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Enthusiastic Consent

There is a term I recently heard in conversations regarding sex: enthusiastic consent.

I absolutely love this term. It is descriptive and something we clearly need in the world.

The premise is that you never want to assume consent, nor do you want to create the conditions where consent may be coerced. No, you want ENTHUSIASTIC consent. There should be no doubt in anyone’s mind about how both parties feel about what’s about to go down.

While the original context for this concept is substantially more important, I can’t help but think how nice it would be if we applied the same concept to business.


Consider the different types of marketing you’ve experienced in the last month.

Which of these did you like better?

  • The time that Google returned the perfect result on the first try, or the Progressive ad that interrupted the TV show you were watching just as it was approaching the climax?
  • That awesome email newsletter that you signed up for or the email newsletter about available real estate properties in Boise, Idaho you got from that random person you connected with on Linkedin 4 years ago?
  • The Patreon request at the end of the video from your favorite Youtube creator or the pre-roll ad that came before the video started?

Marketing, when done well, is welcomed with open arms. Marketing that we ask for is always going to be more effective than marketing that forces itself upon us.

When you market with the intention of generating enthusiastic consent, you will not only be a more effective marketer, you’ll also reduce waste. Your wasted budget and their wasted time.

When people sign up for my newsletter, I want them to look forward to my emails. I don’t just add people to my newsletter because I met them. I want enthusiastic consent.


Sales has gotten a bad rep from bad salespeople. These are the people we think of as “sleezy.” They withhold information, they are pushy, and they make us uncomfortable.

This isn’t how sales should be.

The best sales relationships are when both the buyer and seller gather information and independently decide if they want to work together. Both parties come to the table interested to work together. This is process is similar to having a first date, a second date, and maybe even a third date before anyone decides to stay over at anyone’s apartment.

Instead, what we mostly see in sales are people cold calling, fishing for opportunity. We see countless Linkedin messages intruding on our inboxes claiming to solve all of our problems, without so much as a first conversation. This is akin to arriving at the first date being completely unaware of personal space and initiating unwelcome physical advances.

In our rush to close more business, driven by the need to drive revenue, we too often forget our manners. We’d be better off slowing down and working toward enthusiastic consent, for the sake of closing more business and having better client relationships.

When people hire me, I want them to be certain and unequivocal that I am the only one they want to hire. It’s why I deliberately slow down my sales process and why I build in strong filters to ensure the right opportunities make it through and the wrong ones don’t. I want enthusiastic consent.

Less is more

If you take this route, your numbers will be smaller, but your relationships more meaningful, and your experiences more well received.

It’s not as important to have enthusiastic consent in business as it is in the bedroom, but I believe it’s still much more important than we give it credit.

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