I'll start this section with a little story.
About 12 years prior to the release of this book, I was producing a band and needed someone to play some drum & guitar parts for five of the songs. I played the parts with sampler software and the musician played them live using real instruments.
There were several companies offering this type of service. I went with a guy (track musician) who had samples on his website that sounded great. Also, his prices were half that of the other companies (which doesn't always mean anything, I'm just pointing this out).
I was big into music production, song writing and arranging at the time, and was very proud of my CD. I later found many of my customers are the same.
I probably shouldn't have, but I wrote a paragraph for each of the five songs I was going to have him work on. The history of the song, the feeling of it, how he should play the instruments, etc. I also asked general questions, his prices, time frame, revisions, how to pay, etc.
So, the track musician gets this seven paragraph email, that took me over an hour to write it. He replies a few hours later later with, “See - Start A Project” on my website.
He ignores my entire email. Didn't even address me by name. All he wrote was , “See - Start A Project” on the website, and closed with his name.
I emailed him a second time with more questions, maybe two paragraphs this time.
He replied, “Yes, No, Maybe, No...”
After seeing how uninterested this guy was, my $1,000 job turned into $50. I sent him one guitar track sample and $50 to see what he would do with it.
When I got back the guitar track, it was a total rush job. It was just bad. I asked for my free revision and he fought with me about it, refusing to do it. I emailed him again and he never replied. He just refunded my money.
This is bad because people have deadlines. He put me a week behind schedule with this BS!
Six months later, his website was closed down. Out of business. Wonder why?
OK, there are two problems here.
1. With his initial emails, he will totally destroy the excitement of a client. I experienced this first hand. I didn't feel like working with someone who blatantly shows they have no time for me, or any interest in my project. His attitude made me reduce the job from $1,000 to only $50.
Note – Yes, this guy was not very good, and I was not going to work with him regardless. But, let's say he was great. Many potential clients will never even find out because they will never come back after his initial email, not even giving him a try.
2. Behavior like this shows he doesn't have time (for whatever reason) for his clients. He can't even write a few sentences and properly answer my questions? All he has time to write is “yes, no, maybe?” Then delivers a garbage rush job.
The client knows just by the email responses that he's not going to take the time needed to get the job done right and/or on time. It happens way to often in all businesses, and many potential clients know this red flag.
Many clients ask me, “Do you have time for my project?” It's important.
Note – If you wonder why “I” didn't see the red flag in my own example, this was all pretty new to me at the time. I now know what the deal is.
Give EVERY job the time needed so that it sounds the very best it can. Strive for excellence. You might not always be able to achieve it, but at least make it a goal.
Sound engineering is an art form. And if you don't take the time needed to get it right, you'll be delivering an inferior product that will get rejected.
And of course, one word replies are not very effective.
The Right Way To Reply To Emails
1. First and foremost, READ THEM to the end! I don't know how many times I send an email and get back a form reply that pertains to only the first sentence. And it doesn't answer any of my main questions.
2. Answer every question. And when possible, start with a direct answer “yes or no” and then an explanation or further details.
This is a clear way to answer, and the client doesn't have to figure out what you are trying to say.
If someone asks, “Can I have my songs in MP3?”
I DO NOT reply with only, “Yes.”
I will write something like this, “Yes, I can send you MP3 files in addition to the .Wav files. Just let me know when the project is finished and I will send them to you.
This answers his question clearly and possible future questions.
3. I reply a sentence or two for each paragraph the client writes.
When possible, I read each paragraph and give each a couple replies that pertain to it.
And I uplift the project, the artist, their career. If someone writes they just finished their third CD, I reply with ”How exciting! Congrats. I'm ready to help you make this one sound the best out of all of them!”
Don't miss an opportunity to uplift the client, and get them excited to hire you.
This business is more of a personal/social business than others. Unlike, for example, selling products on ebay, you're working with someone's life passion.
Some clients just like to talk music. If they do, go along with it. Treat your clients like a friend. It can only help your business in the long run.
4. Try to reply ASAP. At the very latest within a few hours. When you do it's a powerful impression.
If you reply to most of your client's emails within 15-30 minutes, HALF will reply, “That was fast,” or, “Great customer service.”
This is an easy first impression that clients appreciate. In a way it's the opposite of the one word guy. You're showing you care, and that the project is important to you.
The Closing Email
Ok, I only say these things if they're true.
I don't tell a client it was a pleasure working with them if they sent me 100 emails and complained about everything. But if it went well, I will say, "it was great working with you."
Note – But I still do always wish the complainer the best if luck!
I point out the positives in the project. If someone is a very good rapper or singer (and many are), they're a great song writer or musician, I let them know.
So many clients will reply with, “Thanks, no one has ever told me that.” And I wasn't lying to them with my comments. Many clients are very good in certain areas. Why not let them know about it?
In closing, I thank them and wish them the best with their music, and let them know I'm here if they need anything else.