Senin, 21 November 2016

A Part of Business Letter

A Part of Business Letter
A business letter is usually a letter from one company to another, or between such organizations and their customers, clients and other external parties. The overall style of letter depends on the relationship between the parties concerned. Business letters can have many types of contents, for example to request direct information or action from another party, to order supplies from a supplier, to point out a mistake by the letter's recipient, to reply directly to a request, to apologize for a wrong, or to convey goodwill. A business letter is sometimes useful because it produces a permanent written record, and may be taken more seriously by the recipient than other forms of communication.
A.             Functions of a Business letter
            Business letters secure, promote and maintain business without complications, Business letters serve us a reference for the future. Every organization should have to classify its outgoing mail and incoming mail and file them classified on the basis of their subject matter in a chronological sequence. Business letters serve to maintain the correct information of the organization in the perception of the receiver. Business letters establish and maintain contacts over a wide area truly enlarging  the scope and extent of business. Business letters can be used as legal documents in disputes. All business letters promote goodwill and enhance the prestige and the image of the organization.
We can enumerate the functions of a business letter thus :
1.      Promotional Functions:
Business organisations have to grow and enlarge, improving the quality of their products, by producing new products and providing better services. The customers have to be kept informed through letters these developments. Business organisations have to expand their market by tapping new areas. All round expansion is possible only if the organisation keeps all the people concerned well informed through letters that promote sales and service.
2.      Informational Functions:
Business letters provide valuable data about earlier policies, transactions and all other activities of the organisation. Modern business cannot depend on memory as in olden days. Letters are ready references if they are available. New policies can be evolved by studying the earlier ones. It is not only essential to maintain good correspondence but also more essential to make them be available in the files.
3.      Legal Functions:
Business letters can provide evidence in legal disputes, if any, that occur in a transaction. They are useful as legal documents in quotations and offers.
4.      Goodwill Functions:
Business letters promote goodwill among parties transacting business. They build a good rapport between parties in a business transaction. All these functions of a business letter promote sales and improve the image of the firm. So, every business letter is a sales letter if it serves the stated or implied objectives.

B.     Types of Business Letters
Letter writing is a prized skill in the world of work. The higher you advance in your career, the more you will need to write letters. Letters are more formal and official than other types of business communication. They offer personal, verifiable authorization. Unlike e-mail, letters often must be routed through channels before they are sent out. Letters are the expected medium through which important documents such as contracts and proposals are sent to readers.

There are four basic types of business letters: inquiry letters, special request letters, sales letters, and customer relations letters. Business letters can be further classified as positive, neutral, or negative. Inquiry and special request letters are neutral, sales letters are positive, and customer relations letters can be positive or negative.

1.      Inquiry Letters
An inquiry letter asks for information about a product, service, or procedure. Businesses frequently exchange inquiry letters, and customers frequently send them to businesses. Three basic rules for an effective inquiry letter are to state exactly what information you want, indicate clearly why you must have this information, and specify exactly when you must have it.

2.      Special Request Letters
Special request letters make a special demand, not a routine inquiry. The way you present your request is crucial, since your reader is not obliged to give you anything. When asking for information in a special request letter, state who you are, why you are writing, precisely what information you need, and exactly when you need the information (allow sufficient time). If you are asking for information to include in a report or other document, offer to forward a copy of the finished document as a courtesy. State that you will keep the information confidential, if that is appropriate. Finally, thank the recipient for helping you.

3.      Sales Letters
A sales letter is written to persuade the reader to buy a product, try a service, support a cause, or participate in an activity. No matter what profession you are in, writing sales letters is a valuable skill. To write an effective sales letter, follow these guidelines: (1) Identify and limit your audience. (2) Use reader psychology. Appeal to readers' emotions, pocketbook, comfort, and so on by focusing on the right issues. (3) Don't boast or be a bore. Don't gush about your company or make elaborate explanations about a product. (4) Use words that appeal to readers' senses. (5) Be ethical.
The "four A's" of sales letters are attention, appeal, application, and action. First, get the reader's attention. Next, highlight your product's appeal. Then, show the reader the product's application. Finally, end with a specific request for action.

      In the first part of your sales letter, get the reader's attention by asking a question, using a "how to" statement, complimenting the reader, offering a free gift, introducing a comparison, or announcing a change. In the second part, highlight your product's allure by appealing to the reader's intellect, emotions, or both. Don't lose the momentum you have gained with your introduction by boring the reader with petty details, flat descriptions, elaborate inventories, or trivial boasts. In the third part of your sales letter, supply evidence of the value of what you are selling. Focus on the prospective customer, not on your company. Mention the cost of your product or service, if necessary, by relating it to the benefits to the customer. In the final section, tell readers exactly what you want them to do, and by what time. "Respond and be rewarded" is the basic message of the last section of a sales letter.

