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Chapter
1

Seek out prospective client’s pain points

In this playbook, you’re going to build a repeatable pitch process. We’ll walk you through each step, so by the end, you’ll know the process inside and out and can simply rinse and repeat.

Here are the steps:

  1. Seek out your prospect and understand their pain.

  2. Establish your credibility with relevant work.

  3. Build your short elevator pitch.

  4. Develop your longer pitch.

  5. Anticipate the questions they will ask.

  6. Practice your pitch.

When you pitch, you help your prospect connect the dots between the value you bring and how that value can help move the client’s business forward.

A strong pitch, written or verbal, enables you to demonstrate why you’re the best person, with the right skills, expertise, and personality to solve the prospect’s problems effectively. 

The key to standing out is to get your prospect to clearly connect the dots from their needs to your offering, so by the end of your pitch they’re thinking, “we need you” and “we can’t do this project without you.”

When you pitch, remember to:

  • Be friendly, but polite.

  • Be respectful of the recipient’s time.

  • Avoid pushy or forceful language.

  • Be confident in yourself.

To build a strong pitch, you must see their pain

Building a strong pitch means understanding of your prospect’s business, their pain points, and how you can help them in relation to these.

Building a strong pitch starts with three things. You could make the fanciest presentation in the world, but if you misunderstand these things, it won’t work.

  1. Clearly identifying your prospect.

  2. Identifying their pain points.

  3. Aligning their pain point with your offer.

The first step in building a strong pitch is to research your prospect and figure out what they’re struggling with. When you pitch to a prospect without first understanding their pain points, it’s like trying to sell a motorcycle to a family of six. A motorcycle is not something they want and it cannot serve their needs.

1. Source a prospect

For the first exercise, select a real prospect you’d like to work with and turn to your workbook. If you don’t already have someone in mind, take some time now to research and find a potential client you genuinely want to pitch to.

Here are a few ways you can do this:

  • Visit job boards like thedots or Peak Freelance.

  • Sign up for newsletters like Sian Meades-Williams’ Freelance Writing Jobs.

  • Go local—input a few keywords relevant to your niche in Google plus your city.

  • Use Instagram’s ‘Similar accounts’ feature to find brands and companies similar to the ones you like.

  • Use Twitter and LinkedIn to find people looking for freelancers.

  • Use websites like Crunchbase to find recently-funded start-ups in your area of interest.

Throughout this playbook, Mo, a freelance writer, will go through the process alongside you. He’ll show examples of each of the exercises, his approach, and the outcome.

He was able to skip this section because he already knows who he wants to pitch — a well-known print and online magazine called Abroad in Asia. It has a large readership that can help Mo gain more followers on his social media channels and also collaborates with two big travel brands that Mo would like to work with as well.

2. Determine your prospect’s pain points

While researching your prospect, ask yourself these questions:

  1. What are your prospect’s wants and needs?

  2. Is your prospect struggling to accomplish these? If so, why?

  3. Is there something that’s missing? Or something that could be improved on?

Investigate your prospect

Gather all the information you can on your prospect. Here are a few places you can look at:

  • Their website

  • Social media

  • Testimonials

  • Customer reviews

  • Blogs on their own site

  • Guest articles or videos they’ve created

By keeping these questions in mind, you should be able to spot a few pain points that might be causing your prospect trouble. Don’t forget to focus on the pain points that are most relevant to what you do; it won’t help if you identify that your prospect struggles with their website design if that’s not relevant to you.

These pain points could be:

  • No time to spend on writing.

  • No dedicated content team.

  • Lack of knowledge about content strategy.

  • Overly generic social media copy.

  • Lack of a blog or a poorly written one.

  • Broken or incorrect SEO on their website.

  • Lack of niche-targeting articles or blogs.

  • Messy email newsletters.

Write down the customer and their pain points in your workbook.

Mo identified Abroad in Asia’s core customer and pain points:

Core customer: Middle to upper class travelers who prefer high-end hotels and activities.

Pain point: Due to the economic downturn, even these people are more thoughtful about how they spend money when they travel, and Abroad in Asia doesn’t have articles and advice on how to do that. As a result, Abroad in Asia’s click-through rate is falling. 

3. Align their pain points with the solution you provide

Now you understand their pain points, you need to identify how you can provide the solution. Think about what you have to offer:

  • What solution have you provided for another customer with the same pain point in the past?

  • What solution have you offered for a similar problem in the past?

  • Did you solve this for your employer at a full or part-time job?

  • Do you have examples of how you executed this solution and the outcome for the customer?

Mo exemplifies how he can solve Abroad in Asia’s pain points: They could benefit from Mo’s expertise because he has plenty of experience increasing click rates through articles about traveling only using points.

Now that you have the baseline understanding of a prospect’s business needs, we will begin to put your pitch together. 

Recap

  • Learned what makes a strong pitch.

  • Researched your prospect.

  • Determined your prospect’s pain points.

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