The importance of communication is probably the most important aspect of this discussion. And if you’re reading this, then I’m glad you are here because this is how you’re going to generate more jobs, get more gigs, and make more money. This is more important than your ability to be a graphic designer, edit video, build websites, or do logos—all these kinds of skills. To learn how to communicate properly.
The #1 thing that Western clients require is whether they can work with you and if you can demonstrate an understanding of what they are looking for.
This is the most crucial thing because someone on Fiverr, being from another country, potential clients are not sure if they can understand them or if they can do a good job. They don’t know how well they can communicate in the English language. The thing is, you don’t have to have perfect English; you just have to have good English. We are going to cover some of the key points of good communication, and these are mistakes that even I have made. Even friends of mine who make a lot of money make many of these mistakes that we are going to highlight and discuss how to overcome them.
This webinar, I’m glad to say, is going to make a big difference, Yoav, for our freelancing friends who are trying to make a good living and advance.
My goal is to see all of you make more money and excel in freelancing. Fiverr is the place where I believe everyone should start their freelancing journey, not just because it’s a great marketplace, but also because you can learn from experts like us on how to improve your skills. Fiverr Learn and all the available courses and training make it a comprehensive resource that covers not only freelancing gigs but also everything else you may need.
Good Communication vs Skill
I just closed a deal yesterday with someone who is nearly a billionaire, and they paid $20,000 for our services. Let me ask you, and everyone else:
Do you think they’re paying us this much because I have better video editing, graphic design, and SEO skills—or because I have better communication skills?
Of course, when people are paying you a lot of money, you need to have world-class skills. However, I’m going to tell you the main reason why I’m able to secure these deals.
Do you want to know how I was able to get Nike to pay us over a million dollars for analytics?
It’s all about your ability to communicate, which includes an essential subset known as Active Listening.
With the rise of content generation tools like ChatGPT and Midjourney, many people are concerned about being replaced. However, what they haven’t considered is that AI lacks empathy and active listening. As an artificially intelligent assistant, it can assist you with improving grammar, writing proposals, and even help with chat and email responses. Just type your content, and it’ll assist you.
Recently, I had the opportunity to have dinner with my friends Uzair and Farzana Kharawala in London. Both of them are from Pakistan and are recognized as two of the top Google Ads Experts globally. In fact, if you search for “learn Google Ads,” they rank number one on Google.
This was one year ago, taken on my iPhone 13 Pro Max in Central London. What I did with them was teach the importance of communication. You might wonder how these guys are making millions of dollars.
Well look, I’ll literally show you.
There’s videos of us – Uzair Kharawala, Farzana Kharawala and I. We talked about them, we talked about video SEO, we’ve got a lot of YouTube videos that we’ve made together. They’ve even posted on their channel and got me to say that working with them is amazing, on video. When you show things like these, you increase your credibility. When other American clients see that I’ve worked with them, they’re more likely to work with these guys whether they’re in London, Pakistan or other places. We happen to have a Facebook group with them in it, and it’s called Digital Marketing with Dennis Yu.
As you will see, all of this is based on communication and relationships inside this group. This is also a fantastic opportunity for a lot of women. In this case, from Pakistan.
Let’s hear it from Farzana Kharawala;
Assalamoalaikum everybody. I’m really passionate about supporting anyone that is working freelance, working in their businesses, but especially women, because as a Muslim woman who was born in England, my culture is very much a part of me and I am 100% Muslim.
But I started my business, which I’m very proud of, and together with my husband, we have taken it 20 years. We’ve done that together and I’m very fortunate that my husband supports everything that I do. He wouldn’t argue with me anyway, he wouldn’t dream of. But it’s together that we have made this dream come true.
And I want to inspire all of you, especially the women. Come forward, educate yourselves, become professional, use good communication, use your languages, and make this happen for yourselves. Yes, it’s for your households, your children, your families, but beyond that, it’s also for you. You are allowed to have a dream, and you can make that dream a reality. So join in.
We have the support of the wonderful Dennis Yu. Let’s make this dream come true for all of you.
