The main stage — the space we practice our craft on — is changing for marketers.  Old: the brochure,  trade show booth, 30-second TV spot, magazine ad or face-to-face sales call.   New: the computer screen.

So how do you become a rock star on the new marketing  stage?

First, show up on the computer screen on a Google search for what you sell.  Then, your website must engage and create action.  And finally, you need to be back on the stage when they call you on the phone.

This post focuses on the stage most of us are a no-show on: the phone call.

From No-Show to Rock Star:

Choose a screen-sharing tool and get good at using it.

I’ve looked at several and have probably 50 hours in GoToMeeting, DimDim and Acrobat ConnectNow.   I use ConnectNow.  It’s easy to use, includes a video window so prospects can see me and doesn’t require a  download to use it.  “Excuse me, you’ll need to download this 12 mg file and we’ll wait awkwardly together for the next 90 seconds while it happens.”  Not something you want to say to a prospect three minutes into your first conversation.

Buy a Logitech 9000 webcam.

“Oh wait, I’ve got this crappy one in someone’s drawer from two years ago.”  No, buy this one.  Google it, everybody sells it.  It’s cheap at about $80, simple to use and is simply the best webcam on the market right now.  You want people to see you and you want the picture to be a good one.

“Dress the set.”

Do you look like what you are?  A successful, respected resource/vendor/whatever?  Or some schmuck in a closet?  See what other people see; what you look like, what’s behind you.

Get a good telephone headset.

You need great voice quality and you need to be hands free.  Speaker phones (below average sound quality) create attention fatigue.  Same with webcam mics.  I use a wireless Plantronics Savi 200, $290 from Headsets Direct, the only place to buy from and the best money I’ve spent in a long time.  There are headsets you can buy for less and still achieve good quality.  Talk to them about your budget and they’ll find you something.  Headsets Direct is a client, so I’m prejudiced.  But that doesn’t change the fact they’re experts, give great advice and service and offer discounted pricing.

Use presentation materials that move the conversation forward.

By materials I mean everything from a PowerPoint deck, pdfs, your website open, their website open, etc.  By moving the conversation forward I mean materials that both present AND capture content.  Slides of your PowerPoint, for example, should let you capture notes you make and comments your prospect adds.  Notes your prospect can see you taking.  This honors them and underscores your interest and understanding.  And isn’t building trust and comfort an important part of a marketer’s job?

As generally used, PowerPoint is just plain awful: presenters seldom do more than simply read the bullet points on the screen.  “Wow, great presentation, come closer so I can strangle you!”  Want to really make your presentations rock?  Use PowerPoint the way Bob Lane teaches.  It’s what I practice; and I say practice because it isn’t easy and I’m still learning.  But it breaks PowerPoint out from its linear constraints and takes it to a whole new organic level.  If you want to know more, go to Bob’s site or contact me, I can train you on what I know.

To summarize. . .

Test drive a few screen sharing tools, or go with ConnectNow.  Practice.  Get a good webcam and telephone headset so you look good and sound good.  Create a good looking stage.  Use presentation materials that both deliver and capture content.  Then. . .rock and roll !!