Posted 23/2/10
This lesson plan uses a short excerpt from the US Comedy Sitcom Seinfeld – a short excerpt in which Jerry takes a sales call at home.
  • Language level: Pre-intermediate (A2)
  • Learner type: Teens; Adults; Business
  • Time: 30 minutes
  • Activity:  Speaking; Transcribing
  • Topic: Telephones
  • Language: Telephone language
  • Materials: Video; Worksheet
Answering a sales call pdf [downloaded 2493 times]

Lesson plan outline

  1. Write the following on the board and ask students if they can identify the missing collocate (answer = call):
  2. __________ centre
    Cold __________ing
    Sales __________
  3. Find out if anyone works / has ever worked in a call centre. Find out what they did. Perhaps they answered calls or perhaps they worked in telemarketing (introduce this word).
  4. Give out copies of the worksheet: How to answer a sales call. Ask students to complete the first page. Let them brainstorm each other in pairs or small groups for this.
  5. Conduct a feedback and write good suggestions and language on the board. It could look like this:
  6. Find out if anyone has any funny or interesting ways of dealing with telemarketing or sales calls.
  7. Tell students that they are going to see a clip from the US comedy show Sienfeld in which Jerry, the main character, answers a telemarketing call. Show them the clip with the sound down.
  8. Ask students to complete part 5 of the worksheet (see below)
  9. Let students compare their ideas for part 5 but don’t give the answers at this stage.
  10. Play the clip with the sound up. Did your students understand it? Allow them to hear it as many times as they like. Ask them to listen carefully and transcribe the dialogue in the grid provided on part 6 of the worksheet. (Note that they already have four of the dialogue lines from part 5 of the worksheet.)
  11. Give out copies of the transcription and let students correct their dialogues.


After step 5, you could ask students to write a dialogue for a standard, funny or unusual telemarketing call. Student pairs could then act this out.

Follow up

Use the video with the sound down, to teach the following vocabulary:

* The telephone rings
* Jerry picks it up / answers it
* He hangs up
    Posted 23/2/10

    7 Responses to Answering a sales call

    1. Carole Davison says:

      Great activity that’s bound to be of interest to adult learners.

    2. CLIMESCU CARMEN says:

      Students will see the video, which is short, targeted and easily understood, corresponds tastes (they love Sainfeld) will attract interest because it appears the joke. Then they will see how to get the other side of the fence, because they are 18 years and specialized vendor.
      They had many ideas to meet buyers from such gestures. But there were a lot of fun, and took roles seriously and was an enjoyable activity that motivated to find solutions for a guide to selling over the phone.

    3. Jamie Keddie says:

      Thank you Carole and Climescu
      I have to be honest – I have found it difficult to make this lesson plan work! Let me know if you did anything that brought it to life. Jamie :)

    4. Joanne says:

      Hi all,

      This is a bit blue in places, but could be of use in conversation classes or one-to-ones if you know the student well –
      Just another way to respond to a telemarketer! You could then ask Sts to come up with other imaginitive ways to respond… perhaps rolling in a bit of Bart Simpson ‘Seymor butts’ prank calls too.

    5. Jamie Keddie says:

      Excellent! :)

    6. Maura says:

      Dear Jamie,

      I used this bit to lead in to a lesson for pre-intermediates in a call centre, telling them that it was important for them to understand their customers’ attitudes. It was a great start to the class.


    7. Jamie Keddie says:

      Good to hear it Maura. I used to work in a calls centre myself.
      Hope all is well in Vienna
      Jamie :)