Now, what does it mean, Farzana, for folks who are maybe just starting in digital marketing, but don’t know a lot about it. They don’t know about working with American clients, they don’t know about Digital Marketer – this conference that we’re a part of?
Yes, we are based in the UK, but we have had to change our mindset and understand who our client is in the US. And that’s not just about dialing out to another country or sending an email. You must improve your communication skills. You must get your grammar and your English – this is not about the accent, we don’t care about that – but you’ve got to be able to communicate because in digital marketing, when you’re writing ads, when you’re writing website content, when you’re looking at images and adding captions, it has to be 100% spot on.
So if I could give you a tip, I would say slow yourselves down, think about what you’re writing and make sure it makes sense. If you’ve got a doubt, Google it!
So, what do you think about that, guys?
These are the ultimate in ‘freelancers’. They have clients all over the world that pay them thousands of dollars per month.
What is the difference between what they’re doing versus people who are new?
The #1 thing that I want you guys to learn is Active Listening. All your problems will go away.
The one thing that I see when we’re talking to potential freelancers that we’re hiring is a complete lack of empathy or understanding of what the requirements are. So when you’re talking with a potential client and negotiating something on a project, they are primarily disqualifying themselves by a lack of grammatical knowledge of the English language. Clients are going to nail you on that, so make sure you’re always using proper grammar.
For example, saying “Hi, how are you, Sir? Kindly respond.” – I know that seems polite to say that, but when you’re in a business environment, you have to be a bit more professional. Don’t just say hello. And once they don’t tell me anything, they start being defensive. That shows that they’re not looking at any of the requirements. All of this doesn’t reflect active listening because active listening is reflecting back what a client’s requirement is.
Always have examples to add as references of your past work experience. That’s probably enough to get the freelancing job, right?
In our last webinar that Yoav and I did together, we talked about being very relevant and choosing a niche. Being very clear that your thing is not just graphics design, but the particular niche that you’re serving. Something very specific, and you’re going to make a lot of money. That will also, naturally, lead itself to active listening and the kind of communication that you want.
Active listening is not just replying “Okay”, or “hello”, or “kindly reply, Sir”. Avoid broadcasting out thousands of messages saying, “hey, please hire me”. Even our American friends are guilty of doing this. You cannot imagine the amount of spam that I get. I could log into any of my social media accounts and you’ll see people constantly messaging me. We don’t have a personal relationship. So when some random person says, “I hope you’re doing well”, how can you possibly have any true concern for me? We’ve never talked. You’re not like, praying for me. So that’s what’s called a throwaway line. Just a keyboard shortcut away from being canned.
I even wrote a canned reply to canned messages that I receive, and I wrote an article on it, “Don’t spam, earn the right to my attention“.
What you need to do is personalize.
You don’t want to say generic stuff that robots can say, with no personalization. So the main thing in active listening is, you’re actively responding. You’re empathetic and you’re personalized. A lot of people think there’s a lot of effort to it, but all you need is one sentence. There’s no way a robot could do that. Let’s take a look at an example:
- Make use of AI – ChatGPT to enhance and personalize your message
- Pick any business
- Choose a category on Fiverr from all the things that you can do for them.
- Say, logo design – a new product from Nike needs a new logo
- I’m Dennis Yu, and I’m messaging Yoav – who is a product manager at Nike
- Do not mass spam everyone the exact same message.
Talk to ChatGPT like a person. It doesn’t matter if you’re even mean to it by saying something like “this response is cr*p”, but you’ll need to tell it why it is. You will be surprised at how personalized the response will be.
Active listening is being less robot and more human. So the biggest mistake you can make when you’re trying to make more clients is mass spamming throwaway lines and sentences to everyone – which is a sure shot way of ending up getting canned.
Just because the AI tool can write this thing, doesn’t mean that you don’t have to learn empathy and active listening. This tool will help you, but you still have to develop the skill.
