How do you think the ideal bid should look like? What is the most important – the price, the links to your previous freelance work or the ratings you have on that specific freelance site?
None of the above.
The buyers definitely want to know about your experience, ratings and reviews and for sure they want to know your price. But none of this is the most important thing. There is something else, something which makes them choose you and no one else.
Uh?! Simple as that? Well, it may not be as simple. Why ask questions at first place?
Asking questions shows that you are really interested in the project and that you understand the basics of it. It shows that you really care about your customer’s need and want to hear exactly what he or she wants.
This is what your potential customer is looking for – someone who actually cares for them. By asking questions about some specifics in the project you show your interest and care. Always try to ask a good question and at the same time show that you understand the other aspects of the project.
Ok, but you know, the winning bid has more characteristics than just asking questions.
Providing freelance services is just a business like any other. But who said the business communication should be impersonal and dry? The Net business and especially the freelance websites are more informal environment. Don’t be dry, be friendly.
Start with “Hello”, “Hi there” and if possible address the client’s name – like “Hello James,”, “Hi Patrick”, “Dear Kate” etc. Avoid impersonal things like “Greetings” for example.
How to know the buyer’s name? Well, many of them sign themselves under the project description. If not, check their reviews. If the buyer is not new for that freelance marketplace, chances are that some of the previous reviewers may have addressed the buyer by name in the review (ex. “Bill is a great customer…”). Always spend the time to do that, it is well worth it!
I avoid appeals which create the feeling for standing below the buyer. I have never addressed them with “Dear sir” for example, but in some countries it is accepted as normal appeal, so you have to decide yourself on that.
Definitely stay away from too familiar openings like “Yo”, “Hya” or something like that – you may find it funny, but I have seen such bids.
Give a Quote
I know I said the price is not the most important, but it is probably the second of importance. I also know it is sometimes hard to give the exact price, especially if you have questions. And you must have questions
But all freelance sites allow you to change your bid at any time, until bidding is open. So try giving an approximate quote just so the buyer knows what to expect. Many freelance buyers ignore bids which don’t contain price information. So give one – better be safe than sorry.
Obviously most customers look for low prices, but don’t think that the lowest price is the best. If you underestimate your skills, what would you do with their project? Most serious buyers think that way.
Just give a fair quote. Certainly there are customers who will choose the lowest bidders, but do you really want to work for them? No, this is not for you. You are here to be a successful and well paid freelancer, not just to survive.
Give Suggestions and Ideas
Ok, ideas are not free, but I don’t mean to give them detailed plan of what to do. Just suggest the customer some way to achieve the goal, to improve the product, site or design they want created. This way you show not only your expertise, but that you are willing to make their product better.
For example many freelance buyers ask about sites with forums. You can always suggest to use some free open-source forum to reduce the cost and development time. Or if you are a designer, suggest them some usability features for their site.
Look, I am not your moral mentor. It’s not about moral. Being honest is the best business and persuasive tactic. If the client feels that you are lying them for something, forget doing business with him. People hate being lied.
On the other hand, giving honestly your position and sharing your honest opinion (in an appropriate way and voice) earns you trust immediately.
If you don’t know about some technology, be honest about that in the bid. If you don’t think you can meet the deadline, explain this in the bid. Just be honest.
In most cases this is all you need to win a bid. It’s not a magic, neither requires some great copyrighting skills. More than 90% of the freelancers don’t follow even one of these guidelines. Following them all together makes you stand out from 99% of the competition. The choice is yours.
Filed under: Finding Freelance Jobs