Apr
4

Writing persuasive request letters: business letter format, tips and samples

If your job involves business correspondence, then you certainly write request letters, occasionally or on a regular basis. This could be a job request, promotion or meeting requests, request for information or referral, favor letter or character reference. Such letters are difficult to write and even more difficult to write in such a way that encourages recipients to respond willingly and enthusiastically.

As to request for money letters, all sorts of sponsorship, donation, or fundraising requests, you would agree that it often requires a miracle to get a response : ) Of course, I cannot guarantee that our tips and letter samples you will do the miracle, but they will definitely save you some time and make your writing job less painful.

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Well, back to writing business letters, further on in the article you will find:

Business letter format

A business letter is a formal way of communication and that is why it requires a special format. You may not care of the letter format too much if you are sending an e-mail, but if you are writing a traditional paper business letter, the below recommendations may prove helpful. It is considered a good practice to print out a business letter on standard 8.5" x 11" (215.9 mm x 279.4 mm) white paper.

  1. Sender's Address. Usually you start by typing your own address. In British English, the sender's address is usually written in the top right corner of the letter. In American English, the sender's address is placed in the top left corner.

    You needn't write the sender's name or title, as it is included in the letter's closing. Type only the street address, city, and zip code and optionally, phone number and email address.

    If you are writing on stationery with a letterhead, then skip this.

  2. Date. Type a date a few lines below the letterhead or return address. The standard is 2-3 lines (one to four lines are acceptable).
  3. Reference Line (optional). If your letter is related to some specific information, such as a job reference or invoice number, add it below the date. If you are replying to a letter, refer to it. For example,
    • Re: Invoice # 000987
    • Re: Your letter dated 4/1/2014
  4. On-Arrival Notices (optional). If you want to include a notation on private or confidential correspondence, type it below the reference line in uppercase, if appropriate. For example, PERSONAL or CONFIDENTIAL.
  5. Inside Address. This is the address of the recipient of your business letter, an individual or a company. It is always best to write to a specific person at the company to which you are writing.

    The standard is 2 lines below the previous item you typed, one to six lines are acceptable.

  6. Attention Line (optional). Type the name of the person whom you're trying to reach. If you wrote the person's name in the Inside Address, skip the Attention Line.
  7. Salutation. Use the same name as the inside address, including the title. If you know the person you are writing to and usually address them by the first name, you can type the first name in the salutation, for example: Dear Jane. In all other cases, it is a common practice to address a person with the personal title and last name followed by a comma or colon, for example:
    • Mr. Brown:
    • Dear Dr. Brown:
    • Dear Ms. Smith,

    If you do not know the recipient's name or are not sure how to spell it, use one of the following salutations:

    • Ladies
    • Gentlemen
    • Dear Sir
    • Dear Sir or Madam
    • To Whom it May Concern
  8. Subject Line (optional): Leave two or three blank lines after the salutation and type the gist of your letter in uppercase, either alighted left or centered. If you have added the Reference Line (3), the Subject line may be redundant. Here are a few examples:
    • LETTER OF REFERENCE
    • COVER LETTER
    • REQUEST FOR PRODUCT REPLACEMENT
    • JOB INQUIRY
  9. Body. This is the main part of your letter, usually consisting of 2 - 5 paragraphs, with a blank line between each paragraph. In the first paragraph, write a friendly opening and then state your main point. In the next few paragraphs, provided background information and supporting details. Finally, write the closing paragraph where you restate the purpose of the letter and request some action, if applicable. See tips on writing persuasive business letters for more details.
  10. Closing. As you know, there are a few generally accepted complementary closes. Which one you choose depends on the tone of your letter. For example,
    • Respectfully yours (very formal)
    • Sincerely or Kind regards or Yours truly (most useful closings in business letters)
    • Best regards, Cordially yours (slightly more personal and friendly)

    The closing is typically typed at the same vertical point as the date and one line after the last body paragraph. Capitalize the first word only and leave three or four lines between the closing and the signature block. If the salutation is followed by a colon, add a comma after the closing; otherwise, no punctuation after the closing is required.

  11. Signature. As a rule, a signature comes four blank lines after the Complimentary Close. Type your name below a signature and add a title, if needed.
  12. Enclosures. This line tells the recipient what other documents, such as a resume, are enclosed with your letter. The common styles follow below:
    • Encl.
    • Attach.
    • Enclosures: 2
    • Enclosures (2)
  13. Typist Initials (optional). This component is used to indicate the person who typed the letter for you. If you typed the letter yourself, omit this. Usually the identification initials include three of your initials in uppercase, then two or three of the typist's in lowercase. For example, JAM/dmc, JAM:cm. But this component is quite rarely used these days, in very formal business letters.

    Below you can see a properly formatted sample donation letter. It's always easier to understand from examples, isn't it?

