How Ordinary Freelancers Close Premium Clients

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What do you think do prospective clients look for the most when closing deals with freelancers?

A promising website with social proof?

Number of years of experience?

Past results?

Close, but not quite.

According to a LinkedIn State of Sales 2017 Report by Jeff Haden, the #1 most influential factor when closing a deal is…[*]

Trust. 

But let’s be honest…

Unless you’re an established freelancer with a website showcasing your best work in the past 7 years and tons of case studies that show your results, prospects would have a hard time trusting you to do a project.

Especially for 6-figure deals and above.

But not these ordinary freelancers.

These 6 freelancers have closed premium clients even if they DO NOT HAVE all—or even just one—of these “highly-paid freelancer must-haves”:

  • A high-quality website with a portfolio showing your past work
  • Social proof and testimonials from past clients
  • Results that you have delivered in the past

In fact, some have closed deals that are way more than their client’s budget.

Curious to see how they did it?

Let’s dissect their client-getting stories.

[Closing a Premium Client Story #1] Jungie closing a local e-Commerce client for Php200k a month

Jungie was offering Facebook Ads for international clients for 2 years before he found out that local clients can offer him even more.

How he found the client?

Jungie’s prospecting style is just plain genius.

Remember how we always say, ‘to go where your clients are’?

Jungie does just that.

As a FB Ads specialist, he finds possible clients on his Facebook feed. And when he saw the ad of this particular page, he noticed that it has a lot of social proof.

But he instantly spotted areas of improvement.

First point of contact

He messaged the FB Page his recommendations, an easy move that instantly made him look as an expert.

What happened next?

A week after, the owner reached out to Jungie and requested for a meeting.

And like a true-blooded Tribe member, he wanted to start with a Discovery Meeting to diagnose if there’s any problems he could help with.

So Jungie headed out for a face-to-face meeting and he found out that the client:

  • Already earns 7 figures a month (has the budget)
  • Spends almost half a million on ads (willing to invest)
  • Had difficulty increasing the cost of their ads versus the purchase (needs help)

Using all that he learned from the client, he crafted a proposal, sent it out, and endured being seen zoned for a week.

While others would simply give up and assume that the client is rejecting the proposal at this point…

Jungie persisted.

Before the YES

It took Jungie 4 follow-ups before the client opened up the objections that block the deal…

The client was intimidated by his high rate and skeptical about the result that he can get them.

Good thing John did a LIVE Facebook training on handling objections so Jungie was able to handle them.

But it did not end there.

Client, still doubtful, asked, “Eh pano kung wala talagang results?”

What closed the deal

So how did Jungie turn the tables?

He added an “Opportunities” page in his proposal where he showed the possibility of what can happen…

In a way that it’s easy to digest and grasp…

In a way that every entrepreneur talks—through numbers.

He highlighted the “the gap between the rate they are gonna pay VS the amount they will lose if pakawalan nila ako.”

And to counter the doubt of him not being able to get the results that he illustrated…

Jungie offered a money-back guarantee.

Now, this contract has become a no-brainer for the prospect.

He got the yes.

Beyond the deal

Was Jungie able to deliver?

Heck yes.

Only after a week, he was able to 6x the client’s daily sales!

A month in and he was asked to manage their ad creatives and social media for an additional Php100K a month.

But here’s the more…

The takeaway: Closing a premium client is similar to sales. It takes up to 5 follow-up calls to close 80% of the sales. So, don’t assume that clients don’t like to proceed with your proposal if you haven’t heard from them yet.

Never assume and always do a follow-up. To make follow-up messages more about the client, be sure to include something valuable in each message (i.e, adding a bonus in the package, a resource that can help the client).

[Closing a Premium Client Story #2] Diane’s first premium client experience: TWO 6-figure deals in one night

It was a time when Diane’s debt was up to the neck (lampas tao na actually according to her) when she went from literally 0 to 6 digits in one night.

Be warned, this is not a story of overnight success. This is a story of GRIT finally coming to fruition.

A little backstory

Here is how Diane started her success story—which was awarded as one of the TRIBE’S SUCCESS STORY OF THE YEAR for 2019.

She even has to pawn her wedding ring just to attend one of the TRIBE’s in-person training sessions.

