087: How To Diagnose Your Lead Problem

Jun 21, 2024

Subscribe to the Newsletter

Join 2,600+ readers of The 5 Minute Fractional CFO newsletter and learn how to start, scale or optimize your Fractional CFO services.

087: How To Diagnose Your Lead Problem

Jun 21, 2024

Over the past 2 weeks, I've had 9 one-on-one calls with Fractional CFO firm owners and they all had the same frustration: 

"I feel like my firm is ready to take off. The only thing I'm missing is figuring out how to get consistent, quality leads!"

If you're struggling to find new leads, you're not alone. In a recent poll of 200 Fractional CFOs, we found that about 70% of them identified getting consistent, high-quality new leads as their number one obstacle to growth.  

It's annoying, frustrating, and, if you're anything like me, it drives you up the freaking wall.

And it's not due to a lack of effort!

Most of us are putting in the work and trying our best - but we're not getting the results.

You might be seeing:
No leads (the result of cold emails, cold calls, or cold DMs)
Low-quality leads (the result of running Facebook or Google ads)
Inconsistent leads (the result of passively waiting for network referrals)

After running my own firm for 8+ years and coaching hundreds of other firm owners, I've learned that finding consistent, quality leads isn't impossible (but it does take some work).  

Here are 3 quick diagnostics you can run to troubleshoot your lead flow.


The biggest gap I see (by a LONG SHOT!) when it comes to getting consistent new leads is the absence of systems.

Maybe you've experienced this before:

You lose a client. Cash gets tight and you need a new client or two ASAP so you start prospecting HARD:

You're asking everyone for referrals. You're pinging your network. You're hitting up old clients. You're posting on LinkedIn. You attend a Rotary Club meeting and a few networking events. 30, 60, maybe even 90 days later you've got the two new clients you were after.

Now you shift into onboarding and client services mode (those things take a lot of time) - all but completely forgetting your prospecting work.

6 months later you're back in the same boat. You crush for 30/60/90 days to get the new clients again. Then you're fully back into client service mode.

It's like a constant cycle of feast or famine - and it feels like you're just treading water, not actually growing.

The reality of prospecting (the process of hunting for new leads) is that it takes, on average, 60-90 days for your prospecting efforts to pay off. So if you're only prospecting when you need new clients, you'll always be behind.

That's why it's crucial to build prospecting into your daily operating system - even if you don't need new clients today. 

Similar to working out, I don't personally find prospecting to be super fun. Given the opportunity, I'll find any excuse not to prospect. That's why I've got to work out and prospect first thing in the morning, otherwise, it just won't get done.  

How do I make sure it gets done first thing in the morning?

I put prospecting time on the calendar.
30 minutes.
Every day.

If you're struggling to find consistent leads, make sure you're prospecting consistently.

But what do I actually DO during my prospecting time?
The answer is inside Diagnostic #2... 


One of the biggest mistakes I made for years was looking for new leads in all the wrong places.

I tried running Facebook ads and Google ads.
I tried SEO tricks to get my page ranked higher in searches.
I even created a podcast and interviewed dozens of business owners.

I finally realized why none of these really work:
Fractional CFO relationships are a lot like the doctor-patient relationship: they're based on trust.

Clever ad copy, marketing funnels, and SEO hacks don't build trust with potential clients.

Think about it - have you ever seen a Facebook ad for a doctor's office and said "Oh wow! I may have just found my new OBGYN!"

I'm guessing not.

So how DO you find a doctor? 

You ask people you trust for referrals.

The highest quality Fractional CFO leads come from referrals as well!

In fact, I spend all of my daily morning biz dev time right here!

More specifically, I spend my prospecting time on two primary activities:

  1. Building my network - Most of my time here is spent on LinkedIn. I connect with business lenders, EOS implementers, coaches, and thought leaders in the industries we serve.

  2. Developing relationships within my network - I have Zoom calls or in-person coffee with people I know or want to know better. I look for ways I can serve those in my network and for ways I can serve those that my network serves as well. When appropriate, I ask for referrals - but normally the referrals come naturally.

Here are two mistakes I've discovered:

  1. Most people will just passively add others to their network. That won't get you new clients. You have to actually engage with your new connections and work on the relationship aspect.
  2. Avoid the belief that you have to have referrals for others in order to receive referrals from others. It's simply not true. When you refer someone to your doctor, do you only make the referral if your doctor has someone to refer to you? 

If you engage in these two activities DAILY, you will start to get consistent, quality leads - and sometimes faster than you think! On the last 3 consecutive first-touch calls with new referral partners, each of them has referred a lead to me within 48 hours of us talking for the first time! 


Getting new leads is great, regardless of where they come from. But if you don't have a methodology to convert those leads into clients, you'll be in the same flat-lined revenue situation as before.

Unfortunately, most new Fractional CFOs don't have an approach to how they handle sales calls. They handle sales calls all willy-nilly without any structure. 

If you're getting results like these... 
"What's your actual hourly rate though?"
"I'm going to talk to my partner. I'll let you know."
"Interesting. I'll think it over and get back to you soon."
"I think my bookkeeper already does most of this but thanks!"

...then you might want to run a diagnostic on how you're handling sales calls. 

I put together a free sales call training course, which you can access HERE if you need some tips on how to navigate sales calls more successfully (and less awkwardly!).

As I mentioned, over 70% of Fractional CFOs struggle to get consistent, quality leads, and they end up frustrated and burnt out because their firms aren't growing.

I'm curious - which of the three diagnostics is causing you the biggest problem today:

  1. The Daily Operating System (making it repeatable and systematized)
  2. Location, Location, Location (where to find leads)
  3. The Conversion Question (converting leads to clients)

I hope to see you working out at the gym and prospecting on LinkedIn tomorrow morning!

Whenever you are ready, here are 3 ways I can help you:

  1. 1:1 Coaching with Michael King -Get hands-on support and fast track your firm’s growth by working directly with me. 

  2. The Inner Circle - every month my team and I go live and share the most impactful lessons we've learned in our journey to start, scale, and optimize our own Fractional CFO firm (including live Q&A). Plus you'll get access to our private community of nearly 200+ Fractional CFOs.

  3.  If you'd like more amazing (and free!) content about starting, scaling, or optimizing your Fractional CFO firm check out The CFO Report.

Recent Posts


Jul 12, 2024


Jun 21, 2024


Jun 07, 2024


May 31, 2024


May 24, 2024


May 17, 2024

Never Miss The Newsletter:

Get my 5 minute newsletter delivered straight to your inbox every Friday.


50% Complete

Two Step

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua.