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10+ Tips to Help You Close the Freelancing Deal

by Laura Spencer

on April 1, 2013

in Freelancing Basics Marketing

Learn how to earn $125 or more per hour as a freelancer - Free Test Drive

You probably have trouble closing the deal if you have lots of prospects, but little freelancing work.

Don’t worry. Many freelancers go through the same thing. Fortunately, this is a problem that you can solve–at least most of the time.

In this post, I’ll share some tips that you can use to close the freelancing deal and get the business. I also describe some ways that you can qualify your prospects to determine whether they are genuine. If you liked this post, you may also like 5 Good Ways to Close a Client Deal.

Qualify the Prospect

Before you can close the deal, you should take some steps to qualify the prospect. That means, find out whether that prospect who has been stringing you along is actually a potential client.

Many freelancers will spend hours with people who never really intend to buy their services. It takes time to write a proposal and send it to a prospect–time that you could be spending on paying projects.

The fake prospect could be another freelancer who is trying to get competitive information. They could be someone who is trying to get something for free. Or, they just might like the attention you are paying to them.

Of course, there’s absolutely no foolproof way that will always work to let you know whether someone is wasting your time. But there are some questions you can ask that will give you a pretty good idea.

Here is a list of question you should ask to determine whether someone is a genuine prospect or just wasting your time:

  • What’s the budget for this project? An easy way to ask them about budget is to give them a range. Needless to say, it’s a bad sign if they don’t have a budget. It’s also a bad sign if their budget is significantly lower than what you would be able to accept for the work.
  • How long have they been in business? The more stable the prospect, the more likely it is that they are a legitimate business with a real need. You should be able to find this information out on their website, or if all else fails–just ask.
  • What’s their reputation like? How has this organization treated other freelancers? How do they treat their customers? A simple search may be enough to help you find out. If the organization doesn’t treat others well, they probably won’t treat you well either.
  • What kind of online presence do they have? The more stable a business, the more likely they are to have an online presence. If they don’t have a website or any presence online at all, it may be a sign that this prospect is not a genuine business.

Once you’ve qualified the prospect, you are ready to takes some steps to close the deal.

Tips to Help You Close the Deal

Here are some tips that will help you to close your freelancing deals:

  1. Communicate quickly. Answer prospect queries as soon as you can. Don’t let the prospect rush you into anything, but don’t ignore a query or put off responding to it either–even if the response is just an acknowledgement that you received their communication.
  2. Ask questions. To effectively close the deal, you need to know what the prospect needs. To do this, you will need ask questions. Some freelancers have a standard list of questions they send to new prospects.
  3. Address objections. Make sure that any response you make to the prospect’s query addresses their objections. But don’t wait for the prospect to tell you what their objections are. Ask something like, “what’s keeping you from getting started with this?
  4. Customize your offer. A prospect can tell a cookie cutter proposal a mile off and most of them hate to get one. Take the time to customize your offer so that it reflects the prospect’s real business needs.
  5. Use the prospect’s lingo. Part of customizing your offer is to use terms that the prospect will understand. Too many freelancers use the terms and abbreviations that they are most comfortable with.
  6. Provide testimonials. Nobody wants to be a test case. If you have good references and client testimonials, put the prospect’s mind at ease by providing them.
  7. Ask for the deal. This is a simple tip that is often overlooked. Many freelancers tiptoe all around this without actually doing it. You can say something like, “I’m really excited about this project, can I start next week?
  8. Add incentives. If the project is a good match to your business goals or if it will keep you busy earning money for some time, you may wish to add incentives such as discounts or additional services to push the prospect towards closing.
  9. Follow up. A surprising number of freelancers never follow up after they send out a proposal. They just wait to hear back from the prospect. A simple email a day or two after the proposal goes out is often enough to close the deal. Ask whether the prospect is ready to get started.
  10. Stay in touch. Whether you’ve just completed a project for a client or sent out a proposal that was turned down, you need to stay in touch. Things change quickly and there’s no telling when the prospect may need your services again.
  11. Bonus tip: Not every deal can be closed. Don’t beat yourself up if you’ve done everything right and you still don’t get the deal. Sometimes a prospect chooses to go with someone else for reasons beyond your control.

Your Turn

What closing tips did I forget?

Share your answers in the comments.

Image by bmills

Learn how to earn $125 or more per hour as a freelancer - Free Test Drive

About Laura Spencer

Laura Spencer is a freelance writer from North Central Texas with over 20 years of professional business writing experience. If you liked this post, then you may also enjoy LauraĆ¢??s blog about her freelance writing experiences, WritingThoughts. Laura is also on Google+.