How to Avoid Being a “Pick Your Brain” Victim

If it hasn’t happened to you yet, just wait; it will. Someone will undoubtedly call you, email you or when they pass you at a networking or live event, they will ask you if they can “pick your brain.” While you will undoubtedly be honored and humbled that you are deemed to be an expert by them, don’t believe the hype…they are just trying to get their hands on a million dollar idea at your expense and I say…

Don’t do it…Don’t let them pick your brain….

The truth is in order for your brain to be worthy of a good picking, you had to learn a lot. Certainly, you invested in some sort of education in your industry and more than likely you had to pay for your investment in cold hard cash, not corn or rice….so the answer when they ask is “I do not offer business insight or strategy as a complimentary service.”

If I ever stopped to add up the amount of time and/or money I’ve invested in my education, well, let’s just say it’s a lot. And I bet you could say the same. So why do you repeatedly let them buy you a hamburger and tell them everything they need to start and grow their venture? More than likely it’s because of your relationship with money and your self-sabotaging beliefs that say that you aren’t worthy of more than you have right now. While this article is not designed to tackle your self-esteem issues, I can tell you honestly that you must do the work to tackle them. I have had friends and clients alike say that they don’t feel right charging people for their expertise. My response is always, but you consider yourself an entrepreneur, right? They say, of course and I say well, entrepreneurs solve problems for profit.

What are you waiting for? Watch this week’s Incredible Factor tip below.

Once they pick their chin up off the ground and roll their eyes because you had the nerve to call them on their attempt to learn whatever they could from you for free and then turn around and use that info to build their business, charge more money, land a new job, etc they will respect you. And that is when I recommend you follow up with this statement:

“I have a fiscal responsibility to myself, my family and my business to operate as a business.”

They will get it immediately. They will apologize and they will move on. The fact that they asked you will make you feel good and your response will tell them that you’ve been revered as an expert who knows your value and worth. Your response will also encourage them to do the same. This reminds me of Marianne Williamson’s poem again, “when you let your light shine, you unconsciously give them permission to do the same.”

I got so inspired by this topic recently, that I created a new product offering. It’s called “Pick Darnyelle’s Brain” and it cost $250 for 45 minutes of question and answers time. It’s brilliant if I do say so myself! So, the next time someone asks me if they can pick my brain, I will be able to say: “I do not offer business insight or strategy as a complimentary service but I do offer a 45 minute “pick my brain” session for $250, how would you like to secure your session?”

The thing is this, if they are coming to you it’s because they see you as the solution to their problem, which means there is an opportunity for you to remember that you run a business – part-time or full time and your business runs on income. They will likely pay it if you position yourself correctly and use all the confidence you can muster to tell them that while they can’t pick your brain complimentary, they can purchase a “pick your brain” session from you during which you’d be happy to tell them everything you can about the subject of their choice and your expertise in 45 minutes.

I recommend that you do the same. Trust me, it’s courageous but isn’t that why you started your business in the first place? To earn a living? To make money? To be able to pay your bills? I think you finally see my point.

Your assignment:

1. Memorize the two responses listed above. Brainstorm other ways to say the same thing that may be better suited for your style.

2. List the areas of your expertise that you could answer 45 minutes of questions about.

3. Of the areas you listed, which are congruent to your brand? Which do you have social proof to validate your expertise in?

4. Create a new service option via your website called Pick [Insert Your Name’s] Brain and price it as you deem worthy.

5. Call the last few people who’ve asked you to pick your brain and tell them about your new offering. I bet you will pick up some money that’s been lying on the table in front of you.

The bottom line is this: it must cost something to access what is in your brain, after all it cost you to acquire it and your desire to earn your return on investment….you decide how much, but they must pay something if they want to get to your good stuff, the stuff that is designed to solve major problems and offer effective solutions.

©2012 by Darnyelle A. Jervey. All Rights Reserved. Darnyelle A. Jervey, MBA, The Incredible Factor Speaker, Executive Business Coach and Marketing Mentor, is the founder of Incredible One and the Leverage Your Incredible Factor System® a proven step by step program for building a 6 figure business with more clients, more income and more leverage in record time. For more information and a FREE audio download “How to Use Your Incredible Factor to Attract MORE Ideal Clients” visit

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