Mastering English as a language is a journey, and the same for any language you decide to learn. How far your progress and what level of language skills you develop are dependent on you. However, you also need good teachers and learning materials to help you to do this. In the workplace – office, shop, freelancer – you need to be able to communicate with your boss, co-workers, and clients. You can’t walk into a meeting and shout “hiya” to everyone like you might do when meeting friends. Just like having a professional manner, using professional English or business English is also very important. For example, it is essential to know the politeness formulas in English to be able to communicate well.
The language you use, how you use it, when speaking to anyone in a professional environment is very important for many reasons. It plays a key role into people’s first impressions, it becomes part of people’s perception of you and your abilities, and it also makes open conversation easier. The last one is important – having to go through a third or fourth person just to clarify something or make sure the same thing is understood by all is a frustrating and off-putting prospect. Being able to communicate directly with someone in a professional context is key to success in the business world. You still don’t know how to write a professional email in English? Then it’s time to learn.
It also adds “a feather to your cap”, so to speak. Having sufficient language skills looks great on your resume and can really put you ahead of others when advancement opportunities open up. Using language in this context is different, and you’ll learn this on business English courses
Business English comes under the umbrella of ESP, that’s English for a Specific Purpose. These are generally courses for people working in a business environment, those wanting to enter the industry, or people who are aiming higher. However, people study business English for many different reasons. This isn’t like general English. These courses are designed to enable you to perform better in a business environment – from sending formal emails to using advertising language on a flyer selling your next big event.
Here are some options –
Attending a business English course at a language school is one option. The content of the course will focus on language in a professional environment and you will study with other business professionals. Just make sure when you sign up that you are able to attend all the classes, and that it covers what you need. It can be an expensive mistake if not!
If attending classes with a strict schedule isn’t possible for you, you can also go with the option of self-study. This can be as simple as buying some business English course books and working through them at your own pace. The drawbacks are the lack of feedback on mistakes and not being able to clarify anything you don’t understand. However, some people like the flexibility of this option. Just make sure you have the self-discipline for it!
Another self-study option, though not one I would completely recommend, is using the internet. However, as many ‘resources’ online are made by people as blogs and not formal resources etc, I wouldn’t use them as the only resources. Using blogs etc is fine for checking other people’s ideas on a topic and getting hints and tips. Blogs accompanying a course, for example, is a good path. Many ELT publishing companies also have free samples of business English materials you can look at to help support your learning. Check them out – Oxford ELT Publishing, Cambridge ELT or Cambridge English, and National Geographic ELT Publishing.
Organising private one-to-one classes where your tutor will focus your learning on business English and professional skills is another positive and viable option. This situation just requires you to check the tutor has vast experience in teaching business English. You can find tutors from some online companies such as Tutoroo or on message boards in cafes and university areas. This is a great way to develop your skills and allows you to have a flexible schedule. You arrange with the tutor in advance and let them know if next week is possible or not.
One final option is a self-guided course with professionally made resources, which focuses on different areas of business. Thus allowing you to pick the content areas you are interested in or need, such as emailing, HR, recruitment, vocabulary etc. Luckily for you, one does exist and it’s excellent : Business English.
Working as a salesperson can encapsulate various different types of sales roles, from selling products in a shop to representing a multinational company’s sales team. Whatever scale role you’re considering, here are a salesperson’s key responsibilities:
Greeting clients and customers
Helping customers find the products or services they need
Identifying customers’ needs and suggesting appropriate products/services
Tracking stock, chasing orders and making purchases
Dealing with complaints and solving problems
A salesperson also needs to have the following qualities:
Basic numerical skills
Excellent oral communication skills
Good presentation and knowledge of body language
Empathy for customer complaints and problems
Excellent customer service skills
Does a salesperson need to have prior experience in sales or a degree in a sales-related subject? The quick answer is: no. For an entry-level role as a salesperson, it is possible to train and develop your knowledge on the job. Of course, if you have these things, use them to your advantage and target a sales role with more responsibility and evolution.
