Once upon a time – a case for buyer experience and empathy to fuel growth

How do we deliver a unique buyer experience and how do we convert the buyer experience into revenue. This ancient Chinese Rice Merchant story captures this well.


Image courtesy: world4.eu

It’s no surprise that buyer experience is so critical to find, keep and grow customers. Did you know that by the year 2020 customer experience will overtake price and product as the key brand differentiator according to Walker study.

The ancient Chinese Rice Merchant Story

“In a village in ancient China there was a young rice merchant, Ming Hua. He was one of six rice merchants in that village. He was sitting in his store waiting for customers, but the business was not good.

One day Ming Hua realized that he had to think more about the villagers and their needs and desires, and not only distribute rice to those who came into his store. He understood that he had to provide the villagers with more value and not only with the same as the other merchants offered them. He decided to develop a record of his customers’ eating habits and ordering periods and to start to deliver rice to them.

To begin with Ming Hua started to walk around the village and knock on the doors of his customers’ houses asking how many members were there in the household, how many bowls of rice they cooked on any given day and how big the rice jar of the household was. Then he offered every customer free home delivery and to replenish the rice jar of the household automatically at regular intervals.

For example, in one household of four persons, on average every person would consume two bowls of rice a day, and therefore the household would need eight bowls of rice every day for their meals. From his records Ming Hua could see that the rice jar of that particular household contained rice for 60 bowls or approximately one bag of rice, and that a full jar would last for 15 days. Consequently, he offered to deliver a bag of rice every 15 days to this house.

By establishing these records and developing these new services, Ming Hua managed to create more and deeper relationships with the villagers, first with his old customers, then with other villagers. Eventually he got more business to take care of and, therefore, had to employ more people: one person to keep records of customers, one to take care of bookkeeping, one to sell over the counter in the store, and two to take care of deliveries. Ming Hua spent his time visiting villagers and handling the contacts with his suppliers, a limited number of rice farmers whom he knew well. Meanwhile his business prospered.” 

Customer Intimacy and Empathy

Why did Ming Hua’s business prosper? He spent time understanding the needs of his customers and took action to tailor the solution as per their needs.

Doing the right things to the customers and building relationships leads to stronger business and long-term success.

Why Buyer Experience Matters

The story of Ming Hua tells us why buyer experience matters and how solution providers can apply it to grow their businesses.

Even in ancient times, having products and a shop was not enough to prosper. Ming Hua understood his buyers needs and created a unique service offering that provided his buyers an added value. Once Ming Hua delivered a unique buyer experience, it automatically resulted into revenue. This added value also differentiated his business from his competitors.

In the modern times, delivering a unique buyer experience is mission critical to Solution Providers. Think about all the buyer touch points. When the buyers are looking for solutions on google, are you showing up there? When your buyers are coming to your website, are you telling them your unique value proposition or are you talking about just products. When buyers are on social media, are they discovering you as someone who is always sharing the industry trends and insights? When your sales reps are meeting your buyers, are they telling your total solution story and being responsive while engaging multiple influencers in a typical enterprise purchase process.

Why should buyers buy from you?

If you have the answer to this question, you have a unique story. I hope you are delivering that unique buyer experience via your website, social media and sales team.

Unique buyer experience means you understand the needs of your buyer and delivering a total solution tailored for their unique needs. Today, IT runs the business. You need to be someone your buyer can trust to run their IT.

IDC report says on an average, 16 influencers are involved in an enterprise technology purchase decision.

Taking care of buyers this way builds trust digitally among the multiple influencers. Buyers are more likely to take the next step with you. The responsiveness of your sales reps builds trust. Your thought leadership on social media builds trust. Being in front of more prospects increases your familiarity with the buyers.

This is the simple way to deliver unique buyer experience and convert buyer experience into revenue.

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