Have you ever had someone ask to pick your brain? I have, and I know the requested information was expected to be given for free or over lattes.
Brain picking for free is a huge issue within the online entrepreneur space on multiple levels. So, in episode 18 of the Let’s Get To Business podcast, I dove in to how to politely Dip, Dodge and Ditch a conversation where someone is asking you to download your genius to them for free. And as a bonus, the Ditch method teaches you how to turn someone’s ask into your ask for the sale.
How to say no when you’re just getting started in business – The Dip
As a new business owner, a side hustler, or someone who is just awesome at what you do you may get a lot of requests for people looking to pick your brain for free. Many times, this is because people are just getting used to the idea that you’re a paid professional. Other times, it’s because your friends, family, and business besties just expect you to provide your zone of genius for free to them like you would any other advice.
How you respond to these requests will start to change how people view you as a business professional. Also, this is a great way to weed out people who are genuinely interested in getting to know you as a person and someone who is looking to suck all the knowledge they can from you without having to pay a professional.
The Dip method to responding to “Pick My Brain” requests is perfect for you! So, the next time you are asked to grab coffee or for someone to pick your brain, repeat or copy/paste this as your response.
The Dip Method to Saying No to “Can I pick your brain?”
“I’d love to chat more! However, I am extremely strict with my work life balance this year (#2020Goals) so if you want to talk shop, I’d be happy to do it but only on a pre-booked, one-on-one consult. If there’s no business talk, I’d love to grab a cup with you.”
Why does this method work?
This response allows you to set the precedent that you are not comfortable talking without a pre-booked and pre-paid official meeting. It also gives you a great excuse to stop the conversation if you do meet up with this person and they steer the conversation into the Brain Picking Zone. Feel free to remind them you only talk shop in paid consulting sessions and you are enjoying your work-free time getting to know each other.
Polite but firm without ever having to say the word “no”.
How to be nice and helpfully decline when someone asks “Can I pick your brain?” – The Dodge
This is my favorite response to recommend for heart-centered entrepreneurs who don’t want to be seen as rude but also don’t want to get stuck explaining how to do what they get paid for to someone for free. This method dodges, or deflects, the request to pick your brain while still painting you as a helpful person who provides a resource to the askee.
The Dodge method to Saying No to “Can I pick your brain?”
“Thank you! I’ve worked really hard to get here so it means a lot to me that you say that. Honestly, there’s so much involved I don’t even want to get into it. If you’re interested, I recommend checking out [XYZ – insert your choice of course, book, your service] on that topic to learn it. It’s definitely worth it. I’d be happy to send that to you later.”
Why does this method work?
This method is great because it reiterates the fact that you spent a lot of time perfecting your zone of genius. It implies that there is way too much information to learn about what you’ve been asked then is possible to download into a DM (direct message) or a single conversation. Then you dodge the topic by helpfully offering to send a resource to the person asking you for information without giving away your own knowledge.
Yes, that means if the person says they’d like you to send the resource, you should take the time out of your day to send it. But honestly, I’d much rather send a resource and leave someone with the impression that I am a helpful person than to have to sit there and explain it for free. (And once you give a person your knowledge once, they’ll expect it for free forever.) I would rather give up thirty seconds of my time to grab a link and end the conversation rather than spend who-knows-how-long to explain my job for free any day.
How to say no to requests to pick my brain and turn it into a sale – The Ditch
Honestly, this is my favorite go-to response to people at this point in my entrepreneurial journey. The Ditch method to responding to brain pickers pokes a lot of points – from setting the idea into someone’s head that picking your brain won’t solve their problem to confirming their struggle is real while piecemealing their business with freebies to acknowledging their hard work is seen by you to asking for a sale.
See? A ton to unpack! So here it is…
How to turn someone’s request to pick your brain into a paying client – The Ditch
“Thanks, [Name of Human]! I appreciate you thinking my brain is worth picking. I’m so passionate about what I do and that’s why I have so much free information on my social media pages. The truth is picking my brain is like getting just one piece of a larger puzzle – you can’t figure out how to put the puzzle or [insert what they’re asking you to know] together with just one piece.
But I see how hard you’re working and I get wanting to learn from someone who’s been where you were – I wish I had that to save me a lot of wasted hours, freebie downloading, and dead ends back when I started.
I’d love to help you get the full puzzle completed and save you the frustration I felt trying to learn as you grow. I set up a mentoring program for this reason, where you get access to my brain and systems when you need it – way more in-depth – and I tailor my answers to your questions in more details than what’s on my social.
My mentees are killing it and I’m so proud of them! I’d love to help you grow like them, would you like to see the information and pricing for my mentor program?”
Why does this method work?
I recommend fully listening to episode 18 of my podcast to unpack why this response works to book clients so many times. Truthfully, when you’re just perfecting your version of this script, you may get several “no’s” and that’s ok. As you grow you need to be ok with getting told no as often are you are ok with saying no to others. This is just part of stepping into your CEO-self.
Why it's Important to Ask to Be Paid for Your Knowledge and Skills
I have booked clients by using all of these methods and I hope at the most you do too and at the least that you are able to Dip, Dodge, and Ditch awkward requests for free knowledge.
You should also remember that no matter what stage of business you’re in – even if you’re not a business yet – you have every right to be paid for your knowledge on the areas that you excel at. Don’t ever let someone’s response to you saying no or requesting to be paid for your time and skills to affect the way you see yourself. There are people who will never pay you for your time and knowledge and you don’t owe them anything.
However, there will be people who are willing to pay you. Those are your people and those are the only people whose opinion matters.
When you request to be paid for your knowledge and when you remind others that they should be paid for the information you would like from them, it creates a greater movement in the entrepreneurial community and sets the precedent that solo entrepreneurs, small businesses, and side hustlers are deserving to be paid. This is something our community lacks right now and you have the power to start changing that.
Now bookmark this blog post, listen to the full episode on iTunes or Spotify, and steal one of my scripts the next time someone asks to pick your brain.
PS: If you'd like to pick my brain on how to clarify your business offers, get paid, and perfect your sales funnels – you can do that here: Pick My Brain
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