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Freelance Sales 101

Most freelancers suck at sales. Pro freelancers are really good at it. Here is a sales flow that works 100% of the time.

Alex Dovhyi
Alex Dovhyi
2 min read
Freelance Sales 101
Credit: Keenan Beasley

Freelancers often overlook the selling process. Yes, selling may seem awkward. When you sell, you may feel exhausted. When you're freelancing, you can hate the idea of selling.

However, the reality remains that a solid sales process is critical to the sustainability of your freelance business. Independent creatives who thrive in the freelancing market have a well-established sales strategy.

By the way, getting over the mindset that "sales are icky" is the first step toward controlling your sales calls. It doesn't have to be that way if you're focused on truly solving a common problem for your potential clients or if you believe in the value of your work.

So, once you've overcome the belief that sales are unethical or that you're "not good at sales," you can start preparing your sales calls.

Sales flow structure

The sales flow tends to go like this:

  1. Research
  2. Structure
  3. Talking about pricing
  4. Proposals
  5. Negotiation
  6. Portfolio specifics


Nothing can be worse than joining a sales call and knowing nothing about the client you are speaking to.

Before the meeting, do your homework:

  • Check their LinkedIn
  • Website
  • Social media
  • People who work there
  • They won't mind, I promise.


It may appear challenging to structure your sales calls, yet they are all essentially the same.

Typically, the structure will look like this:

  • Introduction
  • Business & industry overview
  • Problem statement
  • Existing solutions (if any)
  • Potential ways to solve the problem
  • Next steps and follow-up calls


The client may ask about pricing right away.

Explain that all pricing is custom, depending on the scope of work.

Ask if they had a potential budget and timeline in mind.

⚠️ You should have your pricing figured out before accepting any clients!

A good rule of thumb is that if clients are heavily objecting to your pricing, they will be difficult to collect payments from in the future.

If you want to learn more, I highly recommend checking Tom Hirst’s thread on pricing 👇


Have a standard proposal format where you can add everything the client mentioned on your call.

Provide an estimated timeline and budget for the project.


A lot of people don't know this, but...


If a client wants to work with you, they will pay your prices 😎

However, you are responsible for a part of this.

  • Based on the industry you're in
  • The types of firms you want to engage with, and
  • The type of work you're doing

You should price your services accordingly.


When preparing for a sales call, consider what the client is looking for.

If you have completed similar projects, be sure to link these right away and explain the results; if you have a testimonial from those clients, even better.

If you haven't completed any similar work in the past, there are two ways to go around:

  • Explain how you would tailor the past project to their specific requirements
  • Create a relevant portfolio piece (thank you, Captain Obvious)

If you don't have any related work – make one.

It doesn't have to be a fully-fledged project with all details.

5-10 simple screens showcasing the fundamental features can be enough to prove your capabilities and land a project.

Alex Dovhyi Twitter

Product designer exploring design’s interplay with product, business, and technology, and answering your questions about freelancing, career, and personal growth.