9 Mistakes of Novices When Write Development Letters (Ⅱ) Leave a comment

Previously, we have talked about three errors when writing development letters. The following are the remained six errors.

Error 4: Using weird font and color

For eye-catching, many people prefer exaggerated fonts and colors, or even enlarge, bold, and italic in development letters. In fact, it will give people an uncomfortable feeling at first glance. People who often write emails to foreigners know that customers rarely write emails in strange fonts, bold or all uppercase, except for a small number of Nigerians, Indians, and some African customers. The commonly used fonts in Europe and the United States are Arial, Verdana, Calibri, Times New Roman, with a little Tahoma. Some Hong Kong, Taiwan or Singapore customers prefer PMingLiU fonts. As for the color, it is generally black or dark blue, with a small number of customers using brown. What we should pay attention to is not to use strange colors, which looks uncomfortable.

Generally, the words that are thickened, capitalized or marked with other colors are definitely something to be emphasized. For example, a customer’s mail is as follows:

Dear C,

Please help to send the samples to my HK office BEFORE THIS WEEKEND.



The purpose of BEFORE THIS WEEKEND in capitalization is to remind and emphasize that it must be sent out before the weekend! You will not neglect the”before this weekend” because this email is very simple. But if it is a long e-mail that you need to confirm the various specifications in detail, you would easily neglect the “before the weekend ” if there is no capitalization.

Error 5: Too much active voices


If you carefully study the way foreigners write, you will find that there are few personal pronouns like We and I in their articles. On the contrary, the passive voice will be more. For example, Chinese people like to say: “We’ll send you the samples tomorrow.” But foreigners usually say:  “Samples will be sent to you tomorrow.”

Actually, there are many arguments about active and passive voices between many experts. Some people say that the active voice makes people feel natural while others insist that the passive voice is more like a business person. In my opinion, whether good or bad, as long as the sentence pattern is changeable and gives a feeling of comfort, it is useful. However, the active voice comes with some subjective colors while the passive voice gives people a relatively objective sense.

Therefore, it is best to choose the appropriate sentence pattern in line with the context.

Error 6: Often asking something meaningless in development letters


The sentence “Do you want our products?” is ranked in the first place in the stupid question list. If the customer says No, how do you reply? Then, it’s over. Or are you still saying: Why not? It is so stupid.

You are going to do sales, and you want to attract the interest of customers. But those sentences are disappointing. It means that customers are forced to an impasse that they must say “yes” or “no” which will end the negotiation quickly.

There are also some meaningless questions, such as “Do you interested in our products?”,” How is your business recently?”,” Would you like to cooperate with us?” These questions are unnecessary before you have established a business relationship with the customer.

The development letter should be straightforward to tell the customer who you are, what you do, and where your strengths are. As long as these three points are clearly stated, it is enough. Other things can be discussed later.

Error 7: Preferring attachment and pictures

I am not saying that the attachments and pictures are not good. But, if you insert attachments or images in the first development letter, it is easy to be intercepted by foreign servers. Many of you like to package the quotation, product pictures, or electronic samples to the customer when you contact the customer for the first time. However, the success rate of doing so is low, because the letter will be defaulted to spam or deleted directly by the customer. There is only one exception: when you receive a new customer’s inquiry, you can insert a quotation or picture when you reply.

When contacting customers for the first time, it is best to use the full text without any pictures and attachments. If you send the first quotation after the customer’s inquiry, but the customer does not specify it, you should try to avoid using Excel or Word attachments. It is better to write in the email directly like this:

Item. Solar lantern with soft handle

Model No: HBC -294847/ KT

Description:…(detailed specification )

Package: color box

MOQ: 1 000pcs

Pcs/ctn. 20pcs/ctn

Ctn size:50cm×40cm×60cm

GW/NW: 20kg/18kg

Q’ty20:…pcs; Q’ty/40:…pcs

Loading port: Shenzhen

Payment terms: T/T, L/C, D/P, etc.

Valid time: 60 days

FOB Shenzhen: USD2. 39/pc

CIF Valencia: USD2. 45/pc

I write the above content to explain one point: you should use less quotation and try to describe it in words, and then add a clear picture below 500K in the attachment.

