How to pitch your services to get more money [Financial Friday$]

For freelancers and independents, pitching your product and getting more money out of it is like asking for a raise.

Don’t believe me? Think on this:

When you are pitching your services or your product, you are marketing. When you are asking for a raise (or even a job), you are marketing your skills and talents — your services and products. With this established, let’s get started.

Ramit Sethi gives a great illustration about how to get a raise in his book I Will Teach You To Be Rich when he relates a story about how he helped his friend, Rachel, get a raise, and she wrote up her process for his book. These are her 5 steps:

  1. Broke down the job posting.
  2. Researched the company extensively.
  3. Prepared a spiel about her background.
  4. Called experts for their help.
  5. Actually took their advice.

Let’s break it down

Breaking down the job posting has the benefit of seeing where your credentials and background overlap. In the case of selling your skills, your job posting may or may not be listed as something the customers need or even want. This demonstrates how capable you are of fulfilling the described job. This, obviously, can be combined with #3 since you’re working with your skills and background on a point by point basis. Combine #1 and #3 from Ramit’s list to save yourself some time.

Use it for your pitch

Your prospective clients or customers have a need or desire that you can fill. Break down this need/desire line by line, characteristic by characteristic, and extract all benefits that the client might get from having this hole filled. Write down your skills and talking points from your service or product that match up with each one of these goals. This step is crucial not just to marketing, but also convincing the customer why it’s worth your price.

Research extensively

Knowing your company for a raise is key to talking knowledgeably about the company so you can persuade the management team that you are part of the team. They want someone that can fit into the company’s big picture, so it is within your best interest to persuade them that you are a good fit.

Use it for your pitch

If you’re looking to license a new invention, sell a product on a retailer’s shelf, or sell your service to an audience, then you can research your client. While clearly this is easier when you can research the client by name before going in, it’s also not impossible to research a broader audience. Start with these tips:

  • Research the company’s website
  • Visit in person if possible so you can get a better feel for the company culture
  • Look up the individuals you are to speak with and get as much information as possible on them — it’s not stalking if the information is publicly available.
  • Ask other employees for a insider’s view point — but do so discreetly.

If you don’t know your specific audience, then do some research on the background of your talking points discussed above. When you can cite research and authoritative knowledge on the topic, you  are creating a solid foundation for the audience to place their trust. Don’t forget to stay true to the emotional value that your perspective customer’s would get as well. Emotion can be the deciding factor for many people, and can sway them to take a leap of faith — granted one based on trust and backed up by science and authoritative works — on you and what you’re offering.

Call experts & follow their advice

There is nothing like calling an expert and working with them to get fresh perspective, corrective action, and a boost of confidence. The times when you consult an expert are when

  • You’ve tried before on your own and failed
  • The well meaning help of family and friends has also failed
  • You lack serious confidence or the required background skills

Use it for your pitch

When you’re close to a project, you don’t see the gaping holes that can open up while you’re focused on any other particular aspect of your work. That’s where experts can show you gaping holes in your pitch you hadn’t seen before, then help you patch them up. They give you that extra bit of confidence you need to own the meeting and persuade with confidence because they make you own up to everything and practise your pitch thousands of times.

The key, here, is to find an expert in what you want. If you need a financial expert, don’t turn to a systems expert; while their skills and interests overlap, they don’t do the same thing.

Combine and win

It takes work and preparation, but combine all these things together before you pitch your product or service to your prospective clients or partners. By having all the information in hand, a solid plan, and a solid pitch, you can get the money you want and deserve for your work.

Image credit: ozyrus (Lukas) on DeviantArt,

“Getting money for our products and services is often like marrying for money.”

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