Inform vs. Sell

German Approach

In the German business world to persuade means to inform persuasively. Persuasive argumentation guides an audience to its logical conclusion. Selling the conclusion is not necessary. Germans do not ask the so-called closing question in a direct and frontal way.


American Approach

In the U.S. business world to persuade means to sell persuasively. Persuasive argumentation leads the audience to a choice. The audience is then asked to make a choice. The American presenter is expected to state the so-called closing question, to ask for the sale, directly and with self-confidence.


German View

From the German perspective Americans sell. They all too often put on a show. Americans don‘t persuade. Information is not presented in a professional way. The audience is confronted with either buying or rejecting. This can make Germans feel uncomfortable.

American View

From the American perspective Germans don‘t sell. They only inform. Germans give long-winded, fact-filled, complicated, gray academic lectures. And Germans don’t ask for the sale. The audience is left hanging. “Why don’t they ask for the sale?”

Advice to Germans

Overcome your inhibition to recommend a clear choice (your choice) among the options. Make the sale. Ask for the order. Your American audience is waiting for you to do it. The worst that can happen is that you‘ll get a no. Life will go on. Or keep trying, keep asking.

Advice to Americans

Do not confront your audience with the buy-question. As Americans you can easily come across as a pushy used-car salesman. Take almost a take it or leave it attitude. Besides, Germans seldom make important decisions based on a presentation.