If you caught my recent article on here, entitled, “5 Tips for Getting Jobs on Elance That Pay!,” then you know that I began my online business career doing something many online entrepreneurs consider impossible – build a substantial business using Elance. While considered by many service providers to be one of the lost causes of the web, there are clients on there who “get it.” Landing them requires the ability to show them you get it too.
To add to my five tips I offered last week, here are 5 more of my little tactics that I use for getting good clients on Elance; maybe none of these are revolutionary, but remember that a handful of small touches with a professional flair adds up to a bang when the competition is seriously lacking in marketing skills.
1. Open Up the Lines of Communication
Remember, jobs on Elance get a ton of competition, and while a lot of this competition won’t even be playing on the same field as you, it can be a headache to check out each bid, filter out the trash ones, check out profiles and examples, and then follow up with providers to make sure they actually speak passable English and fulfill all requirements.
A great trick for winning bids, therefore, is opening up the lines of communication. First off, always mention in your bids that you’re available on Skype and phone to talk; not only does this invite conversation but it shows the prospect that you’re a real person and not trying to hide behind a computer.
Also, point it out if they’ve left out information any reasonable provider would need to offer an accurate bid (I’ve had buyers tell me I’m the only one who bothered). Sometimes, if I know my experience is perfect for the job but the parameters are vague, I’ll really sell myself as well as possible but put in an arbitrary (but relatively high) figure, specifying that it’s just a placeholder until I get more details.
If the buyer really is serious, they often bite this bait, and once you’ve got them messaging back and forth, it’s much easier to close a deal. And you stand out because they’ve actually interacted with you.
Beware of coming across too aggressive though. I’ve placed my own jobs and had providers email me over and over to ask if I’d made a decision yet or to add something more to their bid. This is really annoying and will get your bid declined fast.
2. Be Responsive
Now, I take it easy these days and don’t glue myself to the computer too much, but early on, when you’re building your business, you should check your email every couple hours to see if you have any messages. If a prospect sends you a pm asking for elaboration or a chance to discuss the project further and you take too long to get back, this almost always leads to them hiring another person who does respond automatically, or even wandering away from Elance completely.
Actively solicit five-star feedback because not everyone will take the time to leave some. Try seeding the expectation early on by mentioning in bids that you’re doing the job cheap to build up testimonials, and directly ask at the end. If you over-deliver on the client’s expectations, and perhaps even turn in work early, they should have no problem raving about you.
They may even come back for more once your prices go up.
4. Talk About Results
What are high-paying buyers looking for when they go to Elance? A rock-star writer? An email marketing guru? A world class web designer?
No, actually they’re not. What they’re looking for is results! More traffic, more conversions, more sales, and more profits for their business.
Talking about results instead of the features of your service is a major key to getting paid higher rates as a freelancer. Understanding the big picture and seeing the project from a prospect’s perspective. Even better if you can mention specific results you got for previous clients!
All this talk of results can be better accomplished if you…
5. Leverage Copywriting Techniques
I don’t care if you’re a writing provider or not, if you’re running a business online, even a service business, you absolutely must learn some copywriting basics. Most selling online transpires through the written word, and even the best sales videos are scripted ahead of time and/or rely on time-tested sales psychology, much of which has been developed by copywriters.
Great copywriting tactics should be used on your profile, in your bids, in your messages – every contact point with the buyer. Getting attention…building credibility…showing proof…busting apart objections…clear calls to action…it might be more subtle in the bidding process, but it should all be there if you want the big clients.
Become an active student of copywriting techniques today; you can even get the education free just by signing up for the email newsletters belonging to the highest-paid marketers. Just don’t be surprised if they manage to sell you something…
Don’t let the first glance at the Elance marketplace fool you. Yes, picking through the job categories can offer a depressing glimpse of the online services industry, but by unearthing the legitimate businesspeople and presenting yourself as a legitimate provider, you can speak above the noise. Getting jobs on Elance using the tips I’ve outlined in these two articles can give birth to a solid online income that pays for years to come.
Be sure to report back with your results.