In this part of the Upwork proposal series, let’s dive into the question “which of the required job skills do you feel you are strongest at?”
Depending on the client, this tends to be more of an exploratory question compared to the other proposal questions we often see.
We’ll look at two different types of clients: the expert and the non-expert. Whereas the expert client already knows what they are looking for, the non-expert tends to be more fluid and open to good reasoning.
We’ll explore how the clients are different and their differences affect our answer to the question. I’ve also prepared a word-for-word script you can use along with an explanation for how to tweak it to your situation.
Ready? Let’s go.
The two types of clients you’ll meet
The first one knows everything about the project they need help with. They’ve done it before, usually themselves and they’ve perfected the process.
It might be a small piece of their business machine and they are looking to for someone to maintain the existing process so they can free up time for other tasks.
Sometimes that requires a certain skill or expertise but with this client, there is usually training since they’ve found the best working approach for their business.
How to identify the client: this client will often be highly detailed in their job description and know what to ask about and look for.
You’ll notice specific details that they would be unlikely to know without experience. You can usually recognize these because you yourself are experienced in the subject.
This is a decent example where the client is fairly specific (being more specific is even better). Notice how specifically they describe their target audience and expectations.
When client one asks “which of the required job skills do you feel you are strongest at?” they often know the right answer and are looking for a particular skill that they know you’ll do well with in this project.
When you answer this client, go ahead and mention the skill that seems to make the most sense to you. The client will know this better than anyone and if it isn’t a good fit, you’ll want to know about it before taking on the project.
The second type of client doesn’t know their project that well but knows that they want a certain outcome and has an idea about what might take them there.
Perhaps they want to increase the revenue of their business and have heard from a friend that Facebook ads are the best thing ever, so they want to explore that with an expert.
How to identify the client: they might be asking for something specific while explaining that they know nothing about it. Although it is possible that they’ve read extensively online, it might also indicate that they got help from someone. Here’s an example:
Taboola and Outbrain are advertising platforms online. The client mentioned that they clearly don’t know much about it and like it that way.
The answer to “which of the required job skills do you feel you are strongest at?” might need to be a bit more nuanced here since there could be invisible stakeholders at play (potentially a friend). With this client, the challenge can be that they got that advice from someone they trust and might be emotionally invested in the idea.
If we know that the client is about to make a bad decision and we hit them hard explaining that it is a terrible idea, the client might listen… or they might ignore us.
If we pause for a second to put ourselves in the shoes of the client: how would you feel if a friend suggested you this idea compared to a stranger on Upwork?
All other things being equal we would go with the suggestion of our friend who knows us well, right?
Even if that isn’t the case, we might make the client feel as if they made a mistake – not a good way to enter a professional relationship.
That puts us in a complex situation since clients often want to try it out anyway and learn from the experience (and mistake) themselves.
In that case, if you are still interested in the project, I suggest saying something along the lines of “based on what I know about your business so far, I’m not confident that X is the right choice because of XYZ. If you are still interested in testing it out, I’ll be happy to help you but I feel as if I would be taking advantage of the situation if I didn’t bring this up.”
By doing that, we switch from focusing on the results of the campaign to making the client happy. Of course, results are important but we’ve made it clear that this likely isn’t the best option moving forward but if they want to explore it despite that, we can help.
Examples script for “which of the required job skills do you feel you are strongest at?”
For both types of Upwork clients we can for example use this script:
“Within this project, we have several tasks: TASK 1, TASK 2, TASK 3, etc.
I have worked on projects involving all those tasks, and I feel the strongest specifically around TASK 2 where I delivered RESULT in a project I worked on. I like to think that I can deliver a similarly great result because of XYZ.”
What’s going on here?
First, we are briefly outlining the project’s main tasks or stages so the client quickly understands that we know what the project entails. Based on your expertise with this type of project, you might know which task is the most important for the project and highlight that (task 2 in this example).
Instead of just pointing out that we are strongest at TASK 2, like most other freelancers, we show them why we think that by sharing a specific relevant result we’ve achieved with that task. Ideally, you’ll attach a testimonial, screenshot, case study, or portfolio piece of that in the proposal.
Next, we’ll point out why we think we can deliver a similar result for this client’s project. That could be due to similarities between the projects such as similar tasks, audience, or perhaps a last-minute deadline that you can meet easily.
Notice how brief this is. This isn’t supposed to be a long essay and instead, we give them a taster. They are busy and it invites them to dive deeper if they are interested.
You’ll get a feeling for what they want based on what they ask more about. The more potential clients you speak with, the more you’ll notice what they want to dive deeper into and thus we can prepare better and better answers around those topics.
Dive deeper and win more proposals
Find more guides in this Upwork series:
- What challenging part of this job are you most experienced in? (Upwork)
- Kickass Upwork questions and answers that win clients
- How to make money on Upwork with the Hollywood Superhero-technique
- What past project or job have you had that is most like this one and why?
- How to use Upwork: a craftsman’s approach to landing clients on Upwork
- Tired of sending Upwork proposals and not hearing back? This is for you