But everything took a turn for the better.

It started when she got invited to join the social meetup of fellow (superstar) TRIBE members, Dina and Bea

They formed an accountability group where they challenged each other to do value posting every single day.

That’s when prospects started to reach out to her.

Enter your text here…

How she found the client?

When she committed to posting valuable content every day on Facebook, she started to attract more leads that she can count.

Her selling point is she creates websites that gets her clients leads.

First point of contact

Her inbox exploded with messages and she landed 4 Discovery Calls (DC’s) in a few weeks.

The two of the 4 DCs are with clients that she was yet to close that time.

What happened next?

She jumped on the call with these looming thoughts in her head:

  • Her TRIBE membership is about to expire and she has to renew
  • She has to get back her pawned ring by August (and it was already July)
  • It has been 7 months of trusting the process to no avail

Given her situation, it’s easy to surrender and strike a “decent deal” with the prospects.

But Diane held on to Dina’s lessons, which is to talk to the prospect without trying to close them.

That sustained her to maintain her composure throughout the call.

Before the YES

When I asked Diane if the two clients had any objections with her proposals, she replied…

Impressive for a new blood freelancer to close 2 premium clients at once…

With the clients having ZERO questions about the proposal…

And all without a website or a portfolio to boot.

What closed the deal

When asked what she thinks closed the deal this time…

Diane said that it’s because she simply positioned herself as an expert to prospects this time. And she aligned her value posting with this approach.

“Picking a niche is essential in boosting your credibility as a freelancer. Not only does it position you as an industry expert, but it also opens you up to a new tier of clients; the ones that are willing to pay the big bucks for content from an expert.”

Katie, Freelance Writer and Blogger

So instead of writing about how she can help prospects…

She established her authority by posting actionable content that helps her target clients market their own businesses.

If you’re wondering what these posts look like, here’s one of her best ones.

In it, she tips her target market on how having a guarantee can make their clients choose them.

And as an example, she simply used her own business guarantee (which is working with only 2 to clients a month to ensure work quality) and how that increases her prospects’ confidence in working with her.

She tooted her own horn, but it was nicely put that it appears as a really classy way of giving out value bombs.

Beyond the deal

Diane knew that this is the breakthrough that she needed.

She’s now confident to close more premium clients, but more than the breakthrough, she was thankful that even if…

…it took her 7 months of sticking to her niche to come to this.

…she has been praying, along with her daughters, for the future that’s yet to come (like saying thank you for the plenty clients—even if there’s really none at that point)

…she was trying to wake up like Tony Robbins, saying “This is the day when I get my clients!” at the start of every day even when nothing’s happening yet.

She was thankful that she got back on her feet even if she failed 78654321456775432145678754321 times.

She was thankful that she was able to stick to the process even everything looked bleak.

And most especially, she was thankful for the friendships she made inside the TRIBE.

The takeaway: Diane’s success is undeniably and truly her own. But what ushered her there is the presence of a freelancing community and her inner freelancing circle who were relentlessly supporting her.

Surprisingly, the African proverb, “If you want to go quickly, go alone. If you want to go far, go together.” also applies to freelancing.

[Closing a Premium Client Story #3] Daise winning a client without any outreach or pitching

Daise, a homeschooling mom of 4 kiddos and a newborn, closes clients effortlessly—without doing any outreach or pitching.

And she’s known as the Systems Slay Queen for that.

A little backstory

While she’s busy fixing herself with the help of other freelancer moms and a mindset coach, she wasn’t aware that her next premium client is already on his way to her.

First point of contact

The prospect (who turned out to be an ideal client) filled out the contact form of Daise’s website.

As to how the client found her, that’s a whole another story which we’ll cover in another blog post.

But see, that’s the beauty of having automations and systems, Daise did not need to ACTIVELY do anything to filter the inquiries and guide the prospects on what to do next.

And get this.

She only gets notified when a prospect qualifies as her ideal client.

What happened next?

After Daise received the inquiry, she jumped on a call.

Initially, the client was mindlessly looking for someone to help him…

But as to how? It was a big question mark…

The client doesn’t even know what kind of help he needs.

