Verkaufsscheu. Sales shy.

Companies with a monopoly are the only ones who don’t need sales and marketing. All others need to fight for new customers on a daily basis. In Germany, too. But Germans don’t feel comfortable knocking on doors, even less so following up on an initial contact if the first response was skeptical.

Follow-up means making that second or third call, writing that second or third email, reaching out again. What’s the problem? Germans don’t like pushing their product or service, especially if they sense that the other party may not be interested. Often Germans are too polite, too slow, not aggressive enough.

Perhaps this is related to Germans identifying themselves strongly with their work. They want to stand fully and totally behind what they do. Sales also involves uncertainty, unpredictability, and situations for which one cannot fully prepare. The interactions can be short, spontaneous, shallow. Germans prefer predictability and depth.

On their Own

To be given a task in Germany is a form of advanced praise. It signals that one has the ability to complete it properly. It is a sign of competence. Every new task is also an opportunity to demonstrate that ability, perhaps even to surprise the boss and other colleagues with exceptional work results.

For Germans define themselves very much through their work. Recognition for solid work is for many just as important as compensation. A job well done in the German context, however, is work done independently, on one’s own. Help now and then from the team lead or advice from colleagues are seen as bothersome, unnecessary, possibly even hostile, as a form of doubt that the personal can do solid work, on their own.

Lästig, bothersome. Germans find follow up annoying, both for the team member who has to report on the status of their work, as well as for the team lead who has to ask if the work is being done properly. Both parties believe that they have better things to do. Namely, their work.

Figures of speech: Viele Köche verderben den Brei. Too many cooks ruin the porridge. Dazwischen Funken. Literally, to radio in intermittently. Figuratively, to stick your nose in someone else’s business.

Too obtrusive

In 2011 Spiegel Online published an article on how to write a job application for the American labor market. The beginning of the article points out differences between Germany and the US.

“Asking additional questions is not considered bothersome and the marital status should not be in your resume. If you apply at an American company it is easy to trip over cultural differences. Here is an overview over the most important concepts.”

After turning in your application, the article suggests: ”You should not expect that he or she will get back to you on his/her own.”

Conversely, asking additional questions is interpreted as annoying in Germany. The potential employer will get back to you on their own if they are interested. Asking further questions is considered to be obtrusive in Germany.


The Berlin-Brandenburg Airport is a topic surrounded by discord. There is no end in sight for this odyssey. The costs just continue to rise into incalculable sums. This caused the association of taxpayers to heavily criticize the politicians responsible for it in 2012.

The airport was a manifest of poor planning, mismanagement, incomplete construction plans, and expenses beyond the budget. The association of taxpayers blacklisted the overseeing committee of high-ranking representatives from Berlin and Brandenburg and the federal government, accusing them of political failure and blind trust in the underqualified management” of the airport.