While quick emails and phone calls are sufficient for many business purposes, there are still some things that need to be handled with the permanence and professionalism of a letter. Different situations call for different letters, and while there are many different reasons you might find yourself needing to write a professional letter, it can be helpful to familiarize yourself with some of the more common types of business letters in advance.
1. Order Placement Letters
As the name implies, an order placement letter is written to place an order of goods. These letters are very common, but they are also very formal and should be written in a very precise and specific manner, which is why it may be helpful to look up a template for these letters before writing one.
2. Introductory Sales Letters
When you want to sell products to a new customer, you need to introduce yourself. This is very similar to the way you would introduce yourself to someone at a party since you want to make a great first impression in both situations. You want to show your target customer what products or services you offer, how these can help them and what makes your business different from others.
3. Circular Letter Announcements
A circular is so named because it is circulated to a large audience. In other words, while most letters are private correspondence between two or more parties, a circular is distributed to huge groups at once. Because these are intended for many readers, they should be written for your target audience member. Remember to also keep them generic enough to appeal to everyone who receives them.
4. Letters of Acknowledgement
These letters are sent merely to acknowledge that your company received a business document or package. They essentially operate as a receipt and should be sent as soon as the item was received.
5. Follow-Up Letters
Follow-up letters may be sent after many types of correspondence. A job applicant may send a follow up after an interview. A salesperson may send one a week or two after sending an introductory sales letter. They may be sent after a meeting to reiterate the agreements made by both parties. Essentially, these simply serve to remind the recipient of a prior communication and to urge progress on the next step of the relationship or project.
6. Customer Service Apology Letters
In the world of business, sometimes things go wrong. Whether or not it was your company's fault and whether or not it could have been prevented, an apology letter can go a long way in mending a relationship with a wronged customer. These letters often pass through the legal department to ensure the company is not exposing itself to legal liability.
7. Letters of Interest
While letters of interest are most commonly used by job seekers notifying employers of their interest in a position with the company, they can also be used to express that your company is interested in working on a specific project with another company or nonprofit organization.
8. Letters of Condolence
Whether mourning the loss of an employee, rival, partner or anyone else in your professional circle, letters of condolence are not easy to write but can be a touching gesture to those most impacted by the death.
9. In-Office Memorandums
While memos are often informal, these internal communications are like business letters from one employee to another. Memos can be written on almost any subject, ranging from dress code additions to serious employee infractions.
10. Letter of Commendation
While it's always nice to commend an employee who goes above and beyond, these should be reserved for truly remarkable actions since the more often they are doled out, the less they mean to those receiving them.