3. Customer Relations Letters
These deal with establishing and maintaining good working relationships. They deliver good news or bad news, acceptances or refusals. If you are writing an acceptance letter, use the direct approach-tell readers the good news up front. If you are writing a refusal letter, do not open the letter with your bad news; be indirect.
Follow-up Letters. A follow-up letter is sent to thank a customer for buying a product or service and to encourage the customer to buy more in the future. As such it is a combination thank-you note and sales letter. Begin with a brief expression of gratitude. Next, discuss the benefits already known to the customer, and stress the company's dedication to its customers. Then extend this discussion into a new or continuing sales area, and end with a specific request for future business.
Complaint Letters. These require delicacy. The right tone will increase your chances of getting what you want. Adopt the "you" attitude. Begin with a detailed description of the product or service you are complaining about. Include the model and serial numbers, size, quantity , and color. Next, state exactly what is wrong with the product or service. Briefly describe the inconvenience you have experienced. Indicate precisely what you want done (you want your money back, you want a new model, you want an apology, and so on). Finally, ask for prompt handling of your claim.

Adjustment Letters. Adjustment letters respond to complaint letters. For an adjustment letter that tells the customer "Yes," start with your good news. Admit immediately that the complaint was justified. State precisely what you are going to do to correct the problem. Offer an explanation for the inconvenience the customer suffered. End on a friendly, positive note. For adjustment letters that deny a claim, avoid blaming or scolding the customer. Thank the customer for writing. Stress that you understand the complaint. Provide a factual explanation to show customers they're being treated fairly. Give your decision without hedging or apologizing. (Indecision will infuriate customers who believe they have presented a convincing case.) Leave the door open for better and continued business in the future.

Refusal of Credit Letters. Begin on a positive note. Express gratitude for the applicant for wanting to do business with you. Cite appropriate reasons for refusing to grant the customer credit: lack of business experience or prior credit, current unfavorable or unstable financial conditions, and so on. End on a positive note. Encourage the reader to reapply later when his or her circumstances have changed.
C.     Parts of a Business Letter
A.    A business letter is a formal letter with six parts:

1.      The Heading
The heading contains the return address with the date on the last line. Sometimes it is necessary to include a line before the date with a phone number, fax number, or e-mail address. Often there is a line skipped between the address and the date. It is not necessary to type a return address if you are using stationery with the return address already imprinted, but you should always use a date.  Make sure the heading is on the left margin.

Ms. Jane Doe
543 Washington St
Marquette, MI 49855
June 28, 2011 

2.      Recipient’s Address
This is the address you are sending your letter to. Be sure to make it as complete as possible so it gets to its destination. Always include title names (such as Dr.) if you know them. This is, like the other address, on the left margin. If a standard 8 ½” x 11” paper is folded in thirds to fit in a standard 9” business envelope, the inside address should appear through the window in the envelope (if there is one). Be sure to skip a line after the heading and before the recipient’s address, then skip another line after the inside address before the greeting. For an example, see the end of this sheet for a sample letter.

3.      The Salutation
The salutation (or greeting) in a business letter is always formal. It often begins with “Dear {Person’s name}.” Once again, be sure to include the person’s title if you know it (such as Ms., Mrs., Mr., or Dr).  If you’re unsure about the person’s title then just use their first name. For example, you would use only the person’s first name if the person you are writing to is “Jordan” and you’re not sure if he or she is male or female.
The salutation always ends with a colon.

4.      The Body
The body is the meat of your letter. For block and modified block letter formats, single space and left justify each paragraph. Be sure to leave a blank line between each paragraph, however, no matter the format. Be sure to also skip a line between the salutation and the body, as well as the body and the close.
5.      The Complimentary Close
The complimentary close is a short and polite remark that ends your letter. The close begins at the same justification as your date and one line after the last body paragraph. Capitalize the first word of your closing (Thank you) and leave four lines for a signature between the close and the sender’s name. A comma should follow the closing.

6.      The Signature Line
Skip at least four lines after the close for your signature, and then type out the name to be signed. This often includes a middle initial, although it is not required. Women may put their title before had to show how they wish to be addressed (Ms., Mrs., Miss). The signature should be in blue or black ink.

7.      Enclosures
If you have any enclosed documents, such as a resume, you can indicate this by typing “Enclosures” one line below the listing. You also may include the name of each document.
Format and Font
Many organizations have their own style for writing a business letter, but here  are some common examples.
The most common layout for a business letter is called a block format. In this format, the entire letter is justified to the left and single spaced except for a double space between paragraphs.
Modified Block
Modified block is another popular type of business letter. The body of the letter and the sender’s and recipient’s addresses are left justified and single spaced. However, in this format, the date and closing are tabbed to the center point.

