As freelancers, one of the biggest challenges that we face on an ongoing basis is the task of selling our work, wares, and services. Many novice freelancers make the mistake of thinking that one day once they’ve gained a solid client base they’ll be able to stop marketing themselves. In reality, freelancers often lose regular clients at the same rate they gain new ones, therefore the need to market oneself is an ever-present necessity in the world of freelancing.
Developing a high quality business pitch is an integral part of marketing when you’re a freelancer. Below we’ve created a guide to successfully writing a business pitch and how you can stand out from the crowd when pithing your business to potential freelance clients.
What is a Business Pitch?
Traditionally, a business pitch is a short spoken (often called an “elevator pitch”) or written presentation that is designed to secure needed funds or resources from an investor. A business pitch differs from a business plan because whereas a plan’s purpose is to teach, a pitch’s purpose is to sell. An effective pitch should excite the investor and allow him or her to see how the product or service is of value.
As a freelancer, a successful pitch is going to be what sells you. It’s the key to turning prospective clients into paying customers. To develop your own personalized business pitch, follow these top eight tips for success.
8 Tips for a Solid Business Pitch
- Know, and connect with your prospective client’s goals. Today, there are plenty of different ways to find out about a prospective client’s business. Check out the business’s Facebook page, Twitter feed, or LinkedIn profile. Learn about the services that they provide, their mission, goals, and priorities. Think about how you fit into this equation. This will help you to clearly define how your product or service is of value to the client. The better you know your prospective client, the better you will be able to demonstrate this knowledge, and the better you will be able to connect with him or her. Don’t deliver a “cookie cutter” pitch to every client, but instead tailor each pitch to the prospective client (as you would a resume for a job interview).
- Be enthusiastic. The greatest business pitches achieve a delicate balance between enthusiasm and professionalism. It’s okay to be excited about your business and what you have to offer. Enthusiasm can help you to build rapport. Plus, it can help you pitch with confidence, and confidence is imperative.
- Give examples. In a pitch, you could go into a lengthy explanation of your past successes. But this is not your goal. Your goal is to keep your pitch short and sweet, and to show your client how your product or service is of value to them, not just tell them. One of the best ways to do this is by providing examples, or links to your previous work. Showcase your best successes and let the prospective client check them out for themself.
- Make your point clear. It’s easy to get drawn into long, detailed descriptions in a pitch. But remember, that’s not your objective. Your aim is to communicate what you want to do, and how it will help the client. Make this as clear as possible. Don’t get hung up on little details; details come after the pitch phase. With your pitch, your goal is to elicit a response. The clearer your point is, the more likely it is that the prospective client will respond to you.
- Be honest. The best freelancers, hands-down, are those who are credible and trustworthy. So if you’ve worked with people or companies that may be impressive to the prospective client (especially if they’re in their industry), go ahead and name-drop. But don’t fudge it.
- Follow up. If you make your business pitch and don’t hear back in a few days, send a brief and polite follow-up. Your aim should be to open up a dialogue between yourself and the client. Let the client know that you welcome questions and be responsive. If you don’t hear back after your follow up, it’s okay to send a second email 1-2 weeks later. However, beyond that, don’t push it, as your time would probably be better spent pursuing other opportunities.
- Approach your pitch like a news article. Your initial pitch should cover the 5 Ws and the H: Who you are, what you do, when you can deliver the product, where the client can can see samples of your work, why your product or service will help the client, and how you are able to complete this product or service better than anyone else.
- Know your limits. When you’re enthusiastic and excited about your business it can be tempting to promise the moon, stars and sky in your pitch. But you should always be mindful of your limits. It’s important for the client to understand that you’re capable of getting the job done, but you don’t want to oversell yourself.
A great business pitch is created by concisely communicating how your product or service fits the client’s needs, or solves one of his or her problems. Keep your pitch short and sweet and remember that every client likes to work with a freelancer who is honest, friendly, and professional.