Whether you are a veteran freelancer or a new one trying to get your foot in the door you’re always going to have one challenge that’s constantly evolving – landing clients. You have to stand out from the competition and decide how you are going to provide value to your client in a way that no one else can. It is important to make a great first impression and proposal to even get their interest. You might be wondering how to send freelance proposals that land clients. What is going to make them pick you over 10 to 30 other proposals? We are going to go over some things to consider when submitting your own proposals. Your proposals will vary depending on your profession and the client but there are some common factors that will help you either way. Let’s dive in and take a look at how to send proposals that land clients.
SPEND TIME TO RESEARCH THE CLIENT:
What does their business do? Who is their target audience? Who are their competitors? What does their branding and public face look like? These are all questions that can help you tailor your proposal to the client. If your proposal looks like you copied and pasted your resume and your skills like ala carte menu options, then you won’t likely stand out. If your proposals acknowledge who the client is and what their needs are then this will help you stand out better. Another reason to do as much research as possible is to make sure your proposal doesn’t completely miss the mark stylistically. If you are showcasing an edgy raw style and the client is more conservative and sleek then you may want to rethink your strategy.
WHAT SHOULD BE IN YOUR PROPOSAL
- A VISUALLY EYE GRABBING COVER (IF THEY ALLOW COVERS)
- EXECUTIVE SUMMARY
- A BREAKDOWN OF TIMELINES & BENEFITS YOU’LL PROVIDE
- SHOW RELEVANT WORK
- INCLUDE TESTIMONIALS OR PREVIOUS SUCCESSES WHEN POSSIBLE
FULLY UNDERSTAND THEIR NEED AND REQUEST
What is the task they are needing completed? What are the time factors, milestones and deliverables? What is asked for in a proposal? Is there a certain way they want you to send proposals?
Understand exactly what the client is looking for and try to find the best way to provide as much value as possible!
You should do this part last after fully fleshing out the details. This shouldn’t just be a smaller summary of your proposal it should cover:
- Clients Problem, need, or goal.
- Expected outcome.
- Solution overview.
- Call to action.
BREAKING DOWN YOUR OFFER AND TIMELINE
Now is the time to break down what you are going to do to help accomplish the clients needs. Be as specific as possible. If software is involved you may mention this. An explanation of what the client can expect from work with you (your process). A timeline of expected milestones and dues dates are good to include too. Some clients are more flexible on time some need a quicker turn around. Either way it’s good to not have any surprises.
SHOW RELEVANT WORK & SOCIAL PROOF
This seems pretty obvious but showing tons of work that is no where near what they are looking for isn’t going to help you. If they are looking to create educational videos and you only send them music video you’ve created it probably isn’t going to win them over. Same thing with photography. If they are looking for a spectacular food photographer and you are sending headshots you’ve taken it’s just isn’t going to do you any favors. At best they’ll ask you for more relevant work at worst they’ll pan you all together. The point of this is to show the client proof that you are worth the risk. The more you show through testimonials or relevant examples you know how to do what they are asking the less of a risk you will seem. Before and after examples can work too depending on the type of work you are applying for. Case studies can go a long way too. They will be more relevant that just a portfolio because they will hopefully show the results that were accomplished from the work you did.
Before sending the proposal make sure it’s compliant with the client’s request. If the client has a template to follow, make sure it has been followed. If the client has specific questions or guidelines make sure those have been met. Often if you don’t follow their template of guidelines, they’ll not consider you. Check for grammar issues or broken links. Make sure your proposal is clean and formatted correctly.
CREATE IT QUICKLY
Better Proposals’ 2017 Proposal Report suggest that sending your proposals within 24 hours of a clients request for proposals increases your chance of winning the proposal by as much as 25 percent. It also helps to get your proposal toward the top of the file before tons of other projects are sent. At a certain point a client may stop looking through the stack if they already feel they have a contender for their needs.
So hopefully this gives you some food for thought as far as creating freelance proposals that Land Clients. Relevant, mistake-free, tailored proposals have a better chance of winning a client than a cookie-cutter proposal that you copy and paste and send to everyone. The more time you spend on your proposal the more you’ll stand out from those that don’t. Good luck!