The Idiom Connection Business Idioms and Quizzes






Business Idioms






Business Idioms

accept an offer

- to agree to an offer or proposal

I accepted the offer to buy my car.

across the board

- including everyone or everything

The computer company decided to give the workers an across-the-board increase in their salary.

adjourn a meeting

- to end a meeting

We adjourned the meeting until the next day.

at a loss

- at less than the cost, at a financial loss

The store was selling things at a loss so the prices were very low.

bail a company out or bail out a company

- to rescue a company that has financial problems

The government bailed out the bank to maintain stability in the economy.

balance the books

- to check that all the money in a business is accounted for

The accountant spent several days trying to balance the books of his company.

ball park figure/estimate

- a rough estimate or figure

The contractor gave us a ball park figure for the cost of repairing the new building.

bang for the buck

- value for the money spent

We were able to get much bang for the buck when we advertised on the Internet.

banker's hours

- short work hours (similar to a bank)

My friend owns his own company and works banker's hours most days.

bankroll someone

- to supply someone with money, to finance someone

The movie actor bankrolled his son while the son was producing his first movie.

bean counter

- an accountant

We asked the bean counters to look at the figures in the new budget.

big cheese/gun/wheel

- an important person, a leader

The new director was a big wheel in his previous company.

bigwig

- an important person, a leader

Some of the bigwigs of our company came to visit our factory.

blow a deal

- to ruin a business deal with someone

We are working hard so that we do not blow the deal with our new customer.

bottom drops/falls out of (something)

- a collapse occurs and prices fall below an earlier low price

When the bottom fell out of the coffee market many companies had to stop doing business.

bottom line

- the total, the final figure on a balance sheet, the results (of a business)

After we examined the bottom line of the company we decided not to invest in it.

bottom line

- the central issue of a discussion, the main point

My friend wants to open a restaurant. However, the bottom line for me is that we need more research before I invest any money.

bottom out

- to reach the lowest or worst point

The value of my stock has begun to bottom out and it should soon begin to increase in value.

bounce a check

- to write a check in which you do not have enough money in your bank account

The young man bounced a check when he tried to pay his rent.

boys in the backroom

- a group of men making decisions behind the scenes

The boys in the backroom told us that the factory will close next year.

break even

- to have expenses equal to profits

After three months the company was able to break even and begin to make a profit.

bring (something) to the table

- to have something to offer during a negotiation

We were able to bring a new offer to the table during the negotiations.

budget crunch/squeeze

- a situation where there is not enough money in the budget

There is a severe budget squeeze at our company.

buy a stake in (something)

- to buy part ownership of a company or other enterprise

The large bank is planning to buy a stake in the small stock trading company.

buy off (someone) or buy (someone) off

- to use a gift or money to divert someone from their duty (similar to a bribe and sometimes illegal)

The land developer tried to buy off the politician but he was not successful.

buy out (someone or something) or buy (someone or something) out

- to buy the ownership or a majority share of something

The large company decided to buy out the small textile company.

buy (something) on credit

- to buy something without paying cash

My friend had no money so he decided to buy some furniture on credit.

buyer's market

- a situation where there are more sellers than buyers of a product or service and the buyers have an advantage

It was a buyer's market and the price of fruit was very cheap.

by a long shot

- by a big difference

Our company beat out the bids of the other companies by a long shot.

a calculated risk

- an action that may fail but has a good chance to succeed

The company took a calculated risk when they put the new computer on the market.

call a loan

- to demand the immediate and complete payment of a debt/loan

The bank recently called the loan of the small business.

call a meeting to order

- to start a meeting

Our supervisor called the meeting to order after everyone arrived.

call on (someone) to speak

- to ask someone to speak, to give someone permission to speak at a meeting

The chairman called on me to speak at the meeting.

captain of industry

- a top corporation officer

The president of our company was a captain of industry and when he retired he was appointed to many government boards.

carry a motion

- to support or win acceptance for a motion or proposal or idea in a meeting

I was able to carry a motion at last night's meeting.

carry over figures/numbers/costs

- to transfer a figure or number or cost from one column or time to another

Our company will carry over last year's losses to this year.

carry over (something) or carry (something) over

- to save or postpone something for another time

The department store will carry over their sale until after the national holiday.

carry the day

- to win complete support

The manager's idea carried the day and everyone supported him with enthusiasm.

carry through with (something)

