4 ways to avoid sounding salesy in your freelance cold pitches

getting clients Jun 13, 2021

Afraid of sounding salesy in your cold messages to clients?

Most new freelancers are afraid of annoying people, which is what keeps them from cold pitching. We must ABOLISH this fear of reaching out, because cold pitching is the best way to build a freelance business from scratch.

In this post, I’m going to share the top 4 elements of a cold pitch message that ensure your message doesn’t sound salesy. 

Let's begin by understanding what people mean when they say they don't want to be salesy.

Usually, it stems from a fear of rejection. The fear is that they will not only not get a response to their cold pitch, but that the person on the other end will be annoyed that you reached out. Or you’ll say the wrong thing and ruin your chances of getting the client in the first place.

Second, you may be worried that by contacting directly, you're somehow being overly aggressive or bold. The “secret sauce” to successful cold pitching isn’t just about the perfect message, it’s about your mindset. 

If you’re going to repeat one mantra throughout your cold pitch journey, let it be this:

“This is a number’s game, and nothing is personal.”

When you remind yourself that you are playing a numbers game, you can do what you need to do to succeed as a freelancer

What’s the secret to writing non-salesy messages to your ideal freelance clients?

Here’s the secret: Personalization.

Personalization is what distinguishes a marketing email from a personal message that requires a response. The fact is, we open messages that are personalized to us.

To get traction, however, it takes a significant amount of cold pitching, so we need a way to personalize our messages efficiently so we won't need to spend all day researching our clients.

Here are 4 ways to personalize your first LinkedIn message so that it cuts through the noise and gets responses:


1. Address them by first name ONLY

“Hello Bob,” “Greetings Bob,” and spelling their name wrong are all red flags that a message is spam or automated.

I was taught this trick early on in my sales career: Just write their first name with a comma.



I’m reaching out because…

It’s direct, gets to the point, and puts you on their level because you’re not softening how you address them.

2. Immediately state why you’re reaching out to them

No beating around the bush. No openers, no pleasantries. No: “I stumbled across your profile…”

Come straight out and just say: “I’m reaching out to see if you need help with your content marketing strategy.”

Because your client is receiving a lot of irrelevant, erroneous offers, by immediately stating why you're reaching out, you're ensuring that what you're offering is relevant to their life.

3. State why you’re qualified to write for them

Saying you’re a copywriter isn’t enough and isn’t compelling. The reason why you’re qualified to write for them is where your niche comes in. Mention that you’ve worked for clients just like them and that you’ve helped other clients with their exact problems.

“I write for health and wellness companies like X, X, and X.”


“I write blog posts and Facebook ads for start-ups in the mental health niche”

And yes, you should still include this sentence even if you’re brand new and don’t have clients yet.

4. Mention something personal about them or their brand

Ending your message with something personal about your client or their company is just like answering that classic interview question ‘why do you want to work for us?’

It's important to show companies that you are committed to them and aren't just looking for clients. I usually give them a compliment on their web copy, their blog, or a recent interview.

There’s no way to research every company you message, but you can call out something specific to show that this isn't just a mass message and that you INTENDED to reach out to them.

The bottom line sending non-salesy cold messages

Even though your first message on LinkedIn will be short, you can still include these 4 elements to make it super compelling and effective.

  • Always address them by their first name as if you already know them and with no extra fluff.
  • Be very direct about why you’re reaching out to avoid any confusion and ensure them you meant to reach out to them specifically
  • Include why your experience and niche make you a perfect fit to write for them. Being a writer isn’t enough you need to be a specialist.
  • Show that you did your homework. it will only take a few minutes of your time but it shows you reached out to them specifically and that this isn’t just some auto-generated mass message.

You’re more than capable. You got this!

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