    Sample Donation Letter

10 tips to write persuasive request letters

Below you will find 10 strategies to write your request letters in such a way that they convince your reader to respond or act.

  1. Know your addressee. Before you start composing you request letter, ask yourself these questions. Who is my reader and how exactly can they help me? Are they decision makers or will they just pass along my request to a senior officer? Both the style and contents of your request letter will depend on the reader's position.
  2. Do not be verbose. Be clear, brief and to the point. A rule of a thumb is this - don't use two words when one would suffice. Just remember the famous quote by Mark Twain - "I didn't have time to write a short letter, so I wrote a long one instead". A person in his position could afford that, and... he was not requesting anything : )
  3. Make your letter easy to read. When writing a request letter, don't digress and don't confuse your reader by drifting off your main point. Avoid long, crammed sentences and paragraphs because they are intimidating and hard to digest. Use simple, declarative sentences instead and break long sentences with commas, colons and semicolons. Start a new paragraph when you change a thought or idea.

    Here's a very poor example of a cover letter:
    "In every regard, my qualifications appear to be consistent with the desires expressed by your advertisement and based on the voice of your company's blogs, I really think that I was meant to be a [Position] in your company."

    And this is a good one:
    "I have good skills and experience in [Your area of expertise] and I would be most grateful if you consider me for any suitable position."

    Remember, if your request letter looks easy to read, it has a better chance to be read!

  4. Add call to action. Put action in your request letters wherever is possible. The easiest way is to use action verbs and the active voice rather than passive.
  5. Convince but do not demand. Do not treat your addressees as if they owe you something. Instead, catch the reader's attention by mentioning common ground and emphasize the benefits of acting.
  6. Do not be burdensome. Give readers all the information needed and tell what exactly you want them to do. Simplify the job for the person to respond - include contact information, direct phone numbers, give links or attach files, whatever is appropriate
  7. Write in a friendly way and appeal to the reader's feelings. Though you are writing a business letter, don't be superfluously businesslike. Friendly letters make friends, so write your request letters in a friendly way as if you are talking to your real friend or an old acquaintance. We are all humans, and it may be a good idea to appeal to humanity, generosity, or sympathy of your correspondent.
  8. Remain polite and professional. Even if you are writing an order cancellation request or complaint letter, remain polite and courteous, simply state the issue(s), provide all relevant information and be sure to avoid threats and calumny.
  9. Mind your grammar! Rephrasing a well-known saying - "grammar counts for first impressions". Poor grammar like poor manners may spoil everything, so be sure to proofread all business letters you send.
  10. Review before sending. When you have finished composing the letter, read it aloud. If your key point is not crystal clear, write it over. It's better to invest some time in re-writing and get a response, than make it fast and have your letter thrown away in a bin straight away.

And finally, if you've got a response to your request letter or the desired action is taken, don't forget to thank the person. Here you can find sample thank you letters for all occasions.

Samples of request letters

Below you will find a few examples of request letters for different occasions.

Sample letter of recommendation request

Dear Mr. Brown:

I hope you are doing well. I have warm memories of your remarkable leadership and support for teachers during my employment at XYZ High School.

Presently, I am applying to XYZ school district and am required to submit three letters of recommendation. I am writing to ask if you would write a letter of recommendation on my behalf.

I would like to provide you with some background information that may assist you, should you decide to write this letter <your background information>.

Attached, you will find a copy of my most recent résumé. Please feel free to contact me if you need any additional information. I look forward to hearing from you, and I thank you in advance for your time.

Request for information

Thank you for submitting your resume in response to the <position> we advertised. In addition to your resume, we also need three references and a list of past employers for the past three years, along with their phone numbers.

Our policy is to thoroughly review the background of each candidate in order to select the most suitable person for this job.

Thank you for your assistance. We are looking forward to hearing from you.

Request for character reference

<Applicant> has applied with our company for a position in our <department>. He / she has given your name as a character reference. Would you be kind enough to provide us with your written evaluation of this person.

Please rest assured that your response will be treated with confidentiality. Thank you in advance.

Donation request

I am sending this to you as a fellow member of our community. I'm sure that you value living in such a quiet and peaceful neighborhood, just like I do.

You know, sometimes in order to keep one's community quiet and peaceful one has to take action. As you may know, our local Community Committee has been meeting over the past two months to try to find ways to reduce the break-in rate in our area. Last week they released their recommendations on how best to combat that problem.

Their primary recommendation calls for increased police and security patrols to supplement the local Neighborhood Watch program. Unfortunately, the needed amount is not included in this year's municipal budget allocation.

Therefore, as a concerned member of this community I have decided that my business will donate $ for every $ raised in the community to cover the additional security costs. I urge you to join me today in supporting this worthy cause for our common good.

To make your donation today you can drop in to either one of our two stores and deposit your donation in the boxes provided near the front cashes. If you can't make it to the store, please send a check or money order, made out to "XYZ" and mail it to the address listed above.

