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Replies to Enquiries: Offers
(from: F.W. King, D.Ann Cree. English Business Letters. - Longman, 2003. - P. 37-65.)

    A reply to an enquiry from a regular customer is normally fairly brief, and does not need to be more than polite and direct. Provided the supplier is in a position to meet his correspondent's requirements, his reply will generally:
(a) Thank the writer of the letter of enquiry for the letter in question.
(b) Supply all the information requested, and refer both to enclosures and to samples, catalogues and other items being sent by separate post.
(c) Provide additional information, not specifically requested by the customer, so long as it is relevant.
(d) Conclude with one of two lines encouraging the customer to place orders and assuring him of good service.

    Replies to enquiries may begin in a number of ways. Here are some suggestions:
Opening lines:
1. Many thanks for your enquiry of 3 April...
2. We are pleased to have your enquiry about...
3. We thank you for your letter of 6 January, in which you enquire about...
4. In reply to your telex of today...
5. Replying to your enquiry of 2 June …
6. ... we are pleased to inform you that...
7. ... we have pleasure in confirming that we can...
8. ... we can offer you immediately...
9. We thank you for your enquiry, and are pleased to inform you that our Brazilian agents hold stocks of all our products.
10. In reply to your enquiry of 8 August we are enclosing...
11. ...the brochures you requested.
12.  ... full particulars of our export models.
13.  ... our revised price-list.
14. We thank you for your letter of 4 July and have sent you today, by separate post, ...
15. ... samples of all our wax polishes
16. ...patterns of our new silk fabrics.
17. ... specimens of our latest ball-point pens.
18.  ...a full range of samples.

As an illustration, here is an answer to letter no. 1, page 12:

Western Shoe Company Ltd.

 SG/EO                                                                                                                   15 October 2008
 Fournier et Cie SA
 Avenue Ravigny 14
 Paris XV

  Dear Sirs

  We thank you for your enquiry of 12 October, and appreciate your interest in our
  Details of our export prices and terms of payment are enclosed, and we have arranged
  for a copy of our catalogue to be sent to you today.

  Our representative for Europe, Mr J. Needham, will be in Paris from the 24th to the 30th
  of this month, and we have asked him to make an appointment to visit you during this
  period. He will have with him a full range of samples of our hand-made lines, and is
  authorised to discuss the terms of an order with you or to negotiate a contract.

  We think our articles will be just what you want for the fashionable trade, and look
  forward to the opportunity of doing business with you.

  Yours faithfully


  S. Granville
  Export Sales Manager

    As further examples of letters of a ‘routine’ character, here are suggested replies to letters 2 and 3, Chapter 3:
[1] Reply to letter no.2, page 13

Aluminium Alloy Co. Ltd. Birmingham
79 Price Albert St. Birmingham B21 8DJ Great Britain

  The Jameson Construction Co. Pty.                                                                                  2 July 2008
  Harbour Road
  Melbourne 6

  Dear Sirs

  We thank you for your letter of 25 June, and are glad to inform you that all the items  
  listed in your enquiry are in stock. We are enclosing a pro-forma invoice for the 
  aluminium fittings you are interested in: if you wish to place a firm order, will you please
  arrange for settlement of the invoice by draft through your bank, and advise us at the
  same time.

  We can guarantee delivery in Melbourne within 3 weeks of receiving your instructions. If
  you require the items urgently, we will arrange for them to be sent by air, but this will, of
  course, entail higher freight charges.

  We are enclosing details of our terms of payment, and would be happy to discuss
  discounts with you if you would kindly let us know how large your orders are likely to be.

  We are also enclosing a copy of the report, which appeared in the March issue of The
  Metal Worker, on our ALUMOY fittings.

  We are looking forward to hearing from you, and assure you that your orders will receive
  our immediate attention.

  Yours faithfully


Here is a selection of phrases for use in making offers and quotations:

Opening lines
19. We have pleasure in …
20. …quoting as follows for …
21. … submitting the following quotation …
22. ...offering you the following goods...
23... enclosing our estimate for the supply of...
24... sending you our latest catalogue...         
25. You will be interested (in) (to hear that)...
26. You will find enclosed with this letter a sample of...
27. We are pleased to inform you …
28. As a result of the favourable supply situation we are able to offer you firm, for immediate delivery...

