Business English · writing tips

How to Write a Business Report: Sales Report

By Jacqueline Schaalje

This subject is on request.

sales report musicIf you never have to write a sales report, you can skip this. However, later in the article I will give an overview of common sales terms that you might find useful even if you’re not a salesperson.

What’s a Sales Report for?

A sales report is used by a sales manager to see how the sales are going. Instead of asking his or her employees how many sales they’ve made that week or that month, they may find it easier and more accurate to get an overview if the information is in writing. So that means a report.

What should be in the report?

In the report you will find factual information as to how many sales were made, how many clients were approached, what the target was, how the sales compare to the previous period, what the goal is for the next period and how things could be improved. There could also be information about market segments (= parts of the market), such as sales from leads through internet ads, or sales to a certain age group or sales in a certain area (for example in the south of the country).

What style should the report be in?

1. The language should be simple and factual.

2. State the facts in the present simple and past simple. Here are some examples:

Turnover is $23,000 this month, down by 2% compared to last month.

Sales went up 10% compared to last month.

If you want to indicate how sales have grown until now, you need to use the present perfect tense. Here are two examples:

Fifteen new shops have been opened this year.

Sales of all our products have been rising since the launch of the new model.

For expectations in the future you can use passive tense:

Turnover is expected to exceed 500,000 next year. (exceed means rise above)

3. Use short sentences. Managers who read your report are looking for information, and they want to get it in the quickest way possible.

4. If you use any recommendations at the end of your report, use the imperative for this. Here are some examples:

Instruct team to make follow-up calls.

Compare effect of holiday promotions on December sales.

Congratulate and pay bonus to Miles, who doubled the sales last week.

5. Do not use vague modifiers such as very, possible, probably, quite or modals that express doubt, such as might be, may be, could be.

6. If your report is slightly longer, you could divide it into four sections:

  • Summary
  • Results
  • Recommendations
  • Forecast (= expectations for the next period).

7. There are companies that prefer Sales Reports in PowerPoint and not in Word. There may also be managers who like to dazzle with Excel which can create nifty (= smart) graphs and charts at the push of a button. Ask your manager what he or she wants.

sales report

8. No matter which software you use, you may write the entire report in bullet style.

With bullets, you don’t have to use verbs.

This will look like this: (It’s just an example)

Telemarketing Report for March

  • Calls made: 90,000
  • 600 items sold
  • 100 more than goal
  • Increase of 13% in sales compared to March last year.
  • Conversion rate 1.5%, up by 0.25% since February
  • 5 Team members on sick leave due to flu
  • Sales forecast for April/May: due to warmer weather sales expected to slump (= go down) by 25%
  • Sale expected to boost figures by 8% (based on sales 2010-2014)
  • Recommendation: No price increases until August.
sales cars

Useful Terms that are Used in Sales Reports:

Client/customer. Do you know what the difference is between a client and a customer? A customer is a buyer of a product that you can touch, whereas a client is a buyer of services.

Product. Can be a thing that you can touch or a service.

Item or unit. A product. You use the word item or unit when you want to talk about products that are sold. For instance: We sold 30 items/units this week.

Volume. How many items/units are sold. So in the above example the volume is 30.

Turnover or Revenue. Money received from sales.

Goal or goal. In sales this has nothing to do with how many balls go into the net, but how many sales should be made in a week or a month. You can meet goals; this means that your sales are as much as you expected, or more. If goals are not met, the number of sales is lower than what they should be.

Prospect. A potential customer.

Lead. An inquiry or referral that is made by a potential customer. Basically, this means that when someone is interested in the company’s product, it’s a lead. Leads can be created through ads, commercials, networking, telemarketing.

Cold call. When a salesperson phones a person who is not yet a customer and who does not know the company, the salesperson is making a cold call.

Follow-up call. A second call to a prospect to try to close the sale.

Conversion. This is used in internet marketing and in telemarketing to indicate the people who have done something that the company wanted, for instance signed up for a newsletter, clicked a download link, bought a product, or registered for a membership.

Conversion rate. See at conversion. The conversion rate is the number of people who have taken an action.

Also check out this real sales report from Ford (the car manufacturer). Scroll down to see a neat table with results: ford sales.

Increase and Decrease Vocabulary

Some additional vocabulary that you might need for your sales report can be found in this article. It talks about figures (prices, turnover, etc.) that go up and down.

Now for you to practise: read the following report and choose the right phrase to fill in the gaps.


Do this quiz online here and check your answers right away.

First Quarter Sales Report of The Survival Shop

  1. Sales figures rose to 156,000 from 96,000 items _____________.a year earlierper volume

    solid conversions

  2. Online sales now make up 55% of total sales, and this number ________________to 60% in the next quarter.will increasemight well increase

    is expected to rise

  3. Our newsletter membership ______________ 200,000, of which 1.8% are paying ranksnow stands at

    counts probably

  4. People queued on the streets all night 16 February ________________ on Arctic sleeping bags.for the beginning of the salelying down

    to await the new

  5. Already 160 items have been sold. This marks _______________ of a sleeping bag since 2008.the worst volumedeclining brand confidence

    the best performance

  6. The new model Swiss Army Knife is not a success: since January launch only 30 items _______________.have been soldwere sold

    are sold

  7. _______________ about the cluttered shop in Bristown.Represent a 3% declineCustomers complain

    Create a luxury brand

  8. Branches in the south of the country beat sales in the north, ___________________ in the south.although the economy deterioratealthough there are more shops

    despite the worse economic situation

  9. Young customers (aged 20-35) now ____________ of our buyers.are the bestmake up 60%

    consist of 60

  10. Recommendations: Check feasibility of opening another shop in south of the country, _________________ of why south of the country is such a success.after thorough analysiscalculating

    estimated revenue of 1 million

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