Thank you in advance.

Requesting a favor

I am writing you to ask you for a favor that I hope you could do for me.

In less than three months I will be taking the <Examination>, with the hope to enter the <University or College>, where they have the best graduate school program for the course that I am interested in.

The school places an extremely high emphasis on a student's success in the exam, which is why I feel extremely pressured to get an above average score on the Graduate Record Examination.

Because you recently graduated with a degree in <science>, you are naturally the first person I thought of when considering who I could approach to assist me. I am not asking for too much time, I would really appreciate any pointers you could give me and a few lessons on the <sections>, which I feel are my weakest points.

I hope that you will give me a positive response. Thank you in advance.

Request for product return / replacement

On <date> I placed an order for the <product>, received it on <date>. I have discovered that the purchased product has the following problem: <add details>

Since the product you delivered is not of satisfactory quality <is not fit for the purpose>, I am entitled to have it <repaired / replaced> and I would request that you confirm that you will do this within the next seven days. I also require you to confirm whether you will arrange for the <item> to be collected or will reimburse me for the cost of returning it.

I look forward to receiving your satisfactory proposals for settlement of my claim within seven days of the date of this letter.

*****

And this is all for today. Hopefully, this information will help you compose properly formatted business letter in general and persuasive request letters in particular, and always get the desired response. Thank you for reading!

54 Responses to "Writing persuasive request letters: business letter format, tips and samples"

  1. Arslan Majeed says:

    very good

  2. Tanvir Siddique says:

    How write inquiry letters

  3. Ashok Antony says:

    Could you please help me with a sample email to follow up with clients requesting for new business opportunities? [For research type services]

  4. ginny weasley says:

    great

  5. Diana Rose says:

    That made a similar compact to what i was looking for... but not quiet

  6. Jyoti says:

    Could you please help me to write a letter..........?
    I have to write h letter, Imagine the new product from food industry, write a Persuading letter to customers to buy it.

  7. anand says:

    How write request letters for gate pass to be change from assy 2 to Eng 3

  8. Anonymous says:

    I would be most greatful if you could tell me more about your country culture.

    Thanks,

  9. pweddyjulia says:

    Would help me write a good convincing letter to a company telling them to give your company a chance to be their distributors of their medical products

  10. BB says:

    Sample letter on request for part payment for a business contract

  11. Karan says:

    great information, thanks a lot

  12. mudassar says:

    it is very helpful. thank you very musch

  13. Henry says:

    Hi, I wrote a letter requesting for office space two months now I have not received any reply. how do I write a follow up letter?

    Regards
    Henry

  14. linda says:

    Can you help me create a persuasive letter telling neighbors that a home for aids patients would be a good thing in their neighborhood?

  15. Kehinde says:

    Great job!Many thanks for this. Please i want sample letter on how to share my ideas with reliable organizations.Thanks again.

  16. catherine says:

    could you please help me write a request letter to companies to place adverts of their products in our newspaper

  17. lakshman says:

    Dear guys .
    Would u any body try to help me.,
    How do I write a letter about " production manager to CEO " about the issue as DEVOLVEMENT new product from our company...
    Anybody knows send sample letter..

  18. Fidel says:

    Please can anyone here help with a good memo persuading my manager to introduce faxfood line to our company.

  19. Henry Mokoena says:

    I neef to write a letter to potential funders or sponsors requesting financial aid for my school ( I'm a board member), how do I go about it. Please send me a draft or sampple letter of request

  20. Papi says:

    Hi'please assist I need to write a business letter to attract new customers in our company thank you in advance

  21. XM says:

    Dear Sir,

    I need a letter of request for a company. I worked for this company for 13 years. And the company didn't want to pay me the agreed and signed contract bonus of the year 2015. So I want to write very attractive letter of request to the CEO and the Owners of the company to release this agreed bonus money as soon as possible and I need also as the company terminates me automatically to give me advance payments of 2 months’ salary in searching a work.

    Yours XM

  22. Hemed Masumai says:

    sample leter Requesting for top management to assist me to push for a new clients to use bank services

  23. Hemed Masumai says:

    sample leter Requesting for top management to assist me to push for a new clients to use our custodial bank services. I have visited the clients with possitive response, they have indentified the impontance of using our custodial services but the problem is that they have been reluctant to start using us as their custodian despite the fact that bank requlation they have been forcing them to have acustodian

  24. zohaib bandyal says:

    thanx a lot 4 this information.

  25. Anil CHUMBER says:

    hello, anybody can me help to write this persuasive letter.
    PERSUASIVE LETTER

    EDENZ resorts is a small chain of boutique resorts based in the Northland region of NZ. It was founded by the current managing director Mr. Tim Tweeter. After many successful years of progressive growth, the company in recent years has found itself in financial difficulties. Mr. Tweeter has been negotiating prospective offers from several offshore buyers. He is particularly inclined towards a lucrative offer by Shanghai Tourism Holdings Ltd. (SHT), a Chinese hospitality company rapidly expanding base around the world.

