Pitching to clients is a growing necessity. The latest American Opportunity Survey (AOS) from McKinsey shows that 36% of respondents are independent workers—that’s 58 million Americans.
Before a pitch, you need to create a sublime pitch deck and share it. But before we get into that, let’s cover the basics—what makes freelance pitches unique?
Tips for pitching to clients
A client pitch is about making a connection, building a relationship, and proving that you're the perfect fit for their project. You want them to feel that "wow, this person gets me!" moment.
Try these tips for a good sales pitch:
1. Know your target audience
It's not just about flashy moves and pitching tricks. You've got to understand your audience, feel the rhythm of their needs, and tailor your pitch to that. Like knowing what friends want on their birthday.
If the audience is familiar with your field of work, use technical language, but make things more accessible for an unfamiliar audience. Research the prospect well and gain wisdom on their products or services.
2. Create a solid pitch deck
The secret sauce to a successful freelancer pitch is a unique personality. You have to let it shine through! This will come from your voice, but it’s got to come through in your pitch deck too.
DocSend is a great resource for tracking pitch decks. You can see who’s viewed, approved, or has feedback and use real time analytics to create a great pitch deck in a team, so try it out for free.
See 4 ways to grow your freelance business for some inspiration on using images and videos in your killer pitch deck.
3. Have multiple pitch structures
A short elevator pitch, a mid-size one, and a longer cut will give you some room to maneuver—depending on the level of interest. This way you can grab their attention and make them listen!
With clients, you're aiming for a project partnership. So, get ready to pull shapes and captivate the crowd in a way that suits them. This means adapting and personalizing the pitch to your prospect.
4. Start with a strong hook
You've got to capture the client's attention right from the get-go with a killer opening move. Your hook leading into the pitch needs to be energetic, engaging—and leave them begging for more.
Are you still working on the perfect hook? A good hook can be personal, show a mind-blowing stat, or ask a surprising question. It needs to highlight the problem succinctly. So always keep it short!
5. Define the problem your idea will solve
To do this, show them that you get their challenges, that you have the skills and experience to solve their problems, and that you're the perfect fit for their project. Show how you will fill a gap.
Freelancer pitches are frequently for smaller businesses. So, do some careful research to better understand your client's problems—and hint at your experience in solving those types of problems.
6. Wow the audience as you explain the solution
Inject some humor, passion, and a dash of your personal brand of awesomeness into the solution. Be authentic, be YOU, and let your enthusiasm to deliver light up the (maybe virtual) room.
There are practical ways to do this too. Prototypes for engineers, food samples for restaurateurs—you get the idea.
7. Acknowledge your competitors, but highlight your edge
Pitching to clients and prospects means they generally understand the landscape—so mention the state of the competition and explain how you are the better option. Entrepreneurs will tell you this!
Freelancers can brag about having an edge on price vs. experience, an amazing reputation, or well-known work (maybe among your client's competitors or related industries) to prove a track record.
8. Bring in colleagues or team members
As a freelancer or solopreneur, you can easily have another person join a Zoom call for pitches, or parts of pitches, to showcase your network and depth of knowledge.
If you’ve got a designer pal who you work with on parts of projects, introduce them where relevant. You can also just talk about your network to show you have the resources to solve any issues.
9. Be enthusiastic
Remember, a great pitch is all about making a connection. Paint a vivid picture of how you'll bring value to their project—and why choosing you is the best decision they'll ever make.
It’s a fine line, you don’t want to beg or put on a fake smile. But show some knowledge and tell them why you’ll love working with the client—and how you can’t wait to deliver stellar results.
10. Showcase your past successes
Build on these foundations, and let your portfolio dazzle. Prove that you're the freelancer they didn't even know they needed. Mention work from all kinds of projects to show your versatility.
Visuals and examples of your other projects are ideal at this stage, and it’s possibly the easiest part of pitching to clients—as they will be itching to sign you up and utilize your awesome skills.
11. Keep pitching skills and presentation basics at the front of your mind
Freelancer pitches are more about impressing clients with your magical skills than business acumen, but you’ll need to keep your presentation skills sharp.
Always make good eye contact, don’t read off your slides too much, leave gaps in talking for questions, and don’t go too fast. If in doubt, practice with a group of colleagues or friends first.
12. Use DocSend to share your pitches when done
Never share your pitch with a prospective client until after you walk them through it. But, after that, you should share the pitch deck with them using DocSend.
With DocSend, you can get document tracking and real time analytics to see who viewed it, how many times they viewed it, and much more information—for valuable insights on your pitch deck!
There’s no better way to send your finished pitch deck—or contract proposal—than DocSend.
As a final tip—prepare for the unexpected. Make sure you’re ready if a prickly person interrupts with a blunt question. Be honest if you don’t know, and adapt if a pitch goes in another direction.
What is a freelancer pitch vs pitching to investors?
Both are your moment in the spotlight, where you unleash your creativity and charisma to win over people. The difference? Freelancer pitches are like vibing to a tune vs. a precise dance routine.
When pitching to investors, you've got to show off your skills—but also the business smarts and financial magic behind your idea. You're stepping onto a bigger stage, so the stakes are higher.
Ready to start work on a winning pitch deck? Try the free template and guide from DocSend.