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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BEP 346 – English Sales Collocations (Part 1)

BEP 346 LESSON - Business English Sales Collocations (Part 1)

Hello and welcome back to Business English Pod for today’s lesson on English collocations related to sales.

Sales is at the heart of any business. Without the hard work of salespeople who move prospects down the funnel, turning interest into sales, no business would even exist. But the game of sales is constantly changing. Good salespeople, and good companies, learn to adapt to changes in the marketplace, in consumer preferences, and in the competition.

In this lesson, we’ll listen in on a sales team meeting in a pharmaceutical company. The team is discussing past performance and future strategy. During their discussion, they use many expressions that we call “collocations.” A collocation is just a natural combination of words that native speakers learn as one expression. For example, the first collocation you’ll hear is “sales volume,” which refers to the number of units sold in a given period of time.

Native English speakers use collocations like this automatically. And people in a certain field of work share an understanding of these special expressions specific to their area. By studying these collocations in different fields, you’ll improve your vocabulary and sound more fluent. As you listen to the dialog, try to pick out some of these English collocations and we’ll discuss them later in the debrief.

In the dialog, we’ll hear Fran, Gus, and Nick. Fran is the sales manager, and she’s just finished talking about the past year’s sales results. Now she wants to talk about reasons for their disappointing results and strategies for improving them. The three colleagues use many sales English collocations and vocabulary specific to the pharmaceutical industry.

Listening Questions

1. What is the group hoping to increase or improve by discussing sales performance and strategy?
2. What does Fran believe is the reason for a reasonably good third quarter?
3. What have better sales analytics helped the company understand?

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BEP 333 – Business Development 4: Following Up with Partners

Sales English - BEP 333 Business Development 4: Following up with Partners

Welcome back to Business English Pod for today’s lesson on how to follow up with potential partners.

Everyone knows that business is a competitive world, sometimes brutally competitive. But it’s not all “dog eat dog,” as they say. Good business people know that one of the keys to success is collaboration. You find other people and businesses that are doing great things, and you cooperate so that you both benefit.

In fact, forging good partnerships is an important aspect of business development. And every partnership begins with a conversation in English. Or a few conversations, I should say.

Once you’ve identified someone as a potential partner, you’ll want to follow up, by phone or in person. And that conversation might involve asking about the person’s work activities, before steering the conversation toward your own field of work and what your company is doing. From there, you can carefully move toward the idea of working together. You might even propose a small joint effort to get the partnership going.

In today’s dialog, we’ll hear Nick, a business development executive with Quest HR. Nick is talking to Ian, who works with a management consulting firm. The two met at a conference, and Nick quickly identified Ian’s company as a potential partner. Now Nick is trying to figure out how they might be able to work together.

Listening Questions

1. What does Nick say his company believes is the secret to success?
2. What does Nick suggest Ian do if he’s interested in the work of Nick’s company?
3. What joint effort does Nick propose at the end of the conversation?

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BEP 332 – Business Development 3: Following Up with Prospects

Sales English - BEP 332 Business Development 3: Following up with Customers

Welcome back to Business English Pod for today’s lesson on following up with prospects.

English for Business development is all about the art of conversation. A smile, some chit chat, and a few good questions should be able to tell you if someone’s worth following up with. And when you do follow up, you’ll need to take your English conversation skills to next level.

When you’re following up with a prospect, you’ll likely start off with some English small talk. But pretty soon you’ll have to steer the conversation toward business. More specifically, you might ask leading questions to get the prospect to talk about their challenges. From there, you can set up solutions, and connect these solutions to their goals. If they have doubts along the way, you’ll need to address them. And if you’re successful, you should be able to arrange a follow-up meeting.

In today’s dialog, we’ll hear Nick, who works in business development for an HR consulting company. He is talking on the phone with Andria, the HR manager for a manufacturing company. Nick met Andria at a conference, and now he’s trying to find out more about Andria’s potential as a customer.

Listening Questions

1. What does Nick say he wants to understand about HR departments?
2. What does Nick say engagement surveys can help with?
3. What doubts does Nick ask Andria to explain in more detail?

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