Pick your brains: sounds painful
“Can I Pick Your Brains.” Many people seem to be really worried about how to answer this question. (don’t worry I answer it in the 4 minute video at the bottom of the post)
Your skills could probably help your friends a lot; but you don’t want to come across as money hungry, or look like you are trying to sell them something.
It is really useful to have a response ready, for answering the question: “Can I pick your brains?” It will save you a considerable amount of time, worrying how to respond. If you put in the time to tailor a suitable response, it will mean you don’t come across as rude and you won’t ruin any relationships.
Building your personal brand, in most cases avoids the hassle of answering this question
If you have built your personal brand effectively then very few people will ask you this question.
Your reputation tells them all they need to know so they don’t need to waste your time
They already know what the answer would be to “Can I Pick Your Brains?” So generally don’t waste your time.
If they are good friends or they haven’t looked into you and how you could help them, then perhaps you will still get asked these sort of questions.
“Can I Pick Your Brains?”
“Can I Buy You A Coffee?”
“Can I Buy You Lunch?”
If they have an idea of how much you charge for your product and service it will eliminate most of these questions, as they know what the answer would be.
In sales “qualifying” our prospects is key to a successful sales process, having just the right questions ready is really helpful to not wasting time on the wrong prospects.
We need to assess our ethical and moral responsibilities
There are lots of ways you can help people for free, a set amount of pro bono work could be in your weekly schedule for example. You can always send people to resources that they would find helpful, or perhaps recommend an expert that could help them.
I have met many successful people over the years. Most have given their time freely and given so much great information and guidance, but in some way we need to pay for their product or service.
Business referrals come from helping people
Some of the people I have spoken to over the years, have pointed me in the right direction and provided me really useful advice and now I am an advocate for them.
So if I hear about someone needing what they provide, of course I recommend them and they recommend me as we have built strong relationships over time.
Set out an ethical policy for your philanthropy
“No one is useless in this world who lightens the burdens of another.”
― Charles Dickens
Once you have decided how much time you have, to give away to others then you can work out what your qualification process is, for making a decision about who to help.
Looking at the person who has asked “Can I pick your brain?” and investigating their motivations behind the question is crucial.
Come up with some questions based upon your ethics
Do they see value in your expertise?
Will they act on your advice?
What business do they work for?
What is their job title?
Do they have budget?
Are they able to help you in another way if they have no budget?
People will take your whole arm, if you give them a finger
We meet many people along the way, some seek to take as much free advice as they can get their hands on; others are more reasonable and understand that time is money and realise that you are a professional and they will be quite happy to pay for your time.
A friend of mine was the CEO of a hosting company, he taught me a lot about computers and business. 7 years ago, when we met, we discussed computers and problems I was having with my machine.
I sent him a few emails, after the third email of me asking him a dumb question; he emailed me back “Google Is Your Friend!” after asking him another couple of questions and him responding with the same answer; I took the time to ask Google these trivial questions!
Decide how much time we have to give and remember not everything in life is about money
Once we have decided our criteria for offering help; we then allocate a proportion of our time to help people as it will enrich our lives. Sometimes doing the right thing, may not bring us an immediate financial reward but gives us a warm feeling inside and a potential referral in the future.
When does pick your brains stop and become paid
Another good friend of mine has been in mobile marketing from the early days; he runs a mobile advertising platform and we had a discussion about this.
Now I don’t expect anything from people and don’t allocate ALL my time to other people either.
We both agreed that it was a difficult call, he had also struggled with this over the years.
The worst problem exists for independent consultants usually; if you are a consultant I resonate with you entirely, as many of my friends are consultants.
Taking the time to build a personal brand the right way helps set people’s expectations and ensures you can reduce the amount of the time you waste.
So if you still want to know how to answer these questions please watch the video below and if you are convinced you need a personal brand and would like to signup to a $1 trial for a month then please click here.
Thanks for the image of the brain https://www.flickr.com/photos/isaacmao/