If you’ve ever had a potential client disappear after you’ve talked to them about working together, you may be a victim of “proposal purgatory.” Find out why this is one of the most common mistakes you can make as a freelancer — and how to fix it once and for all.
Today, I want to talk about one of the biggest mistakes I see new freelancers make when trying to sign clients.
This mistake is why so many freelancers can get on one call after another with a potential client…
But when the time comes to actually move forward with a project, nothing happens.
It’s a problem I like to call “proposal purgatory.”
And I’m going to share a simple way to fix this problem right now — so you can stop clients from ghosting after you send them a proposal and get them to sign with you instead.
Plus I’m also going to reveal a “top-secret” sales technique that can bring you even more clients…
But that is only for more-experienced freelancers. (Since it’s so powerful, it can also backfire when used in the wrong context.)
To Start, Imagine You’ve Had A Discovery Call With A Potential Client…
You have a solid understanding of the current state of their business. And you know that your services can help them reach their goals.
So you put together a proposal to showcase how you can help them. And you include three different options — with different prices and deliverables — so they can find the best option for their needs and budget.
From there, you either have a call with the client to discuss your proposal and then follow up with an email. Or maybe you just email the proposal without the call if the potential client would prefer that.
Either way, the final sentence in this email has the power to get the client to sign with you right away…
Or leave you stuck in “proposal purgatory” — where you lose momentum and the project ultimately falls apart.
Because One Of The Most Important Parts Of Closing New Deals Is How You Lead Your Potential Clients Through Your Sales Process
And a less-experienced freelancer will end their email with something like…
“Let me know what you think.” or “Let me know what you’d like to do.”
While a pro will say something like…
“Let me know which option works best for you, and I will send over the invoice right away.”
Now at first glance, this may seem like a minor difference.
But to borrow a popular quote — “Small hinges swing big doors.”
And little details like this can actually have a massive impact on your ability to get clients.
Because asking the potential client “what they think” is broad and open-ended. And that makes it harder for them to know what they need to do next.
While asking “which option works best” is specific.
And it makes it crystal clear to the client what their next steps are.
On Top Of That, The “Pro” Response Also Shows That You Are Proactive About Moving Things Forward
Since it not only tells the client exactly what they need to do next. But it also explains what you will do after that — in this case, that you will send an invoice.
And that helps put the potential client’s mind at ease. Since they know once they give you an answer, it’s not going to backfire and create a bunch more work for them.
Instead, all they have to do is select the option they want. Then you will take care of the rest from there.
Now for most freelancers, just making this change to start leading potential clients through the sales process — instead of asking the client what they want to do next — can help you close a ton more deals.
However There’s Also An Even More Advanced Way To Lead Your Prospects Through Your Sales Process
But I’m a little nervous to share it with you.
Because it’s easy to take this approach too far.
And if you do, it can cause you to lose clients instead of signing them.
So consider this your warning — do not try this until you’ve built up a solid foundation with your ability to sell new clients.
Since it takes a lot of nuance and personal skills to pull this off.
With This Advanced Approach, You Finish Your Email By “Assuming” The Project Will Be Moving Forward
For example, you could say something like…
“Let me know which option you’re going to move forward with and I’ll get you an invoice right away.”
Notice how this reply subtly suggests that the client has already committed to the project — based on the previous conversations up to this point.
So they are going to move forward.
And it’s just a matter of figuring out the details for exactly what the deliverables and project scope will be.
In other words, this approach makes the client feel like it’s “too late” for them to back out.
Because everything they’ve done leading up to this point has shown they’re committed to working with you.
And by leaning into that commitment, you can get more potential clients off the fence and onto your active roster.
But it also requires that you actually create those commitments along the way.
Where during your sales process, you’re getting the potential client’s buy-in after each step.
Because if you don’t, it can make your client feel like you’re being too aggressive or desperate when you use this approach.
And that will make them think twice before working with you.
Which is why this is an advanced technique that you must use with caution.
But at the same time, I don’t know anyone else sharing advanced freelance sales techniques like this.
So I felt like I had an obligation to share it for the Pro-Lancers who can use this approach responsibly.
Since they don’t have many other places to turn for guidance like this.
Now Let Me Show You How To Make Freelance Clients Come To You — Like Clockwork — Using A Simple, 30-Second Conversation…
All the details are inside my free business blueprint 30-Second Referrals.
With this free PDF, you’ll discover how to use a simple, 30-second conversation to get two referrals from every single client you sign. (I’ll even show you exactly what to say during this conversation with my word-for-word script on page 13.)
That way, you can make clients come to you like clockwork. And you can fill your pipeline with more new business than you can handle.
But there is a small catch…
30-Second Referrals is only available to members The Freelance Like A Pro email list.
So enter your best real email below to join us and claim your free copy of 30-Second Referrals now. (And you’ll get my members-only emails to help you run a more profitable and stress-free freelance business, too.)
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Thanks for the freelancing guide and the emails that you've been sending out — the 30-second referral method is so stupidly simple, that it's genius!Connor Inch, Freelance Copywriter