At work: careers
A career in sales
When Carl left school, he took the first job he was offered – in telesales1. He thought
telemarketing2 sounded quite glamorous but soon found that most of the people he phoned
hated cold calling3 and put the phone down when he tried the hard sell4. However, he persevered
and found he became quite skilled at persuading customers to part with their money5. He then
moved into a job on a TV shopping channel6, where he specialised in selling merchandise7 for
the leisure market. He did so well at this that he set up his own sportswear company and hasn't
looked back8 since.
+ 2 selling or marketing goods and services by phone
* phoning people who have not requested a call in
order to try to sell them something
4 * attempt to sell something by being very forceful or
5 spend money
6 a TV channel devoted to selling products
7 products that are bought and sold
has moved forward successfully
Buying and selling
A person's purchasing power is the ability they have to buy goods, i.e. the amount of money they
If you shop around, you try different companies or shops to see which offers best value.
If you want to buy something, you need to find a shop that stocks it. [keeps a supply of it = keeps it in stock]
If you trade something up, usually a car or a house, you buy one that is of higher value than the one
you had before. (opp. = trade down)
People sometimes make a purchasing decision based on brand loyalty. [confidence in that particular
make and a tendency always to choose it]
Supermarkets sometimes sell an item for less than it costs them in order to attract a lot of people
into the shop, where they will also buy more profitable items – the item being sold at a low price is
called a loss leader.
For a company to sell its products, it has to price them appropriately. [give them a price]
If a company finds a niche market, it finds a specialised group of customers with particular interests
that that company can meet.
If an item is said to come/go under the hammer, it is sold at an auction. [sale of goods or property
where people make gradually increasing bids and the item is then sold to the highest bidder]
A career in business
A few years ago Tina started her own software development business, which turned out to be
very lucrative1. However, she got increasingly irritated by all the red tape2 involved in the
administration3 of a business and when a larger company contacted her with a proposition4,
suggesting a takeover5, she was interested. At first, the two companies could not agree on all the
details of the agreement but they managed to reach a compromise6 and hammer out a deal7
without too much delay. In many ways Tina was sad that her company had been swallowed up8
but she has used the money raised by the sale of her capital assets9 to invest in10 a business
start-up11: an online holiday property letting agency12.
producing a lot of money
organisation and arrangement of operations
* agreement in which one company takes control of
another one (compare with merger, in which two
companies join together to become one company)
* come to an agreement in which both sides reduce
their demands a little
talk in detail until a business agreement is made
taken over by a larger company
buildings and machines owned by a company
put money into
* a business organising the rental of holiday houses
Match the two parts of these business collocations .
Look at A and B opposite. Fill the gaps in these sentences.
the hammer in London tomorrow.
1 A world-famous painting will go
2 It's a sensible idea to shop
a bit before buying a computer.
3 Sally made the right decision when she quit her old job and set up her own business – she hasn't
since the day it opened.
4 I don't mind trying a hard sell on a person who has already expressed an interest in our products,
but I hate
5 It can be quite hard to persuade my dad to
with his money.
6 I"m going to make a
for the dining table that is up for auction tomorrow.
7 My current job is in
. I spend all the day on the phone.
8 They produce special clothes for people who practise yoga and have really cornered this
9 The shop I went to didn't
the printer I wanted so I"m going to order it online.
Replace the underlined words with a word or phrase from C with a similar meaning.
1 As their business interests were quite different, it took them a long time to come to an agreement.
2 If you want to go into the import and export business, you had better be prepared for a lot
3 At the moment they are discussing the possibility of buying up another company.
4 Sportswear is a very profitable business to be in at the moment.
5 Banks will only lend a new business money if they have a realistic business plan.
6 A number of small companies have been taken over by that huge multinational in the last
7 Hassan has made a rather interesting suggestion about setting up a business together.
8 Chloe is much better at the creative side of business than the organisation involved in
running a company.
Choose the best word to complete each sentence.
1 I hope we"ll be able to keep / reach a compromise when we meet tomorrow.
2 I think those new games consoles are priced / purchased too high at the moment.
3 The shops are hoping to sell a lot of capital assets / merchandise connected with the
4 My sports car was so expensive to run that I decided to trade it down / up for something
5 Helga has never looked back / out since she started her own business ten years ago.
6 There's a lot of loss leader / red tape involved in setting up a new business.