Then comes Daise…

As an Online Business Manager (OBM), she fully understands what clients like this need. So she first listened, like what she always does…

It was during the call when the client felt like his business has a clear direction again after a pretty long while.

Daise has given that to him.

She retells,

Before the YES

The client has already seen what Daise can do on her website, but he still did a little research about her. (Yes, clients do stalk!)

He only had one question when he found Daise’s profile: why is her availability only set to 30 hours instead of 40?

To which Daise replied, “I only put that at that for formality as I really don’t do hourly jobs anymore and I prefer a more flexible and results based work schedule.”

She added,  “Also, I don’t like being tracked, coz if I was able to finish a task in say, an hour because of my years of experience and knowledge on the matter, is it my fault?”

When the client replied with “yeah , yeah , yeah, I totally agree”, Daise knew that this was her ideal client.

Primarily because “He is very respectful of my time, which is a huge thing for a homeschooling mom of 5 like myself.

And here’s what’s even more interesting…

When this client contacted Daise at first, he actually gave a lower price range…

But Daise didn’t budge.

This isn’t the first time that she was able to convert a budget-conscious client into a high-paying one.

So after the DC and to Daise’s delight, the client agreed to the premium rate she wanted without batting an eyelash.

As to why clients don’t mind paying extra…

Ross Simmonds captured it perfectly: Clients who have a need for high impact solution are those who are willing to engage with BIG money deals.

What closed the deal

Daise felt that it was being able to give this prospect’s business a clear direction that sealed the deal,

She explained,

“When we were doing the DC kasi, I felt he was all over the place and ang dami niyang gusto gawin and it's all because of the many info he read online and he's not sure what to do first and why. So in our DC, I asked the usual questions we ask, and from there learned the best way to help him.”

She also adds that more than the DC, her sticking only to her ideal prospects also fast tracked the deal,

“Feeling ko what helped me, aside sa DC talaga is I am clear on the type of clients I want to work with, kaya I know what their pains are and I was able to elaborate it in the DC.”

Beyond the deal

Now, we know that with Daise’s systems in place, it’s not going to be a long time before her next ideal prospect gets hooked on her online (cob)web—her website, automations, and systems.

And more than the lessons, systems, and strategies, she wanted fellow freelancers to focus more on this one thing…

She wanted to influence freelancers—especially the freelancer moms—to acknowledge one’s own timeline.  

Her advice?

“Find your own definition of success. Whatever that is, make it so clear in your mind. Once that is clear, then plan on what are the steps to get there. 

And lastly, while waiting for the ‘win’, never compare. 

Instead focus your energy on your own timeline…

Be grateful for the ‘wins’ that you already have and take time to rest as well…

Instead of being in ‘hustle’ mode always, be in the ‘flow’.

Make your happiness a priority and as a compass.”

The takeaway: The websites, portfolio, and systems are NOT must-haves when starting out or in closing premium clients. But they are strong enablers of being an independent freelancer.

Because Daise has an automated in place that helps her, she can focus her energy and time on things—and people—that she cares about the most. Now we know Daise’s secret on how she’s able to run her freelancing business, homeschool the kids, and go on dates with entire family—or just with the husband on date nights.

[Closing a Premium Client Story #4] Maan charging $480 for only a single webpage copy

Premium clients coming to you? Just another ordinary day for Maan. She attracted this copywriting client through what she called an inbound marketing MAGIC.

First point of contact

One day, out of nowhere, Maan received this message on her on Facebook, “Do you also write company history?”

She replied, “I’m actually a copywriter po, but I can try and if not I can refer you to someone from my circle. By the way, may I ask how you found me?”

Prospect replied, “I just searched for a copywriter here on FB and I saw your name.”

Who knew?

Clients DO use Facebook in finding for help.

What happened next?

Following the same process, Maan invited the prospect to a call and sent a 2-page proposal afterward.

Maan confessed,

“Initially, I only plan to charge 15k for this since it’s literally just a brief company history writeup. When our group had our AC, my groupmates suggested to charge higher, so I did.

‍‍‍‍‍In my proposal I charged them 23,888 for a company history writeup. But not just any writeup, since they will use it for 3 different presentations I stated in my proposal that I will write 3 versions so they won’t need to edit it. Plus, I added some extras (free website copy edit).”

