“What can I do for you?“

For Americans persuasion mean persuasively selling. The goal is to get a “yes” to one’s point of view, recommendations, concept, solution, product or service. Presentations, in any and all forms, aim at that “yes”.

In the American context, every form of persuasion is a variation of selling. Americans have little problem selling. For them it is normal, natural, everyday. Americans recognize and accept that selling is necessary.

The U.S. has almost always been a buyer’s market. Supply was greater than demand. Not only in the sense of market economics, but also in the broader sense. Land, natural resources, greater demand for production than supply of workers, markets of all kinds with few if any barriers to entry. Americans settled the country quickly. Waves upon waves of immigrants arrived. Supply was seldom exhausted by demand.

You have the power

The American understanding of market economics is based, among other things, on the belief that individuals should be free to make their own decisions. Yes, Americans practice protectionism. They are not, however, supporters of how Europeans divide up their markets, control entry to them, and protect weaker market participants. To be successful in the U.S. one needs to take their approach: “I have something to sell to you. But, I know that you have other options. You have the power. What can I do for you?”

This, and other factors, are the reason why the disciplines of sales and marketing enjoy high prestige in the U.S. Very few reach the top levels of management without having first demonstrated the ability to successfully deal with customers, to bring products and services to market, to sell.

And because competition in the U.S. is tough, Americans have little patience for an overly careful approach to “closing the sale”, to “doing business”. Both sides of the transaction – seller and buyer – want to get down to business quickly. They want to know where they stand. For if they don’t come to an agreement, they want to move on to the next possible opportunity.