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Writing Letters. Types of Letters. Four common types of business correspondence: Inquiry letters Special request letters Sales letters Customer relations letters. Inquiry Letters. Inquiry letters ask for information about a product, service, publication, or procedure.

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Writing Letters

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types of letters
Types of Letters
  • Four common types of business correspondence:
    • Inquiry letters
    • Special request letters
    • Sales letters
    • Customer relations letters
inquiry letters
Inquiry Letters
  • Inquiry letters ask for information about a product, service, publication, or procedure.
  • Be sure to supply appropriate stock and model numbers, pertinent page numbers, or exact descriptions.
inquiry letters1
Inquiry Letters


Please send me some information on living accommodations in Roanoke. My family and I plan on moving there soon.

Does this person want to rent or buy?

What size space is he or she looking for?

By what date will the family need to move in?

How much can he or she afford?

What area of Roanoke?

Exact description:

Please let me know if you have any two-bedroom furnished apartments available for rent during the months of June, July, and August. I am willing to pay up to $650 a month plus utilities. If possible, I would like to have an apartment within two or three miles of Virginia Western Community College.

special request letters
Special Request Letters
  • Make sure you address your letter to the right person.
  • State who you are and why you are writing.
  • Indicate clearly your reason for requesting the information.
    • Mention any individuals who may have referred you to write for help and information.
  • State precisely and succinctly the questions you want answered.
    • List, number, and separate the questions.
special request letters continued
Special Request Letters (continued)
  • Specify exactly when you need the information and allow sufficient time.
  • Offer to forward a copy of your report, paper, or survey in gratitude for the help you were given.
  • If you want to reprint or publish the materials you asked for, indicate that you will secure whatever permissions are necessary.
    • State that you will keep the information confidential, if that is appropriate.
  • Thank the reader for helping.
sales letters some preliminary guidelines
Sales Letters: Some Preliminary Guidelines
  • Identify and limit your audience.
    • Are you writing to one person or a thousand people?
    • What do you know about your audience?
  • Use reader psychology (including a strong “you” attitude).
  • Don't boast or bore.
  • Use concrete and specific words that appeal to the readers’ senses.
  • Be ethical; honesty is the best way to make a sale.
the four a s of sales letters
The Four A’s of Sales Letters
  • A good sales letter gets the reader’s attention.
  • It highlights the product's appeal.
  • It shows the customer the product’s application.
  • It ends with a specific request for action.
sales letters getting the reader s attention
Sales Letters:Getting the Reader’s Attention
  • Ask a question.
  • Use a “how to” statement.
  • Compliment your reader.
  • Offer a gift.
  • Introduce a comparison.
  • Announce a change.
sales letters highlighting the product s appeal
Sales Letters:Highlighting the Product’s Appeal
  • Once you have roused the reader’s attention, introduce your product or service.
  • Make it so attractive, so necessary, and so profitable that the reader will want to buy or use the product or service. (Appeal to the reader’s intellect or emotions or both.)
sales letters showing the product s application
Sales Letters:Showing the Product’s Application
  • Supply the right evidence.
    • Descriptions
    • Special features
    • Testimonials
    • Guarantees, warranties, services, or special considerations
  • To mention costs or not mention costs
    • You may be obligated to mention costs.
    • Postpone them until the reader has been shown how appealing and valuable your product is.
sales letters ending with a specific request for action
Sales Letters: Ending with a Specific Request for Action
  • Tell readers exactly what you want them to do and by when.
  • Make it easy for them to
    • Send for a brochure
    • Come into your store or business
    • Take a test drive
    • Participate in a meeting
    • Fill out a pledge card
    • Respond via the Internet
    • Sign an order form
    • Fill out an enclosed stamped envelope
customer relations letters
Customer Relations Letters
  • These letters deal explicitly with establishing and maintaining friendly work relations.
  • They may send readers
    • Good news
    • Bad news
    • Acceptances
    • Refusals
planning your customer relations letters
Planning Your Customer Relations Letters
  • Determine what to say and how to say it.
  • Do some preliminary planning.
    • Outline for a few minutes to find your ideas.
  • In the process of drafting and revising your letter, consider how your reader will react to the words you use.