Demonstrate an understanding of what the client wants and don’t just talk about your rates. You will reflect zero empathy. You don’t talk about your value. You listen to what they want. Reflect it back in your words. Instead of “this is me”, understand what the client does. Don’t make the client do all the work, instead of showing that you care. Show ownership, show that you really care. That only shows how hard it’s going to be to work with you because you don’t understand what the client does. That makes you seem indifferent.
As a potential client, do I care if someone is a full-service creative digital agency in Austin, Texas? No!, why should I care – there’s literally thousands of them. A lot of people do SEO on Fiverr. I could measure anybody with 5 stars, top rated with multiple gigs and thousands of reviews. It’s only until we start messaging each other, that we can tell how it goes.
I’m going to Atlanta on Friday to meet Corey Jacobs. We’re in the process of building his website. I need to hire people to work on the website and edit all the content. If you reflect an understanding of what I want as a client, you’re gonna’ get the deal. That’s the #1 thing.
So if someone messages me saying, “hey, I see you’re working on Corey Jacobs. You’re doing SEO and he’s the Senior Advisor. I would love to help you with that because I did a Google search on Corey Jacobs and he’s not showing up. When we do our outreach link building service, we’re gonna’ help make sure that you get a knowledge panel, and we’re gonna’ emphasize his relationship as the senior advisor to Puff Daddy and his game of chess among other initiatives that he cares about.” – So if he said that, that would immediately establish a relationship versus the canned message. That’s the difference between getting a gig or not. Reflect the client’s needs.
The headline is canned. All the cold messaging, “hey, do you need SEO, do you need website building or whatever, they pretend that they do these things. These are all the same mistakes.
Don’t create false scarcity, “oh, you need to buy now, I only take on three clients.” Don’t sound like a used car salesperson. Don’t claim that you have the best team. I especially see this in India, where they claim that they have a team of 500 people and they’re the best. That actually discourages me because I don’t even believe they have a team of 500 people.
I don’t want to work with a company of that magnitude. I want to work with a company with one person who really cares.
How do you communicate in a way that makes sense?
Most of it’s going to be in getting the deal, but once you get the deal, your ability to get more business, do a really good job, and get a great review is still based on continuing to practice active listening. So, a lot of sellers just do the one thing, send it over and say “Ta-Da, here it is.” But if you just practice a little bit of active listening and give an insight into what you’re doing and why you did it a certain way – a little bit of something with it – that’s going to go a long way.
Let’s just say you needed a surgeon for something, would you go with someone just because they’re $30 an hour? But if you’re interviewing three surgeons, you’ll obviously go with the cheapest one, right? I was one of the first people on Fiverr about 10 years ago, and I hired probably 12 people the first day because it was $5, but that’s not the case anymore – you can spend thousands of dollars with freelancers on Fiverr, as I have. Just because there are people that are really cheap, we call them “nightmare clients,” doesn’t mean those are the ones you should be working with. The best clients are the ones who want the quality, but you have to communicate the right way to attract them. That is through active listening, which means being responsive, replying back with an understanding of what they’re doing, treating them professionally just as if they were a client you’re meeting in person but you’re doing it all within the Fiverr platform, and you’re literally just showing them that you care. Just because you’re a freelancer and can be anywhere on the planet – in your underwear while you’re working – doesn’t mean that you don’t give them the same level of care and show empathy.
Here’s a great example of the importance of communication. My friend’s at RepStack – one of the largest agencies in Pakistan – they make their freelancers make a one-minute video explaining what they do. You can do that in your Fiverr profile as well. There’s a section where you can upload your portfolio and other bits. When you show a clear understanding of a client’s organization like, “hey, I did some research on what your company does and here’s my understanding of it. Here is why I’m a great fit for being an account manager. I understand your tools, products you have, processes you have, and I understand what makes you different.” How is that different from someone who copy-pastes a word vomit to hundreds of people?
