During the first five years of working as a freelance copywriter my sales process went something like this:
- Book and have a discovery call
- Send a proposal after the call
- Follow up for decision
It worked OK and I was able to make sales. But I spent a ton of time preparing proposals that I would email to prospects but never hear back from.
It was frustrating to spend so much time on something only to get the cold shoulder!
And the ones who did buy were small to medium-sized sales (usually in the $2,000 – $4,000 range).
So when I decided to focus on selling bigger retainer deals I knew I had to change my approach. I just didn’t know what that looked like, until I met Coach John Logar.
Last year I met a business coach named John Logar at the Traffic & Conversion Summit in San Diego. I found out he specialized in helping freelancers become entrepreneurs by “productizing” their services.
So I hired him to coach me. And I’m glad I did!
I learned several valuable skills during his coaching program. And one of the most important things I learned was how to present my “offer.”
John said if I want to close bigger deals I had to stop sending proposals and start doing pitches.
And he was right. When I did proposals I think the biggest sale I ever closed was a one-time $7,000 project. And remember, most my deals were around $2,000-$4,000.
But soon after I switched to pitches I closed my biggest sale ever: a $13,000 implementation + $2,000/month deal (I think this was like the 4th or 5th pitch I ever did).
This deal came with a 6-month agreement, so it was really a $25,000 sale.
There were other reasons that allowed me to close this bigger deal. I wouldn’t say it was 100% because I pitched them instead of sending a proposal, but it was a major reason why.
Here’s why pitches are better than proposals:
1) You can overcome objections: When you send a proposal to a client and they have objections you don’t know what those are. All you know is you that you had a good discovery call and so you email them a proposal that you assumed they’d move forward with only to have them go silent on you. But when you’re presenting a strategy (aka “your pitch”) to a prospect live via screenshare you can uncover the reasons why they aren’t moving forward right now. Then at least you have a chance to overcome those objections.
2) Pitches get prospects excited: No matter how great your proposal is it’s still a simple PDF document that comes attached to their email. It may be designed well and the copy could be hard hitting but it pales in comparison to a professional salesperson who knows how to build rapport and get a prospect emotionally engaged with what they’re selling. It’s a human-to-human experience instead of a human-to-PDF experience.
3) Strategies vs Proposals: Of course you don’t refer to them as “pitches” when you’re talking to prospects. Instead you call them Strategy Sessions, and that’s because that’s what they really are. You’re presenting a custom strategy to solve the problems they admitted they had during your initial discovery call. This is much more valuable than just offering to send someone a proposal.
Those are just a few reasons why pitches are better than proposals. Try them out yourself and let me know what kind of difference it makes in your business.