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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BEP 326 – Business Development 2: Networking with Partners

Sales English - BEP 326 Business Development 2

Welcome back to Business English Pod for today’s lesson on networking in English with potential partners.

Every business development professional knows that doing business in English means knowing how to work a room. You go to events, parties, and gatherings. You smile, shake hands, and talk to new people. But that’s not all. You have to figure out how those people might fit into your network. Are they potential customers? Or are they potential partners?

The strategies you use with potential partners are similar to those you might use in any sales English conversation. You need to start by breaking the ice and asking about someone’s company and work. But once you realize you’ve got someone who might be a good partner, you should start finding overlaps in your work and build a connection with that person.

In today’s dialog, we’ll hear Nick, a business development professional with Quest HR Consulting. Nick is at an after-dinner party at a conference, when he starts a conversation with Ian, a strategy consultant. Nick uses some important techniques to start the conversation and develop Ian as a potential partner.

Listening Questions

1. What topic does Nick comment on to break the ice with Ian?
2. What are the overlaps in Nick and Ian’s work?
3. What theme does Ian mention that Nick agrees with or echoes?

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BEP 325 – Business Development 1: Networking with Customers

English for Sales - BEP 325 Business Development 1

Welcome back to Business English Pod for today’s lesson on how to talk with customers in English. Potential customers, that is.

If you work in sales or business development, a big part of your job is meeting new people in search of new customers. That might include cold-calling, where you phone someone at work or drop by their office. But often this kind of networking takes place at events, like conferences, forums, and pretty much anywhere else you have a lot of people in one place.

At these events, you don’t usually begin a conversation talking about business. Instead, you talk about the weather, or sports, or other non-work topics. This is where socializing in English and doing business in English are closely connected. You’ve got to break the ice socially before you introduce your company, the work that you do, and other clients. And then you’ve got to lead into talking about the customer’s needs and asking to follow up at a later time. The trick is doing this naturally.

In today’s dialog, we’ll hear Nick, who works in business development for an HR consulting company. Nick is at a dinner event during a big HR conference. He is seated at a table with Andria. Nick clearly demonstrates how an English sales conversation works, as he identifies Andria as a potential customer.

Listening Questions

1. How does Nick introduce his company?
2. What do Nick’s company and Andria’s company have in common?
3. What does Nick ask to identify a gap in Andria’s HR strategy?

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