Business English: How to Make an Order on the Telephone

Man ordering at a restaurant

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Speaking on the telephone for business purposes can seem like a challenge for those who speak English as a second language, but it doesn't have to be. While business conversations are often more intimidating to ESL learners than more casual conversations are, they aren't necessarily more complicated. Through dialogues and role-plays, students can quickly become more comfortable with both business and telephone communication.

Pre-written dialogues offer English language learners a good way to prepare themselves for conversations they may have in the real world. Once you perform and understand pre-written dialogues, it should become easier for you to make your own calls. The following dialogue is between two business representatives. One of them is calling the other to request a large number of desk units for her office. Find a partner and act out the dialogue. Make sure to take note of some of the key vocabulary that comes up in this conversation. It can be useful to you whenever you are looking to place a business order over the telephone.

Placing an Order on the Telephone

Jane Tegal: Hello, this is Jane Tegal from Excellerator Co. calling. May I speak to Mr. Mitchell?

Arthur Mitchell: Hello Ms.Tegal, this is Arthur Mitchell.

Jane Tegal: Hello, I'd like to place an order for a number of your Millennium desk units.

Arthur Mitchell: Certainly. How many were you interested in ordering for purchase?

Jane Tegal: Quite a few. Do you have many available in the warehouse?

Arthur Mitchell: We keep a large supply in stock. There's also a showroom with quite a few on hand. It shouldn't be a problem.

Jane Tegal: Well then. I'd like 75 units by the end of the month. Could I get an estimate before I place an order?

Arthur Mitchell: Certainly. I'll have it for you by the end of the day.

Jane Tegal: What does the estimate include?

Arthur Mitchell: Estimates include merchandise, packaging, and shipping, duty if required, any taxes, and insurance.

Jane Tegal: Do you ship door-to-door?

Arthur Mitchell: Yes, all shipments are door-to-door. Delivery dates depend on your location, but we can usually deliver within 14 business days.

Jane Tegal: Great! Thank you for your help.

Arthur Mitchell: My pleasure. We can email you more information if you would like.

Jane Tegal: Yes, that would be great! My email is jane@excelleratorco.com.

Arthur Mitchell: Okay. You can expect an e-mail by 5 this afternoon.

Jane Tegal: Thank you again for your help.

Key Vocabulary

  • unit to place an order
  • warehouse
  • to purchase
  • to be available
  • supply
  • in stock
  • showroom
  • to be on hand
  • estimate
  • door-to-door shipping
  • to depend on something
  • location