An immediate way to improve your English for the sales sector is expanding your vocabulary with new terms. By discovering new words and learning how to use them, you will become more effective and at ease in your sales communication. Let’s take a look at some common terms associated with the sales sector:
buyer = a consumer, or someone employed to buy products for a company
client = a customer
after-sales service = the service after selling a product
to guarantee = to ensure or to promise something, such as the quality of a product
in bulk = in large quantity.
a lead = a potential customer or client
product = the thing or service produced and sold by a company
a prospect = a lead
retail = selling in a real or online shop environment
USP (Unique Selling Point) = a feature that makes your product or service unique on the market
to close a deal = to finalize a deal
cold call = a randomized sales calling technique
deal = a business agreement
discount = a reduction
to follow up = to track the progress of something
wholesale = selling large quantities (in bulk)
Are there any words you don’t know? This is only a short list of terms that you might encounter in sales. Take this as a starting point and add the terms that are necessary to your industry.
Getting your English to the level where you can work in a sales department is a perfectly achievable goal, if you have the right tools to work with. If you decide to go with e-learning for the next step in your language learning journey, GlobalExam can help, with a whole learning path designed to help with English for sales. Below are some example exercises to give you an idea of our methodology.
This example exercise is part of our sales learning journey. In this exercise, you must select the sentence that corresponds to the example in meaning, in the context of welcoming a client.
This second example exercise requires you to select the correct definition of the verb “to request”. Notice that our exercises are answered with explanations to help you understand why one answer is correct.
These exercises give you a flavour for the type of learning method available on GlobalExam. We combine vocabulary and grammar into lifelike situations that allow you to take what you learn online and use it directly in real work scenarios.
The very fact you’re reading an article about honing your English for the sales sphere suggests that you’re dedicated to improving your professional skill set. Giving time to your communication skills is an excellent first step, but what other methods are there for becoming the best salesperson you can be? Here are our top tips.
Top Tip #1 Do your research
Before heading into any sales pitch, it’s essential to have a clear idea of who your customer is, what their needs are, and exactly how your product can be appealing to them. Of course, you need to know everything there is to know about what you’re selling, but knowing your customer is just as important.
Top Tip #2 Believe in your product
This one isn’t always a given, but if you can truly believe in what you’re selling, your sales pitch will be all the better for it. This comes down to choosing to work for a company (or launching your own!) that promotes the values you stand behind.
Top Tip #3 Put yourself in your customer’s shoes
Remember the other person on the other side of your sales pitch, and ask yourself how you’re coming across to them. Are you being engaging or intimidating? Are you responding to their concerns or bombarding them with information?
On GlobalExam, you can take your learning to the next level through virtual classes. We offer half-an-hour individual lessons and one-hour group lessons, to suit different types of learners and different budgets.
If you choose to learn with a solo lesson, you get to determine the topics you cover. If group learning is more your style, we have a schedule of lessons on the following themes:
How to make a phone call
How to plan a meeting
How to give a presentation
How to participate in video and conference calls
If improving your English to conquer the world of sales is your objective, why not try out our group lesson on making a phone call? As a salesperson, you’ll need to know how to drive home your sales pitch over the phone.
Here are some additional advantages to learning through virtual lessons:
Experienced, TESOL-qualified English teachers
Desktop and mobile friendly lessons
Maximum of six people per group lesson
Choose an English teacher based on ratings and recommendations
Group lessons are supported with teaching assistants to maximise tuition
Practice with one-on-one conversations with other learners
A technical support team is there in case of issues
We have created a Business English course online that will allow you to focus your learning on what you need most in your work environment. We have three learning pathways – competency, career, and industrial – depending on your needs. You can take a free level testwith us so we can place you in the right one. Our levels are beginner, intermediate, and advanced. This course is real-life scenarios based with videos and tasks to help make the learning as authentic as possible. Don’t delay, start the Business English course today to boost your career!
English for Sales is one of 7 Business English online courses dedicated to job skills, here is the list of the others you can find: