10 Essential Steps to Making the Perfect Pitch
To make it as a freelancer, you need to be able to sell your work. That’s why making a great pitch to a prospective client is one of the key skills you can develop to be more successful.
However, many freelancers screw up the pitch in a number of common ways, from talking too much about yourself and what you want, from not knowing what the client wants, to rambling on, to not saying who you are and why you’re perfect.
Don’t make these mistakes. Follow the steps below to make the perfect pitch.
1. Know the client. If you know the client well, you’re in a great position to make a great pitch. If not, you need to take the time to do a little research. Get to know their product, company, or publication. Google them, find out more via LinkedIn, contact others in your network who know the client. The more you know, the better your pitch.
2. Know their goals. Specifically, you want to know what the client hopes to achieve. Sure, they hope to sell a product or service. But how? What message are they trying to sell to the public? Who are they reaching out to? This is key. Talk to others, read their website, learn their message from promotions and marketing and advertising.
3. How will you help them meet those goals? Here’s why the client’s goals are key: because to make the perfect pitch, all you have to do is show how you will help them meet those goals. What service will you provide that they don’t already have that will move them closer to those goals? How will you be valuable to them? Why are you the perfect person to provide that value? If you want them to hire you, don’t show why hiring you would be good for you — show how it will be great for them.
4. Keep it short. Email your pitch to the client — don’t try to get a meeting or phone call. Those take too much time, and your client is busy. Think less business proposal and more elevator pitch. A few lines, and that’s it. Make it easy for them to read your pitch and respond in a minute. How do you keep it short? Get to the point: what do you want to do for them, how will it help them meet their goals, and why are you the perfect person to do that? Those three things, in three sentences (five at the most). If it’s that short, you will guarantee yourself a response.
5. Be professional, but enthusiastic. Don’t be casual. Your email communicates how much of a professional you are. However, being too conservative is also a mistake. You want to be enthusiastic about working for them, and that enthusiasm will catch on.
6. Don’t talk price, length, or details. Again, you want to keep it short. If you talk price, length, or details, you will get in the way of your main message: what you want to do and how it will help them.
7. Say who you are, but don’t brag. All you need to express is why you’re perfect, in a sentence or two. You need to show that you’ve done this successfully before, but you don’t want to sound like you’re overselling yourself.
8. Provide a link to your work. The best way to do this is to make a brief mention of one or two past successes, and provide a link for them to read more. A website with a portfolio, or a link to your best published work, are great for this.
9. Follow-up. If you don’t hear back in a few day, send a polite follow-up email. They will respect your following up. However, if you still don’t get a response, wait a week to send another follow-up email. Then drop it if they don’t respond, as they either 1) are not interested or 2) are too flaky to work with, if they can’t respond in a week.
10. Make multiple pitches. The perfect pitch is one that is part of a series of pitches to multiple prospective clients. You can’t rely on one pitch to be successful. Send several (3-10) to the clients who would work best for what you want, and tailor each pitch to each client.
A few times a month we revisit some of our reader’s favorite posts from throughout the history of FreelanceSwitch. This article by Leo Babauta was first published September 4th, 2007, yet is just as relevant and full of interesting information today.