Business English for Sales Lessons

Learn English for sales with Business English Pod lessons for sales English. Learn English for making sales calls, dealing with customers, attending trade shows and the entire sales process with our sales English lessons. Our English for sales lessons are listed by release date, with the newest lessons first.

BEP 358 – English for Purchasing 4: Negotiating Terms

Business English BEP 358 - Purchasing 4: Negotiating Price and Terms

Welcome back to Business English Pod for today’s lesson on English for purchasing and negotiating price and terms.

We’ve talked a lot about how important it is to find the right vendor. They can make or break your business. That’s why we put so much work into meeting, interviewing, screening, and qualifying potential vendors. But once you’ve found the right vendor, you still need to actually make a deal. Specifically, you need to agree on price and terms.

To set yourself up for success, it’s a good idea to do some research and preparation. If you know what things should cost, and you know what you need from a deal, and you can anticipate what the vendor needs, then you’ll be in a good position to negotiate.

In your discussion, you’ll likely make price comparisons in your efforts to get a deal. You’ll have to propose terms to the vendor, and show consideration for their position in the negotiation. Because things like delivery and quality are so important, you’ll also want to discuss penalties. And, like any negotiation, at some point you’ll probably suggest a compromise. With these skills, you should be able to get a price and terms that work for you.

In today’s business English conversation, we’ll hear Adam, a purchasing manager who works for a company that makes fitness equipment called XFit. He’s been talking with Jenny, a sales rep for a manufacturer that can make pulleys for XFit’s equipment. XFit has chosen Jenny’s company as a vendor, so Adam now has to negotiate the price and terms.

Listening Questions

1. What is the first issue that Adam brings up in the negotiation?
2. What does Adam first propose for delivery terms?
3. What is Adam willing to agree to if Jenny agrees to his suggestion about penalties?

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BEP 357 – English for Purchasing 3: Vendor Qualification

BEP 357 - Business English for Purchasing 3: Vendor Qualification

Welcome back to Business English Pod for today’s lesson on English for purchasing and qualifying vendors.

Whether you’re buying raw materials, equipment, or services, purchasing decisions are high stakes. Make a bad decision, and it’ll cost you time, money, and goodwill. Make the right decision, and you can increase your revenue, improve operations, and gain more customers.

Because purchasing decisions are so important, companies invest a lot of energy into the process of vendor selection. In previous lessons, we’ve looked at sourcing suppliers and discussing vendor criteria. Once you’ve got a clear idea of what you need and you’ve had some discussions with possible vendors, then you need to qualify them.

Basically, vendor qualification is about talking to a vendor to make sure they’re the right fit. And that’s best done during a visit to their facilities. Vendor qualification includes asking for documentation and getting samples, as proof of quality and a clean track record. As you talk, you may try to identify any inconsistencies between what you have heard and what you see. It’s also important to ensure comprehensive quality management and to probe for proof of consistency.

In today’s dialog, we’ll hear Adam, a purchasing manager who works for xFit, a company that makes fitness equipment. Adam has just taken a tour of a potential vendor’s factory. He’s talking with the manufacturer’s representative Jenny, and asking questions to see if her company is a good fit to supply parts for xFit’s exercise equipment.

Listening Questions

1. Why does Adam want product samples?
2. Why does Adam mention that he didn’t see the equipment or a set-up for the “powder coating” process?
3. What does Adam want Jenny to provide in order to show proof of consistency?

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BEP 349 – Purchasing 2: Product and Vendor Requirements

BEP 349 - English for Purchasing 2 - Product Requirements and Vendor Criteria

Welcome back to Business English Pod for today’s lesson on English for purchasing and discussing product requirements.

For purchasing managers, choosing the right vendor can be like choosing a business partner. After all, your company’s reputation is tied directly to the performance of your vendors. People judge you by the goods you use to run your business or build your products. If something goes wrong, your customers blame you, not your vendors.

But what makes the “right” vendor? Well, that discussion begins with your needs. If you’re in manufacturing or product development, you’ll be talking about design requirements. These design requirements, or product specifications, are going to help you determine whether a vendor can do the job. And the engineers or merchandizers in the room are going to have some strict technical requirements.

