You’ve been asked to write an enquiry* in English to a company outwith Germany and are wondering how to word this email. Perhaps it’s a potential supplier, and you’d like to know more about their product or their delivery times. Or maybe you are interested in an position in the company. Maybe you want to pitch an idea or product to them.
Your SUBJECT line should give the reader an idea of what you want. Keep it short, and make it clear what you are enquiring about. If you are looking to hire them or purchase their products, then stating that in the subject means the mail is more likely to be opened than one that is more vague. Don’t say ‘URGENT’ unless your request really is urgent.
Before the advent of emails, the standard GREETING of an enquiry was ‘Dear Sir/Madam’. This feels hopelessly outdated nowadays and rather impersonal. Don’t use this. It’s not always possible to find the name of the person responsible for your region or industry, but do check out the company website to find out. You can find more information on acceptable greeting forms here.
INTRODUCE yourself, so the person knows who they will be dealing with. It’s a good idea to include your title, department and company where you work. It can be helpful to give a bit of detail about your company, for example, the size or geographic location, if that could influence the enquiry. If you were referred to them from another company, then mention that too.
State the REASON for your enquiry and give some information about your requirements. Keep your email short and include only the information necessary for the company to answer your enquiry.
Include the following information:
WHY you are getting in touch – why are you contacting them?
WHAT do you need? Be specific. If you have more than one point, use a list or bullet points.
HOW do you want to move forward? Do you want a meeting or a phone call? Do you want a trial of their software? Contact from their sales team?
End with a polite closing, and include your signature with contact details and company name.
*Should you use ENQUIRY or INQUIRY?
By the way – did you notice I used the spelling variant ‘enquiry’? This is the more common British English spelling, whereas the Americans use ‘inquiry’. In British English, an inquiry is an formal or investigation. Nowadays though, you’ll sometimes see ‘inquiry’ being used in British English too, so you can choose which one you prefer. If you are writing to an American company, then it’s better to use ‘inquiry’.
Mustervorlage Anfrage Englisch #1
Here’s an example of an enquiry regarding a product or service. It’s not a bad idea to suggest a time for a meeting, as long as you give enough advance notice. It saves an extra couple of emails going back and forth. You can also suggest a day or a time of day, without a specific date. If you are looking to replace current software or service, it can be helpful to name them, as it gives the other company an idea of where you currently stand.
SUBJECT: Enquiry – CRM Software for an Online Retail Business
Dear Ms Smith,
I am writing to enquire about your CRM software. My name is Hedwig Owl and I’m Sales Manager at Owls and Newts GmbH. We are a leading online retailer of owls and newts in Germany, with both national and international customers.
To improve our customer service, we would like to introduce a CRM software in our company. We have a customer base of around 5000 loyal customers. We currently use [software] but it doesn’t offer the additional features that we require. For instance, we would like to integrate automated email campaigns and social media tracking into our CRM system.
I’d like to set up a quick call with one of your sales team and our technical director, to help us quickly assess if your product is the right fit for our requirements. Could you get in touch with us to set this up? We would be available for a call at the following times:
Monday 5th April at 10 am
Wednesday 7th April at 2 pm
If neither of these dates is suitable, I’d appreciate if you could suggest an alternative. Many thanks.
Mustervorlage Anfrage Englisch #2
In this situation, you’ve already had a look at the product but aren’t sure if it’s right for you. You request further technical information, rather than a callback.
SUBJECT : Request for Information / Water filter
My business associate, Henry Weller from Blanket Technologies, suggested I get in touch with you regarding your water filters. My name is Jonathan Mitchell and I’m the owner of Tea and Cakes, a chain of tea shops throughout Germany.
We are currently using bottled filtered water but would like to replace this with water filtering solutions – initially in our store in Dortmund, but eventually for the remaining 4 stores. We use around 2,000 l water a month in each store.
I’ve looked at your website but am not quite sure which of your filter solutions would be most suitable for our needs. Could you possibly send me some more information on the technical requirements and specifications of the various models.
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