Why won't your client return your call?

Learn your clients' communication style

Think of all the methods we use to communicate with each other, in our personal life and our business life: phone, text, FaceTime, email, Skype, Basecamp, Zoom, Slack, Go-to-Meeting, Google docs, shared calendars, Facebook messenger, Instagram, Snapchat.

When we start working with a new client, we are building a new relationship. We are learning about each other. Clear and efficient communication is essential to successful projects and smooth interactions. We are building on a foundation of likability, trust, and understanding.

In the marketing business, we are accustomed to our fast-moving processes. We use tracking software and project management tools every day. We are so eager to start working with our new clients that we get them set up in our systems with their own passwords and a few directions on how to get started. Then we wonder why we haven’t heard from them. We can’t imagine why they haven’t approved the design or the copy.

In addition to managing expectations about deliverables, it is crucial to establish the methods of communication that will be used before work begins.

As early as the pitch stage, you may want to share with your client how your work flow proceeds and which systems you use to keep everyone in the loop.


Ask how your client likes to be contacted. Do they prefer to talk on the phone? Do they want to receive texts? Do they respond best to email? Do they make themselves available during specific times of the day?

Ask if they have used your type of systems before.


Be ready with directions and tutorials on how to get started.


Be prepared if your client is not an instant convert. They might not tell you that they never signed in or don’t understand how to use the system. You just don’t hear from them. Some clients will outright refuse to use your systems.


She is a valuable client and has not once followed the link to the google doc you need her to approve. Accommodate her. Even if doing so adds more time to the process.

We are not in the business to make clients adapt to our processes. We are getting paid to please the client.

Once you have established the method of communication that your client feels most comfortable using, inform the rest of your team. “Mrs. Hopkins prefers to text rather than talk on the phone.” “Mrs. Hopkins wants to receive a word doc instead of reviewing content in Google docs.”

A little extra time up-front spent understanding how to communicate best with your client will save you hours and frustration later on in the process when deadlines are tighter.

Happy clients = Happy you.

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