Survey Results and Analysis How Freelancers Close the Deal

Summary: A 16-minute video detailing the findings of a survey I conducted last week

I just shot a 16-minute video detailing the findings of a survey I conducted last week.  The survey focused on how many quotes turn into paid work.

More than 2,500 freelancers responded! I drilled down into the numbers and found some very interesting patterns.

At the end, I also give out some advice on what you can do to improve your own closing ratios.

Survey Results & Analysis

Download MP3 Audio

Want to take a deeper dive into this topic? I've just opened enrollment to a brand-new online training program titled:

"Close the Deal: How to Turn More Prospects Into Clients"

My colleague Ilise Benun and I will show you how to engage the prospect in a productive conversation. And how to screen inquiries and potential prospects much faster and more accurately. You'll come out of this program knowing how to:

  • Ask better questions earlier in the process
  • Accurately determine the prospect's need and price sensitivity
  • Identify red flags sooner
  • Position yourself as the obvious choice
  • Quote more confidently
  • Create "knock your socks off" proposals

And how to use these strategies to close 80% or more of every project you quote. The first session starts on Thursday, November 14. So check it out today! Learn More

  • Design101

    Word to the wise... post the graph and give the option of sitting through a 15 min video or not

  • Jon Pietz

    This is an interesting breakdown, Ed. I agree that every profession on this list can improve their results with the advice you're giving. And for those in particularly competitive situations, or those seeking larger contracts, the extended course could be very worthwhile.

    Each of these professional categories has different circumstances in pitching new business, and I can project why designers and illustrators would have among the highest closing rates—their work is so tangible when shown, which gives them built-in differentiation. But beyond that, conscious positioning really counts. The right clients are willing to pay much more for a designer who can connect what they do with business results.

    IMHO, positioning is where it's at for any business. The other tools in the kit are the signs of professionalism and the packaging that make your claim more believable.

    Thanks for your no-nonsense, efficient approach to landing more business and weeding out the time wasters. Even for those of us who have done this for a while, it's great to revisit the fundamentals, and learn some new techniques. You have a great ability to zero in on what counts.

    • edgandia

      Thanks, Jon! Appreciate the feedback.

  • An SEO consultant

    Positioning yourself strategically is definitely the most important thing and will help improve success rate. But I think you are missing something. Being asked for quotes by unqualified clients is normal for someone like myself, who does SEO and internet marketing consulting, as well as for other consultants and writers too. Qualifying clients before sending a quote is much easier for designers, but when someone approaches us they often have little idea of how much it would cost OR they base the decision largely on price.

    In the case of a designer, the client sees the portfolio, likes it and then requests a quote. In my case the client cannot see a strategy I made for someone else, only my references, so he asks for a list of the actions I shall do and how much they might cost and then we talk details. In the case of writers there is a lot of competition, price is crucial and clients shop around even more. So for some of us quoting is more like part of the qualifiying process, hence the low closing rates. Mine are actually not very low because SEO is long term so I rarely take new projects, but for those who look for work often it makes sense they would need to do lots of quotes.

    • Mallory

      I agree that a lot of times people are asking for prices because they really have little or no idea what it costs. Or what things really entail. They are researching.

      • Mallory

        Not sure how I got listed as a SEO consultant, I have a graphic and web design firm.

        • Czarina Anita Pollock

          You did not create a new thread, you responded to the guy above you and the arrow next to your name means that you are replying to him...

      • edgandia

        Hi Mallory -- see my response above.

      • Czarina Anita Pollock

        Ask the question "compared to what" when someone says that something is too expensive. If they have never done anything but talk to you, you can probably get them back to buying from you. Pretty simple little trick that I have learned recently-I used to be a push over on the subject of cost and found that I was undercutting any profit by meeting them where they wanted to be.

    • edgandia

      I understand exactly what you mean. However, I've found that the right positioning helps attract clients whose first question won't be "How much does this cost?" Instead, they'll already have a budget (or can make a reasonable budget available) and will be willing to engage in a discussion early in the process.

      There's a local pizza joint where I live that always has a line out the door. The pizzas are $20 $30 each, so they're not cheap. Yet most people who go there don't even ask how much they cost. They've just heard that they're amazing. So they stand in line. And once they've tried it, they keep coming back.

      At the same time, there are other pizza restaurants in town that make price an issue. They're constantly competing on price and promotions, so the first question they often field from a phone orders is, "How much is a large two-topping pizza?"

      My point is this: Only you can decide what kind of business you want to run. Don't buy into the "This is the only way to do it" thinking. The right positioning and message will immediately screen out prospects who want to ask the "price" question first. And it will attract those who are more savvy and are more concerned about other factors.