The 12-Step Freelance Profile Template: How to Write a Services Sales Page That Gets You Hired

I remember what it’s like. When I first started freelancing, I had no clue what to write on my profiles and services page. What was I supposed to say? What questions did clients need answered? Was there some big secret?

In an earlier LinkedIn post, 5 Pages Every Web Designer Should Have on Their Website, I mentioned the 10 questions you need to answer on your profiles and services pages (and I’m still shocked to this day how well this works).

Let me now go deeper into the full 12-Step Freelance Profile Template I use, cover the ten questions your clients need answered, and share the tricks I’ve learned for answering them in a compelling way so clients say YES to hiring you:

If you’d like access to the exact template I showed in the video, become a supporting listener on Patreon at the “Template Level” and you’ll get this one plus each new one I release very month. Go here:

http://www.johnmorrisonline.com/patreon

1. Above the Fold

It’s estimated the 80% of website of visitors (even today) don’t scroll. So, all they see is the content that appears on screen in that first “fold” of your web page.

That makes it incredibly important real estate.

I suggest watching the accompanying video for more on this, but the thing you want to do here is give your site visitors your “best shot”.

  1. Summarize the main points of your offer
  2. Hit them with your best sales points
  3. Give a strong call to action

It’s likely most won’t scroll beyond to the rest of your page… unless you give them a good reason to dig further.

2. Who Are You?

Make no mistake… potential clients want to know who you are. People buy from people… and people they trust.

If you’ve followed my relentless advice about creating content to attract potential leads and build trust by giving them “results in advance” then they’ll already have some sense of who you are.

But, it’s also good to take it a bit deeper and get personal. I like to start my profile pages and bios with this line:

“Hey, I’m John Morris. I’m a freelance web designer of 10 years from Omaha, NE. I’m married with four kids and I’m a rabid Husker fan.”

Simple, but it accomplishes a few important things:

  • “I’m a freelance web designer” communicates that I do what they need and I’m likely available for hire.
  • “of 10 years” subtly communicates experience and stability.
  • “from Des Moines, IA” communicates I’m an American because right or wrong many clients are looking for someone from the U.S.
  • “I’m married with four kids” speaks to reliability and a reason to deliver because I have mouths to feed.
  • “rabid Husker fan” communicates some personality and a special affinity from anyone who happens to like the Huskers, as well. (There’s lots of us, ya know!)

So, those three simple sentences communicate a lot and do it in a way that is subtle and likely to get past your client’s “skepticism radar”.

3. What Do You Do?

Again, specialization is something I harp on constantly.

Saying you know PHP, HTML, CSS, MySQL, etc… means nothing to most potential clients.

Plus, every other web designer and developer on the planet says that same thing.

To stand out, you need to position yourself as a specialist. Now, understand what I’m saying here because I get a lot of people who misconstrue what I mean.

I’m NOT saying you should only a very narrow skill set. I’m saying in your marketing, you should position yourself that way.

You should learn everything you think is important for you to know. But, when you market yourself and sell your services, you want to position yourself as a specialist.

Why?

  • Specialists naturally stand out among the sea of “me-too” developers
  • Specialists naturally get paid more
  • Specialists are often appreciated more for their work
  • Specialists only work on projects they enjoy and are good at
  • Specialists can change what they specialize in to fit a changing market

Specializing will make your life a heck of a lot easier and you’ll make more money.

So, in this section of your profile, bio, etc… you want to talk about your specialty. You want to cover two things:

  1. What you do
  2. What you don’t do

Each is equally important but I often say that I spend more time telling people what I don’t do than what I do do.

On my own hire me page, you’ll notice that I spend a good portion of my introduction video talking about the projects I won’t work on.

Clients actually appreciate that because it naturally positions you as someone who knows what he’s good at and does that one thing extremely well. It creates a deeper level of trust than somebody who pretends they know how to do everything.

4. What Work Have You Done In the Past?

Your portfolio is the single most important piece of “on-site” sales material you can have. Clients almost always look for your portfolio first. THEN, if they like what they see, they might read your copy.

But, if your portfolio stinks… no amount of slick copy will change their mind.

Now, if you’re a seasoned web designer with a number of projects under your belt, then you simply need to put your best work on display.

But, if you’re brand new and don’t have any clients… that’s okay. Nothing says your portfolio has to be filled with projects you did for clients. A portfolio is about showing off what you’re capable of.

So, build up a bunch of samples that showcase your talent and use those as your portfolio. They can be made up companies or a “study” of what you would do for an existing company.

Then, your clients will be able to see what you’re capable of and make an more informed decision about whether or not you can help them.