- to put something into action, to do something

The steel company will carry through with their plan to restructure operations.

carve out a niche (for a product)

- to create a speciality or product or market that nobody else has

The company was able to carve out a niche for their product among university students.

circulate the agenda

- to distribute a list or other information about what will be discussed in a meeting

We circulated the agenda for the meeting last week.

close out (something) or close (something) out

- to sell the whole or all of something

The company decided to close out the store and sell the remaining stock very cheap.

close the books

- to stop taking orders, to end a bookkeeping period

The company will close the books at the end of December.

close up shop

- to stop doing business (for a variety of reasons - not only financial reasons)

The university bookstore will close up shop next month.

come down in price

- to lower the price of one's product, to become cheaper

We were forced to come down in price in order to sell our target number of cars for the month.

come in high

- to charge too much for your services, to ask for a price that is too high

The salesman came in high during the negotiations and could not sell his product.

come in low

- to offer a low amount of money for a product or service

The company came in low with an offer for our product.

come on strong

- to overwhelm others with very strong language or personality

The salesman came on strong at the meeting and angered the other members of the team.

company man

- a person who always works hard for his company and supports the company policies

My father was a company man and he always put in an extra effort for his company.

company town

- a town dominated by one industry or company

The company town faced severe economic times when the coal mine closed.

corner the market

- to dominate a particular market with your product

The large company has cornered the market for cell phones in our city.

crunch numbers

- to do mathematical calculations

The accountant loves to crunch numbers and he is one of the top managers in our company.

cut a deal

- to make a business arrangement or contract with someone

I was able to cut a deal with the contractor and we paid very little for our new kitchen.

cut back

- to use fewer or less of something

The company has been cutting back on entertainment expenses recently.

cut corners

- to economize, to try to spend less money

We have been forced to economize on expenses during these severe economic times.

cut off (someone or something) or cut (someone or something) off

- to interrupt or stop someone or something

The speech by our manager was cut off when the electricity went off in the building.

cut one's losses

- to do something in order to stop losing additional money or time etc.

We should sell the old machinery soon and try to cut our losses.

defeat a motion

- to defeat an idea or proposal in a meeting

We easily defeated the motion to change the dates for next year's convention.

deliver the goods

- to succeed in doing a good job of something

The new manager is not very popular but he is able to deliver the goods.

double check (something)

- to check something again to confirm that it is correct

We must double check the new product prices before the price list is printed.

draw up a contract

- to make or draft a contract

The lawyer spent several hours drawing up a new contract.

drop the price (of something)

- to lower the price of something

We dropped the price of our product during the negotiation.

face value (of something)

- the official value or worth of something

Although the face value of the postage stamp was very low it sold at the auction for much money.

fair play

- equal and correct action toward someone, justice

The company has a reputation for fair play when they are bargaining with their employees.

figure out (something) or figure (something) out

- to find an answer by thinking about something

Everybody is trying to figure out what our boss is going to do with the new equipment.

fill the bill

- to be just what is needed

The new machine should fill the bill for what we need to finish the job.

float (someone) a loan

- to loan someone money

I asked the bank to float me a loan so that I could buy a new car.

follow-up meeting

- a meeting where you discuss previous business

We will have a follow-up meeting to discuss the new product.

gain ground

- to go forward, to make progress

Our company is gaining ground in its attempt to be the best in the industry.

get a break

- to get an opportunity or good deal

We were able to get a break on the price of the paint and we saved much money.

get a raise

- to get an increase in one's salary

My sister works hard and she recently got a raise in her new job.

get off the ground

- to make a successful beginning

We were unable to get the new product off the ground but we will try again next year.

give (someone) the green light

- to give someone permission to go ahead or proceed with something

Our boss gave us the green light to begin work on the new sales campaign.

go belly up

- to go out of business because of financial problems

The small computer company went belly up several months ago.

go over the books

- to check and analyze the accounting records of a company

We hired an outside accountant to go over our books.

go public

- to become a public company and to sell the company stock to the public

The stock of the Internet company rose very quickly after the company went public.

go through with (something)

- to do something as planned or as agreed, to finish something

We will go through with our plans to build the new product.

hang out one's shingle

- to open one's own business (usually as a professional in some field)

My friend decided to hang out his shingle as a dentist soon after he finished school.

a hard sell

- a way of selling something that is very aggressive and uses much pressure

The car salesman gave us a hard sell so we went to another car dealer.

have a stake in (something)

