Here’s What NOT to Say on Voice Mail When Using LinkedIn

in LinkedIn

My co-author and presenter of the LinkedIn for Sales Success training program, Crystal Thies, “The LinkedIn Ninja,” received this voicemail from one of her connections on LinkedIn.

Because of Crystal’s position as one of the world’s foremost LinkedIn experts she gets thousands of connection requests and of course can’t accept but a fraction of them. She’s not an “open networker,” but still has many connections that she does not know personally. This caller was one of them. This is an example of what you DO NOT want to say on a voice mail to a connection.

Play voice message


What are your thoughts on that? Please share them below in the Comments, and tomorrow I’ll give you my recommendation for a better message and process using LinkedIn, and some Smart Calling intelligence.

(If you want to take your use of LinkedIn, and your prospecting for new business to the next level, click here.)

{ 22 comments… read them below or add one }

Veronica February 3, 2015 at 12:55 pm

This guy seems very pushy in a demanding type of way. Sounds like a mother talking to her kid. I would not call him back.


Jesse April 20, 2015 at 9:26 am

I think you nailed it Veronica (funny). His tone of voice is tone is authoritative in a parental way.


Audrey February 3, 2015 at 12:58 pm

While the caller was trying to be professional, in the end this was basically a cold call with no trust or credibility developed. We don’t know who he is or why he is really calling, and there is no interest piqued that might inspire one to actually connect. If he had mentioned value she had added to him and then asked to reconnect to learn more about that topic from her, or had found a way to offer her some value, then that could have gone better. Also, if he knows someone she actually knows, he could have mentioned that connection to increase trust.


Ron Bork February 3, 2015 at 1:01 pm

Funny but sad. Would anyone really take time from their day to reach out to someone based solely on being connected on Linkedin? Doubtful. His only purpose was to move the Linkedin connection “forward”? What does that even mean? Poor guy. I wonder how many calls he makes like that.


Steve February 3, 2015 at 1:17 pm

Worthless call. Why would I want to call him back when he didn’t offer any reason to. It was insulting for him to say their connection was “Stagnant.” I’m a strong proponent of only accepting invitations from people I at least have some connection to. He sounds like someone who didn’t know her and thought that he could worm his way in by connecting with her on LinkedIn. I would have never accepted his invitation in the first place, but I know that LinkedIn sometime connects you with people you didn’t accept. I would remove him as a connection immediately.


Rich Fercy February 3, 2015 at 1:59 pm

Obviously he has never taken the time to look at her profile or find out more about her. No reason to contact him, nothing in it for her or how he can help her. Then telling the LinkedIn Ninja she has a ‘stagnant’ connection, indicates he will never get a return call. People like this give any prospect a reason to put up barriers that also inculde true sales professionals. An idiot.


Geoff Wiebe February 3, 2015 at 2:09 pm


Why in the hell would Crystal call this guy back? Where’s the VALUE for her??

Pathetic cold call, whoever you are. Epic Failure. My advice to you: if this is your typical VM style, you should probably NOT leave VMs. EVER. Calls like this will not get you anywhere with anyone.

Thanks for sharing Art and Crystal. Listening to calls like this always brightens my day!



Tim Graves February 3, 2015 at 2:11 pm

I want my 30 seconds back.


Robert Lehrer February 3, 2015 at 2:35 pm

Ugh! The caller should’ve put himself in Crystal’s shoes before calling her. Unless he has something SPECIFIC to offer her that could be of interest to her as well as him, call shouldn’t have been made.


Crystal Thies February 3, 2015 at 3:12 pm

Thanks for the great feedback everyone! By the way, I have not called the gentleman back. I don’t feel so bad now after reading what you have to say about it. To me, whenever anyone starts out with I’m not trying to sell you something and don’t give a specific purpose to the call, then they are trying to sell something. Oh, and I was offended by the use of the word “stagnant.” I get a lot of people who just want to follow my content now, so I do connect with more people than I would in a serious sales position because there are those people who attend our webinar that don’t buy today, but may buy down the line. So, I haven’t disconnected from him at this point, but I need more real reason to give him a call back.


Ron Haynes February 4, 2015 at 2:45 pm

Yes, “stagnant” stood out to me too. It was insulting and the way his tone changed when he said it would’ve made me hit DELETE right away.


Kent V February 3, 2015 at 4:02 pm

Besides the “stagnant” comment which definitely implied that you are to blame for no relationship existing that would serve him (I doubt you felt the lack), he wastes precious seconds repeating the same empty words that provide no underpinning for what the conversation would entail, what you have in common, or anything else of value to share. Even a request for an informed opinion that could be more easily be explored orally that by text would have been better than this.


Ray Bigger February 3, 2015 at 6:13 pm

Sadly that is typical of most ‘cold sales telephone calls’ today. Running the numbers game i.e. if I make enough calls someone will say ‘yes’. if that was a call from a company to sell their service product or whatever I’d be having words with the sales manager!


