Business Writing

Idioms 2 (and some collocations): Talking about sales

Idioms abound in English. In this series I am not providing comprehensive lists (I don’t think I could). I’ve focussed on the most commonly used ones. As well as some idioms, I’ve also listed some commonly used sales and marketing expressions.


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To come down in price to become cheaper
To bring down the price to lower the price of a product, to make it cheaper
To do a roaring trade to sell a lot of something very quickly
To plug (a product) to promote (a product)
To work out the kinks (informal) to solve a problem you are having with something
To make cold calls to telephone somebody you do not know in order to sell them something
For sale available to be bought, especially from the owner
On sale available to be bought, especially in a shop/store, being offered at a reduced price
Sales drive/campaign a special effort to sell more of a particular product
Seller’s market the situation when the people selling something have an advantage, because there is not a lot of a particular item for sale, and prices can be kept high
Buyer’s market the situation when there is a lot of a particular item for sale, so that prices are low and people buying have a choice
To have an ace up your sleeve (informal) to hold a secret advantage, for example a piece of information, that you are ready to use if you need to
Hard sell a method of selling that puts a lot of pressure on the customer to buy

Some Common Sales and Marketing Verb Phrases:

  • break into/enter/capture/dominate the market
  • gain/grab/take/win/boost/lose market share
  • find/build/create a market for something
  • start/launch an advertising/a marketing campaign
  • develop/launch/promote a product/website
  • create/generate demand for your product
  • attract/get/retain/help customers/clients
  • drive/generate/boost/increase demand/sales
  • beat/keep ahead of/out-think/outperform the competition
  • meet/reach/exceed/miss sales targets
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