The advantages of this are to avoid those lazy customers not to open the attached Word or Excel quotation, and to prevent customers from arbitrarily repeating the quotation to someone else. If customers request to report a lot of products that can’t be written in details in the mail so that you must use Word or Excel to make the quotation at this time, it is better to use Adobe Acrobat to generate PDF format when finished, which is not easy to be tampered with. Many foreigners are lazy. You work hard for a long time to make a complete quotation to them, but they may relay it to other suppliers directly after he deletes the price column.

Error 8: Inserting various links in development letters


When writing a development letter, many of you always add the company’s website address to the content or a link below the signature. This also has a high probability of being intercepted by the server. You can only insert them when you write the second email after the customer reply.

Also, not only the URL issue but also many pictures linking to certain websites are likely to be blocked. After studying the information of the customer with enthusiasm, you write the development letter carefully, but he does not see it. Isn’t that a pity?

Error 9: Writing in a stiff tone

Reading the cold words in front of the computer is completely different from a face-to-face conversation or telephone communication. Look at one sentence: please give me a reply today. If you are talking face to face, the customer will not feel anything wrong and will be happy to say OK or No problem. It’s also OK to say it on the phone. However, if you put it in the mail, it is a little bit stiff. You can say the sentence like ” Could you please help to give me a reply today?”. Here uses the question sentence with the words “can”, help to show a polite and gentle manner, but it clearly expresses your willingness that you want to get a reply today. Isn’t it better?

Words like please, help, kindly, could, thank you, appreciate are very common in emails. Unless you are very familiar with the customer, don’t forget to use it.

Those are the ten mistakes that the novices are most likely to make. Of course, some experienced salesmen also have one or two of them as before. You can check and find out the mistakes that you often make or don’t realize. If you find that you do not have any one of them, then congratulations, you are already an expert in this area.

Frankly, I also wrote such kind of emails in the past. Then I began to consciously imitate Americans’ way of writing and wording after getting some suggestions from an enthusiastic American customer. Even though there are still some shortcomings, it is much better than the previous. Here I will show you one of my previous development letters:

Dear Katherine

This is C from DEF Co. Ltd. in Shenzhen. Very glad to write to you here! It’s my pleasure to be on service of you if possible!

Firstly, let me introduce my company in short. We’ve…(a long introduction of the company)

 Our products are very popular in both the global market and domestic market. Welcome to visit our company if you have time We’ll arrange the car to pick you up from the airport. It’s convenient for our company, Just 50 kilometers!

Our goal is…(the company’s tenets such as quality first, excellent service, etc.)

Enclosed our price quotation sheet for your reference. Please check and find if some items meet your interest. If so. I’ll be happy to send you samples for evaluation! We sincerely hope to establish business relationship with your esteemed company! And I also hope to be your friend in private!

If any questions, please contact me freely! Thank you!

 Looking forward to your early reply!

Yours sincerely,


 DEF CO. Ltd

*** Road,*** city,*** province, China

Tel. ***



Website: ***

It’s a shock, isn’t it? I want to laugh at myself too. This is the thing that comes out of the courses of writing development letters in the school, which is terrible in practical application. You are even taught to write the company’s name and address, together with the date, in the upper left corner of the email. But there are few foreigners writing in this way now, which was only used in the paper letter before.

Next, I will show you a development letter written by a foreigner:

Hey guy,

XYZ trading here, exporting LANTERNS with good quality and low price in Us.

Call me, let’s talk details



Cell phone:***

This is a development letter written by a salesman of a Brazilian trading company to a strange American company. They also do trading like us, why their writing is different from us? Some people will say that foreigners are lazy. Yes, many foreigners are lazy. But you know that they are lazy, why do you still have to write long stories? Do you think those lazy people will spend time on reading your development letter carefully?

Lazy is one hand. But on the other hand, they often speak briefly and catch the point without nonsense. In European and American culture, time is precious that you can’t waste your time, or delay others’ time. It is very impolite to occupying others’ time. So they often say words like thank you, excuse me, sorry to trouble you, etc.



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