5. What Do Your Past Clients Say About Your Work?

This is the second most important piece of “on-site” sales material you can have because clients don’t just want to see what you can do… but also what it’s like to work with you.

  • Are you a pain in the butt to work with?
  • Are you reliable?
  • Do you communicate well?
  • Are you open to ideas?
  • Can you adapt to change?

These are some of the key non-technical questions clients will have about your character and you want to work toward having testimonials that answer these questions.

It’s one thing for you to say you’re reliable but if you have a real client testimonial that says it, that’s much better.

If you’re new, you likely won’t have these from web design clients. However, you can acquire testimonials from people you know or have worked with who can speak to your character.

For example, I served 11 years in the Army. Do you think that my direct supervisor’s comments about my work ethic during those 11 years would be relevant to someone looking to hire me?

Absolutely.

Just make sure you don’t pretend these are client testimonials. Be upfront and let people know these are general testimonials and be sure to include exactly the context in which that person knew you.

Then, over time, replace these with client testimonials.

6. What Are the Benefits of Your Services?

When you consider the context of someone who’s viewing your profile or services page, you’ll notice there’s two primary things you’re really selling:

  1. You. So, why they should hire you.
  2. Hiring. That is, why they should hire anyone

Try as you might… to target as efficiently as possible, your sales pages will inevitably have people with two different mindsets:

  1. Someone who already knows they want to hire someone and they are just figuring out WHO.
  2. Someone who is still a bit uncertain about hiring someone (vs doing it themselves) but would hire if presented with the right who.

The mix is substantial enough that it’s worth taking some time to sell the idea of hiring an expert in the first place.

And, that’s when you get into talking about the benefits of your services. Here’s where you get to hit them with a 1–2 punch of why they should hire AND why they should hire YOU.

So, why should a client hire a professional?

It’s worth taking some time to think about this on your own because it helps you more clearly see what your core value proposition is; however, here’s a few reasons I’ll share with you:

  1. They’ll get their project done faster
  2. They’ll avoid the potential for serious mistakes
  3. They’ll be able to do things they likely wouldn’t do themselves
  4. They’ll avoid hassling with technical stuff that frustrates them
  5. They’ll have re-course if something does go wrong

And, there are plenty of others. The key is to speak to benefits not features. Notice I didn’t say anything about SEO, optimized code, responsive design or any of the other buzzwords you’ll find on many freelance profiles.

That’s because those things mean nothing to potential clients. For every one of those buzzwords a client will ask themselves, “What does that mean?”

So, just skip the middleman and answer their question the first time.

Once you’ve sold them on hiring then you can sell them on hiring YOU. Again, you want to stick to benefits not features… and you want to look for things that make you unique AND better.

Now, keep in mind EVERY developer will say:

  • I’m talented
  • I’m reliable
  • I communicate well

And, so on. Saying those things alone won’t make you stand out. You need a way to distinguish yourself. One technique I like to use is the “Weird Personality” trick.

So, instead of saying “I’m reliable”… I say “Blame my 11 years in the Army, but I have this thing about doing what I say I’m going to”.

That stands out more because there’s something unique to my experience incorporated into it. How many other developers have spent 11 years in the Army? Some, but not many.

And, people naturally associate reliability with the military, so it bolsters the claim.

Another way to do this would be instead of saying “I’m detail-oriented” you might say, “I’m a bit OCD… so yeah… me and details we’re like this: ||”.

It add personality and gives a subtle element of proof (someone who’s OCD will obviously pay attention to details). Again, these things alone won’t win you clients but they’re just enough to set you apart from what everyone else is saying.

And, when you couple them with a great portfolio, testimonials, sales copy, etc… they add up to make a difference.

7. How Much Does It Cost?

Own your pricing.

Never put yourself in a position where you feel ashamed of your pricing. You’re worth it!

Not only will it show to your clients and cause them to get antsy about working with you, but if you’re charging people more than you think you should, you’ll start to feel REAL guilty. And, it will kill your productivity.

Either lower your prices or own them.

Chances are, you’re not charging enough, though. It’s a major problem in the web design community. Designers and developers who aren’t sure how to market themselves and lower their prices to ridiculous levels to get clients.

Let me state this unequivocally so there’s not mis-understanding:

NEVER, Ever Compete on Price

As long as you’re a web designer (or in any services industry, really) don’t do it! It rarely works and you’ll make yourself miserable.

How do you figure out what’s the right price? I ask myself two questions:

  1. What’s everyone else charging?
  2. What’s it worth to me?

You DO need to have a sense of what the market price is. If everybody else is charging $3,000 for a site and you charge $5,000… unless you’re bringing something compelling to the table you’ll likely struggle.

