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Consumption is Not Required for Ascension


I heard this phrase, “consumption is not required for ascension,” on a podcast recently. The speaker was sharing a story of his Peloton bike purchase. Like many things we buy online these days, Peloton invited him to add a few accessories to help him when he got to the checkout. He chose a 2nd pair of the special Peloton bike shoes.

Their add-on marketing worked because as soon as he decided to buy the bike, he already identified as a person who rides the bike a lot and loves it. Since he believed this, he knew he was going to need another pair of special shoes. So the actual use of the bike (consumption) wasn’t even necessary for him to buy the next thing (ascension). 

Of course, we’ve all experienced this – it’s the breadsticks when you pick up take-and-bake or the book that Amazon tells us others have also ordered with the one in our cart. You get it. And, you’ve likely added things to your cart because of it.

The psychology of it isn’t all that complicated. To spend money on products, we need to justify those expenses by telling ourselves that it will make us better/happier/stronger/more fulfilled….and so on. This justification has become a normalized part of the buying experience for many people in a consumer-driven culture. We also experience a rush of endorphins when we buy things. All of this leads to wanting more. We justify our purchase because it will make us happy, and we feel a rush when we buy, so it only makes sense that we would want a little more.

Question number one – how can you apply this to what you are selling?

Question number two – should you?

I got excited when I started thinking about the possibilities of how this theory – “consumptions is not required for ascension” — could be applied to service-based industries. If all it takes to get people to add more/upgrade is to help them justify their purchase and get the rush of endorphins, we should all take advantage of that, right?

Gosh – I hope that’s not true. And I hope you don’t think that way. Just because you can doesn’t mean you should. Good marketing has integrity and authenticity.

Here’s where I think it can be applied, with integrity and for the benefit of those we serve.

Let’s start by checking in. I propose asking yourself these two questions to make sure that the work you are doing isn’t just for your gain and the manipulation of others:

  • In your heart of hearts, do you believe what you are offering will help your client grow/improve/get better?
  • If you believed it would help them, would you sell this to your grandma or your pastor?

Assuming you can answer ‘YES’ to both questions, let’s consider a couple of applications that I think are legit for those of us who sell services.


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Applied to a Business Coach

Having a business coach is more common than ever these days. It is becoming a selling point for executives being recruited to open positions.

In this case, consumption is one-on-one business coaching.

Ascension is engagement with the coach or brand beyond the initial purchase but before the actual coaching starts. Because I’m making the rules as I go, we should also add that this engagement is either a direct investment or will lead to one.

The psychology we’ve already learned about leads us to believe that when a person signs on for a coaching engagement, they are likely to already identify as someone who benefits from coaching. If they feel strongly about the coach they have chosen (or been assigned), they are likely very optimistic that this will serve them well. Assuming this is true, they may be willing to take the success they already know they will experience and build on that.

What might that ascension, in this case, be?

  • A group retreat with others who this person also coaches
  • A monthly book club with a small group of fellow coachees
  • A referral to a colleague
  • Sharing a social media post promoting the coach and services

Applied to a Real Estate Agent

While buying a house, having a real estate agent that you trust, and that goes the extra mile for you makes all the difference between an awful experience and a smooth, exciting purchase. In this example, consumption is buying and living in a home. Ascension is a referral.

Think about it. Talking about buying and selling a home only happens when you or someone you know are in the midst of the process. It’s not typically a part of daily conversation. And, when you are buying or selling, it’s all-consuming, and you talk about it a lot. It is also somewhat common for those conversations to involve an evaluation of the performance of the agent.

So, how can a real estate agent use this to their advantage?

  • Offer a discount on buyer/seller fees if a referral they know signs with them before closing.
  • Incentivize future referrals with a gift certificate to a favorite restaurant or tickets to game/play.
  • Host a moving day party – the agent brings the pizza and beer – a simple 30-60 minutes of celebrating, and the agent gets introduced to all the friends.
  • Social sharing – ask them to post a picture of you and them looking at homes.

Applied to your services

Take a minute and think about how this applies to what you are selling.

  • What are you selling?
  • What can you ask of that client before they even consume your product/service?
  • How could this help them and you?

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