Why My Promotional Webinars are So Messy

In his 1960 classic, Psycho-Cybernetics, Dr Maxwell Maltz lays out the evidence for our subconscious minds functioning as a “goal-seeking system.”

In his view, which has been echoed by generations of “positive thinking” and “law of attraction” teachers since, our conscious, rational mind should limit itself to setting course, and then get out of the way as our subconscious navigates to the desired goal.

In other words, our subconscious knows stuff that we can’t access with our everyday brains.

That’s a problem only when we’ve been trained to use our brains to try to “solve” everything. And unless you’re very unusual, you were “brainwashed” to think that the rational brain is the best tool for making decisions.

For me, and for most of my colleagues, clients, and students, our “go-to” default when we have a problem is to think every so hard about it.

  • We make lists.
  • We weigh options.
  • We do cost-benefit analyses.
  • We drink coffee and eat chocolate.

We stare at blank screens and empty white boards, trying to will a brainstorm or a breakthrough idea to emerge from our creative constipation.

Sometimes, the smartest thing we can do with our brains is turn them off for a while.

And let our subconscious – that vast storehouse of images, impressions, and intuitions – have a go.

Although I’ve never articulated it like this before, the crux of the Checkmate Method is a process that invites the subconscious to share its wisdom with the conscious mind.

Yesterday afternoon, on a final Checkmate webinar before the Virtual Camp Checkmate course begins, Lori volunteered to go through the Avatar Creation process.

The results were astounding. Watch it here.

Checkmate is not by any means a guaranteed success. It always feels unpredictable and risky.

I’ve never gone through the process the same way twice.

You could argue (and I have friends who do) that it’s a dumb thing to present at a webinar whose business purpose is to sign people up for a paid course.

In a way, they’re right.

I have colleagues who can predict the conversion rate of their standard webinar to two decimal places.

They’ve honed and refined a presentation and pitch to the point where it reliably generates business.

The Checkmate webinars display no such reliability.

I’ve had webinars where 10% of the audience have signed up for a paid course or event.

And webinars where not a single person registered.

And – here’s the part that I don’t understand at all – there’s no correlation between the signup rate and the value that the Hot Seat participant said they received.

So why do I insist on working without a net on these webinars, whose success determines my financial status?

For three reasons:

1. It’s honest.

Real Camp Checkmate (live and virtual) works this way. It’s messy, unpredictable, and often challenging.

2. It disqualifies people who will ask for their money back.

Camp Checkmate is not for everyone. Some people roll their eyes when I talk about the subconscious. When I speak of business as a sacred act. When I urge people to connect with their passion for service.

By putting that out there on the sales pitch, I save myself a lot of hassle later on.

3. It’s really fun for me.

When I first heard about systems that could replay a webinar “as if” it was live, I got really excited.

I hate repetition.

Let me say that again. I hate – oh, wait.

Seriously, the thought of delivering the same webinar over and over again makes my brain hurt.

Even if it converts at 10%.

So I thought, “Let me do a really good webinar and then just play it back again and again and again, and everyone will think it’s live.”

After I realized that this implied lying, either overtly or by implication (and yes, I resisted this obvious fact for several days), I let go of the idea.

And resigned myself to present the same slides over and over as a bullet I’d have to bite.

As Ken McCarthy reminds me when I complain about some aspect of online marketing, his ancestors mined coal.

But I discovered that helping people through Checkmate is, quite honestly, the most engaging thing I do in business.

Way more fun than writing sales letters, I can assure you.

Way more fun than writing books, even.

Here’s how it works for me:

I introduce Checkmate, and the Avatar idea, then take someone through the process.

I begin somewhat mechanically, as you’ll know if you’ve listened to multiple webinars.

Then, at some point, the Avatar comes alive for me. I “know” something about the Avatar that my Hot Seat partner doesn’t. I share it, to their surprise. Sometimes they play along right away, and sometimes I have to remind them of the cardinal rule of improv: Say “Yes and…”

From there, I have no idea what’s going to come out of my mouth, or out of theirs.

And the silent participants who type questions and observations in the Chat box can become equally wild and unpredictable.

Together, we all start to weave a True Fiction. Yes, we’re making it up, but we can all feel the Truth. As somebody once said, “Just because it didn’t happen doesn’t mean it isn’t true.”

And by the end of the process (which also occurs organically), the Hot Seat participant is often dizzy with insight and yes, love for her or his Avatar.

From there, marketing is simple.

As I say sometimes, it’s the difference between writing a love letter to your beloved and writing a love letter “to whom it may concern.”

About Checkmate

Again, this was my last Checkmate webinar of 2012. (Here’s the link to the recording again.)

If you’re struggling to connect with your prospects…

If you really want to help people but they aren’t responding…

If you wonder whether being “yourself” is suppressing business, and you should just go back to marketing “best practices”…

I invite you to carve out two hours and listen to it while fully present. To turn off Facebook and Twitter and Gmail.

To play along, asking questions in your mind and seeing if the well of your subconscious awakes and echoes back.

And if you feel a stirring from some deep part of you that seems to say, “Just listen to me. I’ll take you where you want to go. But please quiet that big brain and let me speak in my quiet way.”, then I invite you to join us for Virtual Camp Checkmate.

You can read all about the course here.

That will give your rational left brain all the details it needs to along with you.

And if you have questions about the course, you can simply email me (howie AT askhowie DOT com) and I will read and respond.

Don’t take too long, however; Virtual Camp Checkmate begins next week. The first live class is on Tuesday and Thursday (repeated because of US Election Day).

Thanks for reading this far, what turned out to be a very personal email. I hope it touched on enough universal issues to be relevant to you as well.

I’d love it if you would join this conversation by posting a comment below. As always, I love personal stories that illustrate or contradict what I’m talking about.


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