If you are interested in how to layout a 6-Week Summer Success Plan, check out episode 129 that comes with a free downloadable!
3 Essential Steps for Freelance Grant Writers to Pitch Services
Why is this important?
Well, it’ll do the following things for you Freelance Grant Writers and Nonprofit Consultants:
- Create relationships on and offline
- Develop & nurture warm leads
- Give you a plan of how to start the pitch discussion
#1: Reframe Your Thinking from When Do I Ask for Money to What Problems Do I Solve?
Sales. Yep, you got to have them to keep your business afloat, but many of us do not want to appear to be pushers. Maybe asking for money for your services makes you feel like a slimy salesperson. But what I found is the real deep-seated issue is we do not want to be rejected. We are vulnerable when we put ourselves out there and do risk rejection.
Oddly enough that is something many people do not think about before they start a freelance company or become a consultant.
Many nonprofit leaders also go through a similar emotional rollercoaster when they are asking donors for funding. They feel almost embarrassed to ask for money and they start sweating!
So how can you even get to find out what you want to charge when you have sweaty palms and aren’t sure even how to ask for money?
Well, part of it is to change your thinking. If you go from What Should I Charge or even When Should I Talk About My Prices to What Problems Do I Solve? then you will be more confident in discussing your prices.
In this way, a lot of the pressure is off YOU and now on the problem. We all love to find solutions to problems and to be considered problem-solvers, so it really does change the emotional perspective that is often related to sales.
So, the answer to When do I ask for money? is, well, before you ask for money you show the solution to a problem that you can solve.
For example, you would not want to just walk up to a nonprofit leader and introduce that you are a grant writer and advertise what your prices are before they even know you.
Instead, you might ask them about their nonprofit and let them first talk because they will tell you ALL about it! After all, that’s what they are passionate about 😊. After they tell you all the ins and outs of their nonprofit and you listen, then they are sure to ask you what you do!
You can definitely let them know you are a grant writer, but then turn the dialogue around and start asking about some of their wins and challenges with grant writing. If you let them talk, they will surely let you know! In fact, after they tell you they don’t have time or stamina to write grants and wish they could pursue more grants, then a majority of the time they will start asking you questions about how you can solve their problems, i.e. “What grants have you written?” and more.
This leads you to tell them how you solve their problem. For example, “Oh yes, I work with nonprofits in streamlining programs, developing budgets, and getting their ducks in a row to be competitive for funding. In fact, I’ve gotten $X amount of funding for nonprofits and love advancing the missions of the nonprofits I work with.”
Let them ask you for more information after you give them a tagline on how you solve these specific problems. Chances are you will be asked one, or both, of the following questions:
How do I get an appointment with you?
How much do you charge for grant writing?
Now, this is an in-person scenario, but don’t forget this personable conversation when you go online. Because most people forget. Completely.
#2: Create / Share Valuable Content that Solves the Problems
You might be afraid to ask for money or to let people know about your services in person, but I see the flipside online. A lot of freelancers only post about their services online. The Instagram board and every post is about selling their services. This is a little ironic because you wouldn’t do that in person, but it’s overload online.
But I get it. Online you are creating content and your services are what you create. So what else can you share?
Find valuable tips and resources to share!
You can create value, share value, or do a hybrid approach.
A. Creating Value
Creating value is where you actually create something unique. Some examples of these include:
- Podcasting! Where you do solo episodes like I am doing today and teaching you something.
- Blogging / Writing Articles: You can write something unique and share it with your tribe! You can post on your website, on LinkedIn as an article, etc.
- Downloadables and Checklists: This is something that you create and usually something you created for your own business first and found useful.
B. Sharing Value
This is when you haven’t created something, but you share valuable information that solves the problem of your audience.
- Curating articles (others have written) that you think your tribe would find useful. The ironic thing about this is that the more you share solutions with your tribe – even if you haven’t created it –will result in you becoming the expert.
- Sharing grant application opportunities that are released
- Sharing new trends and forecasts about funding and grants
- Sharing information about technology that helps nonprofits. This could be reviewing the best foundation databases or where to get nonprofit discounts on Adobe.
C. Hybrid Approach
This is where you do both!
- Writing summaries of new policies (think OMB super circular) so that they are written in laymen terms.
- Podcast interviews: When I interview people, I am not creating their content but I am creating the podcast however, I am leveraging their expertise to help solve a problem that freelance grant writers face.
So those are a few ideas of items that you can share. Maybe even when you were having that hypothetical conversation with the nonprofit, they could have mentioned that one of their problems is that all their budgets are in different formats. If you have an article you wrote on budget formats, you could ask them for their card and let them know you would send them a link to that article.
Now you are turning that cold lead into something warm.
But what about the online conversation?
It will be very similar.
#3: Implement the “Give, Give, Give, Ask” Approach
Okay, I love this “Give, Give, Give, Ask” concept or what Gary Vaynerchuk refers to as the “Jab, Jab, Jab, Right Hook” approach.
Basically, you don’t want to say “Hire me! Hire Me! Grant Writing Services Available!” on every post. You wouldn’t do that in person and online it is even a colder sell.
So, now that you have an idea of valuable content you can share besides just your services do more of sharing your value. For example, lead your value-based posts with something like: “If you are X, you will want to read/watch/listen/download this because it will solve X problem.”
Then drive them to that specific problem-solving value proposition. Sure, at the bottom of that article, at the end of the podcast or YouTube episode, or at the end of the checklist you can definitely advertise your services. But first, solve a problem.
But Holly, my services solve their problem! I can’t just give it away!
I am not saying that, but I am saying you are going to want to give them a tiny solution of some sort. It can just be a tiny step of the overall big problem, but it will reduce their problem and simultaneously endorse your credibility. And that is huge!
Remember you give value, give value, give value, then you can ask for sales! In this way, your tribe will be wanting to buy something! It would almost feel a little strange if you don’t let them know how they can pay you back! And most of the time, just like the in-person scenario, many people will even send you an email and ask what your services are if you don’t have them posted! So, make sure you post your services, but they aren’t your main talking points!
Next week, we will go into how to make a content calendar for your value! But for this week, I really want you to do the following:
- #1: Reframe Your Thinking from When Do I Ask for Money to What Problems Do I Solve?
- #2: Create / Share Valuable Content that Solves the Problems
- #3: Implement the “Give, Give, Give, Ask” Approach
Be sure to tag @hollyrustick and let me know what you are doing to create value!
If you didn’t listen, last week’s episode is quickly becoming a popular one! Grab your free 6 Week to Summer Success Toolkit that accompanies the podcast.
See what I did there? 😉 Wink-wink. Value-add problem solver!
List of Sources and Data
- Jab, Jab, Jab, Right Hook by Gary Vaynerchuk
- Daring Greatly by Brene Brown
- Episode 129: Freelance Grant Writers: 6-Weeks to Summer Success Toolkit