Prices and terms
29. Our prices are quoted …
30. … f.o.b. Liverpool/f.a.s. Liverpool
31. … c.i.f. Hamburg/c.i.f. London
32. Our prices include parking and carriage.
33. Freight and packing cases are included in the price.
34. The price quoted includes packing in special export cases.
35. Price includes delivery to nearest railhead.
36. All prices are ex-works …
37. Our (quotations) (prices) are subject to 2% discount for cash.
38. Prices are subject to variation without notice, in accordance with market fluctuations.
39. The prices quoted are net.
40. Our catalogue prices are less 25% to bona-fide dealers.
41. For quantities of 1 gross and over, we can offer a discount of 12% on list prices.
42. We can quote you (£ 2.50 per litre) (£ 1.15 per dozen) (£ 1.65 per metre) (£ 1.75 per sq. metre) (£3.50 per 5 litre drum).
43. Prices for the quality you mention range from 75p to £5.
44. Prices have (risen) (fallen) (remained steady).
45. Raw materials prices have risen.
46. Owing to the slump in commodity prices we can offer you these goods …
47. … at below market price.
48. … at less than cost.
49 … at the very special price of …
50. … on very favourable terms.
51. … at cost price.
52. Our terms are (net cash) (sport cash) (cash within 7 days) (cash on delivery) (cash with order).
53. Out terms are payment on invoice.
54. Our terms are (monthly) (quarterly) settlement.
55. Our terms are 33 1/3 % discount to approved accounts, with 2 ½% for settlement within 15 days of date of invoice.
56. Our terms and conditions of sale as printed on our invoices must be  strictly observed.
57. Our terms of payment are settlement by last day of month of receipt of our statement.
58. Payment by (banker’s draft) (irrevocable letter of credit) (bill of exchange) is requested.
59. Payment for an initial order would be required on pro-forma invoice.
60. We should require payment by banker’s draft on acceptance of your order.

Conditions and qualifications
61. This offer is (firm for 3 days) (subject to contract).
62. We offer these goods subject to their being unsold on receipt of your order.
63. This offer must be withdrawn if not accepted within 7 days.
64. This is a special offer and is not subject to our usual discounts.
65. Please let us have your order by 31 January, as this price concession will not apply after that date.
66. Goods ordered from our old catalogue can be supplied only until stocks are exhausted.
67. This is a special offer and cannot be repeated.
68. Please note that goods supplied on approval must be returned, carriage paid, within 7 days if not required.

Supply and demand
69. In view of the heavy demand for this line, we advise you to order at once.
70. The exceptional demand this season has nearly cleared our stocks of …
71. This article is in great demand.
72. Owing to the increased demand for this type of car, our stocks have run very low.   
73. There is no demand here for such goods.    
74. Tropical fruit is in good supply just now.
75. We shall be unable to obtain further supplies.
76. We should be pleased to supply you on a consignment basis.
77. As we have a good supply of these machines we can effect shipment within 5 days.
78. The model you ask for is out of production, but we can supply … instead.
79. We can offer you a wide (range) (choice) (selection) of sizes at types from stock.
80. These goods are available immediately from stock.
81. We advise you to stock up while supplies are available.
82. We cannot promise delivery before 1st January unless your order reaches us within 7 days.
83. These shirts can now be had in assorted colours and sizes.
84. Our comprehensive stocks enable us to execute all orders promptly and to our customers' specifications.    
85. Supplies of this commodity on world markets greatly exceed the demand.  

Asking for instructions
86. Will you kindly let us have an early decision.
87. Please send us your instructions by (cable) (telex).
88. Please (wire) (cable) (telephone) your order.
89. Kindly confirm your order at the price quoted.
90. We await your instructions by return..
91. If you accept our quotation, please advise us by telex.
92. Your reply by return would be appreciated.
93. Please let us know your wishes by (Friday next) (Friday without fail).
94. Please quote Catalogue no. and colour required when you order.
95. If you let us have your instructions by midday Thursday at the late we could ship your order by S.S. Orion, which sails on 23 August.
96. Kindly use the enclosed order form when you make out your order as this will facilitate prompt and accurate execution.
97. If our proposal is acceptable to you, please confirm by return.

Concluding sentences
98. Our whole experience is at your service. We hope you will make use of it.
99. We think we have covered every point of your enquiry. If not, please do not hesitate to write to us again. It will be a pleasure to give you an immediate reply.    
100. We should appreciate the opportunity of showing you how efficiently we can serve you.
101. Words alone will not prove what we claim for our products: only a trial can do that, and a trial will convince you.
102. The enclosed catalogue will give you all the essential facts about our lines, but it cannot answer all your personal questions. It will
be a pleasure for us to do that if you will write to us.
103. You may rely on us to give your requirements immediate attention.
104. We are sure that these goods will meet your requirements, and we look forward to your first order.
105. We will hold a quantity in reserve for you, as we feel sure you would not wish to miss such ah opportunity.
106. We look forward to the pleasure of serving you.
107. An early reply would help us to help you.
108. If you think our offer meets your requirements, please let us have your order at an early date, as supplies are limited.
109. As we execute all orders in strict rotation, we strongly advise you to order early.
110. Our services are at your disposal.

