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Pitching yourself to clients? Make it sing with these 12 tips for pitches

Imagine standing in the center of a busy marketplace, where freelancers like you are showcasing their skills—waving hundreds of virtual flags to catch the attention of new clients. It’s a tough sell.

How do you make a freelancer pitch stand out? With lively pizzazz, of course! Here, you’ll discover pro tips for pitches as a freelancer, to make pitching to clients smooth and more likely to succeed.

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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.

A screenshot showing how to share a sales document and pitch deck using a secure link in 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.

FAQs on pitching to clients

How do I get someone to listen to my pitch?

To get in the room: if a client asks for a proposal at a specific length or that includes specific things, be sure to include them—always keep to submission criteria. Also, find people who are interested in taking pitches—there’s no point in reaching out to clients who don’t want your business. Also, if you have a complex product or innovative new idea, make sure you explain it clearly—so they are curious enough to invite you in! In the room, use a catchy opening line to spark curiosity, sprinkle in some humor or intriguing tidbits, and wrap up each stage of the pitch with a confident delivery.

How do I prevent nerves?

Nerves affect us all from time to time and, while unsettling, they aren’t necessarily always bad news—the adrenaline they bring can even give your charisma a boost during your pitch. If nerves are making it difficult to present with confidence, try deep breathing exercises, asking questions to keep a pitch conversational, and practicing a lot before the pitch. You may also ease nerves by accepting that things are out of your control. On Zoom, in-person, on the phone—or even via written submission—nerves can always come through. Try to remember that it’s normal, and natural, to feel butterflies.

What gets people from “maybe” to “yes”?

It varies, but grabbing the audience's attention, taking them through the pitch clearly with a logical format, and including clear next steps are essential. It can also help to show you understand your competition (and how you’re better than them), communicating clearly, and being ready to get granular on the details if someone asks a question. 

How do I seem natural talking?

Be yourself and let your authentic voice shine through. Don't overthink or stress about every word. Instead, embrace a conversational tone, like you're chatting with a friend. Be present, listen actively, and respond genuinely. Use simple language, and add some anecdotes or experiences to make it relatable. It’s tough and sometimes you need to adjust the way you speak. Don’t beg or seem needy, try to keep a neutral vocal pitch, and trust in your deck.

What tools can I use to write a pitch?

Start with a pen and paper or a note-taking app to outline your main points. You can also use a document-editing tool like Dropbox Paper to collaborate and flesh out your pitch with ease. After that, try DocSend’s free pitch deck template to develop it further, collaborate, and share it once it’s ready to go.

Make pitching to clients easy with DocSend

A freelancer pitch is like a performance, a chance for you to strut your stuff and show off your unique talents. Pitches are high-pressure, and you just have to get them to think “we like you.”

The secret is to just let them do that by using the tips above. Once your deck is ready, DocSend can do the rest—from sharing to getting feedback, or signing NDAs—so try it for your next pitch.