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- Jan 14, 2013
Upwork Tutorial Day 6 - How to Sell Yourself in Upwork Interviews and CallsWe've pretty much covered everything you need to know to land interviews and get gigs. But there's one last core area to cover before you make Upwork worth your time. That area is the interview.
For obvious reasons, most people get stuck on getting responses from their cover letters. They never make it to the interview, so they're not prepared for that part at all. Unfortunately, getting the interview doesn't mean you get the job. You probably aren't the only person who got interviewed, and you still have to prove yourself.
That's what today is about...
Two Kinds of Interviews
The first thing you need to know about interviews on Upwork is there are 2 kinds. The kind where you talk through text chat and the kind where you get on a live call.
Text Chat Interviews
Most freelancers opt for text-only interviews. You get a response from a client and you talk to them through Upwork's chat system or maybe through Skype chat, but not on a live call. There's nothing wrong with interviewing this way if you are okay with making small sales.
Text chat is not conducive to high-ticket sales. You will not make $3,000, $5,000 or $10,000+ sales through text chat unless your client is a complete fool, or you are a master persuader, and even then it's a challenge.
Assuming you really are a master persuader, then you would have no reason to interview through text chat because getting on a live call would be nothing to you. So if you're doing text chat interviews, we must operate on the assumption that you are NOT a master persuader, but an amateur at best.
I'm telling you this because not only do I know it, and you know it, clients know it too. And they're smart enough to know that you don't hand over thousands of dollars to amateur freelancers who are too scared to get on a live call because you either aren't confident enough in your skills or you aren't confident enough in your communication abilities. Both are a recipe for disaster.
So if you only do text-chat, you can expect to earn $1,000 or less per client, unless you bill hourly rates and it builds up over time. Now, if your goal is only to pick up some extra side cash, then maybe that's enough. But if you want to turn this into something more legitimate that can build serious cash to get you off the ground, then you need to take live calls...
Live Call Interviews
Live calls can either be phone, Upwork video, Skype, Zoom, or any other platform that offers voice to voice or face to face interaction. With a live call you will meet the client directly, and you'll both have a chance to get to know each other.
Live calls usually lead to much higher priced sales because of what you discover on the call, and also what clients are willing to pay for once you've proven you're an expert. The cool thing is, you don't even have to be an expert to make high-priced sales, and you also don't have to use any swoopy high-pressure tactics to get people to buy.
By nature of being willing to get on a phone call, you INSTANTLY set yourself apart as someone who has a high probability of being an expert. Just like clients know you're not an expert if you won't get on a call, they also EXPECT that you are an expert if you will get on calls.
So you go into the interview with an expectation that you are an expert. For that reason alone you will often win the gig just by getting on a call. If you are willing to offer a high price on that call, then you will also often make a lot more money than if you hold yourself back because you're afraid the other person can't pay or that your price is too high.
Okay, But how do I actually win the gig and prove I'm an expert?
Whether you do text chat or live calls the interview process is largely the same. Before we get into it, we need to reframe the situation...
You are not an employee or a regular job seeker. You applied to this gig as a problem solver, someone who can help this client get something done. Problem solvers are people we turn to when we need help with something. Problem solvers also tend to be in-demand by nature of their abilities. You are a problem solver, and therefore...
The client does not interview you.
You interview them.
So you can reframe this situation. It isn't an opportunity for the client to decide if they want to work with you. It's an opportunity for YOU to decide if it's worth your time for you to work with them.
When you think about it like this, then it's easy to adjust your approach from a passive, reaction-based response system, to an active, interviewer's role. You interviewing them. But how do you do this?
You can simplify it into a single powerful concept:
Just ask questions.
When you are the one asking questions it means others are NOT asking questions. Therefore, you are in control of the interview. You are the interviewer. You are judging them.
Questions about their business.
Imagine you're an employee and it's your first day on the job? Do you jump in and get to work instantly? No. There is a week or so of ease-in period. It's a time when you're new, and you have to learn the ropes. So what do you spend your time doing? Asking questions.
You ask about the job. The software they use. How to handle various situations. Sure, you might relate the current situation back to past situations or past processes you applied at other jobs, but ultimately you will spend time asking questions about the current position. You do this because you have to learn how things work with this employer.