The least used style is called a semi-block. In it each paragraph is indented instead of left justified.

The standard font for business letters is Times New Roman, size 12. However, fonts that are clear to read such as Arial may be used.

Sample Letter
{NOTE: your name goes only at the bottom}
Your Return Address (no abbreviations for Street, Avenue, etc.)
Your City, YO [your two letter state abbreviation] zip
Date (write out either like June 4, 2004 or 4 June 2004)
First and Last Name of the Person to whom you are writing 
City, ST zip
Dear Mr./Ms. Whomever:

In the first paragraph, introduce what you are writing about and what you want from them.
In the subsequent paragraphs, explain the nature of your problem and what they can do for you. Be non-combative and straight to the point.
In the last paragraph, be sure to thank him/her for his/her time and efforts on your behalf. Also, let them know that you will contact them or that they can contact you with any questions.
Sincerely yours,
{four spaces so that your signature may appear here}
Jane Doe
A business letter is not restricted to one page; the letter should be as long as it needs to be.


Style of Business Letter

Style of Business Letter

1.      Business letters may be written in any of the following styles: 

a)       Full block.

b)      Block. 

c)       Semi-block.

d)      Indented.

e)       Simplified. 

f)        Hanging-indented.


The full block style has all the letter elements flush with the left margin. It is asymmetrical because there are wide white spaces on the right.  It differs from the simplified style in the sense that the salutation and the complimentary close are absent in the latter. 

The modified block style, the semi-block style, and the hanging-indented style share the same format, that is, all the letter elements, except the salutation, complimentary close, and signature (which are begun at the center) are flush with the left margin. The three differ in paragraph indention: the modified block has no indention, the semi-block style has a normal or standard indention, while the hanging-indented style, as its name suggests, has a hanging indention. The indented style has most of its elements indented. 


A.   Full Block Format

The Full Block business letter layout is the easiest to format. Here everything starts at the left margin, in the fact that no tabs are needed. This style is efficient and businesslike. No wonder it has become so popular.

Setting up a block style letter is quite simple, since every line starts flush with the left margin.

To format a business letter in block style:
1.      Return Address 
            If your stationery has a letterhead, skip this. Otherwise, type your name, address and optionally, phone number. These days, it’s common to also include an email address.

2.      Date
Type the date of your letter two to six lines below the letterhead. Three are standard. If there is no letterhead, type it where shown.

3.      Reference Line:
If the recipient specifically requests information, such as a job reference or invoice number, type it on one or two lines, immediately below the Date.

4.      Special Mailing Notations 
Type in all uppercase characters, if appropriate.

5.      On-Arrival Notations
Type in all uppercase characters, if appropriate. You might want to include a notation on private correspondence.

6.      Inside Address
Type the name and address of the person and/or company to whom you’re sending the letter, three to eight lines below the last component you typed. Four lines are standard.

7.      Attention Line
Type the name of the person to whom you’re sending the letter.

8.      Salutation
Type the recipient’s name here. Type Mr. or Ms. [Last Name] to show respect, but don’t guess spelling or gender.

9.      Subject Line
Type the gist of your letter in all uppercase characters, either flush left or centered. Be concise on one line.

10.  Body
Type two spaces between sentences. Keep it brief and to the point.

11.  Complimentary Close 
What you type here depends on the tone and degree of formality.

12.  Signature Block
Leave four blank lines after the Complimentary Close to sign your name. Sign your name exactly as you type it below your signature. Title is optional depending on relevancy and degree of formality.

13.  Identification Initials 
If someone typed the letter for you, he or she would typically include three of your initials in all uppercase characters, then two of his or hers in all lowercase characters.

14.  Enclosure Notation
This line tells the reader to look in the envelope for more. Type the singular for only one enclosure, plural for more.

15.  cc
Stands for courtesy copies (formerly carbon copies). List the names of people to whom you distribute copies, in alphabetical order.

B. Block Format
In block letter style, standard punctuation is placed after salutations and in other headings. Open punctuation, however, refers to a modification of style where all nonessential punctuation is omitted. A few key factors will help you understand block style format and the difference that open punctuation makes

1.               Block Format Headings
In block letter format, all text is flush with the left margin. The sender's address is written at the top of the page, unless the letter is written on letterhead. After the sender's address or logo, a space is entered, followed by the date. After the date, another space is entered, and the recipient's full name and address are typed. For example: Joe Smith 123 Pine Road Fayettville, Georgia 33889 July 16, 2012 Mr. Richard Jones 456 Oak Lane Farmville, Georgia 33888 If you are using open punctuation, omit the punctuation from the address lines and write the addresses in all capital letters. For example: JOE SMITH 123 PINE ROAD FAYETTVILLE GEORGIA 33889

2.      Salutation
In block letter style, the salutation should begin with "Dear" and should be followed with the proper prefix and last name of the recipient. Although many letter writers are used to following a salutation with a comma, the salutation is followed by a colon in block letter format. For example: Dear Ms. Smith: In open punctuation, the colon is omitted because all punctuation is left open on headings and salutations. For example: Dear Ms. Smith Because the colon is not essential after "Smith," the punctuation mark is omitted.

