The Egyptian Mamdouh Khairallah, 58, is the general manager of Rolls-Royce Motors Cars for AGMC, which is the distributor for the luxury British marque in Dubai, Sharjah and the Northern Emirates and the 2016 best-selling Rolls-Royce dealership in the world.
The brains behind the brand's first Rolls-Royce Boutique, in Dubai's City Walk, spent his early career repairing cars and building gearboxes. AGMC supplies and maintains the Burj Al Arab's signature white Phantoms fleet and recently incorporated calligraphy artwork by a Dubai-based, Rolls-Royce-inspired artist into a custom-built dashboard. Here Mr Khairallah, who lives with his wife and five children in Al Barsha, tells The National about his week.
I usually do some sports. I used to be a champion runner, 400 metres, ranked number three in my country. Having sport in your life eliminates many bad habits. I usually work more than 12 hours a day. I prepare the team for the week. We share last week’s results, look at what needs to be done. I do one meeting at City Walk, one at our Sheikh Zayed Road branch. I took over Rolls-Royce in 2015 … in 2016 we became number one seller. My week starts with that passion to stay number one, to create new things for the business. The boutique is unique. We are meeting the customer in a different way. We talk about luxury, lifestyle, suits, jewellery. You will not find a sales desk; sales people here are ambassadors. They don’t handle sales like traditional salesmen.
We monitor what is happening with our targets. There are meetings with customers around the day; along with the sales team to ensure they’re on the right track. In the UAE the customer wants to talk to the manager, shake hands. When the car is handed over I make sure I’m there. Last year we crossed the 200 cars mark, new and Provenance [pre-owned]. We never call our car ‘used’ when sold for the second time; Provenance is the programme Rolls-Royce put together to ensure it is back to showroom condition. After-sales is important to my week, I ensure we don’t have delays for parts. With my workshop background it’s easy to find a problem. We have one of the world’s best service facilities, if not the best; the Rolls-Royce Spa. You can watch.
I try to organise time with customers on an appointment basis. Wealthy customers sometimes have their own timing; they walk in and need to be attended to. I’m talking with City Walk management about affinity with high-end shops, this as the lounge for customers to meet, have elite purchases delivered. My philosophy for the boutique … we’re not here to push for a decision to purchase, we’re building experience of the brand in an indirect way. The boutique is not a static showroom where you display the car and that’s it. We’re creating a journey. I have a welcome area, The Pinnacle Café; customers see the Spirit of Ecstasy logo on the cappuccino foam, take a photo.
I touch base with the marketing department, measure showroom traffic. If we feel it isn’t going the right direction we create a programme. In the summer we do something different than with good weather when we have seating outside. We change our style; more digital communication. I have 180 metres of digital screen [on the boutique exterior] where I can celebrate incoming products. We decide what we put on there. Right now you see teasers for the new Phantom, launched in City Walk. I’m deciding what we do next, renewing the plan of what we do here. We had Barclays bank with us; people flew from London to talk bitcoin and the stock market. After that we revealed to 50 wealthy Barclays customers the new black badge. We’re creating a new dimension of customer relations; they could be future customers.
The boutique idea came from me and keeps evolving. You are not necessarily an owner to come here. In the Inspiration Studio we put together the car for the customer, show all aspects on screen. If the customer wants a test drive he can. I believe Rolls-Royce is a hub, and this an excellent platform for people to get together. We have to work harder; customers are looking for deals. Their income is affected if the market is not strong, but their appetite for having mood change is higher when the market is bad. Sometimes you look for something to make you happy; there’s nothing better than Rolls-Royce to make people happy.
Work … it’s my second family. I spend more time here than at the house. But Friday is family day - nobody touches that unless we have an event. Breakfast with the kids - I have four girls and one boy - prayer and then squash. This is the only day we can go for lunch or dinner. Out with five ladies I make sure my credit card is active. One of the beauties of Dubai … you never feel bored. Sometimes we go to dinner with friends. Looking after my family is priority number one. I’m doing that with the same love as my job.
I pass by the office, usually a casual day. That’s when the customer is more relaxed, away from work. This is also a day when things are done at the house, stuff for the kids’ colleges et cetera; the only day I can spare time. After the launch of the Phantom, the Motor Show happens, there is a golf tournament after that, then a polo event.