6 Q’s to ask clients when pitching
Digital Pigeon11 November 2021
Competing and winning work as a freelancer in the Gig Economy is certainly intense. Your clients have the luxury of choice - and it’s no longer people in your town/city/country who you’re competing with. Creative professionals from all corners of the globe are now able to undertake projects which once would have only been locally sourced.
It is a two-way street, however. As important as exceeding your clients’ expectations on a project, you want to ensure the work you are undertaking is fulfilling, adds to your overall portfolio and is something that you can efficiently deliver - so that you’re actually making money from it (not always the case as most of us well know!).
The pitching process should be as much about the client verifying your skills and suitability for a certain project as it is about you making sure it’s the best fit for what you’re looking to achieve with your career.
Here are the baseline questions which we recommend should be a part of your pitching process.
1. What is your client really trying to achieve with the project?
There’s the project brief - which sets out clearly what the client is after with a specific task. Your clients expect you to meet all of their requirements, regardless of how subtle they may seem. As such, it is important to go beyond the basics and ask for in-depth details about the project.
For example, consider a client seeking the services of a content creator to write a blog post. In this case, the basic details would include the blog post's title and length. However, in reality the client wants more than just that. They need it to appeal to their audience, convert leads into customers, and many other downstream objectives - which ultimately all point back to generating more sales and revenue.
2. What does success look like for them?
Taking it a step further, and probably more applicable to larger projects, it can be really valuable to gather a broader understanding of how that project fits into your client’s strategy or aspirations. Getting an idea of these motivations can help you shape the service you deliver and get a better idea as to how you can exceed their expectations.
3. What are the timeframes?
Being crystal clear on this is important to allow you to efficiently resource the project, as well as building in time for changes (there’re always changes, right?!).
It might be worth asking this question in an open manner and not suggesting when you could have it done by - possibly buying yourself more time to deliver.
4. What other parties are involved in the project?
Not always applicable for smaller projects, but there’s nothing worse than commencing a task and then having other stakeholders pop up with ideas or expectations. Be clear from the outset who’s involved, who’s responsible for delivering what, and who’s approving the work.
5. What is their budget?
This is so obvious it nearly goes without saying. But it’s often the awkward part of the discussion for many. It can be a great place for a freelancer to start to plan out their approach to delivering a particular project - working backwards from the available budget.
Again, similar to project timeframes, let the client do the talking here - you might find their number is higher than yours...
6. How do I fit into the bigger picture?
As you’re going through the process of trying to win a specific piece of work, you can use that time to assess your fit within your client’s business.
Are there future opportunities for you here? Is this likely to be an ongoing project? What does the business need from you in terms of reporting? Do you want to work with them?
Asking these questions will give you a better understanding of your client's wants, thus helping you develop a winning pitch. Additionally, the answers will help you determine whether you meet the client's requirements and that the client meets yours.
A clearer understanding of what to expect going forward sets you up nicely to impress.