“Sales are contingent upon the attitude of the salesman – not the attitude of the prospect.”
– W. Clement Stone
oDesk cover letters that work
When I started freelancing on oDesk I sucked. My job applications and cover letters were horrible. I’d never had a to sell a service to anyone and my inexperience bled into each proposal. It took me a couple of months and a lot of reading before I was able to consistently sell my work. At one point I went through over 25 job applications before someone finally hired me. Since then I’ve worked on improving my sales techniques in order to land more clients. Now I get almost all of the jobs that I apply for.
Today I wanted to take a few minutes to explain, and showcase, some oDesk cover letters that work. While I’m not going to get into all the gruesome details, the advice that I am going to share will help increase most people’s sales. Additionally, everything that I recommend is easy to do.
Meet the client’s tone:
A customer looking for someone to write legal documents for his paper company isn’t going to want content with the same tone as someone who needs blog posts about the video games. As such, you should change-up your energy level when pitching a job. Below I’ve included my pitch for a job I got that involved writing about gaming trends.
Even though the message is corny and high-strung, it got me hired. The client wanted someone to write entertaining and opinionated posts. These audience was teenagers and guys in their 20’s. They want jokes and excitement. Anyone who grew up in the golden age of video game journalism will fondly remember gaming magazines for being corny and high-strung. They were filled with jokes and silly humor.
On the flip side, when you have a serious client don’t try pulling cocky or goofy humor. It’s better off to be professional and polite. Software, business, and politics aren’t places where jokes are appreciated.
Tell the client what you can offer them:
The biggest mistake that most people make is being self-centered. In order to make sales you have to sell the client on why you can offer them more than anyone else. If you can get that down you’ll start getting work.
Writing about appliances like juicers, blenders, toasters, and refrigerators is a pretty common oDesk job. These tasks get dozens of applicants who all want the contract. Some of them are even willing to write for less than a penny a word. The job that this image was taken from was paying anywhere between three and nine dollars an article. The average bid was something like $4.50. I set my rate at nine, filled out the application, and was hired immediately. I sold the customer on an investment, not a job. By hiring me he was going to get nothing but the best quality service.
While I think that my advice will help, its important to study and practice sales on your own too. What works for me might not always work for you. In addition to practice, I’d recommend reading a couple of books that have really helped me to become a better salesman. I recently read It’s Not How Good You Are, Its How Good You Want to Be which I highly recommend. Also, Writing Philosophy made it a lot easier for me to understand how I could be more persuasive.