An Example of a Business Letter in 4 Situations

example of a business letterWriting a proper business letter can be a difficult task, and the type of business letter that you will need to write may vary greatly depending on the situation. It is a good idea to look at different examples of business letters written for various situations before you set out to write your own. This can help you ensure that you are setting the right tone, that you are greeting your recipient properly, and that your business letter will be an effective means of communicating with the individual or the company to whom you are writing.

A great place to start with learning any type of writing is Udemy’s Learn Plain Writing Today course. This course will help you learn how to speak plainly and succinctly while still maintaining an interesting voice. This can be crucial when it comes to writing business letters, as any kind of ambiguity in your letters can lead to a lack of communication and potentially a loss of business, the loss of your claim, or any other of a number of issues.

The Inquiry Letter

The basic type of business letter that you should know how to write is a basic inquiry letter. Regardless of the type of business that you work in, it is inevitable that at some time or another you will have some question that must be answered. You should begin your letter as you would any business letter, and remember that you should also pay attention to your basic business writing skills as you proceed.

Start with a header containing your name, title, company name, and company address. Follow that up with the date, and then include either the title of the individual you are addressing the inquiry to, or to the department that you believe may be able to answer your question.

Open the letter with a standard salutation, and move directly into the subject that you are inquiring about. Address why you have the question or concern, and why it is important that this information be answered. Be sure that if the matter is time sensitive, you state this clearly. Leave the recipient of the letter clear contact information, including an address, email, and phone number that they can answer you at.

Example:

Jane Brown
Director of Operations
Brown Literary Agency
2121 Global Circle
Middletown, TX

9 May 2014

John Smith
President and Co-Founder
Smith Publishing
888 8th St.
New York City, NY

Dear Mr. Smith,

I’m writing to inquire about your open call for young adult mystery novels. My agency has just acquired two new authors for whom this genre is a specialty. To whom would you suggest I send the manuscripts that I have available to see if they may be a fit for your company?

Please let me know within the next month if you are interested, as we have already begun speaking with AlphaOmega Publishing about a potential deal as well. I can be reached at my office or by telephone at (555) 555 – 4313.

Cordially,

Jane Brown

The Sales Letter

Whether you are selling a product or a service, are trying to persuade another business or individual to do something, or are trying to sell yourself, it is important to know how to write a proper sales letter. A sales letter should be addressed formally, should get to the point quickly, and should offer very good reasons why the individual in question may want to invest in whatever it is that you or your business have to offer.

There are many different types of persuasive writing and many types of sales letters that you should know how to write. Check out Udemy’s Persuasive Writing for Online Business course to learn more about writing sales letters online.

Example:

Jane Brown
Director of Operations
Brown Literary Agency
2121 Global Circle
Middletown, TX

14 May 2014

Susanna Summers
Acquisitions Editor
Smith Publishing
888 8th St.
New York City, NY

Dear Ms. Summers,

Your publishing house has recently put out a call for young adult mystery novels, and I believe that I have two manuscripts that may be just what you are searching for. Fatal Winter, written by my award-winning client Deanne Martin, follows young Kayleigh Winters as she tracks the killer she believes killed her detective father. Though my other client is unpublished, her manuscript detailing the lives of a pair of psychic, crime-solving twins is impeccable.

Please find attached the first three chapters of each. I look forward to hearing from you and hope that we may have the opportunity to continue working together in the future.

Cordially,

Jane Brown

The Follow-Up Letter

A follow-up letter can be written in any of a number of situations. Examples include an individual thanking an interviewer for taking the time to see them to someone following up on an order to determine whether the outcome was as expected. The follow-up letter can be used as a simple thank you or to gain more information about a situation.

The follow-up letter should be written with the same formatting as any other business letter. It is a good idea to begin the letter by reminding the recipient of who you are, using the exact date that you made contact, placed an order, or had an interview if possible – this way they can be certain of your identity. Be sure to let them know why you are following up and whether you have any questions you would like them to answer. It’s all well and good to write a letter simply to say thank you, but don’t take up too much time beating around the bush if you do have a question to ask or if you’re requesting information.

Example:

Angie White
929 Kelley Dr.
Pittsburgh, PA

14 May 2014

John Smith
President and Co-Founder
Smith Publishing
888 8th St.
New York City, NY

Dear Mr. Smith,

Thank you for taking the time to interview me for the editing position at your publishing house on May the 5th. I was disappointed to hear back from you that I was not the right fit for this particular position. However, I am confident that my skills and abilities could be of use to you and your company if given the right opportunity as it arises.

I would appreciate you keeping in mind for future positions that may open up at your publishing house, and very much enjoyed my afternoon at Smith Publishing.

Sincerely,

Angie White

The Letter of Resignation

Every employee will at some point have to leave a job, whether it is because the work environment no longer suits them and their needs or it is because they have been given a better opportunity. The letter of resignation can be especially difficult to write, as the situation itself is sensitive and requires care.

The most important thing to clearly address in a letter of resignation is the last day on which you will be working. Some individuals may also choose to include in their letter of resignation the reason why they are leaving. However, it’s generally best not to be hostile, aggressive, or overly critical – professionalism is expected of you, even if you are on your way out. Since the letter is from within the company, you don’t need to include the full company’s address – just your name and title.

Example:

Gertrude Glass
Acquisitions Editor

14 May 2014

John Smith
President and Co-Founder
Smith Publishing
888 8th St.
New York City, NY

Dear John,

I regret to inform you that I will be resigning from my position as editorial director of Smith Publishing, effective as of 30th of May. I have been offered a position as the new Editorial Director of AlphaOmega Publishing. My time at Smith Publishing has been incredible, and I have enjoyed the opportunities that have been offered to me here, but feel that I cannot pass up the new opportunity that has been given to me.

I thank you again for the time that I have spent at your company, and though we will be rivals look forward to our continued business relationship in the future.

Yours Truly,

Gertrude Glass

More Examples of Business Letters

Of course, this is only scratching the surface of the type of business letters that you may have to write over the course of your career. There are many more types of business letters, each of which serves a specific function and that must be written in order to address a specific need. Here are some types of business letters you may want to learn more about, and things you should know about each.

  • Letters of Complaint: Unfortunately, it is sometimes necessary to make a complaint, whether it is because of a faulty product or because a service rendered was not of the quality desired. Remember to keep emotions out of it and to be clear about what the problems were and what you expect to be done to resolve the situation.
  • References: At some point, you may be asked to give a letter of reference for another individual. Remember to be clear and succinct about their positive traits. Don’t just say they’re a good worker or a good person – remember to tell the person you are writing the letter to why this is the case.
  • Announcement Letters: Sometimes you may need to make announcements. This could be for something as simple as a name change or as complex as letting other employees know that the company is beginning layoffs. Let the tone of the letter dictate the way that it is written. Be succinct, but allow for celebration if the announcement is positive or fun. Business doesn’t have to be business 100% of the time!

Remember to check out a basic Business Writing course, like that offered on Udemy, if you need more help understanding how to write from a business perspective. Udemy’s Quality Paragraph and Essay Writing course can also be a great option for helping you improve and master your writing overall. Remember to tailor each business letter you write to the situation and get your point across clearly and you will be the master of communications around your office in no time.