Once you have a sense of what you need, then you can discuss vendor criteria and qualifications. And because purchasing relationships are ongoing, you may also want to establish performance indicators to ensure everything goes well once you’ve selected a vendor.

In today’s dialog, we’ll hear a meeting in a company called xFit, which makes fitness equipment. Adam is a purchasing manager in Asia who has been looking for a new manufacturer of an important component. He’s on the phone with Crystal, another manager who is leading the meeting, and Jason, an engineer. The team is talking about the product requirements and vendor criteria.

Listening Questions

1. What does Jason emphasize as a “must” in terms of design requirements?
2. What does Crystal say is the most important criteria for evaluating potential vendors?
3. What other criteria does Adam want to discuss?

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BEP 348 – English for Purchasing 1: Sourcing Suppliers

BEP 348 - English for Purchasing 1: Sourcing Suppliers

Welcome back to Business English Pod for today’s lesson on English for purchasing and sourcing suppliers.

Every company is in the business of selling something. But you can’t be a seller of goods or services without also being a buyer of goods and services. All companies require professional services, equipment, and supplies in order to function. And if they sell goods, they also need the raw materials and parts to build those goods.

Buying all these goods and services is called purchasing. Purchasing managers work hard to find the right products and suppliers, and to negotiate good prices. Bad purchasing decisions can impact profit margins, efficiency, and quality. Good decisions can make a company a lot more competitive and profitable. While purchasing managers can find suppliers in a variety of ways, one common way is looking for suppliers at trade shows.

And what kinds of questions do purchasing managers need to ask when talking with potential suppliers at a trade show? Well, for starters, you can begin the conversation by commenting on display products. Next, you can ask about their experience, their capabilities, and their turnaround time. And finally, you’ll also want to ask about their company’s business priorities. After all, a regular supplier functions a bit like a business partner, and you want a good overall match.

In today’s dialog, we’ll hear Adam, a purchasing manager who works for xFit, a company that makes fitness equipment. Adam’s at a trade show looking for a new supplier for an important part for one of their fitness machines. He’s talking with Jenny, who is representing a Vietnamese manufacturer. Adam is trying to find out if Jenny’s company is a good fit.

Listening Questions

1. What does Adam comment on to begin the conversation?
2. What does Adam suggest might cause challenges for a company in Vietnam?
3. After Jenny talks about tariffs, what specific issue does Adam ask about?

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BEP 347 – English Sales Collocations (Part 2)

BEP 347 - Business English Collocations for Sales 2)

Welcome back to Business English Pod for today’s lesson on English collocations for talking about sales.

Sales has never been tougher. In the digital age, competition for people’s attention is fierce. And customers are armed with more knowledge than ever before. For these reasons, companies can’t get lazy about their approach to sales. They need to be strategic; they have to find new ways to manage customer relationships, and they need effective ways to track how they’re doing.

In this lesson, we’ll listen to a pharmaceutical sales team discuss new strategies to improve and track their performance. In their discussion, you’ll hear a lot of what we call “collocations.” Collocations are just groups of words that combine naturally. For example, if you want to say that someone finishes making a sale, you can say that he “closes a sale.” Everyone uses that verb “close.” Nobody says “shut a sale” or “do a sale.” The correct collocation is “close a sale.”

Native speakers learn and use these collocations naturally. And if you want to improve your vocabulary and sound more fluent, you can learn to use them too. As you listen to the dialog, try to pick out some of these collocations and we’ll discuss them later in the debrief.

In the dialog, we’ll listen to a discussion between Fran, Gus, and Nick. In our last lesson, the team discussed the need to improve their company’s sales. Now they’re talking about ways to do that. During their discussion, they use many English collocations related to sales.

Listening Questions

1. What does Nick think his colleague Dennis is doing wrong?
2. What does Nick believe is an outdated way of measuring their success?
3. What does Nick believe will happen if they improve their performance metrics?

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