3 Steps to Successfully Communicating With an External Partner

We all understand how great it is to have an awesome, easy partner – whether you are an agency or a client. But we also understand what it’s like dealing with difficult ones too. Have you ever stopped to think that maybe the problem isn’t the other party, but your method of communication? Enventys Partners takes pride in efficient, productive, and effective client communication to ensure a smooth relationship. I’ve taken three of our crucial client communication strategies that, when used in unison, are destined for success.

  1. Understand Your ClientThe first, and probably most important step, is understanding your client. You need to know what type of person or people you’re dealing with because we all know how radically different clients can be. Some questions you may want to ask yourself include:
    1. How does this client prefer to communicate? Is it by phone, email, skype?
    2. How often do they communicate?
    3. Is their communication style more casual or professional?
  2. Develop the Right Communication Strategy and Use the Right ToolsNext, you’ll want to form a communication strategy for each individual client based on your answers from bullet #1.
    1. How does this client prefer to communicate?
      Take this information and run with it. If they’re always contacting you on Skype, chances are an email isn’t the quickest way to get a response, or communicate.
    2. How often do they communicate?
      If your client lets you Take The Lead, and hardly ever reaches out to you, then a weekly/monthly update email may be just enough to satisfy that client. However, if your client is always contacting you and constantly inquiring about what is going on, then you better be in touch with that client on a regular basis. Want to go above and beyond? Again, send weekly, or even daily, update emails (or Skype messages!).
    3. Is their communication style more casual or professional?
      This is relatively self-explanatory, but you should mimic your client’s communication style. Please note, I’m not telling you to swear over phone calls with your client if that is what they do while on a call, but simply shed your “professional” tone and speak more casually – within reason. If your client is extremely professional over the phone, then it’s simple – be professional back.

At Enventys Partners, one of our favorite communication tools is Basecamp, a project management software. We use Basecamp for all client communication, which allows users to add important dates to a calendar, make to-do lists, collaborate on documents, upload and store files, track time and more. However, if you have a partner who prefers to communicate over the phone, we recommend you send out a summary email of the call right after the call has ended – in this case, via Basecamp. This way, you have everything on record and your team members are all on the same page.

  1. BE AVAILABLE!You’re setting yourself up for failure if you carry out Steps #1 and #2, but forget Step #3. It doesn’t matter if your client rarelycontacts you or contacts you every hour on the hour. If they’re reaching out to you at any time, you need to respond promptly. I’m not going to put a time limit on your response, but it should absolutely be within a few business hours, or even after hours if that’s when they are accustomed to communicating. Helpful hint: the sooner the better!

Client communication doesn’t have to be as bad as it’s worked up to be. The more you practice, the better you will be at communicating with any and all of your clients because you’ll learn different communication styles and how to attack each one.