How to win more – and better – projects
When you find a fantastic opportunity, whether it’s on a job
board or one of the bidding sites, are you confident you can create an
impressive response to show the prospective client why you are the best
freelancer for the job? Will your
response show the level of excellence you bring to the project?
Here are 5 steps you can use to create a killer proposal:
Step 1 – Research
Now that you’ve found the project, it’s time to do a bit of
research. First, read the entire
proposal. Next, check out their website. If they haven’t given you a URL, you’ll have to do some digging. Are they using a custom
email address – e.g.: email@example.com? If they are, then chances are you can find more about them by visiting their
site – in this case, lookingforfreelancers.com. Try to find out more about
the client: who they are, what they do, who their audience is and why they need you. If you can find the name of the company,
check their social media presence. Do
you have any shared connections that can help you get the job?
Thanks to Google, you will likely be able to find a fair bit
about them, and in some cases this can win you the project. In others, it might give you a good reason not to bid! Either way, time spent researching the client and their business is time well
Step 2 – Anticipate their needs
Look at what the client is asking for and think about what
they really need. Sometimes, this requires some analysis on your part. Do they know what
they’re looking for or do they have just enough knowledge to write the project
description? Show them you can do more than what they’re asking for. For example, if they’ve requested a website, check to
see if they have a presence in social media. If they need web copy, suggest blog posts, articles, and press releases
to help them spread their message effectively. You might be able to include additional
services as a value-add or increase the scope – and value – of the project by
showing your expertise. Either way,
demonstrating that you’re able to provide
more than what they’ve asked for is a great way to win the project.
Step 3 – Craft an effective response
Take the time to write a response that answers all of the
questions the client has put into the posting.
Be thorough. If they
ask for examples of your previous projects, test the links to ensure they work.
If possible, give examples that relate directly to their project. If you don’t have anything that specifically
relates to what they need, include a few lines as to why you’re proud to share
this link from your portfolio or Branded Freelancer Page. If your previous client was ecstatic with the
outcome, if you’ve won an award, or if you’ve helped a client achieve exceptional
conversion rates – these are things to share with your prospective client.
Make it as easy as possible for them to find your work by
providing clickable URLs. If they’ve got
to copy and paste, you’re adding an unnecessary step. The client might think this is how you do
everything, and this could be the reason they award the project to someone else. It’s the little things that make a big
difference. Keep it simple and make it as easy as possible for them to choose you.
Step 4 – Don’t keep your rates a secret
In your proposal, be clear about what your payment
expectations are. You might have the
best proposal in the world and willing to work for next to nothing, but if you
don’t say this in your proposal, your prospective client is going to have to
contact you to find out about your rate.
Don’t be shy about your rate; it’s pretty important to your
business. Don’t apologize or justify it in your
proposal. You want them to choose you because you’re the best, not because you’re
the cheapest. There will always be
someone else willing to give away their talent.
Step 5 – Follow up
Unfortunately, you’re not going to win every project. Following the steps above can help you
increase the chances, but there are many factors that will go into the hiring
decision. And that’s okay.
If your client lets you know you were not the successful
candidate, thank them for the opportunity and for taking the time to let you
know their decision. If you’re
comfortable with asking for feedback, you could ask them what the deciding
factors were. “I appreciate your time,
and thank you for the opportunity. I
admire your company, and would like to learn what I can do to increase the
chances of working with you in the future. If possible, can you please share
what the deciding factors were in choosing another provider?” Use any
feedback they share with you to improve your business and your next proposal.
A well crafted response takes time but it’s a great tool to
show your client why you are the best freelancer for the job. Think of it as an audition. You might not get paid for it, but the more
effort and talent you display, the better chance you will get the great jobs.