Business Letter Writing Assignment

Use the menu below to view examples of business letter format.

Block Form

 

5 Hill Street
Madison, Wisconsin 53700

March 15, 2005

Ms. Helen Jones
President
Jones, Jones & Jones
123 International Lane
Boston, Massachusetts 01234

Dear Ms. Jones:

Ah, business letter format-there are block formats, and indented formats, and modified block formats . . . and who knows what others. To simplify matters, we're demonstrating the block format on this page, one of the two most common formats. For authoritative advice about all the variations, we highly recommend The Gregg Reference Manual, 9th ed. (New York: McGraw-Hill, 2001), a great reference tool for workplace communications. There seems to be no consensus about such fine points as whether to skip a line after your return address and before the date: some guidelines suggest that you do; others do not. Let's hope that your business letter succeeds no matter which choice you make!

When you use the block form to write a business letter, all the information is typed flush left, with one-inch margins all around. First provide your own address, then skip a line and provide the date, then skip one more line and provide the inside address of the party to whom the letter is addressed. If you are using letterhead that already provides your address, do not retype that information; just begin with the date. For formal letters, avoid abbreviations where possible.

Skip another line before the salutation, which should be followed by a colon. Then write the body of your letter as illustrated here, with no indentation at the beginnings of paragraphs. Skip lines between paragraphs.

After writing the body of the letter, type the closing, followed by a comma, leave 3 blank lines, then type your name and title (if applicable), all flush left. Sign the letter in the blank space above your typed name. Now doesn't that look professional?

Sincerely,

 

John Doe
Administrative Assistant

Indented Form

5 Hill Street Madison, Wisconsin 53700 15 March 2005 Ms. Helen Jones President Jones, Jones & Jones 123 International Lane Boston, Massachusetts 01234 Dear Ms. Jones: Ah, business letter format--there are block formats, and indented formats, and modified block formats . . . and who knows what others. To simplify matters, we're demonstrating the indented format on this page, one of the two most common formats. For authoritative advice about all the variations, we highly recommend The Gregg Reference Manual, 9th ed. (New York: McGraw-Hill, 2001), a great reference tool for workplace communications. There seems to be no consensus about such fine points as whether to skip a line after your return address and before the date: some guidelines suggest that you do; others do not. Let's hope that your business letter succeeds no matter which choice you make! If you are using the indented form, place your address at the top, with the left edge of the address aligned with the center of the page. Skip a line and type the date so that it lines up underneath your address. Type the inside address and salutation flush left; the salutation should be followed by a colon. For formal letters, avoid abbreviations. Indent the first line of each paragraph one-half inch. Skip lines between paragraphs. Instead of placing the closing and signature lines flush left, type them in the center, even with the address and date above, as illustrated here. Now doesn't that look professional? Sincerely, John Doe

For further information about letters see Writing Cover Letters.


A business letter is a traditional form of business message. It is one of the important written media of business communication. Message concerned with business are sent through this letter. When two or more business write letters to each other concerning purchase and sales or any other matter relating to business transactions, these letters are regarded as business letters.

W. J. Wetson says,

"Any written thing directed to conduct business is called a business letter"



Professor Taintor says,

"All letters written for business purpose are business letters"

Purpose of a Business Letter :

  • Maintaining records and reference

  • Making a lasting impression

  • Widening the approach

  • An authoritative proof

  • Building goodwill

Features of an Ideal Business Letter :

  • Definite structure

  • Planned

  • Simplicity

  • Conciseness

  • Relevance

  • Completeness

  • Specific purpose

  • Clearness

  • Free from error

  • Attractive format

  • Courtesy

  • You attitude

  • Coherence

  • Appropriate timing

  • Tact

  • Positive and pleasant approach

  • Sincerity

Classification of Business Letter :

Business letter may be classified in many ways. Here is a brief classification of business letters.

  1. Information Letter:

    1. Routine Letter

    2. Special Purpose Letter

  2. Sales Letter:

  3. Problem Letters:

    1. Complaints Letter

    2. Concession Letter

    3. Collection Letter

  4. Goodwill Letters

    1. Congratulation Letter

    2. Thank You Letter

    3. Condolence Letter

Routine Letter

The routine letter carries the good news or routine message and hence it is also known as a 'good news' or 'yes' letter.

A general rule to follow when writing a letter is to, say the good news quickly and bad news slowly. Since the routine letter is a good news letter, the reader is given immediately the good news, the central idea of the letter. A letter carrying message of approval and appreciation is an example of a good news letter. A neutral (or information letter which is neither good nor bad also follows some pattern of writing deductive). A letter of enquiry falls in this group as it neither good nor bad.

Writing Letter Deductively :

  • When the message will please the reader.

  • When the message is routine (neither please nor displease).

