It’s no secret: Finding clients who offer long-term work and rewarding income is hard.
That’s why, when you do use proven strategies to find freelance writing work, you want every advantage when the time comes to seal the deal.
Enter: the freelance writer’s secret weapon, proposals.
To help you ward off “The Vanishing Client Phenomenon” that occurs after sending a proposal, here are 10 easy ways to make your freelance proposals more persuasive.
1. Ask the right questions
When you talk with a prospect, ask questions that allow you to connect their goals directly to the services you offer.
Here’s my favorite question:
“What do you want to accomplish with [the project]?”
Then, in your proposal, describe how you will help the prospect achieve what they “want to accomplish.”
For example, if a prospect with a blogging project wants to establish credibility in their niche, write:
“Every blog post I write contains 5 cited sources so readers know they can trust the content. This instantly establishes credibility with your audience. Here’s an example of a post I wrote with 5 sources cited: [link to article].”
2. Offer proof they need an expert (AKA, you)
Compile a few statistics related to the prospect’s project to demonstrate that you are the “go-to expert” — and that their project is safe in your hands.
For example, if you are drafting a proposal for a website content project, write:
“According to Copyblogger, 8 out of 10 people read a web page’s headline, but only 2 out of 10 read the rest. So, to give you the best chances of converting traffic into leads, I will provide 5 potential home page headlines. We will test all 5 to determine the highest converting headline.”
3. Use “Future Pacing”
This is a technique to create positive mental imagery in someone’s mind.
To use Future Pacing, offer a step-by-step plan that starts with what happens the moment they hire you, and continues to the close of the project:
“As soon as we start this project, I’ll get to work on the first draft of [1st deliverable]. You will see it in your inbox within 24 hours. While you are reviewing, I’ll be developing [2nd deliverable] and then…”
4. Make it all about the benefits
In the hyper-competitive world of freelance writing, it’s not enough to pitch your services.
Focus on the benefits to make your proposal stand out. Use phrases like “so that”, “because”, and “in order to.”
For example, with a blog writing retainer project, write:
“You receive 5 new articles per week for the company blog so that your business remains top of mind. Because the fresh articles consistently appear in your potential clients’ inboxes, they will come to know, like, and trust your perspective.”
5. Build trust with testimonials
Testimonials are “Social Proof” that you are the opposite of a risky hire — you are a seasoned professional with happy clients who trust you to deliver.
To help yourself win a brochure copywriting project, for example, write:
“Your project is similar to a brochure I created that rewarded my client with a noticeable uptick in sales. Here is what she said about the brochure’s effectiveness: [1-2 sentence testimonial].”
6. Highlight unique qualifications
Why are you more than a choice for the client’s project? Why are you the ideal choice?
What experiences, hobbies, or insights make you a solid match for the project?
Even if the client’s industry is one you haven’t worked in before, you still have the opportunity to offer reasons why the prospect should choose you.
For example, I secured a nearly $10,000 project from one of the largest colleges in North America not because I had previous experience working with colleges (I didn’t), but because I had developed the skills required for the project in my first 9-to-5 job.
7. Conquer doubts about ROI
Ever encountered clients who fret about price? Most of us have.
From a testimonial that mentions revenue increases or waste decreases, to a case study that shows how your work improved a past client’s life, you can slip a quick doubt-remover into your proposal to show that no, your services don’t “cost too much.”
Then, quote based on value, and you’re set!
8. Let your personality shine
Show you’re a real person to keep prospects engaged. Work your sense of humor or amusing stories into your proposals.
For example, when writing a proposal for a $4,500 editing project, I included with my quote a section focused on potential ROI titled:
“3 reasons why this is a deal worth writing a letter to Mom and Dad about.”
I won the project.
9. Record your proposal
Leverage the power of human connection by shooting a video.
Use a free screen recording tool like to record your voice and your proposal on-screen.
Go into detail on the services you offer or review portfolio projects on-screen to discuss how past clients benefited from your work.
10. Validate, validate, validate!
Validation is the innate need to feel accepted. It’s also one of the easiest emotions to cultivate in your prospect.
With the first sentences of your proposal, offer authentic feedback on what you love about the prospect’s business or goals. This opens the door to the prospect knowing and liking you.
With these 10 easy ways to make your freelance proposals more persuasive, you can write proposals with confidence.
Have other ideas for making a proposal more persuasive? Let us know in the comments!