In 1998, when Honda set up its first car showroom in Karnataka, people doubted its longevity. What took them by surprise was the location. For, at the time, save for a few MNC clusters, Whitefield was an almost barren wasteland. But one wise car dealer spotted an opportunity that was strategically concealed in the form of IT/ITES projects.
Foreseeing a huge influx of a new buyer class, fondly called the ‘techies,’ the dealership was confident of making good business. And they were right. For these techies came, saw and purchased new Hondas, and in a hiatus of 14 years, over 15,000 cars were sold. After that, there was no looking back. Today, Whitefield Honda is a household name.
What made the journey even more eventful for Whitefield Honda was the dramatic entry of
M Ramdas, who is currently heading its sales and operations. Ramdas, who started out as a sales consultant in 2000, played a pivotal role in increasing Honda car sales by implementing innovative business strategies. His determination and dedication helped him climb the corporate ladder, one baby step at a time and, today, he stands proud as the Asst General Manager of Whitefield Honda.
“But I had a humble beginning," he admits. "Before joining Whitefield Honda, I started off by selling used cars. I made my share of mistakes, learnt from them, and today, I am both cautious and confident, when it comes to selling cars. The best part is I love what I am doing and it's lot of fun,” says Ramdas.
But car sales was something he wasn’t keen on—at least not in the beginning. “I wanted to join the armed forces. My dad and my brother served in the army. But I couldn't manage to get through because of health reasons. But otherwise, while in college, I was actively involved in NCC,” he says. Most of what he learnt during his NCC days is turning out to be a value-add in running the car business.
Attention to detail is something Ramdas is particular about. “While I believe in sticking to basics, there are certain simpler aspects that are bound to make a great difference, when it comes to winning customers," he says.
Stressing on the importance of how the staff presents themselves, he says: “I am very particular when it comes to presentation. I strongly believe that a well-dressed customer service executive can make a great impression on a customer. I am not saying he or she needs to wear branded outfit. Even if a shirt costs Rs100, but if it's neatly pressed and worn, I am certain it will make a great impression. I even check if my staff's shoes are neatly polished. I do not encourage long polished nails from my female staff. I expect them to be simple and smart," he says.
To win more customers, the sales staff need to be on the alert and Ramdas makes sure he keeps them on their toes. Every Tuesday, he calls for a meeting with his staff and discusses auto industry updates and pointers on selling Honda cars.
A perfectionist, Ramdas believes that honesty will help in the long run. “Identifying what the customers want and delivering what they require play a crucial role in the car business. This is exactly what Whitefield Honda does. Customer delight is our top priority,” he says.