Blog Business Writing Business Inquiry Email: How to Write Them (with Examples)

Business Inquiry Email: How to Write Them (with Examples)

Allison Bressmer

Allison Bressmer

Professor and Freelance Writer

Published May 04, 2022

Writing a business enquiry email

A business inquiry is a request for information.  The ability to write an appropriate business inquiry email is essential for anyone working in business or any office setting.

Business inquiry emails are a means of acquiring important information, a way of establishing relationships and connections, and also serve as a reflection of the sender’s business or practice.

It’s easy to see why writing a business inquiry email well is important. Fortunately, there are steps to follow to make the task easier. Let’s ‌look at them.

Contents:
  1. What Is a Business Inquiry Email?
  2. How to Write a Business Inquiry Email
  3. Tips for Writing a Business Inquiry Email
  4. Samples and Examples of Business Inquiry Emails

What Is a Business Inquiry Email?

In a business inquiry email, you’re asking for information about a service or product or other issues related to that business. For example, you might:

  • Request to sample a product for quality control or to determine whether you want to sell it in your store

  • Request prices for convection ovens for the bakery you want to open

  • Request a preview of the next season’s clothing line to decide which pieces you’ll sell in your store

  • Request information on renting space for an event

What is a business enquiry?

How to Write a Business Inquiry Email

A business inquiry email has distinct parts. It’s best to avoid using a fill-in-the-blank template for these communications, but there is a basic format to follow.

  • Subject Line
  • Greeting
  • Body (including introduction, request, closing statement)
  • Sign-off and signature

The parts of a business email

Subject Line

Keep the subject clear and concise. Actually, clear and concise are words that should describe your entire inquiry email.

Don’t ‌be funny or intriguing. Business moves fast and demands results. Your subject line should let your recipient know, immediately, what you’re writing about. Keep the subject short, clear, and professional.

For example:

  • Inquiry: pricing on Ad-45 convection oven
  • Request for summer 2022 swimwear preview
  • Request for sample of product #352

Greeting

Every business inquiry email should start with a greeting. You want your email to be concise, but that doesn’t mean you should skip the greeting. Omitting the greeting would show a lack of courtesy.

Send your inquiry email to a specific person. Do the research to find that contact. A personal greeting shows the inquiry is important to you—you’ve put time into it—and also makes a response more likely. People are less inclined to ignore requests sent directly to them.

Keep the greeting professional. Unless you already have a friendly relationship with the recipient, avoid greeting them with informal Hi or Hey or openings.

Appropriate email greetings

While Good Morning or Good Afternoon are polite and professional greetings, they are time sensitive and may not work if your email is traveling to different time zones.

The best approach for business inquiries is the common, more formal, Dear Mr. Jones or the slightly less formal Hello Ms. Smith. When in doubt, go with the more formal Dear option, followed by the recipient’s title and last name:

  • Dear Dr. Roberts
  • Dear Mr. White
  • Dear Ms. Green
  • Dear Mx. Johnson

If you don’t have the specific contact and are sending your inquiry to an entire department, it still helps to make your greeting as specific as possible. For example, use Dear Sales Team rather than To whom it may concern.

If you’re working with a generic, organizational email address such as ContactUsAtCustomerService@... it’s still best practice to keep your greeting formal and professional. Dear Customer Service Representative works for this particular scenario.

Body

The body of the email includes your introduction, your request, and a closing statement. As with the subject line, all parts of the body should be clear, concise, and professional.

Parts of the body of an email

Introduction

Explain who you are and why you’re writing.

Example 1

Dear Mr. Jones,

My name is Joanne Stern. I’m the lead purchaser for Walk Softly shoe company and am interested interested in your “Comfort Flats” line of footwear.

If you have a reference, someone who directed you to email this person, establish that relationship as well.

Example 2

Dear Mx. Smith,

My name is Ben Kraft, owner of “Have a Sandwich!” and I’m interested in renting your events room for an end-of-year company celebration on December 28, 20__. I’m acting on the recommendation of Sue Daye, owner of “Tea and Cookies,” who had a positive experience with you.

Request

Explain what you need, when you need it, and how you would like to receive it.

Joanne Stern, the writer of the Example 1 could say,

Could you please email me the fall 2023 catalog preview for your Comfort-Flats line? I’m in the process of selecting styles for the fall 2023 season and would like to add more quality flats to our store offerings. I’ll be finalizing selections and placing orders by the end of the month and would be so appreciative if you could send the catalog by the end of this week.

If you have a series of specific questions, a bullet-pointed list can help you present them with clarity.

Ben Kraft, from Example 2 could write:

I would greatly appreciate the following information about the event space, provided it’s still available for December 28th from 7:00pm -11:00pm.

  • What is the limit on the number of people it can accommodate?
  • What is the price for rental for a four-hour party?
  • What exactly does the rental fee cover? Please let me know if there are extra fees for tables, chairs, linens, etc.

Closing Remarks

Thank the recipient and provide information regarding follow-up actions.

Joanne Stern, from Example 1 could say,

Thanks very much for your assistance. I will be in touch by the end of the month should I select any of your product for Walk Softly.

Ben Kraft, from Example 2 could say,

I have reached out to several venues and would like to make the final decision by _ _ _ _, so I will need this information by _ _ _ _ .  Thanks very much for your help.

