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How freelance engineers can increase their success in the digital world- Part 4- Demonstrate expertise

Gavin Christie

Gavin Christie
Oct 07, 2016 11:49

Welcome to Part 4 of my blog series on how freelance engineers can increase their success when competing for work in the digital world.

In the previous parts this series, I explored some of the fundamental differences between winning work in the new digital world and the traditional face-to-face way. I also looked at the importance of relationships and why it’s essential to show the client you understand them. If you missed the earlier blogs you can go back to the first blog here.

In this edition I thought I would explore in more detail how demonstrating expertise is critical to increasing your success rate in winning.

What is your most important asset as a freelance engineer?

If I was to ask you this question, what would you say? Most people would say something like “my skills and experience”.  If I ask the same question to a traditional engineering consultancy business they would most likely say “our people”.

So there are no surprises here - People and their expertise are really important and this doesn’t change no matter whether you are competing in the traditional face-to-face way or in a digital world.

My view is certainly consistent with this, BUT, from my experience, there is far more to the story. Let me explain.

Most engineers when competing for work talk about their skills and experience. They do this in their CVs, when talking to clients, or even in their online profiles. The problem is that most of the CVs or profiles I have read over the years come with a long list of everything the engineer can do or have ever done.

The weakness of this approach is that it does not demonstrate the outcome you have delivered for the client

Your most important asset is your recent successes with your existing clients

You see demonstrating expertise is not about what you have done; rather it’s more about what outcome you have delivered to the client. This is where 95% of engineers fall short in their CVs and profiles. They miss a very important part of the argument, and one that is absolutely critical to the client making a decision.

So let’s break this down a little and see how you can use this to increase your success when competing in the digital world. You can apply these tips in you next proposal on freelance engineer marketplaces like kkooee.

It’s quality not quantity that counts.

Pick 2-5 of your best projects to highlight. No one will read a long list of 20 projects. In most cases long lists have very little detail on each project and therefore it’s difficult for the client to understand what value you actually delivered. You are much better providing more information on just a few relevant projects.

Only focus on recent & relevance experience

Look for projects that are really relevant to the project you are competing for. This could include similar technical requirements, scope, location, challenges or even client. Try to pick only recent projects as no one really cares what you did 20 years ago.  

Demonstrate expertise and focus on outcome

For each of the 2-5 relevant projects, try to explain in a few sentences what outcome you delivered for the project. Did the project deliver the anticipated benefits to the client? What was the outcome of the project in the client’s mind? Was the project delivered on-time and on-budget?

Back it up with a testimonial.

The last critical piece is to include any testimonial by the client. The great thing about online freelance engineer marketplaces like kkooee is that there is a rating and feedback mechanism built into the platform. These are very powerful as clients typically use them in their shortlisting decision. Providing testimonials are great as they add a lot of weight to your proposal. So use them in your cover letter to back up your experience.

These tips are really easy to implement in your next proposal. Using some of these shouldn’t take you any more time to prepare your proposals, but it will make them far more compelling. And importantly it will make it easier for the client to judge your experience.

In the next edition of this blog series, I’ll look at how you can sweeten your proposals with what I call a “Plus one”. I’ll give you some more tips that will help you win work if you consistently apply them in your business development activities as a freelance engineer.