If you have THE TRIBE, you have people who will remind you how awesome you are… And that you need to charge based on the VALUE that you can give.

Before the YES

After seeing the proposal, Maan was asked to come visit the office in Makati and this is what happened…

3 days later…

She got 50% down payment in her account.

What closed the deal

Maan closed the deal right after the meeting, “Basta nung nag-usap kami I just kept on asking about the company and answering her questions. Nag-suggest din ako ng ways on how they can improve their online presence and their web copy…”

Because she dig deeper, Maan knew that the company history isn’t just going to sit in the About Page.

The company is going to use the write up for 3 different presentations that could impact the business.

She closed a premium client because she was able to do these 3 things:

  • Uncover the REAL PURPOSE of the project (so used this to justify the value of the project)
  • Provide EXTRA VALUE by including 3 versions (so the client doesn’t need to do extra work)
  • Suggest OTHER WAYS on how the company can improve (so she can truly help the business improve)

And what Maan did summarized this 10% freelancing rule for generating outstanding client results.

The takeaway: In charging premium, all you need to do is justify the value that your work is going to bring to the table. When the client realizes that, it’s going to be a no-brainer for him.

And don’t ever underestimate the power that comes with optimizing your Facebook profile. It’s a ridiculously easy way to attract premium clients.

[Closing a Premium Client Story #5] Fervil closing a $5k deal plus commissions

When Fervil volunteered to help when a fellow TRIBE member looked for an SEO expert, little did he know that his shortest Facebook comment (“interested”) would lead him to his biggest breakthrough so far.

How he found the client?

Fervil’s first premium client is a referral from a fellow Tribe Member.

A little background… the client needs SEO help to rank target keywords in Google.

First point of contact

After the member introduced him to the client, he connected with the client through email.

What happened next?

Even if the prospect is already a client of a fellow TFMT member, he still followed the CCPP process and didn’t go for the shortcut.

So, he invited the client to a Discovery Call (DC) to uncover the challenges the business is facing by asking the Single Most Important Question or simply SMIQ.

However, it turned out that the client not only has SEO challenges…

They also need fine-tuning their entire sales process for better returns.And they have a lot of underutilized assets that Fervil can use to their advantage.

However, he still has a lot of questions after the DC…

So, he sent an email with follow up questions to get insights that he needs to complete his client’s story.

When he finally has all that he needs, he shared the proposal with the tribe for them to tear it down and critique.

Gathering all the feedback, he implemented the suggestions and sent the proposal, along with a video walkthrough that explains what is written in the document.

Before the YES

After sending the proposal and the video, the client still asked for another call because they still have objections.

They’re wondering…

Could Fervil really deliver what he is promising?

What closed the deal

To answer that, Fervil led with value.

He did not say that he is CERTAIN THAT HE CAN GIVE X RESULTS.

Instead, he simply showed the possibilities of what’s going to happen should they hit an already “attainable” win (the 5% conversion rate in this picture below)…

What helped Fervil make this projection believable is knowing what “attainable” looks like for the client.

5% wasn’t random.

He arrived at this figure based on all the information that he gathered during the DC.

Plus, Fervil not only addressed the SEO part of the problem, he is giving them the strategy for an entire sales funnel that would generate an additional $50k to $250k revenue per month for his client.

Beyond the deal

Now that he has his first Tribe win, Fervil is sustaining the momentum!

As early as now, he has his first hire already who helps him create a system for reaching out, getting on calls, and creating proposals.

Plus, he’s building his authority online by guesting on FB Live podcasts.

The takeaway: When asked if you can really deliver results for a prospect, never promise anything. Instead, simply show him what you intend to do and how this could potentially impact his business—in believable and non-exaggerated numbers.

[Closing a Premium Client Story #6] Aly snatching a $3.3k deal with 20% commissions—and beating 3 other agencies

Aly is a newbie freelancer and a new college graduate who, after being misunderstood as being a tambay (because her parents don’t understand what she’s trying to do) and pressured into applying to a “real job”…

Closed a deal that’s 8x the average monthly income should she went for a day job.

And oh, she’s getting 20% commissions on top of that.

How she found the client?

For 7 days, Aly remained consistent and never missed a day of connecting.

Little did she know that one of those connects is going to be her first premium client.