- to have part ownership of a company or other business

The large oil company has a stake in the new oil exploration company.

have good contacts

- to know people who can help you get a job or do some kind of business

The salesman has good contacts and always sells many products.

have one's finger in the pie

- to be involved in something, to receive money for something

The new manager has his finger in the pie of many small businesses.

have the floor

- to have permission to speak in a meeting

The president had the floor for almost an hour during the meeting.

heads will roll

- someone will be punished

Heads will roll when our boss learns about the money that we have lost.

hold a meeting

- to conduct a meeting

We plan to hold a meeting next week to discuss the problems with our new product.

in black and white

- in writing

The company refused to deal with the customer's complaints until they were in black and white.

in charge of (someone or something)

- to be in control of someone or something, to be responsible for someone or something

My sister has been in charge of buying supplies at her company for many years.

in short supply

- not enough of something, less than the amount or number needed

Experienced computer programmers are in short supply in our company.

in stock

- available or ready to sell or use

The store does not have any printer ink in stock.

in the black

- to be successful, to be making money, to be profitable

The new company has been in the black for many years.

in the long run

- over a long period of time

The company has been losing money recently but in the long run they should make a profit.

in the loop

- part of a group of people that is kept up-to-date with information about something

I began to work in the evenings and I was no longer in the loop at our company.

in the market for (something)

- to be ready to buy something, to want to buy something

We are in the market for a new computer.

in the red

- to be losing money, to be unprofitable

The company has been in the red since the price of oil began to rise rapidly.

in the works

- to be in preparation, to be in the process of being planned or developed

The camera company has a new camera in the works but nobody knows about it.

jack up the price of (something)

- to make a price higher

The steel company will jack up the price of steel at the beginning of the year.

jump off the shelves

- to sell very well

The new children's toy is jumping off the shelves.

keep books

- to keep records of money that is gained or spent

The new sales manager does not know how to keep books and he makes many mistakes.

keep track of (something)

- to keep a count or record of something, to stay informed about something

We are trying to keep track of the number of visitors to our store.

a kickback

- an amount of money that is paid illegally for favorable treatment

The construction company was giving kickbacks to the local politicians.

knock down the price of (something) or knock the price of (something) down

- to lower the price of something

I bargained hard so that I could knock down the price of the DVD player.

land an account

- to acquire an account

The salesman landed a large account on his first day of work.

launch a product

- to introduce a new product to consumers

The company will launch their new product next month.

lay (something) on the table

- to present a matter for discussion

I went to the meeting and laid my concerns about the new product on the table.

lead time

- the amount of time between the placing of an order and the receipt of the goods that you have ordered, the time available to prepare for something

The lead time to get a book published is very long.
There was not much lead time to prepare for the advertising campaign.

line of products

- a group or category of products that are similar to each other

Our company will introduce a new line of products in the autumn.

liquid assets

- property or belongings that can easily be converted into cash

The company sold some of its liquid assets in order to raise cash.

make a cold call

- to visit or telephone a potential but unknown customer from a list of people

When he first started to work at his company the salesman was asked to make cold calls from the telephone book.

make a go of (something)

- to produce good results, to succeed at something

Although the man works very hard in his small business he cannot make a go of it and may soon go out of business.

make a motion

- to make a suggestion or proposal at a meeting

The manager made a motion to finish the meeting early and continue the next morning.

make an offer

- to make a financial proposal for a product or service

We plan to make an offer to buy the house on Saturday.

make money hand over fist

- to make money fast and in large amounts

The small ice cream shop is making money hand over fist this summer.

mean business

- to be serious

Our boss means business when he tells everyone to work harder.

move a product

- to sell a product

We should have no trouble to move the new product.

move to (do something)

- to propose to do something (usually at a meeting)

I will move to have another meeting next week so we can discuss the problem.

a number cruncher

- an accountant, someone who works with numbers

Our company president is a good number cruncher and he understands the finances of our company.

on credit

- without paying cash

We usually buy most of our furniture on credit.

on hand

- to be in one's possession, to be ready

We did not have enough supplies on hand so we were unable to finish the job.

on the block

- to be for sale, to go on sale

After we bought the company we put some of the equipment on the block.

on the market

- available for sale

There are many good cameras on the market now.

open a meeting

- to begin a meeting

They opened the meeting by welcoming the new guests.

out of order

- against the rules - used in a meeting when someone does not obey the rules of speaking