I would summarize active listening and the point of this blog as being a friend with someone. Like you’re building a relationship. Treat people in a real manner as if we’re going to have coffee together this afternoon. When you treat people with that level of respect, your clients are going to reciprocate, and you’re going to get the kind of clients that you want to work with. I see freelancers that, I don’t know how they possibly get by, they have all these clients that are just horrible to work with because those clients chose you based on price only, instead of based on skill. The clients I have, I really enjoy working with them, and they pay a lot of money, which is also good too. It’s just a pleasure because we’re building relationships. That’s why I was showing Uzair and Farzana Kharawala because that’s what I do. I fly out and see my clients. Communication is what brings us together, even though technically I’m hiring them, or vice versa.
So, the #1 thing with active listening is, show that you care by reflecting back what that client is looking for.
And do that not just in the beginning to get the deal, but along the way. Especially if you’re working on projects that are more than a thousand dollars. That ability to show active listening is so important, I translate back all challenges to it. That’s how you solve problems.
If you mess up, and the client’s not happy – maybe it was just a miscommunication or some kind of misunderstanding that active listening will help you overcome. Instead of arguing, reflect back on the issue to them. It’s not an admission of guilt, but voicing back what the issue is so at least you know that I understand what the issue is. Demonstrate you understand. That’s when a client wants to work with you and it’s not about the price anymore. I want you guys to understand that. Don’t immediately go out there and say that you’re the cheapest. I don’t want to work with you because you’re telling me your quality is low.
I’m not saying increase your prices, I’m just saying the reason why people choose you is not because you’re the cheapest – or the ones who choose you, for that reason, they’re the clients you don’t want.
How do you attract clients on Fiverr?
You have to write a good bio. You have to have a gig that is very specific to that particular type of client. If your gig is super broad like, “I’ll write 100 pieces of content on any topic that you want.” That’s so broad, it’s for everything.
Don’t just choose the service that you have like content writing or SEO. That’s the thing that you do, that where Fiverr categorizes, right. The second thing is who you do it for, like real estate agents, course creators, or coaches. You have a service, but who do you do it for? If you make gigs around that, it sets you up properly to be able to have a great conversation since you already know the type of business they are and what type of service they require.
How do you handle buyers who place a direct order without contacting you first and don’t want to add to the payment, even though what they paid for is less than the service they want?
This is a perfect example of great communication. Great communication is how you preempt problems. In your gig description, put in all caps, “MESSAGE ME TO COORDINATE BEFORE YOU BUY THIS GIG.”
The worst thing that can happen, especially if you’re new – you might not agree with me, but you’ll realize, all the experienced people will confirm, is someone clicks “buy” on your gig and then their expectations are completely unreasonable. It ends up being a bad experience for you and for them. So you always want to be sure you’re on the same page before they buy your gig.
You can communicate with them along the way, even if it’s a five-dollar gig. You still want to have communication because you do not want them to leave you a one-star review. That’s why you don’t allow people to just buy. Fiverr lets you set things up where there’s like a basic, medium, and advanced level of expense of what you offer. It’s up to you to show exactly what you have in those packages. If you’re not clear on exactly what’s included, then some people are going to buy it and try to extend it to be all these other things which makes it unreasonable.
It’s on you, not the client, to be very clear on exactly what you offer and what you don’t do – you have to spell that out. Then at the bottom, you can tell them to message you in advance before they buy your gig.
How do you maintain a relationship with a client even after a gig is complete?
You say something that reflects some level of empathy. The weakest way you could do it is to say, “hey, I really enjoyed working with you on this project and I hope we get to work on more projects going forward.” That’s good, but how can you make it better?
You can say, “I learned so much about the project as I was working on your videos, and I hope that as you’re using the videos that I’ve created, it will spark more ideas for more projects that we can work together on. So please don’t hesitate to reach out for your next project.”
Ask for feedback. Always look into improving your craft and find out how customers are reacting. Offer to make some revisions if needed, and let them know that you’re happy to extend the gig.
The trouble with most junior sellers is they don’t know that it’s not just about delivering an asset. You should want to know if the thing that you’ve delivered is making more value for your client’s business. Care about the client’s success as a business. This is part of relationship building that will naturally cause them to come back.
Doing this one thing will make you stand out from 99% of people out there.
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