The Structure of an Inquiry Email

The basic structure of an email of inquiry is relatively simple and can be broken down into the following 5 steps:

 Email of Inquiry
1Explain how you received the contact details of your recipient.
2Provide some information about your company and why you are writing.
3Make a general request for information.
4Add any special requests or out-of-the-ordinary questions.
5Close the email, and, when appropriate, make reference to potential future business.

Steps 1 & 2: Opening

When opening an email of inquiry, it is a good idea to start by explaining how you learned about the supplier’s services. If you share any mutual acquaintances or associates with the supplier, now is the time to mention it, as shared contacts could potentially pave the way to a deal on price.

  • We were advised to contact you by Mary Loft…..
  • We were given your contact details by Gabriel Thibou…
  • Zaventem Finance recommended your services to us…

Then, briefly introduce yourself and the organization you represent. It will be easier for the supplier to provide you with exactly what you want if you give them a little background information about your company.

  • We are one of the country’s leading sporting goods retailers…
  • Our company is a subsidiary of Kruckenberg and Kaip Ltd., and we specialize in the export of medical supplies…
  • Manifest PLC is the premier airline catering company…

Steps 3 & 4: Requesting

Some of the items you may find yourself requesting in an inquiry include general information, price lists, catalogues, product samples, price estimates, product demonstrations, etc. When requesting these things, it is important to ask straightforward, easy-to-follow questions. After reading your email, the supplier should have no doubt as to what you are requesting. You can help to avoid confusion by listing any available referencing details, such as item or catalogue numbers, the website where you first saw the item, etc.

  • I would appreciate receiving more information about the Wezembeek Soundproof Office Booths featured in Wired Magazine in December…
  • Could you please send me more details regarding office chair MNE-731 from the Bismarck line advertised on your website?

Now is the time to mention any specific requirements that you might have, which could include information about payment guidelines set by your company. Additionally, here you can politely suggest that if certain requests for discounts are met that you will be more likely to place a larger order.

  • As we plan on placing a sizable order, we would like to know what quantity discounts you offer.
  • We would also like to add that we practice payment terms of 30 days…

Step 5: Closing

End on a positive note. Thank the potential supplier, and, when appropriate, mention that you look forward to a timely response and to a potential business relationship.

  • We look forward to hearing from you in the near future…
  • We would be grateful for a prompt reply.

After having a look a the sample email of inquiry below, you are welcome to continue on to the next topic, which discusses how to properly structure a reply to an inquiry.

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