The question was out of order at the meeting and the man was not able to ask it.

out-of-pocket expenses

- the direct expenses that one must personally pay for something

My out-of-pocket expenses were very high during the business trip.

out of stock

- not available for immediate sale

The toys are out of stock and we must wait several weeks before we get them.

out of the loop

- to not be part of a group of people that is kept up-to-date with information about something

I was out of the loop during the negotiations and did not know what was going on.

outsource (something)

- to use outside sources for something rather than those within a company or its facilities

The manufacturing company outsourced much of its work.

overnight (something)

- to send a document or package somewhere for delivery the next day

We decided to overnight the new contract to our supplier.

pay off

- to succeed, to yield good results

I hope that our plans for the new business will pay off.

pay off a debt

- to finish paying back the money that one has borrowed from a bank or business or person

I am working hard to pay off my debt to the store.

pay off a loan

- to finish paying back the money that one has borrowed from a bank or business or person

The furniture manufacturer was unable to pay off their loan so they went out of business.

piece of the action

- a share in the activity or the profits of something

The inventor wanted a piece of the action from the new equipment that he had invented.

plug a product

- to promote a product

The soccer star makes a lot of money when he agrees to plug a product.

preferred customer

- a customer who does much business with you and who you give special discounts to

The man is a preferred customer and we always give him a good price.

push a product

- to promote a product

The soap company is now pushing their new product.

put a product on the map

- to make a product known to the public

We hope that our new advertising campaign will put our product on the map.

put one's nose to the grindstone

- to work diligently or hard

I put my nose to the grindstone and finished the job before the weekend.

put (someone) on hold

- to disconnect someone temporarily from the telephone while you do something else

I phoned the bank but they put me on hold before somebody spoke to me.

put (something) on hold

- to postpone a project

The construction company put the project on hold while they looked for more money.

put (something) on the table

- to make something the topic of discussion

We put the issue of the new schedule on the table for discussion.

put (someone) through or put through (someone)

- to transfer someone to someone else's telephone

I phoned the credit card company and they put me through to a supervisor.

red ink

- debt (the red ink on a financial statement)

The automobile company has much red ink because of the bad economic conditions.

red tape

- rules and regulations that seem unnecessary (often from the government)

There is much red tape when you try to start up a new business.

Robert's Rules of Order

- the official book of guidelines and rules about how to conduct a meeting.

We always use Robert's Rules of Order when we have a meeting.

roll out a product

- to release a product for sale

The company will roll out their new computers soon.

rule (someone) out of order

- to rule that someone is not following the rules of a meeting

The chairwoman ruled the salesman out of order when he began to speak at the meeting.

run a meeting

- to conduct a meeting

My boss is not able to run a meeting very well.

run an ad

- to place or put an advertisement in a publication

The government will run an ad to tell the public about the new gas tax.

run short (of something)

- to not have enough of something

They ran short of gasoline at the gas station and had to close early.

saddled with debt

- to be burdened with debt

Our company is saddled with debt and must do something about it quickly.

second a motion

- to formally agree with a proposal in a meeting

I seconded the motion to start one hour early every morning during the summer.

sell like hotcakes

- to sell very quickly

The children's toys were selling like hotcakes at the end of the year.

sell out

- to sell all of a product

Every year our company is able to sell out most of our summer goods.

sell (something) at a loss

- to sell something and lose money

We were forced to sell the computers at a loss.

seller's market

- a situation where there are more buyers of a product/service than sellers so the sellers have an advantage

It was a seller's market for houses and the houses were increasing in value.

set up a meeting

- to make arrangements for a meeting

I am trying to set up a meeting with the manager of our department.

set up shop (somewhere)

- to open a business

The fire alarm company decided to set up shop in our city.

slash prices

- to reduce prices significantly

The store is slashing prices on the new computers.

slice of the action

- a share in the activity or the profits of something

The government wanted a slice of the action from the new businesses.

stand adjourned

- to be dismissed or to end (used for a meeting)

"This meeting now stands adjourned."

strike while the iron is hot

- to take advantage of an opportunity

I plan to strike while the iron is hot and apply for the job quickly.

sweetheart deal

- a deal made between friends or businesses so that both may receive a benefit

We made a sweetheart deal with our landlord to have our rent reduced.

table a discussion

- to postpone a discussion until a later time

We tabled the discussion about the salary issue until the next meeting.

