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Have I Got News For Them: This Is Real Life!

I was inspired to write this post after clicking on a link to a Harvard Business Review article that Greg Canty mentioned on Linkedin.

The article resonated with me as I have often been stuck for words in relation to comments from some of my friends and colleagues when I chat about my work in social media or about some of my controversial posts

Often, as I am recounting a blog post that I had to stay up all night defending, I am met with a response

“Ah yes, but that’s not the real world, is it? ”.


I will mention to somebody at dinner that I managed to get almost 10,000 fans on a facebook page in two months and they will respond with

“Ah yes but that’s just virtual world isn’t it”


Many of you reading this blog will, most likely have been on the receiving end of this one before

“Yes, but I mean in real life” ….

Well, have I got news for them!

This is real life and anybody boxing it off into something separate from what they call “real life” is (in my opinion) in danger of

a) Missing out on meeting some fantastic people
b) Learning things about themselves that they never knew
c) Being unable to increase their social capital in a manner never before possible and ultimately
d) Not being unable to achieve things that would be impossible without this world that apparently isn’t “real”

Thankfully, as we advance our appreciation and enthusiasm for using online for both business and pleasure, the stereotypical image of the computer geek has been eroded year on year. It is my contention ( the latter being a word I stole from Sir Ken Robinson on TED) that much of this acceptance is due to fantastic advancements in Web 2.O technologies. However, what I find is that many who embrace these very technologies profess it to be peripheral to what they call their “real life”….

I’m not convinced it’s not real life, are you ? Before you answer check out the YouTube video by socialnomics if you haven’t already seen it.

Thanks for Reading


Director of social media for an International Bestselling Author. Check out my site for more information.

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  • Hi Satheesh, welcome to Bloggertone! I really like your point about establishing an IT steering committee that approves technology based on the needs of the business and the marketplace. I would envisage that this would multi department approach, rather than just the techies? Great post!

  • Facundo

    Hi Satheesh, welcome o board. I was actually looking today at Siemens’ new definition of their Team and solutions as “Business Technologists”. I’d say they see this need for ROI regarding IT and several of the points you raise so they are selling their services very cleverly providing that vision/ guidance that companies who spent money unnecessarily or don’t have that steering team require so much.

  • Satheesh Vattem

    Thanks Facundo. That’s really interesting point you bring up there. I am sure we are going to see a lot of consulting opportunities where some of these companies would start offering IT consolidation services aimed at optimizing IT investments. All the talk about GreenIT is also going to be driving this exercise.

  • Satheesh Vattem

    Thanks Niall. I always believed that Technology is just an enabler of business although it some times opens up new business avenues. But even then technology needs to be backed up with proper business sense. Techies on their own I believe would make fancy systems that just may not have any business relevance. This is actually based on my own personal experience where some of the guys I worked with created an application to capture time sheets of service personnel in a fancy technology and interface that had to be thrown in the bin because the service personnel found the actual process of entering the time sheets was creating more inefficiency 🙂

  • Satheesh Vattem

    I think differentiation by price is more a strategy for getting a foot in the door for many Indian companies Fred. It worked to an extent where it has become an USP now. But there are Indian companies which operate on quality of offering also. But they do not get attention / get reported as much as the cheaper options. And any company which is evaluating a solution purely on the basis of cost would be aware of the quality implications also I guess. When you buy from Pennys u don’t really expect high quality because the whole business model is based on cost advantage and you are taking the cost route based on certain considerations obviously. And Pennys will have its own set of customers who believe in cost and there would be a different set of customers who would believe in quality who would go to M & S. I believe a lot of companies now realize that they can not continue to keep competing on price alone and they would need to offer more. So you would see the market evolving where I am sure a new differentiator would be found pretty soon. And I believe tools that enable quality output with less costs are what we are moving towards.

  • Thanks for the kind words, Sharon. Glad you finding them useful!

