Virtual Assistants, Graphic Designers, Photographers, this is for you. This is for any freelancer look to close more clients and build a bigger money-making business. Freelancers need to write proposals. That means you!
No side-eye, please.
I’m being completely serious. You need to write proposals.
What is a proposal?
Forgive me, before moving to freelancing and blogging, I worked for the corporate world. And what we called proposals were essentially what freelancers call pitches. The thing is, our proposals were MASSIVE tree-killing multi-volume beast that introduced our company and presented our solution to the client’s problem.
As freelancers, you don’t need a massive tree-killing multi-volume beast of a proposal (so much fun to say though!).
You do need a sales letter or a proposal. Here are 5 reasons freelancers need to write proposals.
1. Your clients want to know you “get” them.
Your client wants you to understand them. Think about it. Would you buy a service from anyone (except maybe your best friend) without confidence that they really (like REALLY REALLY) understood what you needed?
You don’t just give away money to anyone (but if YOU do, sign me up).
Freelancers need to write proposals to show their potential clients that they were listening and not only do they understand their needs, but they’ve created a custom solution to meet their needs and solve their problems.
2. Potential clients want to understand exactly what they’re buying
Then there’s the solution. In my experience as a freelancer and as a client of freelancers, there’s a lot of trust that goes on in that relationship. The client trusts the freelancer to solve their issues and the freelancer trust the client to pay them. There’s a lot of trust on the line and usually (in my experience), there’s not a lot of transparency.
When freelancers write proposals, they create transparency.
Before any money changes hands, the freelancer creates and shares their solution with the client. They effectively tell the client exactly what they’ll be doing, how long it will take, how often they will communicate with the client, and exactly what they can expect at the end of their relationship.
Then they outline the costs and link those costs directly to the tasks they describe in the proposal.
They build a transparent relationship.
3. Finding a way to make your solution exclusive (unique) creates value
Proposals are a great way to stand out from your competition. In a proposal, you’re not just writing a sales page for everyperson. You’re righting an individual letter to ONE person, and you’re creating a solution for just one person based on their individual needs, goals, and problems.
This is an opportunity to be different. You’re not just one of many photographers or virtual assistants. You’re THE freelancer that understands the most pressing needs of ONE potential client.
Offer something new and different that will give tremendous value.
When you write proposals, you get to be that person.
4. Explain your price and offer payment options that will work for you and the client.
Money is a touchy subject, especially when you have to talk about it WITH someone. Whether in-person, over the phone, or on an online conference system. It can be a prickly subject.
We only spend on things that we find truly valuable (that’s why point # 3 is so dang important).
So, once you’re able to show the tremendous value you plan to provide (and how you plan to do it), you need to explain your pricing.
When you lay out your pricing out on paper, try to give your client options. But make sure those options work not only for the client but also for you and your business.
Remember, this is not just a cut and paste exercise from your website. This is a custom price for a unique (one-of-a-kind) client.
Your pricing needs to reflect their custom solution.
Let your solution explain your pricing. If you’ve successfully explained your unique value proposition and you link your pricing directly to each part of your solution, it shouldn’t be a problem.
5. Soft sales are easier
Sales are fun but not when they feel stressed.
Thinking buying something new should be fun! And as a business owner, get a sale should be exciting.
Don’t mess up the fun with stress.
When you write proposals, you can make a case for yourself. You’re writing a narrative explaining why you’re the ONLY freelancer to meet their needs. You can share your quantitative results, your client testimonials, and any other data that fits your narrative.
Make your proposal do the hard work.
You just get to sit back and enjoy getting to know your new potential client.
Not me — I don’t need them.
Listen. I get it. Writing proposals is an added step in your new client process. At the start, it may seem like a pain in the ass.
But hear me out.
If you’re a freelancer and you want to eventually have the “too many clients not enough hours” problem, you need to start finding and defrosting some cold clients. Not referrals. Frozen rock hard cold clients. People who don’t know you.
And while you may be able to get some of these cold clients on the phone, they need to get nice and toasty before they hand over their credit cards.
The way to get nice toasty warm credit card wielding potential clients, continue your discovery calls AND start writing and sending custom proposals.
That way, these new potential clients will know what they’re signing up for. They’ll know more about you, your services, and your work ethic and they’ll feel like you actually understand what they want.
Want to learn more about proposals for freelancers? First, check out The Single Most Important Element Of A Winning Proposal.
Then, sign up for free updates for all things proposal in my freelancers & friends group.