The freelancing world is definitely getting more competitive as many former workers are now joining the ever-growing pool. There may even be a select number which is ineligible for COVID-19 unemployment benefits or a severance package so tactics like underpricing may be more rampant than normal. While we know the joke may be on them, it can't hurt to prepare oneself to lay down the perfect pitch at the right time.
According to the Business Collective, common business pitching mistakes include -
- Being too pushy
- Not getting a second opinion
- Using too much industry jargon or buzzwords
However, I'd like to add that not listening to the receiver and using an irrelevant pitch can be just as dangerous. What's the difference, you ask? Let's say you meet a big name client at a virtual networking forum and you go for what you know using the tiny bit of character space available - your services and contact information in a single small paragraph.
While you may know their title and industry, do you know why they decided to attend the networking session? Is there an opening in a specific department or a project they're overseeing? Maybe an expansion that will call for permanent staff (which may be your ultimate goal)? Find out their intentions before opening yourself up.
Even if the information isn't readily available, don't be afraid to ask. There's a lot that web sites and other forms of interactive communication can block when it comes to honest communication. And this isn't to say anyone is being deceitful but you have to put a genuine effort into forming a real dialogue.
Here's a funny story. Last week, I was inclined to change the showerhead in my bathroom...my only bathroom. It was a mild disaster, to say the least, so I contacted a review site that puts the word out to local contractors. While I'm clearly no plumbing specialist, I know this job doesn't take very long...nor should it cost very much. However, the page used to target contractors would lead them to believe that I needed an entire shower replaced, so I got quotes that ranged from $90 to around $200. Even when I explained to a couple that the job would take less than 15 minutes, they still stood behind charging me a 2-hour minimum. Worse was attempts to aggressively reel me in without knowing what the real issue was.
So this is to say that while I still don't know much about plumbing (a friend ended up fixing it), I know of about three contractors to avoid because they trusted the internet over listening to what I had to say. You don't want to be that person. Once a person with money knows who they don't want, it's hard to make a second impression.
Also, instead of running down all of your skills in 30 seconds or less, use the early communication stages to filter out which service a client may need. If you find that your digital marketing and content creation skills go hand in hand, find a way to stress the main benefit. Here, the ability to save time may be appealing or you could tie in SEO knowledge, which alone may seal the deal.
Another idea may be to create micro pitches for each skill. If you're a PowerPoint master, then you can emphasize how you can create a unique proposal presentation in a matter of hours. Wordsmiths may want to show off offline marketing or storytelling skills that can be useful for live presentations. By getting to know your contacts, you can at least place yourself on the consideration list if you don't make target right away!
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