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Men who matter


V.Prabhu Kishore

He believes that one should be shrewd in business. And when it comes to his style of operation he says, without beating round the bush, "Yes, I practice what I preach. When people tell me that I am a shrewd businessman, I take it as a compliment. To me the definition of being shrewd is, understanding the market realities and making the right judgment at the appropriate time." That is V. Prabhu Kishore, the managing director of Varun Motors Ltd.

Though he started his business career as a realtor, clinching the dealership of Bajaj Auto Ltd. for Visakhapatnam gave him the real breakthrough.

"The moment I came to know that Bajaj wants a second dealer in Visakhapatnam, I applied and successfully clinched the deal in 1992. And that was the birth of Varun Motors," says he.

Within a short span of a decade the modest business that he started with 25 people and that was grossing a turnover of few crores, soared to become a corporate entity with its own market standing, employing over 1,600 people and averaging an annual turnover of over Rs. 400 crores.

On how he achieved such a phenomenal growth, he says, "It was not a cake walk for me all through. When I got the dealership for Bajaj scooters and motorcycles there was already an existing big dealer in the form of Automotive Manufacturers and the same was in the case of Maruthi, Mithra Agencies, enjoying a huge market share. We redefined marketing strategies by introducing new things that people were unaware of. Schemes like test drive, flexible finance, exchange programmes and mobile showrooms. A few of our schemes and marketing techniques were later replicated by Maruthi themselves."

Apart from offers and innovative marketing approach, Prabhu Kishore, was able to motivate his team to become customer savvy. Today, because of customer friendliness Varun Motors has got a huge customer base and has virtually become a household name. He believes in giving good quality in the best presentable form to his customers. "A lot of people laughed when I invested huge amount of money into building a state-of-the-art showroom for Maruthi. At that time it looked foolish, but that's where I put my shrewdness into work. My investment then is paying me huge dividends today. I believe in giving total satisfaction to my customers, right from the time one walks into my showroom. Apart from welcoming them into a good ambience, I also give them the option of choice. My inventory is always full. Customers could not only make a choice of their model sitting in a cosy environment but also choose their desired colour, music system and stickering designs," says he.

Outwitting his competitors with aggressive marketing techniques, today he owns 17 showrooms and 15 workshops in Visakhaptnam, Vijayawada and Hyderabad.

On his success story, he says, "Hardwork, discipline and commitment is my oxygen. Perseverance and honesty is my staple diet". He does not mince words in admitting that he is aggressive and street smart. But above all he attributes his success to his team. "My team is the source of my inspiration and my strength," says Mr. Prabhu Kishore.

Talking about the city he says, "It was during my post graduation days in Andhra Univeristy that I decided to set up a business here. I have made progress but the city has not grown economically as expected."

S.B.

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