WOMAN: Mr. Smith, It’s a pleasure meeting you!
Man: Nice to meet you, too. What can I do for you?
WOMAN: Well, I’m here to show you what our firm can do for you.Astro Consultants has branches in over fifty countries, offering different business services. We’re a global company with 75 years of history. And our clients include some of the world’s largest companies【8】.
MAN: Thank you, Mrs. Houston. I know Astro Consultants is a famous company. But you said you would show me what you could do for me. Well. What exactly can your firm do for my company?
WOMAN: We advise businesses on all matters, from market analysis to legal issues. Anything a business like yours could meet. Our firm offers expert advice. Could I ask you, Mr. Smith, to tell me a little about your company and the challenges you face? That way, I could better respond as to how we can help you.
Man: OK, sure.This is a family business started by my grandfather in 1950. We employ just over 100 people. We manufacture an export stone for buildings and other constructions. Our clients usually want a special kind of stone cut in a special design. And that’s what we do in our factory【9】. Our main challenge is that our national currency is rising, and we’re losing competitive advantages to stone produces in India【10】.
WOMAN: I see. That’s very interesting.I will suggest that you let us first conduct a financial analysis of your company, together with the analysis of your competitors in India.【11】That way, we could offer the best advice on different ways forward for you.
Question 8-11 are based on the conversation you have just heard.
Q8: What do we learn about the woman’s company?
Q9: What does the man say about his own company?
Q10: What is the main problem with the man’s company?
Q11: What does the woman suggest doing to help the man’s company?
Woman: Wow, congratulations, Simon! The place looks absolutely amazing!
Man: Really? You think so?
W: Of course. I love it. It looks like you had a professional interior designer. But you didn’t, did you?
M: No. I did it all by myself with a little help from my brother, Greg. He’s actually in the construction business, which was really helpful.
W: Honestly, I’m impressed! I know I can probably repaint the walls in my house over a weekend or something, but not a full renovation. Where did you get your ideas? I wouldn’t know where to start.
M: Well, for a while now, I’ve been regularly buying home design magazines. Every now and then, I’d saved the pictures I liked. Believe it or not, I have a full notebook of magazine pages.  Since by overall style was quite minimal, I thought and hoped a whole renovation wouldn’t be too difficult. And sure enough, with Greg’s help, it was very achievable.
W: Wasn’t it expensive? I have imagined a project like this could be.
M: Actually, it was surprisingly affordable. I managed to sell a lot of my old furniture and put that extra money towards the new material.  Greg was also able to get some discount materials from a recent project he was working on as well.
W: Great! If you don’t mind, I’d like to pick your brain a bit more. Johansson and I are thinking of renovating our sitting room, not the whole house, not yet anyway. And we’d love to get some inspiration from your experience.  Are you free to come over for a coffee early next week?
Q12: What do we learn about the woman from the conversation?
Q13: Where did the man get his ideas for the project?）
Q14: What did the man say about the project he recently completed?
Q15: Why does the woman invite the man to her house next week?