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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BEP 318 – Business Socializing: Checking In with Clients (2)

Business English Pod 318 LESSON - Socializing with Clients in English 2

Welcome back to Business English Pod for today’s lesson on socializing in English with your clients on the phone.

There’s an old saying that you should never mix business and pleasure. And sure, it might not be a good idea to get too close to your customers and clients. But if you are all business, and you shy away from anything personal, you’ll seem cold. And people won’t connect with you.

Ultimately, you have to find the right balance. You want to be personable, but not nosy. You want to be friendly, but not pushy. And you have to take your time. A conversation with a new customer will be naturally more formal than with an established one. That’s true not only in person, but on the phone as well.

In our last lesson, we learned about paying a visit to a client’s office. Today, we’ll look at checking in with a client by phone. As you’ll hear, we often make friendly conversation at the beginning of the call, and you might find yourself showing understanding of a client’s personal situation. But eventually you’ll want to switch from the personal to business. And once you’re talking business, you might mention personal connections, gauge needs, and discuss developments in your industry. This is all part of maintaining and building a relationship with your client.

In today’s dialog, we’ll rejoin Markus, an account manager for a company that sells servers. Markus is calling up a client named Jana. He wants to check in with her, find out how she’s doing, and see if she needs anything. And you’ll hear him strike a balance between business and personal issues.

Listening Questions

1. Jana mentions a personal issue at the start of the conversation. What is it?
2. When Markus switches from personal matters to business, what topic does he mention?
3. How does Markus ask Jana about their server needs?

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BEP 317 – Business Socializing: Checking In with Clients (1)

Business English Pod 317 - English for Socializing with Clients 1

Welcome back to Business English Pod for today’s lesson on socializing in English with your clients.

Business is all about relationships. And the stronger your relationships are, especially with customers or clients, the more successful you’ll be. This is why we call up our customers or drop by their office. Sometimes we’ve got important business to take care of, but sometimes all we need to do is say hello and check in.

In fact, visiting with clients often sounds like a chat between friends. We might talk about sports, about family, about travel, or about mutual friends. Of course, it takes a while to get to this level with a customer. But once we’re there, our conversations are likely to be an interesting mix of the personal and professional.

Bouncing between these two modes naturally is the secret to the client visit. You might find yourself starting out by introducing some interesting piece of news. At some point, you may want to gauge the client’s satisfaction with your products or services. And the conversation may also turn naturally to gossiping about the competition. If a client needs a decision or information, you may have to promise to check back on it. And finally, you might want to make a social invitation, and move the relationship-building out of the office.

In today’s dialog, we’ll hear Markus, who works as an account manager for a company that sells computer servers. He is visiting the offices of one of his clients, a large Internet service provider. We’ll hear Markus chatting with Jose, his main client contact, and Tricia, another manager.

Listening Questions

1. What news does Markus deliver to Jose?
2. What does Markus say about his company’s competitor?
3. What does Markus offer to do next Friday?

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925 English Lesson 15 – How to Talk about your Family

YouTube video

In today’s 925 English lesson, we’re going to learn how to talk about your family in English.

In business, and in life, everything is about relationships. And to build relationships, we often talk about our background and our personal life. Of course, you can’t get too personal, but family is a topic that everyone loves to discuss. For most people, family is the reason they work so hard in the first place!

925 English is a new series of English lessons for beginners. 925 English lessons focus on English expressions that you can use in work and business. Each 925 English lesson features English phrases and expressions you can use in different situations and tips on why and how we use them in Business English.

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Skills 360 – Getting the Most out of a Conference (Part 2)

Business English Skills 360 - Conferences 2

Welcome back to the Skills 360 for today’s lesson on getting the most out of a conference.

Some people see conferences as a way to get away from the office for a few days and take a break. And sure, it’s helpful to step back from the daily grind and learn something, or reflect on your work and business. But if you really want to get the most out of a conference, you should look at it as more than just a learning opportunity. I mean, if you’ve got hundreds or even thousands of people in one place looking to connect with others, it’s a golden opportunity for networking.

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