The Business Letter In Detail. Part 3
DOROTHY HUDSON BLACK.
DOROTHY HUDSON BLACK. (MRS. CHARLES S. BLACK)
An unmarried woman writes (Miss) in parentheses when addressing a stranger, to distinguish her from a widow. Writing the title of Mrs. is not permissible on a woman's checks, letters, or notes, or in fact at all, except when registering at a hotel, or of necessity on a card, should she happen to be without one of her own, or when writing to a servant.
A divorced woman is addressed as Mrs not Miss, even when she has resumed her maiden name. Should she retain her husband's name, she adds her own surname with her Christian name, thus:
ELEANOR STEWART SMITH. (MRS. ELEANOR STEWART SMITH.)
It is extremely had form to omit the word yours in either social or business letter endings. Yours very truly is the approved business form.
§ 117. 1. It is the business of a sales-letter to secure interest, describe the goods, expound the advantages, and persuade to some immediate action. Theoretically this should be done in the fewest possible words. Practically it is often necessary to go to some length. When the letter is to be long, it is a good idea to put the topic of each paragraph in the margin. Note the marginal topics in the Sceniscope letter, p. 139.
2. Brevity, as was pointed out in Chapter XIV (Fullness And Brevity), is a relative matter. A brief letter can be packed full of facts. And if the paragraphing is good, the letter will speak volumes. But the essential facts must be got in, brevity or no brevity. A seller is not - like the buyer - in possession of the whip-hand. I used to know an old purchasing agent who would begin the morning by dictating letters of very respectable length, with a certain amount of suave phraseology and leisurely discussion. But as the morning wore on, his letters became shorter and shorter, and by lunch time he was dictating with the brevity and curtness of a Tsar. He was no model for a sales-correspondent.
3. Replies to requests for information are often too brief. It is so easy to mail a catalogue and tell the seeker after knowledge that if he seeks he will find. The least an answer should do is to point out certain pages; a clip inserted in the catalogue at the right spot would help. The excellent volume called "How to Write Letters that Win" prints the following as too brief a reply:
Agreeable to your recent request for a catalogue of our school and inforoation regarding our business courses, we wish to state that wider sep-srate cover we are wailing you a copy of our latest catalogue, in which you will find a complete description of what we have to offer. We trust that after reading this, you will decide to enroll with us.
We shall be pleased to giro your further inquiries oar best attention and trusting to hear from you again, we are
Very truly yours.
The book referred to offers the following as an improvement:
You will receive under separate cover the catalogue you asked for explaining our courses in shorthand. Read this very carefully, for it will enable you to realise the value of a training in stenography and the unions advantages which our system of instruction affords.
Your interest in the possibilities of a shorthand training is most commendable. There la a constantly growing demand for good stenographers. Every day wo are asked to recommend men and women for attractive positions. And so successful have been the graduates of our school wherever we have recommended then that we are now able to place practically every student who finishes our work in a well-paying position.
I wish I could moot yon personally so that I could show yon better the practical advantages of our course. We do not merely teach - we train, yon so that yon continue to develop after your work with us has been completed - so that you get 100% return on your talents.
I am particularly anxious to get a student started in your locality. And to enable you to be that one I am going to make you an exceptional offer - a discount of 25% from the regular tuition if you act qaickly. I can well afford to do this, because I know that whom yon hare taken up our course you will bo so enthusiastic about it that you will rec-onroend it to your neighbors and your friends. Considering the unusual nature of this offer, we are compelled to limit it to one week from the data of this letter, and therefore it will be necessary for yon to accept at once.
And remember the 25% discount on our $90 course means an actual saving to you of $7.50 - - the complete course for only $22.50. Do order that no possible obstacle shall stand in the way of your accepting this, I am not even going to require that you send a stipulated amount with your application blank. Simply sign it, enclose whatever you can conveniently spare, $2, $3, or $5 - whatever suits your puree - and. mail today.
Very truly yours,
This is obviously better. It is very personal and detailed, and gives arguments and inducements. It strikes me however as a trifle wordy and patronizing. Possibly the following version would be a further improvement. At all events it is a hundred and thirty-five words shorter.
My dear Sir:
I hare pleasure in sending you in this mail a catalogue which explains our courses in shorthand, all of it will. I hope, interest you and especially pages 8-11.
You are evidently aware that there is a growing demand for good stenographers. Every day we are asked to recommend sea to positions worth as high as thirty dollars a week. We are la fact now able to flats la a paying position practically every student who finishes our course.
If you take our course you will be not rarely taught bat trained. You will continue to develop after leaving us, and will get a hundred per cent return on your investment of your ability.