Jim Kim February 3, 2015 at 9:52 pm

So…did you call him back?


Marc Zazeela February 5, 2015 at 5:41 am

The voice messages leaves absolutely no reason why Crystal should call back. “move our stagnant connection forward”? What the heck does that mean?

It is nothing more than a thinly veiled attempt to get you on the phone for a sales call.

Connection deleted.


Crystal Thies February 10, 2015 at 11:41 am

So, here’s an update…

I have not called him back and received the following LinkedIn message from him. He found out about being used as an example and wasn’t too happy.

Subject: Last Weeks Message … I Left — For You !!!


Good Morning — Last week I left you a voice mail message about moving forward our LinkedIn connection. I see you featured my voice mail message in a message you posted on LinkedIn about “what not to say” in a voice mail message — WELL I am sorry you did not find the message I left compelling enough to return my call … I do want to move our connection forward … WHAT can we do to utilize my services of telephone calls, business development and opening my network to you & also promoting my services? I seek to sell you nothing!!

Can we schedule a telephone or SKYPE call? Please let me know your thoughts!


So, since I think it a good academic exercise to follow it through, I’m going to share my response and leave myself open to criticism. Did I respond appropriately? What could I have done better?

Here’s my response:
First Name,

What does “moving our LinkedIn connection forward” mean for me and why should I care? That’s still the question you have not answered. I have so many existing relationships that need nurturing and so many people like you wanting to have a relationship with me, that I have to be selective. If someone contacts me with such an ambiguous message, I don’t have the capacity to seek it out.

Now that you’ve added additional information, it’s still not giving me a compelling reason why this would benefit me – but I see how it will benefit you. I have access to thousands of peoples’ networks, what’s the value of one more – yours? How does it match my target market and what will it do for me? Those are the answers you have to provide someone immediately because they aren’t going to take the time to ask.

I am extremely selective of whose services I promote. Why would it benefit me or my audience to promote your services? You may not be selling me anything, but asking me to promote and/or sell your services is an even bigger ask that requires even more care than a sales call. And, if your service is making calls like these, then I’m sorry, but your service level is not something I would be comfortable promoting.

I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but if your voice mail and LinkedIn message to me are examples of how you communicate in the phone call and business development services you offer, then you really need to get additional training. The messaging is not effective or compelling. Getting people on the phone is harder than ever because everyone is so inundated with information and short of time. You have to clearly deliver a compelling value proposition within 30 seconds and you still haven’t done that in 2 different messages.

I’m sorry, but at this time I simply do not have the capacity to learn about the opportunity you want to share with me. I wish you the best of luck in your endeavors.

Warmest regards,


Thoughts? Good, bad?


Jeanne April 16, 2015 at 8:43 am

Poor Guy! Not only was it a terrible voicemail message, it was also a horrible follow-up email. Your response was great. Not sure he deserved or will even appreciate your message. I would be willing to bet that he responds back with even more CAPS. He doesn’t seem to know what he is doing wrong and I am not sure he will take your response well with the constructive criticism. I continue to wonder where he wants to take your connection! Please let us know how he responds to your message. I am still trying to figure out what he was trying to accomplish in that initial call!


Daniel February 20, 2015 at 7:50 am

I have sent messages like that before, and, seeing things from both sides, I know why it comes across as ineffective.

I don’t perceive anything that shows he’s looked at your profile to see what you’re doing, what kind of work, opportunities, etc., you’re looking for. It seems generic.


Russ April 16, 2015 at 8:17 am

Crystal’s answer is spot on. That said, I have to defend the caller against the vociferous outpouring against him. At least the guy is out there trying. I wish more salespeople had the moxy and work ethic to cold call instead of waiting for the phone to ring. I’d rather have a person out there trying, even poorly, than doing nothing at all. In my experience, many critics fall into the latter category.

What training has the guy had? Has he or his employer invested in training, role-playing, coaching? Doubtful based on my experience. Product training, yes. Sales skills, not so much. The call was an epic fail for all the reasons Crystal says. However a person with the right attitude and work ethic can learn, change, and adapt; training a person without those traits is wasted.


Paul April 16, 2015 at 9:14 am

He does not seem very like able after listening to his voicemail. The reason he states why he is calling seems vague ? Does he want to be friends does he want to explore doing business? He also sounds very presumptuous over the phone which I think is not a good way to sound on a voicemail


Matt Blythe April 16, 2015 at 4:39 pm

When I first listened, I thought exactly this
“What does ‘moving our LinkedIn connection forward’ mean for me and why should I care?”

And to be honest, I found the vagueness, the pushy tone, and the sense of expectation to be odd and creepy.


gary June 18, 2015 at 3:09 pm

I think he maybe trying to sell some mortuary services!!

The time spent reading his response was worth less than it costs to make a penny (for your thoughts).


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