How to Write A Business Letter
Knowing how to write a business letter can mean the difference between appearing professional and being ignored. Though e-mail and informal conversation have overtaken most standard businesses practices in recent years, knowing how to behave appropriately in a business setting is important when dealing with old fashioned client. A proper business letter communicates a clear message according to a specific form and using mostly emotionless language.
One way to make sure your business letter sounds professional (if you’re afraid your letter writing skills are weak) is to use “stock phrases”. These are standard words that are found in most business letters. Think of your stock phrases as the frame of a house — the frame helps you build the perfect business letter around it.
You should begin your business letter with a phrase like “Dear Sir”.
Depending on who is getting the letter, you may choose to say “Dear Personnel Director” or “Dear Editing Department”, or a more person specific greeting like “Dear Dr.”, “Dear Professor”, etc. — make sure you really know who you’re writing to when you address a business letter so specifically. Use “Ms.” for women unless you know they are married.
The Business, or What You’re Writing About
You should start out by telling the person getting the letter what business you’re referring to. Phrases like “In reference to your advertisement on the 3rd of March”, or “In response to your inquiry of March 13th”, etc. Make this line as specific as possible, so the receiver knows exactly who you are and what you’re writing in reference to.
Indent a paragraph, and immediately include another stock phrase, such as “I am writing to respond to your bid” or “I am writing to confirm your order of” or something along those lines. This is where the business transaction takes place. Be specific and use as few words as possible.
Write a simple but polite closing, such as “Thanks you for your help” or “Please contact me by phone for future orders”, or whatever is appropriate.
Sign your letter with a signature appropriate to your relationship, such as “Your friend,” or “Your associate”.
This will let them know you are just doing friendly business, and did not write the letter for social reasons.
Sample Business Letter
Here is a sample business letter written using some of these stock phrases:
January 10, 2010
220 Industrial Road
Dear Mr Cypert:
In reference to our telephone conversation of last week, I am writing to confirm your order for 100 Sprockets at $0.10 per Sprocket.
Your order will be shipped within three (3) days via the US Post Office and should arrive at your store in 5 business days.
Please contact us again if there is a problem with the shipment or if we can help you in any way.
Director of Sprockets Inc.