Guidelines for Writing Routine Letter :

  1. Put the central idea in the first sentence.

  2. Follow up with the background information or additional explanation.

  3. Give the supporting details in the most appropriate sequence.

  4. End on a friendly and forward looking note.

Model of a Routine Letter :

9 June, 2009

Dear Mr. Ali,

Committed employees are rarely found this day. But I have become charmed to see your devotion. On July 2, while I was on my round in the factory, I found you so devoted that it seemed to me that you know nothing other than your assigned duty.

Because of this commitment to the organization, your performance has become comparatively eye catching & qualitative and this is highly appreciated at the board meeting.

Cordially

S. S. Karim

Sales Letter

Selling is an act of convincing customers. This is done through interpreting the product's features and emphasizing the customer benefits. But the seller is not supposed to take recourse to exaggeration to do this. Any exaggerated claim may backfire on the sellers if the readers clearly see them (exaggeration) through these claims. Therefore, selling is not an attempt to trap someone into taking action favorable to the seller. Rather it is an honest and organized presentation of information on which a prospective buyer may choose to act. Selling is thus regarded as the heart of the most business heart.

Objectives to Write a Sales Letter :

  1. Prompting the sale of a product, a service or an idea.

  2. Introducing new goods in the market more effectively, at a lower cost and in a wider area.

  3. Widens the market for existing products without much cost.

  4. Helps the customer to remember the product or the service of a firm when it is needed.

  5. Educates the customer in selecting the right type of goods, better understanding of products or service.

  6. Main source of securing orders for a mail order business house.

  7. Keeps the customers constantly in touch with the company and its products and services.

Guidelines for Writing a Sales Letter :

  1. Begin the letter in a striking manner in order to arise the reader's curiosity and tempts him to read further.

  2. Give a vivid description/explanation of the product, service proposition being offered.

  3. Make an appeal to the reader by telling him how the article benefits him.

  4. Convince the reader by giving evidence.

  5. Induce the reader to act at once by offering different types of inducements or by forceful and convincing words.

  6. Close the letter by telling the reader exactly what to do and how to do it so that the action becomes easy.













Model of a Sales Letter :

July 9, 2009

Mr. Abdullah Al Mahbub

House- K-26

Kazla, Rajshahi.

Dear Mr. Mahbub,

Have you noticed how expensive the Eid shopping will be in this year? Are you thinking how do you find something for everybody on your Eid gift list and still you have money left over to enjoy the Eid Festival?

I have the answer 'Cox's bazar view' will remove all your anxieties. You still have time to order gift subscriptions to 'Cox's bazar view'. Cox's bazar view is a beautiful new magazine that highlights glory of Cox's bazaar. The magazine will keep you up-to-date on the whole region-its people, the hill area and the sea belts.

You will be paying little to us but giving much to your friends and family members. Apart from monetary consideration, you will have added knowledge that you do not have to fight those maddening Eid shopping crowds.

The magazine offers you the most recent information as well as the contribution of the best writers. It is presented in a lovely format with exquisite color photographs. You will find discussion on entertainment, politics, leisure, health and crime. You will also have short stories, interviews and investigative reporting.

This is the easiest way to present a more beautiful gift to your friends and well wishers. Please avail the opportunity of sending us your gift instructions today.

Just fill in your friend's names and addresses on the enclosed order from and return it today in the postage paid reply envelope. We will confirm the order and then send you a beautiful Eid card of your choice to sign and send announcing your gift. You will pay your bill later, not today. Why do you not order a subscription for yourself as well?

Sincerely yours,

Hazrat Ali,

Agent,

Cox's bazar view



Complaint Letter

A complaint letter is a request for an adjustment. When a writer asks for something which he thinks that he is entitled (a refund, replacement, payment for damages etc.) the letter is called a complaint letter. More clearly it may be said that a complaint letter seeks some type of action to correct a problem with the seller's product or service.

Guidelines for Writing Complaint Letter :

Write complaint letter as soon as identified a problem. But we have to be courteous and have to avoid emotional language. While we are writing a complaint letter we must remember that the person whom we are writing might not be personally responsible for the problem. A complaint letter should therefore be drafted most carefully. The following outlines are however, recommended for a complaint letter.

  1. Request action in the first sentence. Identify the problems immediately and tell how inconvenienced.

  2. Give a clear explanation supporting the request for action.

  3. Make the letter un-accusative. It must not blame the supplier.

  4. Make appeal to the reader's sense of fair play, honesty, regulation or professional pride with an intention to motivate him to adjust claim promptly.

  5. Close letter with an expression of appreciation for taking action fairly.

Model of a Complaint Letter :

Bishal Confectionary

Shaheb Bazar, Rajshahi

09 July, 2009

Manager

Pran Foods (Mango Jelly Division)

Karwanbazar, Dhaka.

