As a business person, you’ve probably encountered one or more people who want to learn how to do what you do without paying for your services. They may come right out and ask “can I pick your brain?” or they may resort to an endless series of “I just have one question…just one more thing….one last thing….” While the latter worked well for the fictional detective Columbo (yes, I’m a mystery fan), it isn’t always good for business.
First, decide if helping this person will benefit your business because there is a personal or professional connection you want to strengthen. If so, continue to the second step. Determine if this is a good time for you. If not, suggest a 10-minute phone call at a better time.
Here’s where your content marketing—sharing useful information so future customers can get to know, like, and trust you—comes to the rescue. No matter how little or how much you care to help, you can ask “what is your most pressing question right now?” This can give you ideas for future content creation. You can also tailor your response to one or more of the following
• I’ve provided a lot of resources online. Have you checked my Web site?
• I’ve covered that topic in my blog. You can find me at The Butler Did It.
• Give me your e-mail address and I’d be happy to send you a [newsletter or article] that addresses your concern.
• My Twitter followers have been asking the same thing so I’ve added a new page on my [blog or Web site] so you can find all the information you need in one place.
• I’m teaching a [Webinar or workshop or teleseminar] on that topic next month. Shall I send you information on the class?
• [Amazon or Barnes and Noble or iTunes] carries my book on that subject, in much greater detail than we could cover now.
If you haven’t been actively marketing with good online content, you can still respond with
• Yuck—pick my brain? That sounds so unpleasant. I’d rather talk about how we can help each other succeed right now.
• You’re so smart to want to learn more about this growing field. I can get you started with a one-hour consultation for [name your price]. What time is good for you?
Either way, this gives the other person an opportunity to make this mutually beneficial.
What works for you when someone wants to pick your brain?