How to pitch to clients

Guide to pitching your ideas to clients

Working as a freelancer will mean you're often asked to respond to challenging briefs. And often finding the solution means you've got to be creative. So, how do you convince your client your idea is the right one?

In this guide, we'll share some tips for delivering better pitches:

How to pitch to clients

Create a story

There are thousands of references to how during human evolution, we've used stories to pass on experiences to ensure our survival. This has hardwired our brains to be able to process information and meaning contained in a story.

Turn your idea into a story

When pitching an idea to a client, you should play on this trait we all have. Every presentation or pitch you give should tell a story - with a start, a middle and an end.

It's tempting to jump straight to the answer, but your client will understand you so much clearer if you:

Context & Grounding

It takes a very skilled communicator to explain a big, complex concept. As a freelancer, who will often rely on email and Skype for communication, it's nearly impossible to express exactly what your idea looks like.

Practical example

Here's an experiment to highlight this. The image I want you to think of is 3 circles on a grey background. The circles are the same size and they are green, blue and yellow.

Picture that image in your head. Now press the button below to see if it's the same.

project messaging screen

Chances are the image you were thinking of looked different, even if ever so slightly. This shows the importance of giving your idea context so the client can fully understand what you're proposing.

Give your ideas context

When pitching an idea for a complicated brief (e.g., designing a website), there are a couple of ways for you to give your idea context without having to do the work for free:

Be genuinely excited

This might sound obvious but it's surprising how much of the client's decision making process depends on the excitement you convey in your pitch.

The client will often be invested in and extremely upbeat about the project they need help with. In the majority of cases, the client will chose to work with the person who shares their level of excitement.

Two freelancers can send the same client a near identical pitch, and 99% of the time, the client will choose the one that's more enthusiastic.

Proof points

The final, crucial, element in your ptich has to be proof. Evidence that your idea is going to work.

This proof or evidence could take many forms. The most commonly used methods of proving an idea will be successful are:

Previous Work

By far the best way to show an idea will work is to show how it has worked before. As a freelancer, this is where your porfolio comes in. Being able to reference successful projects you've previously worked on is an excellent way to provide evidence when pitching to a new client.

Case Studies

The next best option is to use third party case studies. You can call on successful campaigns or products your client can relate to in order to show how your idea could work for them.

Statistical Models

If your idea is unique or new to a particular application, you might find it difficult to find examples of previous work or case studies. Statistics are a way to predict the outcome of a new concept. As a freelancer, your challenge will be to present the effect of your work in a clear and easily understandable format.

For example, you might choose to visualise a prediction of your project's impact on your client's business revenue over time.

project impact over time


In summary, there are four things to remember when pitching to clients:

Other Resources

A freelancer's guide to handling client feedback

Feedback on a your work is almost guaranteed. Sometimes it's good, sometimes it's bad. But how should you respond? Find out here.

Adding references to your freelance profile

Having references on your profile helps prospective clients see you've got a proven track-record. We also use reference information when matching you with projects.

Working effectively with clients

Learn the three fundamental elements of working well with your freelance clients.

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