From my own experience, getting new clients is still the hardest part of any freelance business. Especially if you depend on freelance sites for jobs. One of the mega reasons is the ever increasing competition. Thousands of freelancers across the world, especially in the third world countries are also willing to work for pennies. That makes it a hard playing ground. But, here is the good news! I interviewed a couple of freelancer friends and freelance recruiters, and here is what I found out.
Only 3 out of the 14 people I interviewed based their hiring decisions on the price a freelancer charges. That means, your price has only 21% to do with you getting hired on freelance sites.
With that in mind, you have to look deeper and find out what clients really want. What are they looking for in your freelance profile, and what do they want in your proposal or bid.
When I posed the question “how to win more freelance projects on freelance sites”, in one of the brainstorm groups I am in, David Trounce the Founder of Mallee Blue Media, gave me some of best kept secrets of the top freelancers.
It was so full of information that I couldn’t take away any bit. So, I decided to create a new post, and add his entire reply.
This is what he had to say;
Having been on both ends of the freelancer “stick”, as a Professional SEO Service and also as someone looking to gain new clients in my early days as a freelancer, my two most important takeaways for any freelancer in any industry would be this.
Be totally Transparent
No stock answers, no stock letters and no jargon. Tell your prospect what you can do and be totally honest about what you can't do. I have had to sack a number of clients in my life and many of those sacking weren't their fault – they were mine.
I wanted the work and thought I could fudge my way through. I couldn't and so I had to let them go. It was unsatisfying for me and no doubt annoying to them.
People are not fools, they can smell a half baked apple pie from fifty paces. If your prospect gets even a whiff of dishonesty, they will simply move on to the next freelancer.
One of the ways you can engender trust is to use your real name, a real photograph and market only your real skills. Better to win 5 clients based on your true skill set – no matter how narrow – than to have 10 unhappy customers because you never learned how to say no to an offer.
Always give away at least one industry secret.
If you are really good at what you do, then don't worry that it will cost you work. It won't. It will build trust and authority like nothing else.
I spent a lot of years in the dairy industry milking cows. One of the things that surprised me was that – unlike other cut-throat industries – local farmers would share their best secrets on how to produce better milk, or how to overcome certain cow-related diseases with each other.
They were competing on price at the co-op as farmers, but they felt no need to keep their best farming secrets to themselves. As a result the entire farming community prospered.
I took this attitude in to my Agency and it gets noticed. I tell my clients my best web marketing secrets. Having spoken to other SEO professionals, they quickly notice that I am giving way more value – I am giving them gold – by divulging my best web marketing strategies.
Do I lose them as a result? Do I become redundant now that I have given them my best tips and tactics? Rarely. The consistent feedback is that I must know what I am talking about and that I can be trusted to do the job well.
Now, in the interests of transparency, let me put that all in to practice.
Why do I tell my clients my best tactics and strategies without fear of losing them – even before I have won them over? It's not just so they trust that I am an authority in my industry.
And it's not because I can't help myself….
It's because I've noticed that, by and large, most of my best clients are bone lazy. So, even after I tell them exactly what they need to do, they still hire me to do it because they can't be bothered.
David Trounce is the Founder of Mallee Blue Media, a Professional SEO Service for online Business. (http://www.malleeblue.com/)