Just as a business sells its services, contractors sell their skills to clients, with the savviest contractors going after those all-important high-value contracts. Working on high-value projects can help contractors increase their income, grow their contracting business and elevate their career. But, spotting and winning high-value contracts can be harder than it sounds.

In the competitive world of contracting, gaining high-value contracts can depend on a range of factors, from showcasing a perfect portfolio of skills to delivering an on-point pitch. Fortunately, this handy guide will outline 5 ways that every contractor can maximise their chances of winning high-value contracts in 2020.

Craft a killer CV

High-value contracts require skilled contractors to carry out the project to an excellent standard. Therefore, in order to win these high-value contracts, contractors will need to demonstrate a proven track record of delivering quality and gaining results on previous contracts. After all, high-value contracts pay more, so the client will expect a higher level of quality in return.

You will therefore need a killer CV that highlights your skills and showcases your track record of experience. The fast-paced world of contracting moves quickly, and clients will often short-list contractors based on their CV alone. What’s more, the average client spends just 10 seconds looking at any one CV, so it’s got to stand out. There are a several ways contractors can take their CV to the next level to help them win high-value contracts, including:

  • Demonstrating expertise: contractors should highlight their industry-specific areas of expertise, rather than a list of generic skills. It’s important to show the client that you have the perfect skillset for the contract at hand.
  • Providing specific examples: outline what services you can offer and give quantifiable examples of how you’ve done this successfully in the past. This could be demonstrating that you saved the client x amount through developing new software or increased revenue by X% in 6 months.
  • Show off your qualifications: keep your qualifications relevant to the contract you are applying to. An IT contractor who has gained a qualification in GDPR is proving their ability to help a client looking for these requirements, whereas a Grade 2 piano certificate is simply not relevant to the role.

Deliver the perfect pitch

If your top-quality CV has paid off and you are now through to the interview stage, you will need to focus on creating the perfect pitch to win the client over. This will require you to establish exactly what the contract requires, what the client is looking for and create a winning pitch tailored towards this.

To prepare for this, contractors should start by carrying out in-depth research on both the contract and client. The more information contractors can acquire, the better equipped they will be to communicate with the client, demonstrate how their skills are perfect for the project and ultimately come across as knowledgeable and professional.

To help deliver the perfect pitch, contractors should remember to:

  • Prepare, prepare, prepare: preparation is key. Do your research on the company and make sure your knowledge is up-to-date. Create an in-depth plan of key points you wish to cover.
  • Get to the point: show how you are the best contractor for the role. Talk about your skills, experience and demonstrate how you have delivered quality and results for clients in the past.
  • Offer examples: deliver specific examples of how you have achieved results or solved problems for previous clients. Don’t be afraid to go into detail and dig down to the specifics.

Contractors that can deliver a confident, clear and direct pitch will significantly improve their chances of winning the high-value contract.

Find your niche

With the number of contractors in the UK at a record high of 1.9 million, businesses are increasingly interested in niche, short-term skill sets. In fact, 46% of clients utilise the services of contractors to gain access to their skills. If you can prove that you boast a set of competitive, niche skills, it will go a long way towards winning that high-value contract and earning more as a contractor.

Contractors should first identify what niche skills are in-demand in their industry and work towards achieving these. For example, a data scientist contractor in the IT sector may gain skills in Python and SAS to fill the skills gap in this sector. This will help prove that the contractor is the perfect candidate, offering the ideal solution to the client’s problem.

Forge a connection with the client

Building a rapport with the client is a great way to create a connection, develop mutual trust and build the foundations of a strong professional relationship. What’s more, developing rapport at the interview stage can leave a lasting impression and help put you at the front of the client’s mind when it comes to decision time.

A tried and tested rapport building technique is to show you have something in common with the client, whether that is a shared industry experience or mutual connection. This tactic helps break the ice and gives both parties plenty to talk about.

Contractors should also focus on exhibiting excellent body language, showing they are an open, friendly person and a good listener. Finally, great communication skills will be key to building a relationship with the client, so it’s important that contractors are confident and clear communicators.

Keep contracting simple and free up more time to go after high-value contracts

An umbrella company takes care of a contractor’s taxes, paperwork and take home pay, freeing up more of their precious free time which can be used to go after high-value contracts instead. At Umbrella Broker, we help contractors find the best umbrella company for them, with our easy to use comparison tool, contractors are just a click away from finding their perfect match.