Ever find writing a business inquiry tricky? You're not alone. It can be tedious, but writing polite and professional business inquiry emails is an essential skill in modern work life.
A well-written business inquiry that's clear and concise will communicate your request effectively. It should ensure a speedy response with all the information you need to get your job done.
To help you, we've broken down the process, describing the fundamental parts of crafting an effective email for business inquiries. We've provided a set of guidelines and best practices that will help anyone create the perfect query. We'll also introduce you to the business inquiry email format, provide you with samples, and show you how to send them with confidence – and faster – thanks to our business inquiry emails template.
By the time you've read this blog post, you've gained the knowledge and skills that give you the best chance of getting the information you want, when you want it and starting every new relationship on the right foot.
What is a business inquiry?
Let's start by defining what a business inquiry is.
An inquiry is a request for information.
A business inquiry is a formal request for information from an organization.
Some of the reasons you may want to send a business inquiry email include:
- Asking for a catalog, pricing, or information on a product
- Requesting details of a service
- Wanting a product sample
- Asking for the availability of space, e.g., at a hotel or exhibition.
These are just a few reasons, but there is an almost limitless range of situations when requesting information from another company is needed.
In a sense, business inquiry can be defined as the first step of forming a relationship with a business. After all, you write it to learn more about the service, product, or the company you consider using, buying, or partnering with. The primary characteristic is that this communication aims to solicit more detailed information from the company.
OK, so you need to make a business inquiry. Sure, you could just message someone and say: "Can you send me XXX" or "I want YYY". However, that could damage your reputation and any company that you're representing.
When writing online, there is a tendency for many of us to write conversationally, researchers have found. While such an approach may be suitable when writing to a friend, being informal can be perceived as rude, impolite, and even unprofessional in business communications.
There are noticeable differences, too, particularly when communicating with enterprises in different countries or cultures. For example, Americans are more likely to provide compliments. In contrast, academics found that Koreans get straight to the point when comparing the two nations' email habits. By sticking to an established structure, you avoid the potential for cross-cultural confusion.
The basic principle of email is to communicate with "clarity and empathy," says communications expert and Harvard Business Review contributor Erica Dhawan. Her advice is that you should slow down and focus on both what you say and how you say it, or you could affect the perception a business may have of you.
We totally agree. That's why we created our complete guide on the topic. The rest of the this blog post will help you to avoid problems and common pitfalls when creating a business inquiry email.
How to write a business inquiry email – The complete guide
It's time to start writing. Every business inquiry should follow a standard format that dictates its structure and a set of guidelines that shape its content. The following three parts will help you navigate these nuances in any situation.
Whom is your business inquiry email addressing?
Before we put pen to paper and guide you through how to write an email asking for information, let's start by identifying who will receive it.
The key question is: are you writing to a personal email account or a corporate one?
Many organizations have a generic email address for inquiries (such as hello@ or info@). When writing to such email addresses, you should be formal and direct. You're essentially addressing an organization.
A personal email enables you to engage a person directly, addressing them with their name. Using someone's first name can create an instant connection, but it may be culturally unacceptable within the world of business.
Our advice is to be cautious. It's better to be formal than informal. This way, you avoid the risk of upsetting or offending anyone.
Need some more email etiquette tips? Then our guide to email rules and etiquette.
The standard business inquiry email format
A professional business inquiry follows a traditional format that clearly spells out what you want. There are five key aspects to it:
- Email subject for inquiry
Let's look at the different parts of the perfect business inquiry email format in detail.
1. Email subject for inquiry
When writing an email for business inquiries, keep your email subject line short, sweet, and straight to the point. The best email subject for inquiry copy is short, polite, and professional.
We detail some business inquiry email examples later on but focus on keeping them to as few words as possible.
The key here is to follow the formality. Unless you're on first name terms with the person, avoid "Hi," "Hey," or "Hello" and stick to the tried and tested formal greetings, such as "Dear."
Using professional terms can improve how you and the organization you represent are perceived. We describe why this is the case and explain how to start a professional email in our feature.
The body is the meat of your message where you make the request. The basic principle when creating an email for business inquiries is to get straight to the point.
The reason is that we're all drowning under the weight of digital communication, and many of us don't read the entire email, says Matt Plummer. Instead, we scan it for the essential information.
Keeping it concise, sweet, and straight to the point is critical to getting a response. It also reduces the risk of misunderstanding.
Suppose you're asking for several pieces of information at once in your inquiry email, such as requesting details on a range of products. In that case, you can use bullet points to make your requests clearer while keeping word counts low.
Once you've made your request, provide a brief closing statement to your business inquiry email. It's helpful here to outline how you'll use the information and the next steps. For example, if you're asking for a catalog, you could explain that you're looking to place an order sometime soon.
In your closing, manage expectations. If you need information by a specific date, say so. Also, clarify appropriate communication channels. If you're worried about cold calls, tell people the most appropriate channel to contact you.
Don't forget to add an appropriate sign-off (yours faithfully, sincerely, or similar) and a signature containing all your details, including name, job title, and contact details.
If you're asking someone to send you something through the post, ensure your address is correct.
Want to know more about how to send an inquiry email? Read our guide on how to end an email professionally.
