Your ability to make it as a freelancer totally hinges on your ability to convince someone to become a paying client. If you can’t do that, your freelance journey will come to a very quick end.
There are a ton of articles, podcasts, interviews and so on about tactics and negotiation…but it’s important to understand the real, core reasons someone would choose to hire you (and there aren’t many):
- They want more customers or clients
- They want to increase their profit (increase revenue or decrease cost)
- They want to feel better about themselves
That’s really it. And arguably, getting more customers or clients is also towards the goal of increasing profits.
So when you’re having a conversation with a potential client, you need to be either:
1. Explain how working with you will make them more money long term than the cost to hire you,
2. Explain how working with you will help them look better, feel better, or be have higher status in the eyes of people they care about
If a potential client believes you can do that for them, they will hire you. It’s basic business sense.
If you’re not showing how working with you can increase their profits or status, you’re leaving it up to them to connect the dots. Sometimes they will, but often they won’t.
Connect the dots for them.
But before you do, really make sure you understand which of their core motivations are at play. If you appeal to someone’s status or vanity, you need to be sure they will respond to that. Otherwise, it won’t work.
When in doubt, simply show how paying you for this work will lead to more money in their pockets. It may not be immediately, and if it isn’t help them understand how long it will take to pay back that investment – either from increasing revenue or decreasing costs.
If you can show how $1 today becomes $2 tomorrow, you’ll never run out of paid work.