TOEFL Q10: Promotions


In this lesson, your tutor will help you go over question four from the TOEFL speaking test. Read the text below out loud with the tutor.


Nearly all businesses spend a great deal of time and money to influence the buying habits of their customers. One of the most effective ways a business can do this is through promotions. Several types of promotions are common. These include advertising campaigns, special discounts, and product placement. The desired result of promotions is to attract more customers. In turn, this helps businesses generate more income.

Reading time: 45 seconds


Listen to a short lecture related to the reading.
Note to tutor: read the text to the student. The text is not presented to the student in the actual test.  

Alright, so we know that businesses have several ways to shape their buying habits. Today, I want to talk about one particular strategy, promotions. You see, good promotions are essential for the success of a business. Let me illustrate this with an example. I have a friend who owns a restaurant. His restaurant is quite successful. He always has a lot of customers at dinnertime. In fact, customers usually have to wait in line just to be seated. But he had a problem; his restaurant never had any customers before dinnertime. So, to solve this problem, my friend came up with a promotion. He created an early-bird dinner special. Can you guess what happened? That’s right; he was able to attract many customers during the late afternoon with his promotion. So, as you can see, promotions help a business make more money by bringing in more customers.


The professor explains business promotions by giving one example. Describe the example and how it explains the concept of business promotions.

Preparation time: 30 seconds l Response time: 60 seconds


Use the chart below to explain the main idea and the key points of the lecture.

Topic The main topic of the discussion is __
Detail 1  The lecturer first talks about a friend who __. His friend always has a lot of customers __. However, the friend did not have many customers __.
Detail 2
 To solve this problem, the friend created a __. This __ many customers to the restaurant before dinnertime. In this way, businesses can __ more customers and make __.


Give a brief spoken response to the questions based on the announcement and the conversation.

  1. How do promotions help businesses make more money?
    • Promotions help businesses make more money by __.
  2. What type of promotion was described by the lecturer?
    • He talked about an early bird special, which is a __.
  3. What was the result of the promotion discussed in the lecture?
    • The promotion discussed in the lecture attracted __ to the restaurant before dinnertime.

Sample Answer

Reading great sample answers is one way to improve. Go over the sample answer with your tutor. Ask questions if you have any.

Sample Answer
The reading passage states that businesses use promotions to attract more customers and to generate more income. The lecturer explains this idea by mentioning his friend’s restaurant. The restaurant always has many customers at dinnertime. However, it did not have many customers before dinnertime. To solve this problem, the lecturer’s friend created an early bird dinner special promotion. The plan attracted many customers to the restaurant before dinnertime. So the promotion was a success. This example shows how promotions can bring in more customers and therefore make more money.

Further Study

Got more time? Here is a list of common vocab words related to the text you studied today. Go over each one with your tutor.

Additional Expressions
a great deal (exp) very many; several
e.g.  He offered me a great deal of money.
influence (v) to change something in an indirect way
e.g. I was greatly influenced by my parents.
shape (v) to affect the development of
e.g. Schools shape the minds of future leaders.
habit (n) a usual way of behaving
e.g. He got into some bad habits after graduating from college.
effective (adj) producing a result that is wanted
e.g. The drugs were effective in the treatment of the disease.
campaign (n) a series of activities designed to produce a specific result
e.g. He ran the election campaign. [=a campaign to win a political election]
attract (v) to catch the attention of someone
e.g. Her comment attracted criticism.
particular (adj) specific; exact
e.g. Some lawyers are limited to one particular area of law.
strategy (n) a plan used to achieve a goal
e.g. The government is developing innovative strategies to help people without insurance get medical care.
come up with (phr v) to think of something
e.g. Can you come up with the right answer?

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