Sounds kind of epic: a single freelancer working from home wins a client over a big agency working in a local brick and mortar location, just by providing a killer design proposal.
Believe me – it’s possible, because I did it!
There’s so much a client can benefit from working with a single freelancer over an agency, and you just have to know how to present yourself as the best option.
You do that by offering more than just a generic project proposal – you show them that you care.
Being an individual can give that personal touch in the communication with the client, which is something a lot of agencies don’t do well.
They’re too big to show that they truly want to offer a solution to the client’s project, because most agencies take on any and all projects just to get paid – no matter the results of the work they’re producing.
(Note that not every agency is like this. Some do truly care about the client’s solution, but you should be aware of how not to go about working with your clients. Don’t be afraid to show who you really are and try not to use the term “we” when it’s truly just yourself.)
A project proposal is usually the first step you’ll take when the client is inquiring about their options.
Here is where you can triumph over any other competition that stands in your way.
Because everyone here on the GDB team values you as a reader and appreciates that you’re here, I’m more than happy to share my secrets to developing your own killer proposal!
And I want to hear from you too! How do you get the client with a killer proposal? Comment and let’s talk!
Just keep it simple
When it comes to any project proposal, debrief or contract, it’s easy to throw in a bunch of business jargon to make it seem professional.
Avoid over-complicating things.
Not a lot of people enjoy reading through paragraphs of text – so make it easy to read.
Write out your proposal from scratch for every client.
Of course you’ll have an outline to follow, but writing it out every time will help keep the project specific and personalized to your potential client.
Only include what’s necessary, and be sure to format your content for easy reading. (I.e. section headers, bold important lines, and bullet lists)
I’ll start with a title page – followed by a table of contents, and then each section (see below).
Here’s a breakdown of the content I used to help land my client’s website redesign over a local brick and mortar agency:
- “Project Objective”: write in your own words what your objective is for the project.
“Redesign the [company] website with a fresh, flexible, and responsive layout, as well as the addition of some key features, all while keeping it’s online presence and search engine ranking.”
- “My thoughts on the current site”: explain in detail your thoughts on their current site’s overall look, functionality, content, and online presence.
- “My thoughts on the redesign”: explain in detail how you plan to solve the issues with their current site, how you plan to implement certain key features, and how the redesign will benefit their customers and business itself.
- “Important questions for you”: a simple bulleted list of questions to better understand their redesign needs (what they like, dislike, current state of the site’s content, what new features they’d like added, etc.)
- “What I’ll need from you”: when the time comes here is a short list of what you’ll need to start (clear direction of new look and features, final page links, and all content).
- “Tasks and estimated time frame”: a simple bulleted list of the tasks generalized in order of occurrence and an estimated time for project completion.
- “Project Quote”: typically I say, “I’ll be able to give an accurate quote once I better understand the redesign’s requirements.” – but feel free to add your real quote or a ballpark figure.
Going the extra mile
What I feel really might’ve helped me win over the client was going the extra mile…
Not only did I offer an easy to read and detailed project proposal, I also sent the client a mockup of what I had in mind for the redesign.
I don’t do this for every potential client, but when I’m so close to landing a great project, I’m more than willing to take some extra time to show that I AM the right solution for the job.
Go with your gut feeling – if you feel like this is a great client and you really want to land them as one, then don’t be afraid to go the extra mile to reassure it.
Don’t let “going the extra mile” turn into you giving away your services. The last thing you want to do is end up providing spec work or handing over too much without getting paid. Remember – go with your gut and only do what you feel is necessary.
You can’t win them all
Nothing is guaranteed unfortunately.
There is only so much you can do to try and win over a client.
You’ll always have competition and there will be times where the client will choose another proposal over yours.
You can’t let that bring you down, and you most certainly cannot think of the loss as a failure.
You win some and you lose some. Learn from any mistakes, take the client’s reasons into consideration and move on.
Give it a try
Take some time to create a template proposal for yourself (feel free to use the outline above) and go the extra mile to land your next client project!
What have you done to win over a client? Have you ever gone head-to-head with a brick and mortar agency before? Leave your stories and comments on this post and let’s discuss.