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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&A Tuesday. Today's question comes from Tracy and she
"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 its 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 from 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 #1 -- The "Spice Girl Script." "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. 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 #2 -- Pay Me Motherhumpa. 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 could 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 ____. 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 you're game, is ____."
Script #3 -- 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. 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. 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 got to
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 where you handled eloquently? I would love to hear your
As always, the best discussions happen after the episode at so go there
and leave a comment now.
Did you like this video? I did. If you did, subscribe to the channel and share it with
your friends, and if you want even more great resources to create a business and a life
that you love, plus some personal insights from me that I only talk about in e-mail,
get your buns over to and sign up for e-mail updates.
Stay on your game and keep going for your dreams because the world needs that special
gift that only you have. Thank you so much for watching and I'll catch you next time
on MarieTV.
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How To Say No To People Who Want To Pick Your Brain

1782 Folder Collection
Vita published on July 27, 2013
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