Best practices for writing a business inquiry
With some inspiration from the Harvard Business Review, we've produced five best practices for writing an inquiry email for business purposes. Follow these, and every information request will be communicated clearly and effectively.
- Tailor the message
- Explain who you are
- Be clear about what you want, when, and why
- Keep it short and sweet
- Check it (then check again)
Let's go through these guidelines in more detail.
1. Tailor the message
People in business are under pressure, and so the quicker you can get to the point and more specific you can be, the more likely you are to receive a reply.
As we've explained above, business inquiries are formal communication, so be polite and professional rather than attempt to be friendly.
Using a cookie-cutter template taken from a website may not accurately communicate or convey the message you want.
Advanced writing support tools such as Flowrite can help you find your authentic voice. It empowers you to create tailored business inquiries that are polite, professional, and more likely to generate a speedy reply.
2. Explain who you are
When writing a business inquiry email or request for information, who you are matters. Don't jump into your request straight away. Instead, tell the reader who you are.
This provides the reader with an understanding of the person they are communicating with and why they should take you seriously.
3. Be clear about what you want, when, and why
Email senders overestimate how quickly senders expect responses, researchers have found. Business inquiry emails sent outside of working hours can feel more urgent, creating pressure to reply that can cause stress.
The key takeaway is: when sending a business inquiry email, be clear about the information you are requesting, when you need it, and crucially why.
According to Avery Blank in Forbes, being clear about what you need and why reduces confusion and makes it much more likely that you'll receive a reply. The bonus is that you'll save the time, effort, and potential embarrassment of having to send a follow-up request.
Clarity can also stop you from receiving hundreds of cold emails or calls. If you want an email response, say so. If you expect a phone call, ask for one.
Don't leave the person second-guessing.
4. Keep it short and sweet
Business professionals are busy, so keep your request concise.
How long should your message be?
The experts at Hubspot recommend that your email is between 50-125 words in length. While it may not be possible to limit your message to 125, ideally, it should be under 200 words.
5. Check it (then check again)
Accuracy is essential when writing a business email, so ensure you review and refine your messages before sending them. If you're sending multiple emails simultaneously, double-check the critical information, such as the recipient's name and their organization.
If you're communicating in a language that isn't your first, then be especially careful. Free online spellcheckers may struggle with the context or not understand specific technical or professional terms, so don't always trust their recommendations without checking.
To avoid problems, try an AI writing tool, such as Flowrite that understands whom you are reaching out to and the intention of your message.
When should I follow up on a business inquiry?
If you've followed our advice and guidance above, you'll likely receive a reply. However, if you're still waiting, then it's OK to send a reminder email.
We've covered how to create reminder emails here, but the question remains: when to send a business inquiry reminder email?
If your request is non-urgent, give the person at least a couple of days to reply to you. In urgent cases, you can email or even call sooner.
In all cases, it pays to be polite when consider how to write a follow-up email. There's likely to be a genuine reason why someone may not have responded to your message.
Business inquiry email examples
So, we've outlined the basic principles of creating the perfect business inquiry email. Still, it's' always helpful to see these in practice.
To help explain some of the fundamental points, we've created some examples of business inquiry emails below.
Accuracy and authenticity are essential when creating an email inquiry. You want people to understand you're serious, and you won't get that by using a template where you fill in the blanks. Instead of copying and pasting, use these as inspiration for creating your email.
Better still, using Flowrite is the easiest – and fastest – way to write business inquiry emails. With the help of the latest developments in artificial intelligence, our tool can generate authentic and personalized emails that swill ensure you get the information you need.
Email to an organization
If you're emailing a generic email address, keep things formal. In this business inquiry email sample, we're requesting a catalog to be sent to us. It's quick and easy, explains what you want, when you want, and why.
Email to an individual
The format of this business inquiry email example is essentially the same as the first one, but it's personalized to the receiver. When you create a personal connection, you increase the chances of a reply. Again, you'll see how we manage expectations at the end of the email in a polite but firm way.
Asking for detailed information
In this example, we want more information to enable us to make a purchasing decision. So, instead of a long, drawn-out message, bullet points clarify what we need, when, and why.
Writing with Flowrite's business inquiry email template
Flowrite is an AI writing tool that turns short-bullet points into full-fledged emails and messages. You just jot down a couple of sentences as instructions, select the right template, and watch the email write itself.
When we talk about email templates, we don't mean anything prewritten that you need to copy and paste. Instead, our templates guide the AI to write the correct type of email for your purpose from scratch. Here's an example of our business inquiry template in action.
As you see, the email Flowrite generates for you is personalized and context-aware. Furthermore, you don't have to obsess over how the recipient might perceive word choices or phrases, as you can select the tone of the email generated. Spelling and grammar errors? It's fluent in English too. Blank screen syndrome? Select the template without writing any bullet points, and Flowrite will generate an example email for you.
What should I take away from this?
You should now understand what a business inquiry is (and what it isn't), the correct business inquiry email format, and some best practices for creating corporate correspondence. You should now be clear on how to write a business inquiry email.
The examples we have provided demonstrate how you can create direct and detailed business inquiries that give you the confidence to create your own.
Our final piece of advice is to refrain from copying and pasting and introduce some personality to your professional communications.
Supercharge your communication with Flowrite
Turn words into ready-to-send emails and messages.
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