take a nosedive

- to collapse, to decrease in value

The stock market took a nosedive when the earnings of the oil company decreased.

take a pay cut

- to accept a decrease in one's salary

The telephone workers were forced to take a pay cut after the strike.

take minutes

- to write down the details of a meeting

I usually take minutes at the monthly club meetings.

take on (an employee) or take (an employee) on

- to give a job to someone, to hire someone

The company took on many new workers during the busy holiday season.

take over (something) or take (something) over

- to take control or possession of something, to take charge or responsibility for something

The government decided to take over the bank after it declared bankruptcy.

take (a company) public

- to sell shares of a company to the general public

We decided to take our company public in order to raise money to expand our factory.

take (something) at face value

- to take something that is said exactly as it is said

I took my friend's comment at face value.

take stock

- to count the items of merchandise or supplies in stock at a business, to take inventory

The department store closes for three days every March in order to take stock.

test market a product

- to research whether or not a product will be successful by selling it in a particular market or by choosing people to use the product for a specified period of time and receiving comments from them

The computer company will begin to test market their new computer in several cities soon.

throw cold water on (something)

- to discourage or forbid something

The manager threw cold water on our plan to close the factory for one week in August.

throw money at (something)

- to try to solve a problem by spending money on it

The president of our company is willing to throw much money at the factory problem.

tight spot

- a difficult situation

The computer company has been in a tight spot since the shortage of computer chips appeared.

turn a profit

- to make a profit

The supermarket has been turning a profit since it opened.

turn over

- to do business to a certain amount of money or product

We turn over most of our stock every month.
The company turns over much money every week.

turnover (of products)

- the rate at which a product is sold and replaced

The turnover of cold drinks is very high in the store.

turnover (of workers)

- the rate at which employees join and leave a company

The turnover of workers in the new restaurant is very high.

word-of-mouth advertising

- orally from one person to another, a form of advertising where a satisfied customer tells friends about a particular product

The new shampoo is doing very well because of word-of-mouth advertising.

work out

- to have a specific result

I do not believe that the new plan is going to work out.

work out (a problem)

- to solve a problem, to provide the details of something

I spent the weekend trying to work out the budget estimates for next year.

work overtime

- to work more than one's regular hours

I worked overtime every Friday last month.

write off (a debt/loan)

- to remove a debt/loan from a business record, to cancel a debt

It was impossible for the bank to collect the money so they were forced to write off the loan.

Accounting Idioms


balance the books

- to check that all the money in a business is accounted for

The accountant spent several days trying to balance the books of his company.

bean counter

- an accountant

We asked the bean counters to look at the figures in the new budget.

bottom line

- the total, the final figure on a balance sheet, the results (of a business)

After we examined the bottom line of the company we decided not to invest in it.

break even

- to have expenses equal to profits

After three months the company was able to break even and begin to make a profit.

budget crunch/squeeze

- a situation where there is not enough money in the budget

There is a severe budget squeeze at our company.

carry over figures/numbers/costs

- to transfer a figure or number or cost from one column or time to another

Our company will carry over last year's losses to this year.

close the books

- to stop taking orders, to end a bookkeeping period

The company will close the books at the end of December.

crunch numbers

- to do mathematical calculations

The accountant loves to crunch numbers and he is one of the top managers in our company.

figure out (something) or figure (something) out

- to find an answer by thinking about something

Everybody is trying to figure out what our boss is going to do with the new equipment.

go over the books

- to check and analyze the accounting records of a company

We hired an outside accountant to go over our books.

in the black

- to be successful, to be making money, to be profitable

The new company has been in the black for many years.

in the red

- to be losing money, to be unprofitable

The company has been in the red since the price of oil began to rise rapidly.

keep books

- to keep records of money that is gained or spent

The new sales manager does not know how to keep books and he makes many mistakes.

a number cruncher

- an accountant, someone who works with numbers

Our company president is a good number cruncher and he understands the finances of our company.

red ink

- debt (the red ink on a financial statement)

The automobile company has much red ink because of the bad economic conditions.

saddled with debt

- to be burdened with debt

Our company is saddled with debt and must do something about it quickly.

write off (a debt/loan)

- to remove a debt/loan from a business record, to cancel a debt

It was impossible for the bank to collect the money so they were forced to write off the loan.

