How to Write a Proposal That Can Land You 5-Figure Freelance Jobs

If you want to gain more clients, it all comes down to your ability to sell yourself — whether it’s by them visiting your website or communicating to them via email or phone.

This is probably the most important of all freelancing skills, but it’s also the primary reason why so many freelancers struggle to attract new clients.

So if you want to become a long-term freelancer, you need to learn the skill of crafting sales pitches.

A sales pitch is your most powerful tool for persuading a potential client to employ you.

It’s usually in the form of a written proposal that explains why they should spend their money and time on your services.

Of course, the goal of any freelancing sales pitch is to persuade the client to hire you over the competitors.

In many sales pitches, a written proposal is used to outline the problem, goals, and solution, as well as pricing, timelines, and scope of work.

Unfortunately, the majority of freelancers squander hours creating proposals and then… nothing.

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This is due to the fact that the client was never prepared for the pitch.

Perhaps the cost was too exorbitant, or they didn’t trust your ability to address their problem.

Or maybe your proposal was full of technical jargon they don’t seem to grasp.  

When you fail to explain the value of your work and connect their underlying problem to the solution you’re offering, then nothing happens.

If you sell digital services like web design, the sale starts on your website.

A potential client should be able to locate you, learn about your services, see samples of your work, read testimonials, and get in touch with you quickly.

A client is more likely to contact you to discuss their project if your website is useful and interesting.

And when they do, you’ve created what’s known in the business world as a “warm lead.”

A warm lead is someone who has demonstrated interest in your service by following you on social media, signing up for your email newsletter, contacting you via your website, or receiving a referral from a friend or past client.

First and foremost, it’s critical to understand who you’re pitching to.

When you know who your potential client is, you can speak and write in a way that they will comprehend.

You’ll want to make sure your proposal reaches the company’s decision-maker, someone who understands the project’s importance and has the authority to receive your sales pitch and approve proposals.

If you make a pitch to someone who doesn’t have that power and is only collecting estimates, you’re unlikely to get a response.

Once you’ve gathered enough information to feel comfortable giving the customer pricing and timeline for the task, it’s time to start preparing your proposal and putting together a convincing sales pitch.

What’s the best way to structure your proposal?

The majority of your proposal should revolve around the problem, goals, and solution.


If you have social proof, such as testimonials or case studies, those should also be included.

Finally, provide information on costs and schedules as well as guidance for the next steps.

Your pitch or proposal should be brief and concise.

It should simply recap everything that has been presented thus far.

When your client sees your final pricing, they should already realize that the solution’s value outweighs the cost.

If you provide a $3,000 solution to their problem, for example, they should already be aware that finishing the project will bring $50,000 in revenue.

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So instead of comparing your price to that of your competitors, they’ll compare it to the amount of additional revenue the company can produce.

Include in your proposal the following items:

1. Determine the issue.

You should have a good idea of the problem you’ll be solving for the client and why it’s important to them at this point.

Emphasize what the pain points are.

This reaffirms to the client that you understand what they’re going through and why it’s an issue.

This also warns the client that not resolving the issue immediately could be disastrous for their company.

2. Compile a list of the company’s objectives

You’ll want to compile a list of the company’s objectives as precisely as possible.

You want to restate what you’ve already talked about with the client.

You’re assisting the client in visualizing where their business will be after the project is completed successfully by outlining their objectives.

3. Describe the proposed solution in detail.

This is, without a doubt, the most important stage in any pitch.

You’re bridging the gap between the current problem and the future goals when you propose the solution.

Financial projections based on information provided by the client are included in the most effective proposals.

For example, if the client’s website isn’t generating enough leads, you might be able to figure out how much a lead is worth to a client’s business by asking a series of questions.

It’s easy to state things like, “If we can just obtain 10 more leads per month from your website, your business revenue may increase by x amount in the next year,” and so on.

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When stating financial estimates, however, you should be cautious, as they should never be guaranteed.

4. Provide reassurance using prior successes and social proof.

Prospective clients will feel more at ease and confident in their decision to hire you if they see social proof.

Testimonials, work samples, and success metrics are all standard ways to provide this information.

Clients simply want to know that someone else has gone through this process and come out on the other side with excellent outcomes.

Anything you can do to reassure them will help them decide whether or not to hire you.

5. Provide cost and timeline information 

It’s now time to communicate your pricing and payment information with your client.

If you can give numerous options in a number of pricing ranges, this works best. You increase the possibility that the client will choose to work with you by providing several options.

At the same time, because they have a number of options, instead of comparing your options to your competitors, they’ll be weighing them against each other.

This section of your pitch should be kept brief and uncomplicated. If you put too much emphasis on the price, the client will think twice.

Don’t forget to offer a rough estimate of how long each option will take.

6. Outline the next steps in detail.

You can give the best sales pitch in the world, but if the client isn’t sure what to do next, your efforts will be useless.

Ensure that the client has the opportunity to move forward at the conclusion of your proposal. 

A few examples are how they can make a partial payment or how they can sign a contract.

A proposal isn’t effective unless the customer decides to work with you.

To further assist you in learning how to draft proposals, Brennan Dunn has a great article about how to write and win high-value proposals.

You can also download a template from Ryan Robinson.

Ideas for using a call to action in your sales pitch

When presenting a proposal, make sure that the next actions are clearly laid out.

You should actively encourage the client to sign a contract, pay a deposit, or commit to working with you in some other way.

Reduce their chances of changing their minds.

The more time you give them, the more likely it is that they will reject you.

Because many pitches are provided digitally in the form of a written proposal, obtaining an immediate commitment is not always possible.

Include a timeframe during which the customer can commit to the set fee and timeline to ensure that the client is incentivized to reply.

You can even take it a step further and give the client a small discount if they pay in full up front.

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This is a tremendously effective method for generating an enticing and effective call-to-action in any pitch.

You must, however, define what will happen if they do not commit within the specified timeframe.

For example, if they do not commit, say, within a week, the pricing may change or their spot in your priority list may be removed.

A lot of people can perform the same services as you, but only a handful can correctly articulate their value to a paying client.

In a competitive freelancing market, your ability to present yourself and your skills in an honest and appealing manner will set you apart.

If you can master the skill of writing an excellent proposal, you’ll be able to discover the secrets of a successful freelancer.


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