great sound effects and music that developers need for their games but somehow you can't convince anyone to hire you?
The root cause of your problem might have to do with poor communication.
Hello? Helloooo?! Why isn't anyone listening?
It's All About ME
Too many of us have a “me first” approach to our business.
We believe the key to success is to convince others of how great we are.
We glorify our skills and services on our websites and social media pages and go to great lengths to impress everyone we meet.
There’s a huge problem with this approach:
People don’t care about you. They care about what you can do for them.
It sounds harsh but it’s the truth.
This isn’t to say people don’t care about your intrinsic value as a human being, but unless they’re looking to make a new best friend, their highest priority in checking out you and your work is to find out whether you can help solve their problem.
Imagine you are a game developer and you hear the following pitch from a sound designer who is interested in working with you.
“Hey, my name is Sound Design Steve!
I love games and audio and received a degree in audio at Sound Design School.
I have been freelancing as a sound designer for two years and the games I worked on sound great!
I am very dedicated to my work and have a super professional setup at home with nice microphones.”
Now Steve seems like a nice fellow and he’s only listing some qualifications he has that make him sound employable. What’s wrong with that?
What’s wrong is this:
Steve has not uttered a single sentence about anyone other than himself.
He has not described at all how and why his qualifications should be of interest to the person he is speaking to.
He’s committed the cardinal sin of not considering the needs of his customer.
Let’s try again with the perspective of the game developer in mind:
“Hey, my name is Sound Design Steve!
I understand how important your game is to you and that you want to find a sound designer who is not only competent but also a good fit for your project and your team.
You might be interested to know that I studied under Prof. Sally Sound Design, who created the sound for successful games that are similar to yours. She showed me lots of sound design tricks that would be beneficial to your project.
In the two years I’ve been freelancing, I’ve helped several game development teams translate their vision into sound and am proud to say they left wonderful reviews of our cooperation that you can read on my website.”
Can you spot the difference?
In the second text, Steve addresses most of the same topics as the first but instead of making the conversation about him, he shows the game developer why that information could be important and/or useful to them.
How much more interested do you think our game developer would be in learning more about Steve after this second introduction?
He considered their needs and spoke to their interests instead of his own.
Change Your Perspective
The key to this subtle but game-changing approach to communication is considering the perspective of the person you're speaking to.
It allows you to recognize the difference between “I compose music for games” and “I help game developers by creating beautiful music their players will love listening to”.
One talks about YOU. The other talks about the value you bring to your customer.
The best part about this approach is you don’t have to be a cheesy salesman, you simply have to empathize with people and show them that you understand and care about solving their problems.
How wonderful it is that the best way to sell your product is also the most honest and human?!
“The golden rule for every business is this: put yourself in your customer’s place.”
Orison Swett Marden
If you don't put your customers first when pitching your services, why should they expect you to put them first after hiring you?
Start communicating with your customer's needs in mind and I guarantee you'll see a drastic improvement in your business.
P.S.: If you're smart, you'll carry this idea into your personal life as well.
Hi, I’m Ben Gallagher.
After struggling for many years to make it as a game audio freelancer, I created The Game Audio Pro with the goal of helping others understand the fundamental business skills that are often the difference between success and failure for freelancers.
If you're ready to take your game audio career to the next level, download my guide to The Most Important Mindset for Game Audio Success.