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BBC 6 minute English-Business English: Describing sales

BBC 6 minute English-Business English: Describing sales

BBC 6 minute English-Business English: Describing sales


Transcript of the podcast

NB: This is not a word-for-word transcript

Feifei: Welcome to 6 Minute English! I’m Feifei

Neil: And I’m Neil

Feifei: And in today’s programme we’re talking about – err, actually, what are we talking about today Neil

Neil: Well, I’ve made a big decision today Feifei. Everybody has a mobile phone and I’m not like everybody, I am an individual, so I’ve decided to get rid of my phone

Feifei: But everyone in this country has got a phone

Neil: That’s just the point. I’ve got this report from Ofcom, the UK telecoms regulator that says that 92% of UK adults now own a mobile phone

Feifei: Apart from you

Neil: Apart from me

Feifei: Oh, but that’s just you being special. Anyway, more and more people are now actually buying mobile phones, not just in the UK but across the world

Neil: That’s true, and manufacturers are always designing better handsets so that they can sell more and more, and increase their profits

Feifei: Yes, like new smartphones that allow you to search the internet and make phone calls, but companies have to keep up with the latest technology to survive

Neil: True, otherwise you might hear this kind of report in the news

BBC Reporter

It’s been a bad year for the company, although it started well with an unexpected rise in sales of their new phone. In fact sales rose in the first quarter and peaked in March, with over 10,000 being sold. But following the launch of a rival’s new smartphone, sales declined steadily. It decided to cut its prices in June which caused a boost in sales, but they then fluctuated and finally levelled off in September. Since then, it’s selling only around 1,000 handsets a month

Neil: So an interesting year for this phone company. Did you get all that

Feifei: Well, I was trying to follow what happened. There was a lot of going up and down

Neil: Oh, hang on. What’s that? Hang on a minute, it’s the phone

Feifei: What

Neil: Hello, yes, yes. Of course, Betty

Feifei: Is that Business Betty

Neil: Yes. She’s stuck outside and she wants me to let her in. Come on in

Feifei: But before we carry on, I thought you just said you don’t have a phone

Neil: I don’t have one, it’s just for emergencies

Feifei: But that’s still a phone

Neil: But you need one for emergencies

Neil / FF: Hello Business Betty!! You’re just in time

BB: Just in time, good good! Now, what can I help you with today

Neil: Can you go over some useful language for describing sales in business

BB: I’d be delighted. So, to start with, when you’re talking about sales, you need to give a general overview. You could say The situation is good

Neil: The situation is good

BB: And then to explain the situation, you can say We can see from the sales figures that

Neil: We can see from the sales figures that

BB: Or, As the graph shows

Neil: As the graph shows

BB: Next you need some key vocabulary to describe sales figures. There are lots of words you can use to say that sales have gone up. We can say increased

Feifei: Increased: Sales increased in January

BB: Rise

Feifei: Rise: There was a large rise in sales in February

BB: Or the past of rise: rose

Feifei: Rose: Sales rose last year

BB: If things changed a lot and went up and down, you can say They fluctuated

Feifei: Fluctuated: Sales fluctuated for two months

BB: And when sales reach their highest point, you can say They have peaked

Feifei: Peaked: Sales peaked in December

BB: That’s right. And when sales remain steady and don’t change ‘They are level’ or have levelled

Feifei: Level or levelled: Sales finally levelled in September

Neil: Thanks Betty, all very useful. But what happens when a company’s sales are very bad

BB: Then you might say that ‘Sales have declined’ or dropped

Neil: Sales have declined or sales have dropped. Now that’s not good news, but you’ve been brilliant. Thanks Betty

BB: You’re welcome. Bye bye for now

Feifei: Bye

Neil: I think things are a lot clearer now

Feifei: Yes, crystal clear! So do you know what that means

Neil: Time for me to be the boss in the role-play

Feifei: I’ll be the boss

Neil: Again

Feifei: Yes again, and you need to come to me and tell me about our sales figures – they better be good


Feifei: Come in

Neil: Hello Feifei, I’ve got those sales figures you asked for

Feifei: Great. Please give me the details

Neil: This graph shows the monthly sales of mobile phones for last year. We can see that sales of mobile phones declined steadily in January, but then increased in February

Feifei: So they’re on the rise

Neil: Yes, but they fluctuated considerably in July and August, reaching a peak of 6,200 per month in September

Feifei: So that was our biggest month for sales

Neil: Actually no. Sales levelled off in October through to November. But by December there was a large rise, as you can see on this graph

Feifei: A large rise, excellent. Bonuses all round

Neil: Were you happy with the sales figures Feifei

Feifei: Of course, a large rise in sales at the end of the year is brilliant

Neil: So about the bonus you mentioned? When would I get that

Feifei: Neil, it was just a role-play

Neil: No, but you said I’d get a bonus, so

Feifei: That’s all we have time for today. Say goodbye

Neil: Bye

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