Speak Business English Like an American » LESSON 6 - Discussing Good Results

Discussing Good Results

Peter, Linda, and Todd work as managers at Capital City Bank, a retail bank. Linda s creative idea for attracting new customers to the bank has generated lots of new business.

Peter: Great news! We had a record-breaking quarter. We brought in revenues of $500,000.

Linda: Wow, revenues really were through the roof!

Todd: That's great. Kudos to Linda! She deserves a pat on the back. The guerrilla marketing campaign she dreamed up was brilliant. She sent out e-mail to all of our customers asking them to e-mail a friend about our services. For each friend they e-mailed, they received a free gift.

Peter: Linda, your campaign helped us drum up a lot of business. We signed on 800 new customers.

Linda: I'm really glad my plan panned out. I thought it would, since everybody loves a freebie!

Todd: Linda, we can always count on you to think outside the box.

Linda: For the record, Peter helped me come up with the idea.

Peter: Thanks for sharing the credit, Linda. But it was your idea.

Todd: The important thing is that we're now giving our biggest competitor, U.S. Bank, a run for their money.

  • record-breaking
    better than ever before; exceeding all previous results
    EXAMPLE: After another record-breaking quarter, eBay's stock price hit a new high.
  • through the roof
    very high; higher than expected
    EXAMPLE: No wonder people are complaining about the cost of heating their homes. Oil prices have gone through the roof!
  • kudos to
    I'd like to give credit to; I'd like to acknowledge
    EXAMPLE: Kudos to our R&D department. They've come up with a new shampoo formula that's cheaper to manufacture and more effective on damaged hair.

    NOTE: Kudos is the Greek word for "praise."

  • a pat on the back
    credit; recognition; praise
    EXAMPLE: "Team, give yourselves a pat on the back. Our results are in and we just had our most successful quarter ever!"
  • guerrilla marketing
    innovative methods to sell products; non-traditional methods of advertising or promotion that deliver good results with minimal spending
    EXAMPLE: To promote his new Internet dating service, Don painted his car pink and wrote "Don's Dating Service" in big letters on both sides of the car. That's effective guerrilla marketing!

    NOTE: The word "guerrilla" refers to carrying on a war using independent bands of soldiers, who tend to use very aggressive and non-traditional tactics to win battles.

  • dream up
    to think up something creative or unusual; to come up with an original idea; to invent
    EXAMPLE: A disposable lemon-scented toilet brush? What will companies dream up next?
  • (to) drum up business
    to create business; to find new customers
    EXAMPLE: Sales have been very slow lately. Do you have any ideas for drumming up business?
  • (to) sign on new customers (or members)
    to enlist new customers; to get customers to open an account or take a membership
    EXAMPLE: The fitness center was able to sign on 300 new members in May thanks to their successful advertising campaign.
  • (to) pan out
    to succeed; to bring the desired results
    EXAMPLE: When Steve's career in acting didn't pan out, he decided to go to business school.
  • (to) think outside the box
    to think creatively; to think in a new and different way
    EXAMPLE: The small law firm is losing business to larger rivals. The firm needs to think outside the box and come up with some creative ways to market its services.

    NOTE: This expression is now overused. You will likely hear it, but you may not want to use it.

    ORIGIN: This phrase refers to a puzzle used by consultants in the 1970s and 1980s. To solve it, you must connect nine dots, using four straight lines drawn continuously. Your pen must never leave the paper. (The only solution to this puzzle is to draw lines outside the border of the box. Therefore, you must "think outside the box" to solve the puzzle).

  • for the record
    let me make my opinion clear
    EXAMPLE: I know that everybody else likes the idea of using a bear for a mascot, but, just for the record, I think it's a lousy idea.
  • (to) share the credit
    to acknowledge someone else's contribution; to share with somebody else recognition for a job well done
    EXAMPLE: Thank you for giving me the award for coming up with the best new product idea this year. But I really need to share the credit with my colleagues in the marketing department.
  • (a) run for one's money
    strong competition
    EXAMPLE: When Yahoo decided to go into the online search business, they gave Google a run for their money.

    ORIGIN: This expression comes from the world of horse racing. It refers to a horse on which one has bet money and which comes close to winning but doesn't win.

Practice The Idioms

Choose the most appropriate response to each sentence:

  1. Our store had a very successful holiday season this year. Sales were through the roof!
    • a) I'm sorry to hear that you need a new roof.
    • b) That's great. Congratulations!
    • c) Don't worry. Maybe next year will be better.
  2. We're looking for some fresh thinking in our marketing department. Are you good at thinking outside the box?
    • a) Yes, I tend to think like everybody else.
    • b) Yes, I enjoy approaching new projects in a traditional way.
    • c) Yes, I'm great at coming up with new and creative ideas.
  3. I'd like to share the credit with you. Without you, I wouldn't have been able to find this important new client.
    • a) Thank you. I appreciate the recognition.
    • b) Thanks, but I already have enough credit.
    • c) I think I deserve some of the credit too.
  4. A big Ace Hardware store is opening up in town. Do you think they'll give our local hardware store a run for their money?
    • a) Definitely. Their selection will be bigger and their prices may be lower.
    • b) Yes, our local hardware store will definitely run out of money.
    • c) No. Everybody in town will start shopping at Ace Hardware.
  5. Since you need to drum up some new business, I suggest you exhibit at a trade show.
    • a) We don't have any business right now.
    • b) We've been thinking about going into the drum business.
    • c) Great idea! I'm sure we could find some new clients there.
  6. You deserve a pat on the back for figuring out how to fix our computer network.
    • a) Thanks. It was my pleasure.
    • b) Thanks. Let me turn around so you can see my back.
    • c) Sorry. I wish I could've done a better job.
  7. Kudos to you and the rest of the manufacturing department for figuring out how to cut our production costs!
    • a) We don't need any more kudos. We have enough in inventory.
    • b) Thank you. We are proud of our results.
    • c) We'll try our best, but we can't guarantee anything.
  8. Traditional ways of advertising are no longer working for our firm. Do you think we should try some guerrilla marketing?
    • a) Absolutely. It's always better to use reliable old methods.
    • b) Yes, new ways of marketing might help increase sales.
    • c) No, I think you should try marketing to monkeys instead.
Answer Key
Practice The Idioms
  1. b
  2. c
  3. a
  4. a
  5. c
  6. a
  7. b
  8. b
Answer Key
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