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Sign-Off and Signature

Sincerely and Yours Truly work as polite, tried-and-true sign offs. Avoid anything that sounds affectionate or overly familiar.

Be certain your signature includes your contact details: name, job title, email address, phone number—and anything else necessary for reaching you.

Tips for Writing a Business Inquiry Email

Consider these tips as requirements for business inquiries. Remember these tips as the five Cs of business email writing: Your emails should be Courteous, Clear, Concise, Crafted, and (Double-)Checked

The 5cs of a business email

1. Courteous

Write business emails with a courteous tone. Courtesy is a balance of professionalism and friendliness.

A common trend in online writing is to write conversationally or informally. In business communication, that tone can seem unprofessional or rude. Unless you have an established, friendly relationship with the recipient of your emails, avoid the conversational tone.

Also, keep in mind that different cultures have different perceptions of acceptable communication. By aiming for polite cordiality/courtesy, you’ll remain in the safe zone.

2. Clear

Tell your recipient exactly what you’re requesting and when and how you’d like that request fulfilled. They can’t spare time trying to figure out what you need. Give them straightforward requests with clear, detailed information.

Clarity brings responses. Giving a specific timeframe instead of a vague “at your convenience” deadline is the approach more likely to get you results when you need them. Of course, just keep those deadline requests courteous.

3. Concise

Most of us are overloaded with emails and other digital communication. As a way to get through it all, we skim the content for the important information.

Your email should be so concise that it doesn’t have to be skimmed. It should only include that important information.

Aiming for a concise email will help you choose and edit your words carefully, which brings an additional benefit. Your well-constructed email will be less likely to be misunderstood.

4. Crafted

Craft your email for its individual purpose and recipient.

Your recipient should recognize the email is intended specifically for them. The email should show you’ve done some research on the product, service, business you’re inquiring about. When the recipient sees you’ve put effort into the request, they’ll put effort into the response.

Fill-in templates often aren’t flexible enough to adjust to the details of specific inquiries and come off sounding awkward or impersonal. They’re easy to spot.

Follow the proper email structure, but tailor your greeting and your query to the recipient.

5. (Double-)Checked

You’ve structured your email and written a tailored inquiry to the recipient. Congrats!

Don’t hit “send” just yet.

Check that email. Then check it again. Read it aloud. Even better, run in through ProWritingAid’s Realtime Report. For the most relevant feedback, run the report using the business setting.

Business writing setting

Start compiling professional emails with a free ProWritingAid account.

Samples and Examples of Business Inquiry Emails

Review each business inquiry email sample.  Use the sample letters as guides when writing your own.

One Request: Specific Contact

To: Robert.Jones@XXXX.com

Subject: Request fall 2023 comfort flats catalog preview

Dear Mr. Jones,

My name is Joanne Stern. I’m the lead purchaser for Walk Softly shoe company and am interested in your “Comfort Flats” line of footwear.

Could you please email me the fall 2023 catalog preview for your Comfort-Flats line? I’m in the process of selecting styles for the fall 2023 season and would like to add more quality flats to our store offerings. I’ll be finalizing selections and placing orders by the end of the month and would be so appreciative if you could send the catalog by the end of this week.

Thanks very much for your assistance. I will be in touch by the end of the month should I select any of your product for Walk Softly.

Sincerely,

Joanne Stern

Lead Purchase Agent, Walk Softly Shoe Company

XXX-XXX-XXXX

Joanne.Stern@walksoftly.com

Multiple Questions: Specific Contact

To: Joan.Flanagan@KitchenSuppliers.XXX

SUBJECT: Convection Oven Model #445

Dear Ms. Flanagan,

My name is John Hanks and I’m the owner and chief baker for Buttercooky Bakery in Town Square. I’m inquiring about your convection oven, Model # 445. I was referred to you by my friend and a fellow-baker, Judy Lee, who speaks highly of your products and customer service.

I would very much appreciate the following information:

  • Dimensions for the oven’s height, width, depth
  • The oven’s energy efficiency rating
  • The price adjustment should I purchase three ovens

I do need to make my decision and hopefully place my order by the end of next week, so I will need a response, email preferred, by the end of this week in order to move forward.

Thanks very much for your help. Once I hear back, I will be in touch.

Gratefully,

John Hanks

Owner, Buttercooky Bakery, Town Square

John.Hanks@buttercooky.xxx

333-333-3333

No Specific Contact Available

To: Events@Ginos.xxx

Subject: questions re: catering options

Dear Events Manager,

My name is Alisha Evans. I am interested in having Gino’s cater a business luncheon on May 16, 2023, for about 60 guests.

Before proceeding, I need to know you are able to provide options for the approximately five guests who can only eat gluten-free products. Are you able to make this accommodation?

Feel free to call me at XXX-XXXX between 9:00am and 3:00pm Monday through Thursday, or email me at any time. I hope to finalize plans quickly, and would appreciate a response by the end of this week. Thank you for your help.

Sincerely,

Alisha Evans

Manager, Stay Safe Security Systems

Alisha.Evans@XXX

555-555-5555


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Allison Bressmer

Allison Bressmer

Professor and Freelance Writer

Allison Bressmer is a professor of freshman composition and critical reading at a community college and a freelance writer. If she isn’t writing or teaching, you’ll likely find her reading a book or listening to a podcast while happily sipping a semi-sweet iced tea or happy-houring with friends. She lives in New York with her family. Connect at linkedin.com/in/allisonbressmer

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