Advertising Idioms


bang for the buck

- value for the money spent

We were able to get much bang for the buck when we advertised on the Internet.

plug a product

- to promote a product

The soccer star makes a lot of money when he agrees to plug a product.

run an ad

- to place or put an advertisement in a publication

The government will run an ad to tell the public about the new gas tax.

word-of-mouth advertising

- orally from one person to another, a form of advertising where a satisfied customer tells friends about a particular product

The new shampoo is doing very well because of word-of-mouth advertising.

Banking Idioms


bail a company out or bail out a company

- to rescue a company with financial problems

The government bailed out the bank to maintain stability in the economy.

banker's hours

- short work hours (similar to a bank)

My friend owns his own company and works banker's hours most days.

bankroll someone

- to supply someone with money, to finance someone

The movie actor bankrolled his son while the son was producing his first movie.

bounce a check

- to write a check in which you do not have enough money in your bank account

The young man bounced a check when he tried to pay his rent.

buy a stake in (something)

- to buy part ownership of a company or other enterprise

The large bank is planning to buy a stake in the small stock trading company.

a calculated risk

- an action that may fail but has a good chance to succeed

The company took a calculated risk when they put the new computer screen on the market.

call a loan

- to demand the immediate and complete payment of a debt/loan

The bank recently called the loan of the small business.

float (someone) a loan

- to loan someone money

I asked the bank to float me a loan so that I could buy a new car.

have a stake in (something)

- to have part ownership of a company or other business

The large oil company has a stake in the new undersea oil exploration company.

Meeting Idioms


adjourn a meeting

- to end a meeting

We adjourned the meeting until the next day.

call a meeting to order

- to start a meeting

Our supervisor called the meeting to order after everyone arrived.

call on (someone) to speak

- to ask someone to speak, to give someone permission to speak at a meeting

The chairman called on me to speak at the meeting.

carry a motion

- to support or win acceptance for a motion or proposal or idea in a meeting

I was able to carry a motion at last night's meeting.

circulate the agenda

- to distribute a list or other information about what will be discussed in a meeting

We circulated the agenda for the meeting last week.

defeat a motion

- to defeat an idea or proposal in a meeting

We easily defeated the motion to change the dates for next week's convention.

follow-up meeting

- a meeting where you discuss previous business

We will have a follow-up meeting to discuss the new product.

have the floor

- to have permission to speak in a meeting

The president had the floor for almost an hour during the meeting.

hold a meeting

- to conduct a meeting

We plan to hold a meeting next week to discuss the problems with our new product.

lay (something) on the table

- to present a matter for discussion

I went to the meeting and laid my concerns about the new product on the table.

make a motion

- to make a suggestion or proposal at a meeting

The manager made a motion to finish the meeting early and continue the next morning.

move to (do something)

- to propose to do something (usually at a meeting)

I will move to have another meeting next week so we can discuss the problem.

open a meeting

- to begin a meeting

They opened the meeting by welcoming the new guests.

out of order

- against the rules - used in a meeting when someone does not obey the rules of speaking

The question was out of order at the meeting and the man was not able to ask it.

put (something) on the table

- to make something the topic of discussion

We put the issue of the new schedule on the table for discussion.

Robert's Rules of Order

- the official book of guidelines and rules about how to conduct a meeting.

We always use Robert's Rules of Order when we have a meeting.

rule (someone) out of order

- to rule that someone is not following the rules of a meeting

The chairwoman ruled the salesman out of order when he began to speak at the meeting.

run a meeting

- to conduct a meeting

My boss is not able to run a meeting very well.

second a motion

- to formally agree with a proposal in a meeting

I seconded the motion to start one hour early every morning during the summer.

set up a meeting

- to make arrangements for a meeting

I am trying to set up a meeting with the manager of our department.

stand adjourned

- to be dismissed or to end (used for a meeting)

"This meeting now stands adjourned."

table a discussion

- to postpone a discussion until a later time

We tabled the discussion about the salary issue until the next meeting.

take minutes

- to write down the details of a meeting

I usually take minutes at the monthly club meetings.