First point of contact

After a full week of connecting to her prospects, one person reached back to her, “How much for your service?”.

What happened next?

To which Aly replied, “First, we need to schedule a call so that I can see what’s to improve with your business.”

THIS IS THE MOMENT THAT SHE HAS BEEN WAITING FOR!

But instead of diving in headfirst and grabbing this opportunity by the neck—

She maintained collected, trusted the process, and answered the question like a seasoned freelancer…

She proceeded to have a DC with the client. She arrived with a set of questions that she already prepared.

According to her, for a full 30 minutes during the call, she just let the client vent out all his frustrations about his business.

But she was a newbie, remember?

You must be wondering how Aly responded when the client asked about her experience…

But guess what…

After that, Aly sent in her tailored proposal…

Mind you, for a freelancing newbie with NO experience, website or portfolio, this girl has what it takes to become a badass freelancer.

Her pricing options smell of badassery.

What gave her confidence in charging premium?

She says…

“And because I knew a lot about him…. His business…his problems… struggles… and complaints…

My proposal was tailor-fit. Tumpak na tumpak…

It was answering all of his unanswered questions like “What’s wrong with my business? Why am I not getting clients? Why don’t I have clients?”

Before the YES

Of course, it wasn’t a smooth ride…

The client has objections, but Aly managed to counter them by keeping the “finding if we’re a perfect fit” mentality during the entire communication with the client.

Meaning, even if you’re too eager to close the client, don’t let it show.

Not only that…

She found out that 3 other agencies—yep, not freelancers, but AGENCIES ripe with experience, portfolio, credentials and all—were also talking to the prospect.

Freelance newbie VS 3 Agencies?

Using our CCPP processshe stood out.

Why not when she was more like a partner than just a freelancer.

What closed the deal

It was the entire pre-deal experience that groomed Aly to be seen as a partner who is interested to grow the business with the client.

And sure enough, it was exactly what the client was looking for.

Beyond the deal

After the deal, Aly is still getting inquiries, but she has to pass them off…

But here’s the plot twist that I wanted to reveal early on…

ALY WAS NOT YET A TFMT TRIBE MEMBER when she closed this deal.

Basically, she was only being guided by the FREE content that John has put together with the help of other tribe members that were generous enough to hold her hand through the process… including the lodi “Kuya/Coach John” himself… 

Update: Aly is now a TFMT Tribe Member as of August 5, 2019, 6:30 am.

The takeaway: You don’t have to wait for years of mastering the skill, a shiny high-spec laptop or another new course to be able to close a premium client… Or to be generally successful in freelancing.

Aly simply took action and used the resources that’s available to her. And she triumphed despite the setbacks.

Now, it’s your turn to close premium clients.

Use these 6 client-getting success stories as inspiration to identify, connect and close your first premium clients.

Your path may be a little different, but these strategies will always help:

  1. Learn how to identify premium clients. Closing premium deals is easier if you choose to work with clients who already have the money, the willingness to invest, and the characteristics of clients that you’re happy to work with.  
  2. Businesses who are struggling with problems or those who need to make BIG things happen are usually the ones who are willing to shell out HUGE sums of money. To spot them, you need to uncover your prospect’s biggest challenge and get to the bottom of it.
  3. Craft a tailored solution that would address that problem. More often than not, clients are the ones who need freelancers more than freelancers need them. So when they see a concrete plan that could potentially end their struggles, clients are more than willing to pay you a premium.
  4. As you get to know your target market better, you will be able to articulately elaborate their pains, paint a picture of their desires, and handle their objections like a pro
  5. In your search, you WILL get rejected. You may bruise or get your ego crushed.. You may even end up doubting yourself. But learn to trust the process. On days that you feel like you don’t believe in it, just do it anyway. Because it will work only if you are consistent and persistent enough.
Aiza Coronado Domingcil

Aiza Coronado Domingcil

Aiza writes onboarding emails that help SaaS teams get their users from sign up to success. She used to be a generalist copywriter before she joined SPAG, the first ever TRIBE that John put together. She’s also a mom of a bouncy little boy who adds a bit of crazy, but tons of love, meaning and inspiration to her freelancing days. You can connect with her on LinkedIn.