I don’t know about you, but when I practiced law I hated that a client might think I was trying to sell them. Most lawyers I coach hate the same thing. So, I created a group meeting program I call Beyond Selling: How to Close the Sale without Being a Salesman.

A few weeks ago I was in Omaha meeting with lawyers I coach with Lamson, Dugan & Murray. Our group program was Beyond Selling. After the meeting, I had a coaching session with Kyle Wallor. During the session he shared a golf lesson story with me that he believed illustrated the points I made in the group meeting. If you substitute lawyer for golf professional and client for Kyle, you will get the point.

As you know, I am finally scheduled to take a golf lesson on January 26, 2011.  It has been four years since I took a formal lesson. Over the last year my golf game has deteriorated. The primary reason I have not taken a lesson earlier is I am incredibly stubborn and I was convinced I could fix the problem myself. (How many clients have thought the same thing?)  So, I put off taking a lesson.

During my years in Omaha, I located a local golf shop owned and operated by a very good (local) guy.   In addition to the owner, there is younger employee, Jason who is a professional and he offers golf lessons.  Jason has helped me find appropriate golf equipment, including giving free fittings, which usually cost significantly in other stores.  In my most recent purchase, Jason spent time with me going through the equipment of various manufacturers in various set-ups to find me the right fit.

I recently noticed some new equipment that is being released this spring. As golfers are apt to do, I thought a change in equipment might be the fix.  So, I decided to stop by to see Jason about the new clubs. I also told him I was thinking about a lesson. We went to the fitting area and he let me hit a couple of balls.  As I was hitting balls, Jason pointed out some flaws to me and changes that I needed to make. After trying Jason’s recommendations, I noticed immediate changes on the ball flight monitor.  I offered to pay Jason for his time.  He refused and I immediately set up a lesson for a week and half later.

Jason has never been pushy or eager to sell his clubs or lessons. He does not talk about himself, his education, training or experience, until he is asked.  Instead, he is focused on helping me when I ask for his advice.  Above all, he has never conditioned his advice on whether I was going to purchase his clubs or lessons.

I didn’t realize it at the time, but Jason provided me with a valuable lesson for my own client development efforts.  Now, I just need to open a fitting area to draw in my clients and potential clients for free fittings and ten minute lessons.

I recently had a similar experience. I was on the driving range and I looked over and saw Nancy hitting the new Taylor Made R 11 driver. I went down to the Taylor Made tent and tried it out. During my tryout, the Taylor Made pro didn’t try to sell the driver to me. Instead, he looked at my swing and told me just a couple of corrections I could make. I went out that day and enjoyed my round of golf. As a result, I was more inclined to buy the driver from him.

Are you like Jason and the Taylor Made pro? Are you focused on helping your client or are you focused on selling yourself and your firm? Clients know when you are focused on helping them. More importantly, they know when you are focused on building your book of business.