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Korrespondenz auf Englisch - Professionelle Anfragebriefe

Schlagwörter: Korrespondenz auf Englisch, Anfrage auf Englisch, Anfragen auf Englisch, Anfrage stellen auf Englisch, Anfrage schreiben auf Englisch, Anfrage verfassen Englisch

A letter of enquiry (LOE) is a general term used to describe a letter or e-mail used to gather information about what one company may be able to offer another in the form of products or services. They are usually used when the products/services are rather costly or complex, or when special circumstances exist such as unusual delivery terms, a large order size or a high degree of customisation. For most businesses, writing LOEs is a standard task, and you might ask why sending an enquiry to a firm outside of Germany should be any different. After all, they want your business, right?

Not necessarily! Consider that the other firm has probably never heard of your firm before, and has probably had numerous problems in the past collecting payment from customers in other countries. In addition, the legal options for collecting from deadbeat customers in other countries are usually limited. This means that a letter of enquiry sent to an international firm must appear extremely professional and must be very clear about what?s expected. This not only helps avoid a lot of unnecessary international communication, it helps demonstrate that your letter should be taken seriously.

Types of letters
We usually write letters of inquiry in response to an advertisement that we have seen in a magazine or a product catalogue we have previously received. This type is known as a solicited letter of enquiry.

Sometimes we have a need, however, and don?t know who could meet it. In this case, we might send an LOE to a list of potential suppliers obtained from the Web or a business directory. This is an unsolicited letter of enquiry.

A third type, known as an investigative letter of enquiry, is used by firms when they don?t quite know what they want, and want to educate themselves about the issues they must consider to make an informed decision. Not intending to make a purchase anytime soon, they send an investigative LOE. The supplier responds not only with an offer, but with valuable information about what?s important to the purchase decision. To ensure such a letter is not ignored by the recipient, investigative LOEs are often well-disguised as solicited LOEs. This may sound like a deceptive business practise, but it?s been long-recognised as ?part of the game?.

Because investigative letters of enquiry have been so often misused, some companies now view all written enquiries with a suspicious eye. Consider for a moment an LOE from an Asian company received by three firms in the UK. A large purchase was mentioned. A request was made for detailed information about the various products. After sending the requested information, no further contact occurred. Follow-up letters were returned ?Addressee unknown?. One company, suspecting a competitor, researched the address, only to find it was a student dormitory inhabited by doctoral students. Hmm...

To get past the suspicion, your letter needs to appear solid, professional and honest. To get exactly the information you want in the first response, or to get the most cost-effective, best-fit proposal possible for your needs, you?ll also need to tell the reader a bit about your business and its goals.

It?s not uncommon for LOEs to contain information about the sender and his needs, but also to clearly identify issues that should be addressed. Some firms even include questionnaires that ask the supplier to address a long list of specific business points, and respond to each with a statement about how his products/services address each requirement. This last type functions like a mini-RFP (Request For Proposal).

Essential LOE components
A letter of enquiry uses the same basic format as a cover letter. The content of the letter will be very specifically crafted, however, to create credibility and concisely describe what you want.

You can use your company?s standard stationery and business letter format. The recipient will understand that such things vary throughout the world.

Even if your letter looks good and the content is complete, cultural differences may lead the recipient to take your request less seriously. Here are a few additional tips to help ensure your letter is given the attention and respect it is due:

  • If the size of the purchase is significant, ask the supplier to provide information about his company. Not doing so might signal that your request is not ?for real?.

  • Clearly identify yourself along with your direct telephone number and e-mail address, even if this information is pre-printed on the stationery. Also make sure a fax number can be found on the letter.

  • Make sure there is a signature and that it is clearly hand-written (as opposed to computer-generated). Use a pen with a strong medium blue colour, for example, to make this obvious.

  • If you are asking for anything other than product X in quantity Y, expect that the supplier will want to speak with you. Be sure to state that he may contact you at any time.

