Are we ready to rock and roll y'all?
Oh, we didn't even do anything already and on the third take. Damn.
Hey it's Marie Forleo, and you are watching MarieTV, the place to be to create a business and life you love. And this is Q and A Tuesday. Today's question comes from Tracy, and she writes, "Hi Marie, I'm starting to make a name for myself and my friends and strangers are coming out of the woodwork asking if they can pick my brain, or bounce ideas off me, or grab a coffee to ask me about my business and share their ideas. First of all, I feel like they should buy my product, a training program that would answer most of their questions, but I don't want to seem money hungry or super salesy with my friends. Second, I'm busy building and running my own business and I don't have the time to spare. I'm not sure how to deal with this so I've just been ignoring all the requests and feeling guilty. What do I say to people who want to grab coffee or pick my brain?"
Tracy, this is a great question and something so many of us struggle with. I know it can feel really uncomfortable to say no, but when you ignore things like this, it completely nags at you, you feel guilty, as you've already said, and plus all these requests eat up a ton of your mental and emotional bandwidth. Remember that people are always grateful for an honest answer, especially when it's delivered in a loving and compassionate way. And remember there's lots of ways that you can help people for free. For example, you can direct people to blog content, you can do a set amount of pro bono work, you can offer scholarships. However, if you're starting to get bombarded with tons of requests for people to pick your brain or meet for coffee and you don't want to do it, here are three scripts that you can use.
Script number one, The Spice Girls Script, or (singing). "My work schedule is full, so coffee is not doable these days. Are you interested in becoming a client, or do you just have a quick question?" This makes the asker get real about what they really want from you. So if they want to become a client, you can direct them to your sales material, and if they have a question they know they'll need to be really quick.
Script number two, Pay Me Mothahumpa! Look, I know you don't want to seem overly salesy, but you've got to get that your experience and your expertise are valuable. Plus you deserve to earn an honest living. My friend Todd Herman has this great analogy for brain pickers and I think it can really help shift your mindset. Here's how he puts it. Would you ever walk into a store, walk up and grab clothes off a rack, and then walk out without paying? Of course not, because that would be stealing. So brain picker, don't expect to walk into my head, grab everything you want, and walk out without paying.
Here's a classy way of directing people to your product or program. "I'm not available for lunch, but you should really consider getting my blank. It's all of my best thinking in one place, and I created it to help people in your exact situation." Or if you don't have a product or program, try this. "I don't have time to grab a coffee unless we're doing it as an official business meeting. And my charge for a consultation, if your game, is ... "
Script number three, Blame It On Mama. The toughest one can be when it's semi-social and they want to grab coffee to get to know you, they want to network, and likely pick your brain. FYI, they will pick your brain. So you know how this goes. "Hey Marie, I love what you do and I feel like you and me, we're like the same person. It's bananas, right? So I'm really into meeting like minded people and expanding my network of awesome, powerful women, and I'd love to meet with you and have coffee sometime. Would you be up for that?"
Well, what are you going to say? "No, I don't have time for new friends." Actually yes, you are going to say that. But here's a nice way to say it so you don't come across like an arrogant d-bag. Now, if you don't know what a d-bag is, I ain't going to tell you because I don't want to get yelled at because there's a bunch of d-bags out there who love to yell at me. "I have a rule, if I don't have time to see my mother, I don't have time to meet new people for coffee. And right now, I owe my mama a visit. But seriously, I'm sure we'd have a blast and I hope you're not insulted, but my work schedule is packed and I've gotta pass."
The bottom line is this, and you bet your buns it's a Tweetable. "If they want to pick your brain, ask them to pick a time and a method of payment." Because at the end of the day, if you want people to value your time, you have to put a value on it.
Tracy, that was my A to your Q. Hopefully these scripts have helped. Now I would love to hear from you. Do you have a go-to way to answer people who want to pick your brain or take you out for coffee? Or have you ever been that person who's asking to take someone out to coffee or pick their brain? Were you handled elegantly? I would love to hear your story. As always, the best discussions happen after the episode at MarieForleo.com so go there and leave a comment now.
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I'm nervous, like I've never done this before. It's all good. We'll get through this. We'll get through this. Did I wear the right thing? I can't go home and change now. Shit, dude, that coffee wasn't a good idea.