The bottom line for every business is sales. Whether your student works in product development, customer support, or the sales force, it is likely that they will have to help sell their company’s product or service at some point during their working week.
Here are some essential phrases for selling (and buying) products and services.
General sales vocabulary
Client – buyer of services.
Customer – buyer of products.
To purchase – a more formal way to say, ‘to buy,’ used particularly for expensive items.
Retail/ retailer – entity that sell products to customers.
A supplier – entity that supplies the shop/factory with products or materials.
Wholesale/ wholesaler – the that sell products in large quantities from a factory to retailers.
Understanding what a client/ customer wants
What do you have in mind?
What type of ____________are you looking for?
Making the sale
This product would be a good fit for you because_________________.
Can I put you down for [amount of products]? (Selling products).
Can I sign you up for [period of time]? (Selling services).
Shall we go ahead with the sale?
It’s more economical if you buy in bulk.
To buy in bulk – to buy many of the same product at one time for a discount on the price.
Asking for feedback
How does that sound?
What are your thoughts?
Prices and payments
A bargain – a good price for something.
To bargain – to reduce the price through negotiation.
‘My grandmother likes to bargain at the market to get the best price for her fruit and vegetables.’
To give a discount/ to get a discount (to give or receive a discount).
‘I can give you a 10% discount on this product.’
A free trial – when someone can try the service for free.
‘Netflix offers a free two-week trial.’
To trial – to try a product to see if it is for you.
‘I am trialling a new broadband service at the moment.’
Asking price – the price quoted that someone wants for an item. (Usually the person will accept a lower price).
‘The asking price for the house was $200,000, but we got it for $185,000.’
To be good value for money – to be economical (a better way to say ‘cheap’).
‘This car is excellent value for money. It’s a four-wheel-drive for under 18,000 euros.’
A false economy -when something is so cheap it actually costs you money in the long term.
‘That computer was a false economy. It was cheap to buy but I have spent double that getting it repaired.’
To give % off / to get % off (to give or receive a discount)
‘I can give you 20% off this product if you purchase it today.’
Phrases to talk about offers
This offer won’t last.
This offer is coming to an end.
This offer is for a limited time only.
Don’t miss out on this great offer!
Methods of payment
An advanced payment – some money you have to pay to reserve the product.
‘To reserve the car we have to take an advanced payment of 10%.’
We accept cash, debit and credit card.
To pay in instalments – to pay monthly in small portions.
‘You can pay in instalments with 12 months zero interest.’
To be locked into a contract – you cannot stop paying for the product until a time period ends.
‘My sister is locked into an 18-month contract with her mobile provider.’
To modify a product for a customer
A bespoke design / To be tailor-made – the product is made or modified to fit the customer’s needs.
To tailor a product to your needs – to modify a product for your needs.
‘We had a sofa tailor-made to fit our living room because it was an awkward shape.’
A warranty/ a guarantee.
‘This product is guaranteed for 12 months. It has a one-year warranty’
To assure – to tell someone something positive to eliminate any doubts.
Assurance – a verbal guarantee (not ‘insurance’).
‘I can give you my assurance that this product will be delivered on time.’
To ship/ shipping – to deliver something internationally (by ship).
To deliver/ delivery – to deliver something nationally.
To track a delivery – to follow a delivery as it travels from the seller to buyer.
A tracking number – the number to follow a delivery.
What sales vocabulary have we missed? Put them in the comments below and we’ll add them to the list. Happy teaching!
Speaking practice: role play
Ask your student to try to sell you the product that they sell. Cover as applicable:
- Bulk discounts.
- Special offers.
- Bespoke design
- Finance packages and payments in instalments.
- Free trials.
- Service contracts.
- Delivery options.
- The seller’s best price (practice some bargaining).
4 thoughts on “Essential sales vocabulary”
Hi Andromeda, I really like this post. I wondered if it would be possible in future posts to add some role play ideas with these vocabulary lists; maybe at the end. Some realistic scenarios would be a fantastic way to practice this vocabulary, but I understand it takes some time to come up with them. Anyway, just a thought. Thanks for your work with this! – Brian
Thanks Brian, this is a great idea. A role play is coming soon 🙂
This is great! I was actually surprised to see ‘trial’ can also be used as a verb. I think that might be more UK English, but perfectly understandable. It’s always nice to learn something new. 😉 Thanks, Andromeda!
Thanks Kevin 🙂