Why I Fired A Client

Hey, there!

In our attempts to gather customers, to super serve them, to make sure they are happy, to completely satisfy them, to surprise and delight them — there is an exception to be made.

And that is the client that must be fired.

Why would you do that? Read on.

I have a client, who just started taking my free Getting Started in Voice Over class, and who I became — concerned about.

Oh, he started off just fine. He said he excited about learning, open to my message, happy to have a mentor.

Then, the pain started.

It started when he sent me his demo — one that is not competitive in the marketplace. And I told him so. I also encouraged him to think about how to make it better and told him how I looked forward to helping him upgrade his tools, including this demo of his.

Instead of being open to that, he responded that he’d be very appreciative if I gave him credit for how hard he’d worked on it, how he’d taught himself how to add music and effects, and how he’d followed the rules of demo-making.

(Never mind that the rules he quoted were news to me.)

He went on to say that he’d recently read an article about finding the right VO teacher and producer, and that article stated clearly that he needed to find someone who works with you, not against you.

And by the way, he’d booked a job with that demo. And that I should listen to it again, and “see the good points” in it.

I recognized immediately that I had a client who might have to be fired. But not just yet.

I wanted to respond, to make sure that he understood my approach to coaching, and that his efforts were laudable, but the result simply wasn’t. I said that the job that he booked, since it was based on an audition, might not have even included a review of this demo.

(If you’re reading this and are already a client or student of mine, you already know that my approach is supportive, but honest and to the point. And I don’t want to waste a second of your time in getting you to a place of success.)

Then, his reply landed in my inbox.

It included a few choice words about how he “would appreciate a more positive approach to the way that you deal with me seeing that I am an amateur as well as self-taught myself to add music and sound effects etc. I completed that demo on my own and myself and others (including those at Voice123 who I asked to be COMPLETLEY (sic) honest) did not think it was half-bad.”

Well, that was that.

What I had on my hands was someone who didn’t even know yet what they didn’t know, and really wasn’t interested in finding out, and someone who wanted a sycophant as opposed to a mentor.

Sure, I could have gone another round with him. Or a few more rounds with him.

But the 80/20 rule was staring me in the face: I would be spending a lot more time trying to be super super nice, as opposed to being effective — for him and for my other clients.

Why do I share this with you?

Because you might find yourself in a similar situation with a client — someone who comes to you with a script that needs produced, or a book that needs voiced, or a web series that needs narration — and who becomes much more of a management project than a VO project.

Remember, you have every right to choose what kind of client you want to work with.

And what kind of client you want to fire.

I do insist that you make sure that you explore a reasonable number of options to make things productive.

Maybe it’s just a miscommunication that can be righted with a clearer explanation.

But if you find someone insisting on being right, someone fighting for credit for or inclusion of unworthy work, someone micromanaging your performance, or someone who isn’t pulling in the same direction you are, gracefully parting ways with them and wishing them well is not something to avoid.

And that client of mine? He wrote me one more time, asking when I was going to respond to him.

I did. Nicely. And I doubt he’ll ever know what he might have missed out on.

And now, I can spend more time with you. :-)

Have you ever felt like firing a client? Did you? How did you do it? Join in the conversation below.

Hope this helps.


9 Responses to 6 Steps to a Perfect VO Demo

  1. Kelli August 18, 2011 at 2:58 am #

    I feel really good about my demo. It is a quick and fun process, even for someone like me who gets very self concious. :)

  2. David Britz September 5, 2011 at 11:25 pm #

    The demos are great. Superb quality. Why go anywhere else?

  3. David Britz October 20, 2011 at 3:51 pm #

    Can’t wait to record my Narration VO Demo!! :))

  4. Mike Brang December 31, 2013 at 9:44 am #

    Having a well-produced demo is one of the most important things in the VO business. I had a number of demos made from other producers in the past and they all had one thing in common — that manufactured, cookie cutter sound!
    What sets David apart from the rest, besides his affordable price and tremendously fast turn around time, is that all of the clips you record with him sound unique. Each spot sounds like an actual commercial you recorded for a job.
    My agent loved the quality and even asked who produced it to refer his other talent there!

    Thanks again, David for producing such a great, high quality demo for me. You made the process relaxing and enjoyable. I urge anyone reading this unsolicited reply to listen to David’s student demos to hear the difference for yourself. Anyone would be lucky to work with him

  5. Kristy Liles February 9, 2017 at 7:04 pm #

    I can not thank you enough. I worked so hard on 15 page IVR project, one day I cryed, look for answers, pull my hear (not really) but I was about until another VO send me this great tool. Thanks!

  6. Frank June 11, 2017 at 9:51 pm #


    When v123 indicates the audition is for a student/ nonprofit are we to assume it is for $0. If so, why does the audition ask for an amount to be entered?

  7. shirley jordan June 12, 2017 at 5:58 pm #

    I did get this scam through Voice 123. In our discourse, they offered me the gig and they gave me the name of a legit local place to record and the same runaround with the money. I didn’t send anything, but instead, I called the studio to make sure the booking was for the day we set up, and lo and behold, the people there had no idea what I was talking about. I then tried to call back my “contact person” who was setting this up and there was a fax machine beep on the other end. I immediately contacted Voice 123 and told them what had happened. You know what they say…if it sounds togaed to be true, it probably is. Thanks for the reminder!

  8. shirley jordan June 12, 2017 at 5:59 pm #

    …too good…not togaed.
    The one time spell check didn’t work!

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