It's exactly the same when you interview with a client. You are going to ask the same sort of questions...
- What is your current approach?
- What isn't working now?
- What else do you need help with?
- What problems are you trying to solve?
- What software systems do you use?
- Who do you currently work with?
- How do you handle X situation?
- What is your goal?
- What do you want from me as a freelancer?
- What hasn't worked for you in the past...
These questions are things that you will naturally need answered whether it's on a call, in text chat, or after you start working. At some point you need to know about their business to deliver what they want, so you might as well ask in the interview phase and look like an expert rather than waiting until things go wrong and saying, "oh, I probably should've asked about that."
What if the client asks me questions?
Answer their question briefly, and then ask another question to take back control of the call. There's nothing wrong with answering their questions, but if you give them the opportunity, they will keep asking and they will regain control.
If you respond then ask you will keep control.
How do I know I'm asking the right questions?
The client will say, "aha, I never really thought about it like that" or "ah! I hadn't considered that..." or "hmm...that's a great question!"
If all else fails, just ask something, ANYTHING.
But try to keep it business-centered (preferably on their business).
What happens after you ask questions?
Eventually the client will feel like you've spent enough time talking together. 15 minutes. 30 minutes. 1.5 hours... In reality you will have spent very little time talking. Mostly you've just kept quiet and listened (because who does that these days...) and if you've asked enough questions the client will eventually say something like...
"So, where do we go from here?"
That's your cue to do the following:
- Recap what you've covered so far
- Describe how you can help with that
- Offer a price or get off the call (if you're on one)
Recapping what you've covered...
You: "Alright Tom, so far you told me you need help with email copywriting, sales funnel automation, and Facebook Ad copy as well as copy for your website home page, right?"
Tom: "Yes, that's right."
You: "Great, and I can help you with all of that. To start I'll craft an email series that we can turn into an automated sales funnel and then we can run Facebook ads to a landing page for opt-ins to build your list and put your sales on autopilot."
Tom: "Sounds great!"
You: "Great! I can get started immediately and can finish the email series in 1 week. To have me do this for you it's $5,000."
Tom: "Umm...do I have to pay it all at once?"
You: "I offer split payments for some clients. You would need to fund AND release the first milestone for half and the other half will be due on delivery. Sound good?"
Tom: "Okay, I can do that."
Or if you choose to get off the call you will just let Tom know that you want to take some time to consider his needs, and will draft a proposal for him outlining how you can help and giving him options customized for him. Also be sure to let him know WHEN you will send the proposal by.
- You do not need to use high-pressure sales tactics
- You do not need to be an expert to appear an expert
- Text Chat = Low Pay Gigs
- Live Call = High Pay Gigs
- Ask questions (even if you forget everything else)
- Better questions = better results
- You know the client is ready to be sold when he says "where do we go from here."
- You can offer your price on the call or off
- If it's on the call, you better be prepared to say the price out loud and stfu afterward
- Throughout all of this you are interviewing them
- If your voice waivers because you doubt your prices, you will lose the sale
There's a lot that goes into sales even though it's relatively simple. I'm short on time and trying to sum all of this up in a single post and it's not easy to do. I don't have time to go back and cut it down to size properly SO...
If you have questions about sales or any other part of the Upwork process up to this point, please feel free to post them in a response to this post. I will follow up.
Prepare yourself mentally to get on live calls if your goal is to make big sales, or if you're just doing this as a side hustle, practice what you will say in text chat to move clients forward toward the sale.
Everything you say to the client PRE-SALE should be focused on moving them toward that sale. If sales were a 5k you would kick off at the starting line and run toward the finish line. The finish line is where the sale happens. In between the start and finish line you put all your effort into getting to the finish line. If you quit too early, or don't push hard enough, or break your ankle, you won't reach the finish line.
Pace the client. Run with them. Always stay focused on the next finish line.
- "When you work with me X will happen"
- "Once we get started you can expect X"
- "After you send the contract I will do X"
- "Once you've released the payment I will do X"
- "Once you leave feedback, I will do X"
- "When you send referrals, you will get X"
This works on calls and in text. Set a goal, go toward that goal, run at the client's pace, and cross the finish line when you get there.
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