Should I E-mail or Call Him?

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not about clinging to the “good old days” when thank you notes were sent on stationery and not via e-mail, and people used their mouths to have every day conversations instead of their fingers.  I e-mail and text with the best of them.

But certain things are best done the “old fashioned” way.

My client Eric, a successful business coach, wrote me this letter yesterday:

Ouch!  My client is telling me that he needs to stop working with me because he has a cash flow issue, and I can believe that. But another interpretation is that  I have not been supplying value to him lately, at least to justify my fee.  I intend to email him and ask him which was the actual reason–cash flow or value.   If it’s cash flow, then that’s fine (unless I can help him in some way to immediately increase it).  However, if it’s perceived value, then I would like to offer him a free coaching session to see if I can start being more productive for him.

Eric asked me to let him know if I had any coaching for him before he made his call.   Here’s what I wrote about the cash flow issue:


You’re right, that’s painful.  It could honestly be a cash flow issue–and not necessarily one that has arisen because of some deficiency in the value you’ve given him.  Even when I’m at my brilliant best, not all my clients can execute, and not everything they try works, so it doesn’t always turn out as well as we hoped.  If they fail to execute enough times, they don’t have the money keep investing in coaching.

But then I went on to talk about his desire to e-mail his client to ask about the actual reason:

“E-mail is a wimpy approach in this situation.  Connect with him on the phone and talk.  You may be able to coach him into finding a way to start improving the cashflow immediately, or, if it isn’t a value issue, you might be able to cut your number of sessions back, rather than eliminate them.” 

I tell my clients that there is a heirarchy of effective personal communications which usually translates:  The more difficult way is the better way.  Don’t e-mail if a letter would be more effective.  Don’t type a letter if a hand-written note would be more effective.  Don’t send a note if a phone call would be more effective. And don’t call if a face-to-face meeting would be more effective.  The extra effort is usually worth your while.

Contact me now and let me help you make your client communications stronger, and keep REACHING…


Ken Lonyai says:

I couldn’t agree more. When there’s a simple communication, e-mail or text is great. When there’s a nuance, such as the problem described above, it needs personal interaction.