3.      Letter Body
The body of a block letter is written in single-spaced paragraphs aligned to the left margin. A single space is placed between paragraphs. Even in open punctuation, periods and commas are still necessary within paragraphs to separate sentences. However, if you include a list of bullet points in the letter, omit the punctuation. For example: Mrs Smith: Your recent order has been shipped. It will arrive on July 28th. Your order contains the following items: three end tables two dining chairs one lamp one table setting Because punctuation was necessary for meaning within the sentences, it was included. Punctuation was omitted from the list because the spacing makes it clear that the items are separate.

4.      Closing
In the closing of a block style letter, a formal salutation is again aligned against the left margin. In regular block format, a comma is placed after the closing. For example: Sincerely, Mark White In open block style, the comma is omitted because the space indicates the necessary separation between words. For example: Sincerely Mark White
C.   Semi-Block Format
The Semi-Block style's return address, date, complimentary closing and the signature line are at the center of the paper, or rather to the right of center. Everything else is flush with the left margin. Most of us are comfortable with this business letter layout as it has traditionally been the most commonly used. 
Semi-block style is characterized by certain parts of the letter being offset. This is usually the header, where you put your name and address. Also, it includes the date and the signature line at the bottom of the letter. These two elements should be aligned with one another, though they are offset from the rest of the letter.

Example :

D.   Indented Format
In case of the indented/semi-block layout the paragraphs in the body are indented one tab stop. So, you need to use two tabs: one for the indented paragraphs and one for the return address (again, in case no letterhead is used), date, complimentary closing and signature line. Dixie thinks this style is a little outdated. On the other hand, most of us are comfortable with it and a lot of companies still use it. This is how it looks:

E.   Simplified Format
1.      Definition
The simplified style business letter is a variation of the full-block and semi-block letter formats. Business professionals take you more seriously when you format your written communications using one of these formats. A personal letter format is acceptable for writing to a friend, but using this format when you are sending a communication to another business owner can make you look unprofessional.
2.      Comparison
Simplified-style business letters contain all the same elements as the full-block and semi-block letters. Like the full-block format, the simplified format left-justifies every line except for the company logo or letterhead. The date line is either slightly right of center or flush with the center of the page. Letters written in the simplified format have fewer internal sections, such as the body, salutation and date line.

3.      When it is Useful
Using the simplified style is the most useful at times when you don't have a recipient's contact name. Because the simplified style does not require a salutation, you don't need the person's name. The simplified format does away with unneeded formality while maintaining a professional approach.

4.      Formatting
Set up the margins for the simplified format letter. The right and left margins should be 1 1/4 inches and the top and bottom margins should be 1 1/2 inches. The date of the letter should be placed six to 10 spaces under your company's letterhead. Position the recipient's name, if available, the company name and full address two to four spaces below the date of the letter. Two spaces below this address, type in the subject of your letter in all capital letters. Do not include an opening salutation. Begin the first paragraph of your letter two spaces below the subject line. Single-space each paragraph and place a full space between paragraphs. End with a closing salutation, such as "Sincerely yours," then, five spaces below the salutation, type your name in all capital letters. Immediately under your name, write down your title, again, in all capital letters. Two spaces under your title, type your initials. If your office assistant types your correspondence, she should add a forward slash and her initials in lower-case letters. If you are including an enclosure, type "Enclosure" two spaces below the initial block.

The simplified letter is often used for mass mailings.
·               Instead of a salutation, use a heading.
·               Leave 2 spaces above and below this heading to set it apart.
·               Instead of a closing, write your signature.
·               Put your name and title on the same line and in capital letters below your signature.

F.   Hanging-Indented Format
Hanging-Indented Format is the style of paragraph composing in which the first line of a text is aligned with the left-margin, and all other linesare indented (moved toward right) by an equal amount of space. Used rarely, except in displaying lists of data. Also called out-denting.
The form of this letter on letter head, date, complementary close and signature are in the position of the Middle letters. The other part on letters such as the inside address, salutation, body, subject of letter are in the position of left-align. At the beginning of the paragraph, paragraphs hanging is not space.