What Message Are Your Customers Longing To Hear?

I was driving through town today and noticed a new hair salon. Lovely looking place, modern and professional, but that isn’t what caught my attention.

It was the sandwich board out front that very simply said “We Listen.”

I felt like hallelujah music ought to start playing, or fireworks should go off! It was like that sign was put out front just for me!

Granted, I recently got a hair cut that I hate and it has had me stewing for days.

And that’s what it boils down to, I feel like the hairdresser did not listen to me at all.

She ignored my requests and she ignored what I told her about my hair. I don’t know a thing about cutting hair, so I rely on the expertise of the person I hire for the job. But I know my hair and my needs better than she does, so I rely on her to listen to me. It is a simple professional relationship.

You are the expert at the product or service you offer to your customers. The key is communicating to your people that you are the right person for the job.

How does your expertise differ from that of your competitors? What can you do to solve the problems of your ‘right people.’ What is your target audience desperately hoping to find? What message do you need to put out on your ‘sandwich board’?

Not sure how to figure out what message your right people really need to hear from you? Ask them. Send out a survey. Ring up your clients for some feedback. Chat with fans of your facebook page. Interact on the pages, blogs and forums where your target market hangs out. Engage with people. Be genuine and real and listen to what people are saying, or not saying for that matter.

In the end, I must have passed a dozen hair salons as I did the school run, took my toddler to playgroup and stopped to pick up groceries.

The only one that stands out to me, the only one I ever intend to ring up for an appointment, is the one that told me “We Listen.”

What message do you think your customers are longing to hear? Share in the comments.

{top image credit}

Karen Gunton

Karen Gunton is a blogger, teacher, and creative designer. her passions are helping women in biz get unstuck and brainstorming awesome ideas for little businesses. she developed the online workshop “Visual Marketing DIY” to teach people how to easily create their own images for marketing their business in a way that will stand out from the crowd.




  1. Martina Iring

    This is a fantastic real world example Karen! It really speaks to the need of communicating the benefits your customers get by choosing your business. A traditional sandwich board would have read something like “we cut hair”. We must get away from simply describing our businesses and focus on why we’re awesome. Not only will customers appreciate it, but it can really help you stand out from the crowd.

    My sandwich board? Figure out what’s right for YOUR business.

  2. Alissa

    This isn’t that easy! What if we just have an online business? How do you suggest we get the conversation started there? On facebook? On an email blast? You got me thinking now….

    • karen gunton

      it is definitely not that easy! we are so close to our own business, it is almost easier to help someone else with their biz message…
      yes – i think facebook, twitter, your blog (if you have one), your email list… these are all places you can start listening to what your customers have to say. for instance i have a photography business so i could ask: the last time you booked in for a family photograph what was that experience like? or… what do you find most frustrating about taking your child’s photograph? or… after your last session what was the hardest part about choosing/ordering photos? what was the best/worst photography session you ever had? why?
      people don’t have to be your customers to provide you with feedback, but do consider the feedback you get from your ‘right people’ vs the ‘not right’ ones – for instance feedback about ‘affordable’ is relative, you want to get to the underlying needs instead – that will help you figure out what your biz needs to be. =)

      • Alissa

        Why do you buy online?
        What was the experience like?
        What reasons would you shop us vs………?
        What do you enjoy about shopping online?
        What would make our website easier to use?
        What would you improve if you were the “designer”


  3. Helen @ Business Plus Baby

    It’s so simple but so easy to get wrong, isn’t it? Whenever I feel myself wandering off track with my business the solution is usually to ask a question and then listen to the answer! My favourite ‘board’ lately is Ryan Lee’s ‘Success simplified’ (ryanlee.com). The world of internet marketing and business coaching is confusing and complicated, it’s really refreshing to see a tagline like this. As for my own board, I’ll have to get back to yoi!

    • karen gunton

      i find it easier to figure out what another business’s message should be, rather than my own. that is why it is good to have mentors and fellow biz builders to bounce ideas off of; a fresh set of eyes, so to speak! =)

  4. karen gunton

    i think ‘we listen’ could work for almost any business. really, isn’t that what we all want when we hire someone? it is kind of sad that it is remarkable when it happens. but as biz owners we need to take advantage of that and figure out what our people really need from us =)

  5. Kelly

    It’s so true Karen .. in business I feel the happiest clients are those who been communicated to the best! As a designer we often hear clients say “my old designer never did what I asked, they just did what they wanted”. Which is so frustrating to hear! Maybe we should put a “We Listen” sandwich board out the front too!

  6. Heather Allard

    LOVE this, Karen.

    I think my sandwich board would say:

    You can do it. I can help.

    Sure, it’s what Home Depot says, but it definitely applies to The Mogul Mom, too. 🙂

    • karen gunton

      yes! that works perfectly for the mogul mom =)


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