Dear Sir,

While thanking you for the prompt dispatch of fifty tins of Mango Jelly ordered by on the July 3, we are sorry to write to you that the quality of the whole consignment is inferior to that of the sample you offered us while sending your quotation.

We are almost daily hearing complaints from customers about the quality of the goods. Some of our permanent customer whom we supplied a few tins of jelly have seriously complained of its quality vis-à-vis the price charged. Many other customers have already returned the goods as being unusable and hence un-saleable by them.

As the complaint (inferior quality) of our customers is rather too heavy to be overlooked, we would therefore, request you either to grant an extra 3% discount so as to enable us to sale the goods at a reduced price or take back the indisposed goods that are lying with us.

Yours faithfully

Md. Al Imran

Bishal Confectionary

Shaheb Bazar, Rajshahi

Concession Letter

A letter which carries a favorable response to legitimate request is known as a concession letter. A concession letter is written by a seller to a customer informing him of the action taken in response to his (customer) complaint letter.

Guidelines for Writing Concession Letter :

  1. Respond the concession letter promptly.

  2. Acknowledge the concession letter and thank customer for drawing attention.

  3. Apologize for the trouble and inconvenience and don't attempt to justify failure.

  4. Tell customer what adjustment is being taken.

  5. Adopt a gracious and trusting tone to honor the claim. Also use neutral and positive language.

  6. In a forthright manner, explain how the problem took place in a believable way.

  7. Provide information that re-establishes customer's confidence.

  8. Do not react violently to a claim, even it is unreasonable.

  9. Offer further co-operation and assurance of satisfaction.

  10. Close reply letter on a positive note with hope.

Model of a Concession Letter :

Kornofuli Paper Mills

Chittagong, Bangladesh.

09 July, 2009

Mr. Battani

Proprietor

City Printers, Rajshahi.

Dear Sir,

Ref : order no. dfa/dc-8/712

Thank you for informing us promptly that two reams of MYPAPER-Cream that we sent to you reached you in a damaged condition.

An unfortunate mistake appears to have been committed in our forwarding section. Generally we take all care to prevent such mistake taking place. But, notwithstanding all precautionary measures, once in a while such a mistake does occur. However, when we are notified of it, we always set right the matter gladly.

Our forwarding section has already been instructed to arrange for prompt dispatch of two reams of MYPAPER-Cream to arrive at your place before 20 July, 2009.

We earnestly regret the inconvenience caused to you on account of the unfortunate error. However, we assure you that we shall take every precaution to see that your future orders are executed most satisfactorily.

The damaged reams may kindly be sent back to us - at our cost.

Yours faithfully

Kabir Hossain

Supply Manager

Kornofuli Paper Mills

Collection Letter

The Notifications sent by a supplier to his customer reminding to pay their outstanding dues to the former are called collection letter.

A bulk of business is done on credit which sometimes creates a problem for the seller to collect it. Often many customers misuse the credit facilities because of their natural habit of reluctance defer to part with their money as long as they can. But prompt collection of these debts is essential for successful operations of any business organization. A seller has often to resort to what is called a collection letter to solve this problem. Although the collection of past-due accounts is the primary purpose of writing collection letter, no businessman can afford to lose customers while collecting debts.

Therefore, collection of debts appears to be one of the most difficult problems to the creditor. To achieve these twin objectives (collecting the amount due and retaining the debtors' goodwill) we should bear in mind the following points while drafting a collection letter.

Guidelines for Writing Collection Letter :

  1. Tone : Be courteous, tactful and patient in dealing with debtors. Always assume that the debtor is sincere and he has intention to pay.

  2. Extent of time : Decide the extent of time between communication on the basis of the type of the credit risk and the urgency of collection.

  3. Adaptability : The collection series must be adaptable to the nature of debtor. We should recognize that many debtors have very good reasons for not having paid on time. The debtors should be given opportunity to meet their obligation or to explain why they are unable to do so.

  4. Attitude : Use the 'you attitude' to convince the debtors that it is their own advantage to pay.

  5. Style : Follow the inductive style to write collection series and make them shorter but not too brief which may appear to be curt.

  6. Reference : Mention the debtor's account number, the amount owed and post paid envelope in each communication.

  7. Regularity : Begin by sending a regular monthly statement followed by a routine reminder.

  8. Appeal : Before forcing the debtor to pay , appeal to the sense of their fairness, good intentions or self interest and advantage of doing business with collection writer.

Model of a Collection Letter :

A.H. Hardware

Ranibazar, Rajshahi

8 July, 2009

Dear Sir,

Your April 30 account balance of Tk. 20,000/- is now two month past due. You are one of our old customers and your credit rating is so high that we gladly extended you the above credit facility. But it is surprising to us that a firm of our reputation and standing should behave in the way you are doing. We wonder whether there has been something unusual. Do you find any omission or a mistake in our statement? Do you feel something to tell us regarding the full payment immediately? Can we be of any help to you?

