How Do You Get Sales Leads? This is What Works for Me

A question I hear from business owners all the time is, “How can we generate more leads?” A common answer I’ve heard at seminars is, “Do good work.” Since doing good work implies you already got the work, that may be the worst answer ever. Yes, do good work. That’s not what you’re asking, is it?

I’m not a sales or marketing genius. I’m still making mistakes but I’m getting better. Since your business is probably different from mine, I’m going to give you principles instead of tactics. Ignore them if you want. They work.

Honesty. I take this for granted since I’ve been an accountant for over 20 years. Unfortunately, many people are suspicious until they get to know you. And you won’t get referrals unless someone thinks you’re honest. Honesty is the “spark” that starts the process. Honesty is also the most difficult principle to apply since you have the least control over it when you’re unknown. Honesty becomes a perception in the market when you apply these next three principles…

Curiosity. Get very curious about the clients you want to attract. What are their pains? Not the simple stuff like, “filing the tax return” or “repairing the faucet.” What’s really bothering them deep down? What can you fix while your competitors are checking boxes and offering the lowest price? Here’s a hint – they’re scared of something. It’s your job to find out what it is. Your curiosity will lead you to…

Generosity. You must create solutions for your potential clients. A lot of solutions with no expectation of sales. Blog posts, videos, worksheets, spreadsheets, and just chiming in on their latest difficulty on social media. Get to understand their industry and life and where their difficulties and opportunities are. Clients are looking for answers and you’re there to provide them, whenever they might be ready to engage. When they’re ready, you need some…

Personality. You don’t have to be Jerry Seinfeld or Steve Carell. You need to find something you have in common. Privacy is dead so take advantage by researching them on the internet. Do you both like baseball? Maybe your kids are the same age? Maybe you both went to the same high school? Use whatever you can to get a conversation started and let them talk. The more they talk, the more interesting they’ll think you are. Don’t fake it. Be interested in their life!

A Real Life Example
I recently got a referral. I’ve worked with the referrer on a mutual client and he’s a friend (honesty). My referring friend also knew I understood this industry (curiosity) since I referred one of my clients to him (generosity). As soon as we had been introduced via email, I gave the referral information about his industry and an example of a finished product (curiosity and generosity). That led the referral to request a meeting with me. Before the meeting, I did more research (curiosity). The referral was in a video I found on the internet. After we met and shook hands, it was a good opener to say, “I saw you on______.” That led to a personal conversation about him (personality) and not just the business. Remember, it has to come from the heart and be genuine! I got the project.

The Bottom Line
We all hit rock bottom generating leads sooner or later. Don’t get discouraged. As silly as it sounds, you need to find your inner-child to connect with potential clients. Who says “no” to a child? Nobody says “no” to my eight-year-old. She’s honest, curious, generous, and has plenty of personality. You can use the exact same principles to generate leads no matter how old you are.


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Can I Help You?
Hi, I’m Josh Horn, CPA/ABV, CVA of Horn Valuation. I help with business valuations in friendly or unfriendly situations. I also help owners build valuable companies. My clients are business owners and attorneys. If you’d like more information, check out my website, email me at, or call me at 217-649-8794.

Josh Horn CPA

I’m a licensed Certified Public Accountant (CPA) and double-credentialed in business valuation (CVA & ABV). I’ve been a tax and business consultant in a top 100 CPA firm and a controller in a large international company. I’ve also valued and been the primary advisor to multi-million dollar and small companies in various industries.

“If you’re not working on business value, who is?” Josh Horn, CPA, Certified Valuation Analyst and Accredited in Business Valuation

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