Interviews

Talking Business - Tim Shaw

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On Talking Business I‘m now joined by iconic TV salesman and CEO of Communiqué Television, Tim Shaw.

But wait! There’s more!

Tim is also an actor, presenter and author, and he joins us to discuss the online television solutions for businesses, as well as how to build a sales strategy during a world financial crisis. Welcome to Talking Business Tim.


TS Hey Pete, it’s great to be here.

PS Mate, what do you think is going on out there in the real business land?

TS For all of our listeners onboard today, I’m just so excited about the confidence of the people that I’m talking with. The boards that I sit on as an advisor (not as a director, just sitting there as an external advisor), the positive flow from a world financial crisis, in my view, particularly in Australia, is that it just means we dig deeper, we dig harder for great new ideas to inspire our business and our sales teams. I’ve got clients that I work with and they are so excited with the opportunities for 2009 and 2010. Their competitors are, in some part, not looking at their customer base, not looking at how to improve that relationship with a customer. But the clients that I work with are, and they’re finding what I call a Direct Connect, they’re reinvigorating that relationship with a customer and revisiting them and asking those simple question which so many of us have forgotten to ask. You know, what’s in it for me the customer, how can you make my business relationship better with your company? And the Australian companies that I’m working with are going gang busters. I’m feeling very confident, very positive about 2009 and 2010, and so are my clients.

PS Do you sometimes find that, at the big end of town that’s accountable to a public via share price, they often respond the worse, but small- and medium-sized businesses say, ‘well my customer base now has a four per cent lower home loan interest rate’. The government’s giving a lot of money out there, there’s got to be potential in all that?
 
TS Absolutely, nothings more clearly shown than with the Victorian bushfires, the fact that over $80 million was raised in a four-day period. When we need to do something and make a decision, we, as Australians, do it. In business, my small- to medium-enterprises, the ones that employ the largest amount of Australians – let’s remind everyone that small to medium sized enterprises employ the largest number of Australians - they’re the ones that are sitting there talking to their own people, to their customers. The big companies are bound by what they are reading about themselves in the Fin Review and in other publications, and what I’m seeing is that the good news stories aren’t getting out there as best as they could, and we’re starting to Direct Connect a lot of our good news stories in the small to medium sector directly to the media, and that’s starting to have an effect. We’re telling good stories, new stories, and stories about empowerment, particularly for women in business.

PS I got so annoyed about my colleagues in newspapers always writing the negatives. I actually put a Good News Daily window on my website showing that everyday I can find a good piece of news, either in America or Australia, to show that things aren’t as bad as people are thinking.

TS The world financial crisis has made us think that today is the first day of the rest of our life in this business, and what the positive things are that we can do in a business. Some of the businesses that I’m dealing with are appointing external advisors that aren’t so close to the businesses day today, but are bringing a new feel to the business, and a new speciality. In my case, it’s sales, marketing and online technology, and I’ve got clients that have said, ‘great Tim, we’ve got it tough here in the normal part of the business, but you’re bringing us new revenues because we’re looking outside of the square’.

PS Tim, is there ever a day in your life when someone doesn’t say to you, “But wait, there’s more”?

TS I love ‘But wait, there’s more’. It has permanently altered the Australian vernacular, it’s made people realise that there is more that I can do today in the business, more that I can do for my customer, more than I can add to my website that tells a clearer and simpler story. So ‘But wait, there’s more’ used to be a set of steak knives. And do you know what Peter? $100 million worth of sales from 1992 to 1995, that’s what we did at Demtel. During the recession, we had to have direct sales business, Direct Connect businesses in 2009/10 are going to grow. Not because you’re cutting out the middle man, but because you’re introducing a new audience to your customers that haven’t seen your product before. PS Did you take out the website, But wait, there’s more?

TS I have everything registered so all you lawyers sitting there, you’ve got to pay me.

PS [laughter] Okay, fantastic. We’re talking to Tim Shaw who is superfluous, everyone would know who I’m talking to. Tim, what are you doing now with Communiqué Television?