  • Anonymous

    Wider Implications >>nnIt’s not just going to be Google who will be affected. Every session controlled by a cookie will too. That includes Ryanair, Aer Lingus etc. All you have to do is browse through the cookie list on your own PC.nnSomebody recently discovered that each time they went back to check the price of an online flight, the price kept going up. Then they deleted and cleared their cache and price dropped. This is 2nd hand information and I can’t say I’ve tested it.nnReal Answer >>nSession Tracking without Cookies isn’t new and we had built our own tracking system in 2004 that didn’t require cookies. This makes a lot of sense as you only need a cookie for when the user’s session breaks and tbh – Analytics has many faults in calculating Bounce Rates, actual “Unique” visits anyway!nn

  • Hi David,nnI think the wording of the directive means that first party cookies will not be affected so sites like Ryanair and Aer Lingus should be fine if the cookie is set by them and not a third party. Also as the directive is conerned with privacy then a tracking system that did not use cookies might also be affected as it is the tracking of the person that the EU seems to have aproblem with. The wording is so vague that I’m sure there are ways around it and we don’t even know yet how different countries in the EU will apply the directive into law.nWould be interested to hear more details on the faults of Analytics, I think many people would be interested to know more about this as the information given by Analytics is so valuable to people.

  • This may be an issue with European Region but not with other Regions. However i find GA an extremely useful analytics service which is offered free for all

  • This new directive, (and other changes to EU privacy laws further down the line that amend this and expand it to cover non-cookie user session tracking) will probably require a test case to clarify it’s scope.n nPlacing a simple form visible above the fold that allows visitors to “Turn off cookies” will ensure compliance. I’ll be recommending that my clients also add a “What’s this about?” link that pops up an explanation of the advantages of keeping the cookie enabled – tracking user behavior allows businesses to tailor the website to the visitors needs, rather than what they perceive as being the visitors needs. Improving the businesses return on investment, via feedback from website analytics to streamline the sales process, will enable the business to invest more in the quality of its products and services and/or to offer more competitive prices. Either way the customer wins by having cookies turned on. nnThis is an opportunity for businesses to educate their customers, by being transparent about their use of analytics. Some will just be scared off using analytics and remove them (most businesses seem to ignore the analytics data anyway). But those who make the effort to inform their prospective customers while providing an easy “opt out” will win in the end – by having analytics data, and educated consumers. Even though the analytics data will not be complete because fo the missing data from those with cookies disabled, it will still be useable – after all it never is complete anyway.

  • i’m not a techie, so can someone explain why google says they only set first party cookies?

  • Hi Colin,nnWhere does Google say they only set first party cookies? This may be true for some of their products but as far as I am aware, using Google Analytics on your site sets a third party cookie as it is set by Google and not the domain the site is on.

  • Hi Beatrice,nnI just finished the Google Analytics Conversion University (I even passed the IQ exam…yea!) and it says so several times at the Conversion University courses … i also found it on page 23 of Brian Clifton’s Advanced Web Metrics with Google Analytics where he says in a pull quote box: “Google Analytics uses first party anonymous cookies only.”nnEager to hear why some would consider this a third party cookie.nncheers.nnp.s. nice blog

  • Thanks Beatrice – the wording is confusing and you’ve put it very eloquently!nnConsidering it both our lines of thought further : If Ryanair leave a cookie on your PC to see what you’ve done earlier – that’s tracking by any sense. Also, if a shopping cart leaves a cookie to chart your progress through a shopping cart (say, to help recover if your browser crashes) – then thats the same level of tracking/stalking really!!nnThe faults and limitations of Google Analytics cause many issues at meeting tables around the country. I’d be happy to share some and the understanding we use behind them somewhere if you wanted and to hear others’ stories!

  • Thanks Elaine, for putting this together and spreading the word that Social Media works (wink wink ;-)nnI tweeted this last week:nnThere is something very powerful about Twitter; while the connections (the tweets, and @ and DM) are virtual, the engagements & interactions are real 😉 #veryspecialnnAnd, our meeting was that extra layer, that extra distinction, and we all know the importance of always going that extra mile! I cannot wait for #3!!!

