“Don’t sell to me”

In Germany, to inform persuasively means to lead, guide, channel listeners to the desired conclusion and decision. It is done indirectly, subtlely, discreetly, signaling, indicating, not selling.

The slightest form of pushiness, of promoting can lead the German audience to suspect that the presenter is hiding something or trying manipulate them. Reserve and restraint is a virtue in the German context and moves the presenter closer towards the goal.

Sales personnel in German stores often greet the customer with Sie kommen zurecht? meaning “You know what you’re looking for?” or Sie schauen nur? meaning “You‘re just taking a look around?”.

This is their way of communicating that they are ready at any time to assist the customer with any questions they might have, but do not want to disturb them, much less try to sell them something.

German customers do not feel comfortable being sold to, certainly not aggressively sold to. Germans who sell know this of themselves, take therefore a hands-off, discreet approach, to persuasion, reacting only if and when the audience gives the corresponding signals.