    • Your choice of words will determine the success or failure of your letter.
a good news message the direct approach
A Good News Message:The Direct Approach
  • Start your letter with the good news (the news the reader wants to hear).
    • Don’t postpone the opportunity to put your reader in the right frame of mind.
  • After you state the good news, provide any relevant supporting details, explanations, or commentary.
a bad news message the indirect approach
A Bad News Message:The Indirect Approach
  • Start your letter with pleasant, positive words designed to put your reader in a good frame of mind.
    • Attempt to find areas of agreement or goodwill between you and the reader, despite the bad news.
  • Explain the situation thoroughly.
  • Give the bad news.
  • End on a positive and upbeat note.
types of customer relations letters follow up letters
Types of Customer Relations Letters:Follow-Up Letters
  • A follow-up letter is a combination thank you note and sales letter.
    • Begin with a brief and sincere expression of gratitude.
    • Discuss the benefits (advantages) already known to the customer and then transfer the company’s dedication to the customer from the product or service to a new or continuing sales area.
    • End with a specific request for future business.
types of customer relations letters complaint letters
Types of Customer Relations Letters:Complaint Letters
  • In the world of business, you do not want to burn bridges by sending a nasty letter.
  • The key thing to remember is that you can disagree without being disagreeable.
  • Avoid the following
    • Name calling, sarcasm, insults, or threats
    • Expressions of outright anger
    • Unflattering clip art
    • Intimidating type fonts (e.g., all capital letters)
establishing the right tone in complaint letters
Establishing the Right Tone in Complaint Letters
  • A complaint letter is written because you want some specific action taken.
    • By adopting the right tone, you increase your chances of getting what you want.
  • Register your complaint courteously and tolerantly.
    • The “you attitude” is especially important in complaint letters to maintain the reader’s goodwill.
    • If you maintain goodwill, the reader is more willing to address your complaint effectively.
types of customer relations letters adjustment letters
Types of Customer Relations Letters: Adjustment Letters
  • Adjustment letters respond to complaint letters by telling customers dissatisfied with a product or service how their claim will be settled.
    • An adjustment letter should reconcile the differences that exist between a customer and a firm and restore the customer’s confidence in that firm.
    • An effective adjustment letter requires diplomacy.
guidelines for adjustment letters
Guidelines forAdjustment Letters
  • When you comply with a request:
    • Do not use a begrudging tone.
      • This attitude will destroy the goodwill that your refund or replacement would have created
    • Do not overdo an apology by agreeing that the company is completely at fault.
      • If you make your company look too bad, you risk losing the customer completely.
adjustment letters writing a yes letter
Adjustment Letters: Writing a “Yes” Letter
  • Admit immediately that the customer’s complaint is justified and apologize.
  • State precisely what you are going to do to correct the problem.
  • Tell customers exactly what happened.
  • End on a friendly—and positive—note.
adjustment letters writing a no letter
Adjustment Letters: Writing a “No” Letter
  • Of course, saying no is more difficult than saying yes.
  • You must convince the reader that your position is fair, logical, and consistent.
  • What NOT to say:
    • Don’t accuse or argue.
    • Avoid remarks that blame, scold, or remind customers of wrongdoing.
adjustment letters how to say no diplomatically
Adjustment Letters: How to Say “No” Diplomatically
  • Thank customers for writing.
    • Do NOT begin with the refusal.
  • State the problem so the customer realizes that you understand the complaint.
    • It is important to demonstrate that you are not trying to distort or misrepresent the customer’s story.
adjustment letters how to say no diplomatically1
Adjustment Letters: How to Say “No” Diplomatically

3. Explain what happened with the product or service before you give the customer a decision.

  • Provide a factual explanation to show the customer that he or she is being treated fairly.
adjustment letters how to say no diplomatically2
Adjustment Letters: How to Say “No” Diplomatically
  • Give your decision without hedging.
    • Indecision will infuriate customers.
    • Don’t apologize for your decision. You should demonstrate in your letter how the decision is valid and logical.
  • Do what you can to leave the door open for better and continued business.
sending letter quality messages final advice to seal your success
Sending Letter-Quality Messages: Final Advice to Seal Your Success
  • Identify your reader.
  • Determine your purpose for writing.
  • Determine reader’s reason for writing.
  • Organize information.
  • Include essential information.
  • Use the right style and tone.
  • Test your overall goal.