Gentleman who sells dreams

Nikhil Ballal

Those who have already reached the zenith of success or perhaps are on their way towards it have a common dream and that is owning a Rolls Royce! It is the symbol of achievement, success and glory – not to mention royal lifestyle! Meet the man who sells these dreams pan India – Prashant Gupte, the Vice President (Marketing) of Rolls Royce. While talking to the KYT Team, this Marathi manoos spoke about the legacy of Rolls Royce, it’s USPs and also burst a lot of myths about the dream car. Excerpts…

Busting the myths

Google about Rolls Royce and you would come to know that Rolls Royce does a background check on you, which starts from your ancestral background check. If you felt this is what would prove a hindrance in getting your dream car, here is a good news for you! Rolls Royce never does any such check! “I guess this rumour came into being as Rolls Royce was once upon a time affordable only to the royal families and the landlords. In order to keep the exclusivity of Rolls Royce for the royals, this buzz must have been created,” quipped Gupte. So, now just can buy it without any doubts!

He also went on to dismiss the allegations of a Rolls Royce being denied to a leading bollywood actress. “The sales weren’t doing well and a news stating that Rolls Royce was denied to that actress stating that she didn’t have a profile of a Rolls Royce buyer started surfacing. When it was probed, it was found to be the work of her PR team,” shared Gupte.

Customisation, thy name is Rolls Royce!

What if we tell you that everything in Rolls Royce car, right from the thread used for stitching to the leather, the lights, the colour of steering wheel, wood used in the interiors of the car to exterior colour, can be customised? They have an unbelievable range in the 44 thousand colours to choose from. This colour palette is not limited to the external colour, but can be incorporated in most minor detail possible of the car. Of course, you have to wait and pay more, but hey! That can always be done for your ‘the’ car, isn’t it?

“When we have walk-in enquiries, they often ask us what can be customised in the model,I tell them that whatever they want can be done in their car. One can even demand for stitching the leather in the tricolour threads and that also can be taken care of,” smiles Gupte.

Re-entering India

Rolls Royce was very popular in India in the early 20th century. However, it was discontinued in India post-independence. Navneet Motors of Mumbai were trying to get the authorised dealership of Rolls Royce and finally became the dealers in 1994. They were also the dealers and importers of BMW. So, when BMW India took over Rolls Royce, it was easier for them to strike the deal. Thus, after a gap of 50 years, Rolls Royce re-entered India.

Tryst with automobiles

After completing his MBA, Prashant Gupte went on to do a job and establish a business of luxury watches later. However, when things didn’t take off the way he wanted to, he started the job hunt again. During the same time, Navneet Motors was looking for someone who could sell BMWs and Land Rovers. With an agreement of trying each other for six months, their association strengthened and eventually, Gupte was asked to take care of sales and marketing of Rolls Royce.

Gupte has made it a point to pay attention to the minutest details when cracking a deal. Once, when a client denied giving him time for explaining the features of the car, Gupte overheard him telling someone that he would be playing golf the next day. “At six in the morning, I was at the Mahalaxmi, where this gentleman played golf. I cracked my deal there,” he recalls.

Gupte’s secret to success

Gupte is proud of his association with Rolls Royce. “I look forward to each new day to start off the work. I’m probably one of those very few who love their job so much,” he admits. Prashant Gupte has made it a habit to call two of his acquaintances everyday, merely as a social connect. “These are never the business calls, but to those with whom I’ve dealt before. Even they know that I do not mean any business with these calls. However, at times, it helps me act as a mediator. For example, someone I call is looking for an apartment, while another person I spoke to is interested in selling one. I act as a bridge and connect these two. I do not gain anything from it, neither have I wished to,” he explains. Since he is comparatively free when on his way home, he utilises this time to make these calls.

Patience counts!

How much time can one wait to sell a car? Prashant Gupte has waited even for five years to sell a car! “The quickest deal that I have cracked is in two hours while the longest one to take was one where I invested five years. That is what I do! I never give up,” shares Gupte.


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