Anil reddi, 41, tends to veer towards philosophy—a lot of his sentences begin with ‘a wise man once said’. He also throws in anecdotes to emphasise his rooted background and passion for the top job at Porsche India. For instance, Reddi went to a boarding school and had a suitcase with his name written on it. He quickly links that incident to the individualisation that is part of the Porsche DNA, and which is instrumental when selling luxury.
The man is a cracker salesman who works hard and sells harder—himself, his brand and his passion. Over-the-top? Perhaps. But it works.
Q. How do you define luxury at Porsche?
In my mind, a luxury good is called a luxury good because it is built to last—it is passed on from generation to generation, it becomes an heirloom and this adds to its appeal. Two-thirds of all Porsche cars built thus far in the world are still on the road. We call this ‘Car for Life’. At Porsche, excellence is not an accident. Today the world calls it luxury but, at Porsche, it has always been a way of life.
Luxury is also about individualisation, detailing, craftsmanship, design and quality. With the Porsche Exclusive programme, we have thousands of individualisation items, arguably the highest offered by any manufacturer in the world. You can start with the exterior, headlamps, tailpipes, wheels, side skirts, decals… the list is endless. Start with simple things like trims, inlays and finishes. Our leather packages offer a variety in quality, colour and decorative stitching; you have a family crest, a monogram of your name, something embossed, etched—it is all possible.
Porsche sold 1,43,096 cars worldwide last year; I believe not a single car is the same as the other. That is luxury.
Q. How do you sell a luxury car?
Simple. First, find the people who have Porsche in their hearts; those who have the purchasing power and the dream to own a Porsche. Second, enthuse a customer by letting him drive. It is not called bums on seats but hands on the wheel. Let the customer rev the engine a little bit, see what the machine can do and how it makes him feel. Luxury is gratification of the senses. It is the touch, feel, smell, sound and the attention you get that creates a lasting impression. I can tell you that if he hasn’t bought the car after the drive, then he will be back soon. It is important that our customers experience our cars live behind the wheel. One has to understand that our customers are not looking for the deal of the month. But, in a crowded market, understanding the needs profile and aspirations of the customer gets completely lost.
I often use the example of a person walking into a store to buy a notebook. You select one and if I as a salesperson see you, then I say, ‘Sir, that’s an excellent choice, do you use a fountain pen or a ball pen or a pencil? Is the pencil of a particular HB?’ Now the customer is foxed but it is important. It’s not just the writing instrument you use or the way you write; you could get a grid or just a plain sheet. The thickness of the paper is important. You can sell someone a gold-plated notebook by the end of that conversation. But you cannot push; you have to help them graduate into making that choice.