In all fairness, you ought to tell us anything so that we can arrange special repayment plan that will suit your particular situations.

Cordially yours

Ahmed Hossain



Congratulation Letter

Congratulation letters are usually written for major business achievement as well as personal milestone.

Business achievement (occasions) may be :

  • Receiving promotion
  • Winning an award
  • Celebrating at anniversary
  • Getting honors
  • Opening a new branch
  • Winning an election to an office
  • Getting remarkable contracts
  • Announcing a retirement




Personal milestones (occasions) may be :

  • Engagements
  • Weddings
  • Births
  • Graduations
  • Other note worthy occasions
Guidelines for Writing Congratulation Letter :

  1. Mention the cause for congratulation. The occasion should have genius touch of happiness.
  2. Make the letter enthusiastic and warming.
  3. Make the letter very short.
  4. Personalize message to avoid having it sound like a form letter.
  5. Post the letter as early as possible after the event.
  6. End the letter with a cordial note.
Model of a Thank You Letter :

Horogram, Rajshahi

09 July, 2009



Dear Mehnaz,

Congratulations. I just heard of your engagement with Hamid. I wish both you and Hamid to enjoy your future life with joy and happiness. He has always impressed me by his amiable behavior and friendly character. Best wishes to both of you in your life together.



Yours sincerely,

Rupok

Thank You Letter

Thank you letter say, 'thank you'. They show individual or organizational appreciation for another's time, effort, behavior. They cover a wide range of situations: formal, informal, official and personal. Traditionally hand written; Today they may be printed or typed or a stamped 'thank you' superimposed on a bill may be used instead.

Thank you letters from business firms are a good example of resale - keeping the customer sold on the company products or services.

Individuals usually acknowledge congratulatory letters and other personal letter favors with a simply written, brief message. In addition, it is thoughtful to inform employers when an employee has been especially helpful.

Warm and friendly these type of letters both create and extend goodwill and demonstrate good manners as well as good business relation.

Guidelines for Writing Thank You Letter :

  1. Mention the cause for thanking.
  2. Make the letter enthusiastic and warming.
  3. Make the letter very short.
  4. Personalize message to avoid having it sound like a form letter.
  5. Post the letter as early as possible after the event.
  6. End the letter with a cordial note.
Model of a Thank You Letter :

Laxmipur, Rajshahi

9 July, 2009



Dear Mr. Azad,

Thank you so much for including me among the guests at your dinner at Nanking Chinese Restaurant on July 8, 2009. I enjoyed the pleasant and productive conversation at the dinner table with some moments of relaxation.

The occasion was really a pleasure for me to meet you and the other officers of your bank as well as some of my old friends you invited.

Thank you again for the special care and attention you took for your guests.



Cordially,

Mahfuz Ahmed

Condolence Letter :

Condolence letter pertain to sad or unpleasant situations. Such letters are sent to a person who has experienced pain, grief or misfortune. The occasions on which condolence letter are sent involve:

  • Death of loved person

  • Serious health problems

  • Business setback

  • Serious accident

  • Natural calamities like fire, flood etc.

  • Other misfortune

People having experienced any of the above distressing circumstances need to know that others are thinking about them and they are not alone. Condolence letter at this moment give these saddened people a great relief, encouragement and moral support.

Although it is very difficult to write condolence letters, but still we must not fail to convey our condolence to a bereaved family or our sympathy to the persons having suffered a loss or misfortune. We can either handwrite the condolence letter or type it on company letterheads (if the deceased is a business associate). But the handwritten message provides a much more personal tone than does any other kind.

Guidelines for Writing Condolence Letter :

  1. Start with a statement of sympathy. Ensure that the sympathy statement is true.
  2. Make the statement very short.
  3. Mention some special qualities or personal reminiscence about the deceased.
  4. Do not unduly stress the negative aspects like pain, distress etc.
  5. Offer whatever assistance you can extend.
  6. Close with some words of comfort and affections.
Model of a Condolence Letter :

Motihar, Rajshahi

9 July, 2009



Dear Mrs. Alam,

I am deeply saddened at the sudden demise of your husband. He has been snatched from you at the early hours of his service life. It is certainly a great shock to you as well as to his friends and colleagues. I want you to know that my colleagues at the Department of Marketing of University of Rajshahi are sharing your pains and are with you at this tragic moment.

Professor Alam had a well earned reputation for his top-notch teaching skills and for his endearing sense of humor. He was no doubt an accomplished professor and a good friend. It is a great loss for all of us. We pray to God for his departed soul and to give you strength to bear the loss.

If I can be of any assistance to you, I would be honored to help. Please call me at 01717865106, if there is anything we can do.

With kind regards.



Sincerely,

Dr. Md. Kawser Hossain

Professor

Department of Marketing

University of Rajshahi

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