TS Communiqué, in its purest form, is to send a message. Now we have a number of outsourced suppliers, and this has been a great business model for us. Instead of having 50 or 100 odd staff, we outsource the best in their fields. Whether it be streaming video, whether it be web design, whether it be copywriting, whether it be marketing, graphics, we’ve got an entire outsource team. A lot of women work in our teams and they’re running businesses from home or in collectives, and we find that is giving us a greater cost return to our customers, the investment’s lower, and we’re getting the timelines reduced, we can do it quicker and better than many. So our online strategy is being, let’s find the best technology for online streaming and for communicating a message to as many broadband connected homes as possible. You know the debates out there about broadband, forget wireless at home, make sure you’re cabled and you’d be able to see so much more from a wide environment and
to be able to access the kind of information you need about companies and services.

PS Given the fact that this is where you’re taking your business, obviously you see that the big future for business is to have rich media on their websites, which effectively can translate customers into sales?

TS Correct, and I call it Direct Connect, used to be Direct Sales, I call it Direct Connect. Let your customers connect to you in their timeline 24/7, keep it rich, but keep it simple, keep changing it and updating it. You know, one client affectionately refers to me as Dr Business because I walk in there and I work out what the diagnosis is and I tell them what the remedy is as quickly as I can, and then they can look at that as a cost analysis. But keeping it simple, letting our customer connect and talk to us. I’ve got clients that are now building forums within their customer base, and I think their customers discuss the product and service within a forum environment, and, again, the women in teams are able to articulate that back to management and keep it simple. As you know, most Australian women make most of the financial decisions in our households right around the country.

PS
That’s because men are pretty well preoccupied with more important things like football and cricket, things like that.

TS Well, someone put to me recently that if the Lehman Brothers were run by the Lehman sisters maybe the world financial crisis wouldn’t be as bad as it is. However, grasp the opportunity, employ the women in our networks because they make most of the financial decisions.

PS Do you think businesses that aren’t embracing the new technologies are really putting themselves behind the eight ball game moving forward?

TS Absolutely. When I look at the Australian businesses that I work with who are, in many cases, exporting people, what they’ve done is they’ve found synergistic businesses in other countries, and they’re finding that with the falling Australian dollar, our product and service regime is less expensive for our European and American partners. So we’re seeing a lot of joining of the dots, you don’t have to sell your business out, but if you’re not joining up and merging and working with companies that are in a similar space to you, but not in a local competitive space, you’re going to fall by the wayside. I want to say this to those who you borrow your money from. Don’t ask your bank for more money unless you‘ve got a sales strategy attached to that. If you lend us this extra money we’re going to be able to show a sales upturn in this area within this measurable period, so start being creative. Banks are lending money, that’s their product, but they’re not there to run your business, so try and come up with a strategy that’s going to show new revenues, merged revenues, reduce the backend cost and deliver more value through that Direct Connect model with your customer.

PS Last question. On this program we’ve already had John Symond, a man who built his brand in the ‘90s, you did the same thing?

TS At Aussie, we’ll save you. I love Johnny Symond.

PS [laughter] Did you actually set out to create the Tim Shaw brand?

TS Thank you for asking! The real strategy behind that was keeping true to what I believe in, and if I could best describe the Tim Shaw brand, it’s always represented value but it’s the Honestly, the Integrity, the Personality and the Passion (Tim Shaw’s HIPP) in the business that gets you ahead. But building the brand Tim Shaw, it’s synonymous with ‘wait there’s more’ and there’s a 100 per cent, no questions asked,
Money-back guarantee. I’m proud of where we’ve come from and I’m excited about where we’re going to.

PS One thing the great Doug Mulray once taught me about radio was that you had to be over the top because people never listened to normal people, and that’s one thing you’ve never been, Tim, is normal, and that’s why we’ve listened to you. Thanks for joining us on Talking Business.

TS Thanks Peter.

Talking Business airs on Qantas Inflight Radio. Click here to download complete Talking Business transcripts from the Qantas website.


 

Published: Tuesday, June 30, 2009

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