Unfortunately you have to make an offer.
I don’t know how others do it but I check the buyer requests every once in a while and here’s what I do.
- I usually don’t bid on requests that have very little detail. If the buyer didn’t bother to explain their request then most likely they won’t put enough effort into this project. There are exceptions, but this is based on my experience.
- When I do find an interesting request I mention in the offer that it’s just a rough estimate. I ask questions and try to get them contact me back.
- I usually bid more. That way I can give a discount if there’s less work involved than I thought. If they do accept the offer without talking to me then at least I have enough buffer to accommodate unexpected tasks.
- For a while I recorded video responses and my response was basically a Vimeo link. In a video I had more time to explain and showcase my work. It was surprisingly effective.
- I always asked relevant & personalized questions. For example, if a buyer says that they need a VO for a commercial then an average Joe will ask “What type of commercial is it?”, but you can ask a more detailed question. For example, you can ask “I just recently did a VO for an insurance commercial that was shown to 1.5M people and the client was ecstatic. Do you need a VO for a business explainer video, a service or a product?”
That’s just a random example, but if you’re a buyer then there’s a big difference how you ask the question.