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How to pitch for business

When you first start freelancing you need to be persuasive to encourage a business to hire you, and you need to be resilient as you may have a few knockbacks.

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Being realistic about new business opportunities

An exciting project comes up that you’d like to be part of, you’ve got the experience and you apply, full of hope.  What are the chances of you winning the work?

According to independent management consultant, Alison Spackman, it’s a disappointing 11%.  A third of the time the project doesn’t happen, a further third the project is given to an existing supplier and one in five times someone else wins the work.

What does work?  It’s much easier to gain work through extensions and repeat business (36%) or introductions and referrals (39%).  This means that you need to let clients know that you work from referrals and you need to let your network know that you’re open to opportunities.

Building trust

Often when we’re new to pitching for work, we are so keen to tell a prospect ‘what we can do for them’ that we forget to ask enough questions.

The Greek philosopher, Epictetus is quoted as saying 'We have two ears and one mouth so that we can listen twice as much as we speak. '

To build trust, you need to first understand the client’s needs fully before demonstrating how you can meet them.  Ask what prompted them to start the project, what their current issues are and how they’ll know when they’ve achieved their goal (what does success look like?). You can then show the client how your skills fit their needs and why you are the best choice.

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