Some vocabulary of Chapter 4    
adaptability: ability to be used for more than one purpose; (adj.) adaptable; (v.) adapt (пригодность, возможность приспособления)
balance (n.): remainder (зд. остаток)
bargain (n.): something obtained at a price below its value (сделка, выгодная покупка); (v.) bargain = negotiate a price (договариваться о цене)
become effective: begin to operate (вступать в силу, действие)
bulk purchase: buying in large quantities (массовая закупка)
call on: to visit (нанести визит, посетить)
consignment: goods packed together and sent from seller to buyer (груз, партия товара)
condensation: drops of liquid forming, due to heat, etc. (конденсация)
contract supplies: large quantities ordered under contract (поставки по контравки/ договору)
demand (n.): number of orders (спрос на продукцию; объем заказов)
discount: reduction in price allowed by the seller (скидка с цены товара)
draft: an order for payment, drawn up by a bank (переводный вексель, тратта)
entail: to cause, involve (повлечь за собой)
evidently: clearly, obviously (очевидно, совершенно ясно)
excessive: too much (чрезмерный)
expendable: short lived, not durable (быстро засходуемые, невосстанавливыемые в природной среде материалы)
the fashionable trade: business in high quality clothes (торговля модной дорогой одеждой)
firm for five days: open for five days (действует в течение 5 дней)
firm order: definite order (твердый заказ)
grant (v.): to allow (представлять)
if stocks are cleaned: if all goods are sold (если товар будет распродан)
if you could see your way to increasing: if you agree to increase (если Вы сможете поднять заказ до)
in stock: available, ready for delivery (в наличии; на складе)
in strict rotation: in the very same order in which they arrive (cтрого в порядке поступления заказов)
keep pace with: produce fast enough to meet (не отставать от; идти в ногу с)
knowhow: specialised knowledge, expertise (нoyxay)
liberal: generous (зд. щедрый)
lines: products or groups of products (товарные группы)
negotiate: discuss (terms, conditions) (обсуждать условия покупки, продажи)
ousted: taken the place of (вытесненный)
overstocking: ordering more than can be sold (затоваривание)
premises: buildings or offices where a business is carried on (помещение)
pro-forma invoice: invoice enabling a customer to see how much a consignment will cost (cчет-проформа, предварительный счет)
promote a product: make the public aware of a product (продвигать товар на рынок)
prospective: potential (возможный, потенциальный)
replenish: replace what has been consumed (пополнять запасы)
range: selection of different products (номенклатура продукции)
replenish: replace what has been consumed (пополнять запасы)
robust: strong (крепкий, прочный)
sales literature: advertising material (рекламные материалы)
settlement: payment (расчет, платеж, оплата)
sustain: to keep up, maintain (поддерживать)
trade terms: prices paid by the dealer (условия продажи)
transparencies: pictures projected onto a screen (диапозитнивы)
ultra-lightweight: very light indeed (сверхлегкий)
vintages: wines from grapes of  particular years (виноградное вино урожая определенного года)
well up to: at least as good as (на уровне, не хуже)
without any obligation: free from any need to buy (без каких-либо обязательств)
withstand: resist (выдерживать, противостоять)
working to capacity: fully occupied (занятый на полную мощность)


1. Fill in the missing words:
Thank you ___ your ___ ___ 16 November, ___ which you enquire ___ toys imported ___ Hong Kong. We are ___ to hear that there is a ___ for goods ___ this type ___ Northern Ireland.
We are ___ out price list and terms of ___, and  our catalogue has already been ___ ___ separate post.
As you will notice, our prices are extremely ___, and since we hold large ___ of all models ___ all times, we can promise delivery ___ a week ___ receipt ____    orders.
We hope to ___ from you soon, and ___ forward ____ ____ business ___ you.

2. An enquiry has come to your company, a firm of watchmakers, from, a British retailer. Write a reply to send with your price-list. Quote
your terms, and add any information you consider might induce your correspondent to place orders with you.

3. Answer a foreign letter of enquiry which your firm has received following an exhibition of your sewing machines at a trade fair in Brussels.

4. Write a reply to letter no. 5, Chapter 3, page 31.

5. Compose a letter for your firm, who are producers of tinned food products, to an importer overseas. Offer your standard lines and
one new product.

6. Your company is a textile importer. Write a circular letter offering your wholesale customers your old season's stock at reduced prices,
and explaining why you are able to do so.

7. Write an answer to the enquiry in sentence no. 14, Chapter 3, page 25.

Suggested answers to the question on letter 5 on page 43
It is friendly and direct in style.
It is confident and positive.
It presents the ease from the buyer's T>oint of view: there is more 'you' than ‘we’ in it.
It stimulates interest by quoting successful sales elsewhere, and gives a reason for placing an immediate order.
And finally, it reads like a personal message - not a mass-produced, routine reply.


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