As a freelancer the need to land clients is imperative. To pitch yourself as a freelancer to companies large or small is a daunting experience. But the more you do pitch yourself as a freelancer, the more clients you shall win as your confidence will naturally grow.
As your confidence grows, you will start to land more clients and have more in your pipeline to follow up on. But even when you are starting out pitching, you will have numerous clients at the start of your pipeline that you want to close the sale with.
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When you do finally start to find potential clients and have everything in place to show off your abilities as a freelancer, it is time to start pitching. Pitching is the difference between getting a client or complete and utter failure as an entrepreneur. There I have for you the biggest mistakes freelancers make at pitching, how to create a pitch and follow up with the best tool at your disposal.
How not to pitch yourself as a freelancer
Pitching yourself is tough to do and if you make mistakes in your pitch, it can lead to further procrastination. Further procrastination to give up pitching that idea to help business owners or to give up your freelance business all together. Don’t give up your freelance business, instead check out these 4 pitching mistakes to avoid.
#1 Offering to work for peanuts
At the start of your freelance career, or at times of when you are struggling you may be thinking its best to offer to work for peanuts. This couldn’t be further from the truth. If you have done your pitch right and shown the results you can give, then any business owner will pay a fair rate for those results.
#2 Sending pitches without doing your research first
This will annoy any potential client and leave them with a bad taste in their mouth when speaking about you. When pitching to a client, you need to show that you understand them and their business. Then you want to pitch how you can help them.
#3 Long pitches
Long pitches just bore people, so keep it short and easy to consume. Easy to consume by making those people who just do a quick scan, go straight to the main points of your pitch. Any main points of a pitch should be done with bullet points and be results focused.
#4 Not personalizing
Sending a single pitch to 100 different clients is not going to impress anyone. Everyone of those clients are different people and different businesses. Each of these different businesses have different problems that they are dealing with right now.
Therefore, you need to personalize each pitch to show you understand the business and their problems.
How to write a pitch
Producing an engaging pitch is the difference between winning clients or hearing crickets. Pitching to prospective clients can lead to hours or even days of procrastination, no matter how experienced you are.
After years of writing pitches, some a complete flop but 75% won clients, here are two of my expert pieces of advice to pitch yourself as a freelancer.
Pitch the result, not ideas
The CEO or manager of a department does not have bags of time to read through long pitch. Nor do they have time to decipher through ‘what’s in it for them’. What’s in it for them is what you should focus on.
Focusing on what big result you can give to the recipient of the pitch should drive the copy on your pitch. Any good copy should never focus on the features of a product but instead what result the product or service gives.
Take for example a product on Amazon.
The initial description underneath the title is all about what results the X gives. Tied to these results it delves into feelings by using power words
But this is an example of ecommerce, as a service provider you can use these lessons from Amazon for your next killer pitch.
Clarity on why they should hire you
Have clarity on what they should hire you by being clear on how you are the expert in your niche. Be clear by having a paragraph (after giving the results of your service) on why you are the best person to deliver the result you promised.
When you follow up with your pitch you want to add testimonials or social proof to show that you’re good at what you are offering. Showing that people got X, Y and Z results from working with you builds confidence and trust in you.
5 Steps To Write A Pitch That Wins Clients
Whether you are a virtual assistant, writer, or website designer, these 5 steps can be used to pitch yourself as a freelancer and win clients.
Step #1 Know who your pitching
‘Dear Sirs’ or ‘Dear Hiring Manager’ is never going to be a great start. All this does is demonstrate that you have not taken the time to know who the person is at the other side of sending your pitch. Instead, make a great first impression by researching them on social media and getting to know them.
As the saying goes ‘it’s not what you know, but who you know’. So get to know the company and person you are wanting to pitch to first. This way the person receiving your pitch is warmed up to you by already starting to like you.
Step #2 Engaging subject line
In 2019, the average open rate was 47% according to Aweber. So writing an engaging subject line is all the more important. Don’t let your pitch (you spent time procrastinating over) going straight to the bin.
Stop it going to the bin, by writing a subject line that stirs up curiosity. Better yet, if you managed to complete step #1 and build a relationship first, send a message that you have just emailed them. Tell them though what subject line you have used and they are more likely to open up.
Step #3 Have a hook
As with any piece of copy, your first sentence in your email is the most important. You need to really be able to capture their attention. Capture their attention by giving away your big promise, such as to save X amount of time or increase their sales 10 fold with X.
Step #4 Get straight to the point
Never ever give vague pitches or pitches where you just waffle on. Think of your pitch as an elevator pitch and only give these 4 details
- What result you can give
- Why they need this service (most importantly why now)
- Previous results you have given to others
- Call to action to speak with you via video, phone or email to discuss further
Step #5 Have a polished portfolio and LinkedIn profile
After you have made a pitch, expect the recipient to want to look at your portfolio or LinkedIn profile or even both. Although you should already have this ready to start with before you even decide to start pitching.
Make sure that your portfolio or LinkedIn profile are up to scratch by making sure they give the best impression of you. More importantly, it shows that you are more than capable of delivering what you promised in your pitch.
Now that you have written and sent your pitch, do not just sit back and relax. Instead, start creating your follow up. Having a follow up to your pitch can increase your sales.
Follow up on your pitch to increase sales
Your follow up on your pitch is the key to landing that freelance gig. Though with following up on your pitch, there is a fine line between being persistent and being annoying. So how can you tread this fine line?
Whenever I do a pitch, I follow up about 2 – 3 days. 2 – 3 days is adequate time to wait for a response. Wait any longer then you could end up being forgotten about. This is not something you want. Though when you do write your follow up email, there is a slight trick to it. This is what I do to follow up with any pitch that did not get a response straight off.
How to do a follow up email
To start my follow up email is basically replying to my initial pitch email. How does this work? Bring a different perspective on the pitch idea and answer questions you would expect. Granted, expected questions come more from experience.
Take a fresh look at your pitch through their eyes and you will soon see the questions they will have. In answering their questions and giving a different perspective on your pitch, you are keeping the communication going and adding new information in your follow up email.
Always remember in your follow up email is that you are pitching to people who are already busy doing other things to run their business. Receiving yet another pitch from a freelancer is not high on their priority list of things to do.
If your initial response didn’t get a response it is possible that it just ended up in the bin by accident. Their inboxes are already cluttered and your email just didn’t stand out as something they should pay attention to.
In A Nutshell,
Use this ultimate guide to pitch yourself as a freelancer to win 75% of clients you pitch too. When pitching to clients, always be results-driven and show off results of working with previous clients.
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