    The terms proposed by SHT:

    If Mr. Tweeter accepts SHT’s offer, then EDENZ resorts will undergo the following changes:
    · The current board of EDENZ will be changed and a new board will be appointed
    · Mr. Tweeter will be a member of the new board, and will be a minority share holder. However, he will no longer be the CEO of EDENZ.
    · SHT will appoint a new CEO for EDENZ. Mr. Wong, from Hong Kong, who has successfully lead SHT’s Macau operations is the most likely appointment.
    · Other than the board and the CEO, rest of the senior management team will initially remain the same
    Problem:

    Mr. Regan. General Manager of EDENZ Resorts, is concerned that the new board and CEO appointed by SHT may not be aware of the company’s unique Kiwi culture. The success of EDENZ resorts has been largely due to its unique Kiwi spirit. Mr Regan fears that the new leadership may jeopardize the unique selling point of EDENZ resorts. He also fears operational problems, since the staff at EDENZ is primarily Kiwi and a Chinese leadership may create clashes in working culture.

    Mr. Regan decides to write a persuasive letter to Mr. Tweeter, 85 Airedale Street, Auckland CBD, 1010, presenting his concerns. He wants Mr. Tweeter to insist with SHT that the new CEO appointed should either be of the same Kiwi culture or of a similar culture.

  26. Ayush Samaiya says:

    Can you plzz plzz help me on how to write a convincing letter for my boss so that i can make him understand my problem of not coming to office.. plzz suggest me some tricks... Please do reply.. Plzz..Its important... Thank you..

  27. Ayush Samaiya says:

    Tips are really helpful but can i use these tips for professional purposes..??

  28. glory says:

    I want to request for a refrigerator in a company, i buy their products and I sell their products. So I wanted them to help me with a fridge so I can use to sell their products.

  29. glory says:

    Okay

  30. souad says:

    Salam Please I want to know about the 7 techniques of business persuasive letter and how to apply

  31. souad says:

    Plz I need help in a brief time bcz I have exam tomorrow

  32. mohamed says:

    I need a request letter to be sent by my side to the supplier to get best price and future trading

  33. Brett Snodgrass says:

    Thank you very much for sharing your tips on writing prose.

  34. Michelle mandi says:

    Hi pls help me how to write to inform my boss to pay may contribution in my pag-Ibig.. Or to lump sum may contribution because I have a. Plan to loan a house a lot..

    Thanks in advance

  35. david says:

    Pls can someone help me write a memo on how to request for an office

  36. Hameed says:

    Dear madam,assuming I need a job at a bank but will prefer a branch office of I am applying to head office where do I place the branch's address?

  37. Rebecca grace says:

    pls can someone help me write a letter.
    you spoke to your supplier on the phone about changing the terms of delivery. write an email to her confrming that would you like 20 days insted of 30 days.

  38. Rohit kumar says:

    Could you please help me write a cover letter request to nzta for endorsement I2 and I4 on my drivers licence. Send me a sample of this.how to write and what to write. Thanks.

  39. sera tuitubou says:

    please help me in writing the letter to supplier for requesting the flavours for trial even though the samples that was sent before had no longer with us. we need the supplier to send us the same samples.
    I need the sample urgently
    appreciate your assistance

  40. Jessy Liu says:

    Could you pls. write me an email sample of requesting to start a new business with clients?Thanks

  41. stellawealth19 @yahoo.com says:

    Can u pls help me wid examples of letters requesting for fridge in an ice cream company

  42. Goutam says:

    Hai, could u plz send me a format of a formal letter, seeking help from an esteemed organization for poor students sake

  43. margz says:

    Letter of request to DENR-EMB stating desire to receive ECC;

  44. Janie says:

    Could you give me a tip or trick on how to write an email asking department heads if they would like an intern for their department.

    Thank you.

  45. tariq says:

    Dear madam,assuming I need a job at a bank but will prefer a branch office of I am applying to head office where do I place the branch's address

    Pls can someone help me write a memo on how to request for an office

  46. Rowell D Sy says:

    Pls help me to write a best letter in email, to offer our list of item to potential cuatemer.

  47. Kong Kek Hua says:

    Please assist to draft a letter;
    The letter is writing by a banker manager mentioned that he is very support to a foreign company to develop an agriculture project in his country area. In the letter also mention that the foreign company has sufficient machineries put into the project as well as the company's financial status is very strong and enough to sustain the projet successfully. Thanks

  48. hani says:

    Please assist to draft a letter;
    To client regarding the fees 5% being hold by them as their new regulation although it is not stated in the LOA.

    Thank you

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