  • Anonymous

    Elaine,nnI can imagine myself with you with this evocative post! nnMeeting offline really can cement a relationship. You get to talk, learn and laugh together. This bonding to one another leads us to be more open to seeing what opportunities lie ahead. Friendship or business partnerships are built from this! nnThanks for the shout out and I think I’m just as eager to see all of you!

  • This has inspired me with confidence. I’m going to the London Bloggers Meet up in a couple of weeks and am so looking forward to it, especially after this post!nI’m wondering if I could find some bloggers local to me, to have informal get togethers.nYou never know!

  • Great blog Elaine and just what I was thinking. I’d only met you in person before so was great to meet everyone else too. Looking forward to next one already 🙂

  • Facundo

    Indeed a great lunch, it makes such a difference to meet in person!

  • Absolutely Elaine, great ideas, great lunch, great company. It really does go to show that good relationships can be formed online and cemented offline too. I’m really looking forward to the #3 Meetup.

  • Derbhile

    It’s great, but it’s very strange. You know people, but you don’t really know them. I found there were so many people I wanted to talk to that I nearly became tongue tied. The noisy restaurant didn’t help. But your tip for cupping your ears is a lifesaver. Will apply it for Meetup 3

  • AP Clarke

    Hi Beatrice, I read the directive concerning cookies and it’s worth quoting part of it – nn”Third parties may wish to store information on the equipment of a user, or gain access to information already stored, for a number of purposes, ranging from the legitimate (such as certain types of cookies) to those involving unwarranted intrusion into the private sphere (such as spyware or viruses). It is therefore of paramount importance that users be provided with clear and comprehensive information when engaging in any activity which could result in such storage or gaining of access. The methods of providing information and offering the right to refuse should be as user-friendly as possible.”nnIf I’m reading this right then the Google Analytics issue is really about the line that reads “or gain access to information already stored”. Interestingly enough, this question has been asked of Google – if a website uses first party cookies, then how does GA get the information from the website? (No answers so far). So I think you’re right Beatrice, there may well be a case to answer.

  • Anonymous

    It sounds great, Lorna, best of luck for the day!

  • Be

    sounds great!u00a0 seeing as I cannot be there I will follow in Twitter.u00a0 Looking forward to learning lots 🙂

  • Torihawthorne

    Thanks Sian,I think Salaried Sales Staff have a place, but when Businesses are in their first few years, salaries for sales staff just aren’t there. Sometimes they comm only agents are left to fend for themselves and that’s where the bad reputation for comm only has come from. Sales is an investment to any business and needs to be treated the same way we would treat our printer or web developer; given all the information necessary to do their job and close communication all the way.
    Thanks so much for your comment Sian

  • Sian, I agree, commission system works, although it needs to be properly implemented into the company’s structure. 

    I have seen many sales teams on salary doing only the base minimum to keep their jobs…. At the same time, I have also seen companies with commission structure organized so badly that the rotation of the staff was practically ridiculous. 

    I guess the middle ground will be different for every company, but the key is to actually find it and implement it.

    Oh and you’re right, showing appreciation is a must too 🙂 

  • Torihawthorne

    So True Pawel,Thanks for your comment,
    But, I also know salaried Sales Teams who have worked exceptionally hard to ensure they keep their jobs and receive no bonus, no commission and not even a yearly pay rise.. It comes back to ensuring we have the right sales people for the right sales job.I really truly believe the middle ground is ensuring we train our sales teams from the start. We have to train them in effective sales and customer service techniques.

    Business in general can be nervous of sales people, and with the snaky slimy portrayal of sales people on TV etc I can see why. But with the right direction, training and appreciation our sales teams can be the best investment to any business.

    Thanks again Pawel

  • Your 8 step plan is ingenious in its simplicity – it’s getting the balance right as you say in your article. I think as business gets more social, the snake oil will slime away to the hole where it belongs, and transparency, respect and honesty will shine through.
    Yesterday I heard a comment that it doesn’t matter what sales people “think” of the product they are selling – this goes against my gut judgement – I personally feel more inclined to buy from someone who is genuinely passionate about the product or service they are selling, and not just a good liar. I feel this works the other way around too and I should feel my agents are excited about my products/services. 