Sales Idioms


buyer's market

- a situation where there are more sellers than buyers of a product or service and the buyers have an advantage

It was a buyer's market and the price of fruit was very cheap.

come down in price

- to lower the price of one's product, to become cheaper

We were forced to come down in price in order to sell our target number of cars for the month.

come in high

- to charge too much for your services, to ask for a price that is too high

The salesman came in high during the negotiations and could not sell his product.

come in low

- to offer a low amount of money for a product or service

The company came in low with an offer for our product.

corner the market

- to dominate a particular market with your product

The large company has cornered the market for cell phones in our city.

a hard sell

- a way of selling something that is very aggressive and uses much pressure

The car salesman gave us a hard sell so we went to another car dealer.

have good contacts

- to know people who can help you get a job or do some kind of business

The salesman has good contacts and always sells many products.

knock down the price of (something) or knock the price of (something) down

- to lower the price of something

I bargained hard so that I could knock down the price of the DVD player.

land an account

- to acquire an account

The salesman landed a large account on his first day of work.

line of products

- a group or category of products that are similar to each other

Our company will introduce a new line of products in the autumn.

make a cold call

- to visit or telephone a potential but unknown customer from a list of people

When he first started to work at his company the salesman was asked to make cold calls from the telephone book.

make an offer

- to make a financial proposal for a product or service

We plan to make an offer to buy the house on Saturday.

move a product

- to sell a product

We should have no trouble to move the new product.

preferred customer

- a customer who does much business with you and who you give special discounts to

The man is a preferred customer and we always give him a good price.

sell like hotcakes

- to sell very quickly

The children's toys were selling like hotcakes at the end of the year.

seller's market

- a situation where there are more buyers of a product/service than sellers so the sellers have an advantage

It was a seller's market for houses and the houses were increasing in value.

Idiom Quizzes - Business

    Choose an idiom to replace the expression in the brackets:

  1. After the fire the company was forced to sell most of their merchandise (although they lost money).

    (a) by a long shot (b) at a loss (c) in black and white (d) in the long run



  2. The price of oil (reached its lowest point) in July and began to rise soon after.

    (a) cut corners (b) closed out (c) broke even (d) bottomed out



  3. The computer company had much trouble trying to get their new business to (make a successful start).

    (a) be in the red (b) get off the ground (c) mean business (d) strike while the iron was hot



  4. The price of computer chips (collapsed) after personal computer sales began to decrease.

    (a) took a nosedive (b) turned over (c) bottomed out (d) carried the day



  5. The automobile dealer had no trucks (available to sell) so we had to wait for two months to buy one.

    (a) in the works (b) on credit (c) in stock (d) written off



  6. The large drug company (took control of) the small drugstore chain.

    (a) took over (b) took stock of (c) turned over (d) sold out



  7. There is a chance to make much money during the summer so we will (take advantage of the opportunity) and work hard.

    (a) throw money at it (b) strike while the iron is hot (c) sell like hotcakes (d) mean business



  8. Our plans for marketing the new computer are still (in preparation).

    (a) coming on strong (b) in short supply (c) going public (d) in the works



  9. The bank (cancelled) the loans to the bankrupt company.

    (a) wrote off (b) worked out (c) took over (d) paid off



  10. The construction company (hired) hundreds of new workers last month.

    (a) took over (b) turned over (c) took on (d) made a go of



  11. Our company needed to raise money to expand so we decided to (sell its shares on the stock market).

    (a) take a nosedive (b) sell it out (c) take it over (d) take it public



  12. The steel company finally went bankrupt after being (burdened with losses) for many years.

    (a) jacked up (b) on the block (c) saddled with debt (d) paid off



  13. We are (ready to buy) a new car but we have not found anything that we like.

    (a) in the loop for (b) in the market for (c) in charge of (d) cutting back



  14. The salesman tried to sell the house by (being very aggressive) which made us uncomfortable.

    (a) a hard sell (b) keeping books (c) a kickback (d) a company man



  15. We tried to get a (rough estimate) for the cost of new computer printers.

    (a) budget crunch (b) number cruncher (c) ball park figure (d) sweetheart deal



  16. We decided to sell the business in order to (stop losing money).

    (a) bottom out (b) mean business (c) cut our losses (d) strike while the iron is hot



  17. (Someone will be punished) if we do not quickly deal with the poor sales of our product.

    (a) Someone will fill the bill (b) Someone will get a break (c) Someone will deliver the goods (d) Heads will roll



  18. Gas and oil were (in less than the amount needed) during the busy summer season.

    (a) in short supply (b) in stock (c) in the works (d) filling the bill



  19. The (amount of sales) of computers increased dramatically last year.

    (a) write-off (b) turnover (c) calculated risk (d) double check



  20. We closed the store early in order to (count the number of items we had).

    (a) take stock (b) run short (c) work overtime (d) gain ground



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