Then, you have to ask yourself if the market price is worth it to you. I’ve turned down plenty of projects because the going rate wasn’t something I was willing to accept for the work.

8. How Is It Delivered?

Have you every bought anything online? Especially, outside of a big trusted marketplace like Amazon?

Maybe it was some obscure site or a seller you don’t know on eBay. Do you remember what that was like?

I remember the first time I bought something from nomorerack.com. It’s a legit site and a Google Trusted Store, but it just looks like a rip-off waiting to happen.

I obsessed over every detail of their TOS, checked all their security badges and ready every detail of how my purchase would be delivered.

I’m guessing you’ve experienced this before.

Now, put yourself in your client’s shoes. They’ve found somebody they know nothing about online and are about to drop several thousand dollars to have you build their “baby”.

You NEED to tell them exactly how you will deliver!

Tell them step-by-step how the process will go, at what points you’ll make sure to communicate with the, what will happen if something goes wrong, etc.

They need re-assurance.

And the more detail you can give them, the better. Then, make sure you actually DO deliver in that manner.

8. How Are Payments Made?

Here’s what I used to do:

  1. 10% for me to start doing anything.
  2. 60% once I have it built and they want it on their servers
  3. 30% once everything is done

First, ALWAYS have a contract. Don’t do anything until you have a signed contract. Then, still don’t do anything until you get 10% down.

I didn’t start anything until I got that 10%. There’s too many people out there who don’t have the money and will waster your time. If they’re serious, they’ll have no problem paying the 10%.

I don’t care what they tell you! If a client won’t pay you 10% upfront, they’re NOT serious.

Move on before they waste your time.

Also, I NEVER build on a client’s servers. Once something is on their servers, it’s their property and you can’t legally remove it without their permission. You’re asking for disaster if you build on a client’s servers.

Build on yours but make it available online so they can see and use it for demos. They’ll be more comfortable because they can actually see what you’re building, but you’ll eliminate the risk of them not paying.

They had to pay another 60% for me to transfer it to their servers.

Once that payment was made, I moved the project to their servers and if they run at that point, at least I’ve got 70% of the payment. It’s not ideal, but it’s better than 0%.

I helped them with any setup and polishing that’s necessary and once they were satisfied with everything, the remaining 30% was due.

While I have had clients disappear after the second 60% payment, I’ve never had someone have me help with all the setup and polishing and then NOT pay the final 30%. If they’re going to run, it’ll be once it’s on their servers.

Did I mention… NEVER put a client’s project on theirs servers until you have a majority of the payment!

Finally, this entire payment schedule should be in your contract. If you don’t have a contract, here’s the one I use: Contract Killer.

10. What Happens If Something Goes Wrong?

The best laid plans of mice and men often go awry.

At some point in your career, something will go wrong with one of your projects. It may be your fault; it may be your client’s; but ultimately it doesn’t matter.

You need to have a process for handling issues.

Now, if you use the payment terms I laid out previously you’ll eliminate 90% of your problems. If you or your client backs out at any point, you’ll know exactly where you’re at in the process and whether or not a payment is due.

I should mention that I make my 10% upfront payment non-refundable. That way, if my client backs out after I started I’m not completely out of luck.

That said, you make sure you want to address explicitly how you handle issues. Think of this as your guarantee. What do you do if something happens:

  • While you’re building their project?
  • After it’s on their servers?
  • Months after the project is complete?

Address each possible scenario and specify in advance how you’ll handle those scenarios and alleviate your client’s fears upfront.

11. How Do I Get Started?

Finally, tell your client exactly what they need to do next. Don’t think this is obvious. You need to include language on your services page that tells them exactly what to do.

Often times, this will involve a potential client sending you a quote request. Make sure your quote request form is simple.

Your goal is to get submissions so don’t make it like crawling over hot coals covered in shards of glass!

12. FAQs

Another one to dive into the video on, but even with everything you’ll now have covered in your sales page some people will still have questions.

Make sure you have a way for them to get those questions answered.

Whether an FAQ section, a contact form or both (recommended) you’ll want to tie up any last objections and push your prospect over the edge to hiring you.

So, there you go. Use this 12-step template and follow the advice I’ve shared and you’ll be light-years ahead of most of the developers you’ll be competing with for clients.

If you’d like access to the exact template I showed in the video, become a supporting listener on Patreon at the “Template Level” and you’ll get this one plus each new one I release very month. Go here:

http://www.johnmorrisonline.com/patreon

P.S. If you liked the show, give it a like and share with the communities and people you think will benefit. And, you can always find all my tutorials, podcast episodes and more on johnmorrisonline.com, @jpmorris on Twitter and youtube.com/johnmorrisvideo.

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