    I love this post Tori! And I love the idea of advertising to those who are already advocates 🙂

  • Torihawthorne

    Thanks so much for your comment Elaine,

    I truly agree with you.It really does matter what your sales team think, and its really ok for them to be honest too. A long time ago I knew a product I was selling (1 in a range) wasn’t the best, so when asked, I was honest, but tactful to my employer and tactful to the customer. She appreciated my honesty, spent a fortune and promptly recommended me to her friends as I was trustworthy in her eyes. We must give our sales teams, the tools and confidence to build honest relationships.. They have strength and longevity in comparison to snake oil slime techniques (or lack there-of) ;)Thanks again Elaine

  • Daryl

     45 years selling, managing sales US and North America, muscle building teams, writing comp plans, building 5 companies from year zero(two public), and a multitude of accolades for ‘making it happen’……I have never seen such oversimplified touchy-feely commenting passed off as business advice.  The only part of your article that makes sense is the knowing that a well constructed compensation plan drives business.  Note that any seasoned salesman will see a 100% commission pay plan as a disguise of outsourced labor.   It means you as an individual are financing the sales side of the business 100% for your semi-employer.  Furthermore, straight 100% plans cause the smarter ones to focus on hunting elephants and ignore smaller (perhaps faster, more profitable sales).  Then they quit.  The cost of turnover for sales is easily 3X annual $$ target income for poor salesmen and 5-7X for good ones.  Hire right and pay them to stay.  Hire wrong and make your competition stronger.

    Straight commission doesn’t work in long sales cycles.  Straight commission won’t work in  true consultative or enterprise type business models.  Straight commission tends to ignore margin control.  For perspective; the more times you say “if” and “when” in discussing my pay…the less I sense I really make….you come off as if you want to control my income instead of the other way around.  If you have a consumer product, what is clearly a fast turnaround sale, your ‘one call close’, you may get a few good people to work for you…but not for long.

    Daryl Lucien

  • Torihawthorne

    Hi there Daryl,
    Thanks so much for commenting. It’s an interesting insight, thank you. I would not suggest it as a long term or permanent option for a company’s sales team (unless the business suited that model as some can). And I am not advocating that any commission only sales agent should finance the activities they undertake. I was looking at the planning, training & support aspects.

    I will take on board your points, its great to see sales from another persons perspective. Thanks again, much appreciated.


  • anumalik81

     Yes, Sian. If you want to increase sales activity, you need to have experts sales team. They must be smarts and industrious. Also you should treated well with a better bonus.

  • Good credit card report is one of the key factors when you go for business loans. So,It’s very important to maintain a good credit card report. As you suggest some of the very nice point. I think it will be helpful for business owners to maintain their credit report.

  • Thanks for your feedback. Yes It’ll surely help business owners to maintain their credit history and this will help them to get a mortgage easily.

  • Agree with you Anika. Thanks for you feedback.

  • Good idea. Business will remain stable if the word SAVE is around in the mind. It is good to know that business wealth are trigger for more by means of conservation to attain its firmness. Finding another strategy is a good of help for improving the wealth but after those wealth it is good to consider the side of the employee particular on financial that drives them for better performance.

  • susanpayton

    As you can see in my story, it absolutely works, and has been part of my strategy from early on.

  • Jason King

    As a new Marketing Consultant myself this article couldn’t be more perfectly timed. Time to network 🙂

  • Ali Nshakirahe Mfitundinda

    Some companies face challenges dealing with commission agents whereby they end up fighting for one i thing for the company that are just growing Bonuses and good salaries can do better in order the company to grow first.Because when most of staffs get to know that sales team is getting too much commission all the departments will love to fight for selling and at the end of the day the whole company will be in mess.

    Best regards

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