  • If your request involves a large volume of complex or expensive products, ask the supplier to discuss issues of product availability, shipping terms, possible export costs and volume discounts.

Structural elements and the language you need

1 Opening salutation

If you don?t know the name or sex of the person whom you will be addressing, your opening must be formal. Otherwise use the person?s name:

Dear Sir or Madam,

Dear Mr/Mrs Jameson,

2 Reference to how you found out about the supplier

Your letter has more appeal to the supplier if you are responding to an advertisement or something they sent you, or if you say that you made an effort to find them:

With regard to your recent advertisement in the German edition of InformationToday, ...

Regarding the catalogue we recently received from you, ...

With regard to information we recently found on your Web site, ...

In reference to a referral we received from one of your customers, ...

... we would like to request some additional information about your products/services.

3 The summary

The summary serves to inform the supplier about the big picture. The goal is to say what you want and why you want it. This should be limited to one short paragraph:

We are specifically interested in receiving detailed information about Product X/your services/your ability to provide/your ability to deliver ...

We are specifically interested in receiving a brief/detailed proposal from you for...

... N units of Product X, along with estimated costs for related services and education.

... custom services associated with our goal of ...

We have identified numerous opportunities for your offerings in our customer base and would be interested in speaking with you about becoming a partner/distributor.

4 About you

Provide a very brief history and description of your current business and its activities:

XYZ Services is a leading provider of ... Our goal is to ..., allowing our customers to ... Our customer base consists of firms in ABC market sector in/throughout Territory.

5 Statement of need

The statement of need is an essential element of your letter and must convince the reader that there is an important need that can be met by his products. State why the supplier's products/services are important to you, where you will need them and who will be using them. Here's an example:

Until now, we have...

We are currently seeking to expand our business and have a need for the above- mentioned products (and services) at our main facility / in our manufacturing facilities in Territory / in our branch offices in Territory. Your offerings should help enable our business/staff to accomplish ... with greater efficiency.

6 Request for proposal and questions

Here you should briefly and clearly ask for a proposal and list any specific points you would like the supplier to address. Providing such a list demonstrates that your request is quite serious.

We would also appreciate it if you could provide us with information on each of the following points: ...

7 Your closing words

We look forward to receiving a response from you in the next few weeks, and would be very pleased to hear from you before 25 May.

If you should require any information about our request while preparing your response, please contact me at +55 555 5555 5555 or at

Yours faithfully,

Example Letter of Enquiry

1 Dear Sir or Madam,

2 With regard to a catalogue we recently received from you, we would like to receive additional information about your line of laminating machines. 3 We are specifically interested in receiving detailed information about your ability to assist us in our efforts to automate the production of laminated materials in our "ModBox" line of products.

4 BusComDE is a leading provider of business communications materials in the continental European market. Our flagship product, ModBox, is a comprehensive set of pre-cut, laminated tools for professionals who moderate large group meetings. The product is sold directly throughout Europe and in other parts of the world through a distribution network.

5 Until now, the laminated components in ModBox have been manually created by a team of 30 staff members using single-page lamination machines. It is exactly this process we wish to automate.

6 We would appreciate it if you could provide us with a high-level proposal outlining how we can best accomplish our goal using your products. Your proposal should specifically address each of the following points:

  • How many units would we need to purchase, and what installation, configuration and/or educational services would we require?

  • What skills does our support staff require to keep the equipment in working order?

7 We look forward to receiving your response in the next few weeks, and would be very pleased to hear from you before 25 May. If you should require any information about our request while preparing your response, please contact me at +55 555 5555 5555 or

Yours faithfully,
Holger Glicke

Schlagwörter: Korrespondenz auf Englisch, Anfrage auf Englisch, Anfragen auf Englisch, Anfrage stellen auf Englisch, Anfrage schreiben auf Englisch, Anfrage verfassen Englisch

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