Hoping to get a big raise at your year-end review? Want to negotiate a bigger package at your new job? "Salary negotiations can be anxiety-filled on both sides but they shouldn't be," Thomas Neubauer, a managing partner with The Gap Partnership (a firm providing negotiation training), told Entrepreneur Magazine. So turn that frown upside down and learn how to negotiate with the best of them.
The Basics: The Three Rules of Negotiation
What is keeping you from saying yes?
When will you be ready to get started?
Allow your prospects to have that silence and let them digest. Once you get them to speak and "drop their anchor" first, let your prospect know what will be coming up in your next conversation. Set expectations and let them know where you'll be going. This gets you a "yes" to start!
The Basics: Five Ws of Negotiation
Who is the decision maker? Who is in charge?
What are their objections? What are they trying to buy?
Where are they making the decision from? Are there other people involved (VP, partners, colleagues)? Invite everyone into the party. Ask, "Who else can benefit from this information?"
When can we get started? What is their timeline? Tomorrow? Next month?
Why are you looking for XYZ? (To make a change in your role, change your strategy or provider, etc.) Take the number/budget they gave you and put it in context. Frame your pitch with your why.
"Negotiations are not just about the billion-dollar deals, boardroom strategies, or company takeovers; it’s a process we use daily. Whether you're preparing for an interview, asking for a pay raise, renegotiating a contract, or slicing your company share, knowing how to effectively negotiate is necessary for every profession."
The key takeaway? Every negotiation is different. The first step for translating this advice to a salary chat? Doing your research and determining your worth.
Here are some places to start:
Salary Comparison Resources
If you're asking for a raise or a rate increase, do your research. Find out what other professionals in your industry are making. Here are some good places to compare salaries:
- Talent Zoo
- Alumni associations
- Talent agencies
- Business associates
Don't forget to select similarly sized companies when comparing rates. You won't be able to ask for as much at a start-up as you'll be able to at an established worldwide agency. Consider the total package when looking at salary as well. "It's not just about the dollar amount at the end of the day," Douraghy says. Weigh in benefits like health insurance and paid vacation days. Maybe the company can't give you extra money, but they could give you more PTO.
Want a quick cheat sheet to all those salary guides you see on the internet? Check out ours.
Do's and Don'ts Specific to Salary Negotiation
Be confident, but don't forget that a negotiation is just that — a negotiation. It's a conversation, not a dictation. "Listen to what the other side has to say and take it into consideration when offering up numbers,” says Hiring Manager Heather Huhman. “Money is a sensitive subject for most people, but you should never let a company have full control over your worth."
8. Don't Apologize
Over-apologizing can be a major turnoff and make you appear anxious and fearful. When expressing an opinion, don’t say "sorry." Don't act unprofessionally, but realize that asking to be paid what you are worth does not warrant an apology.
9. Don't Be Underprepared
On that note, know your worth and come armed with details. At some point, almost every employer will ask what salary range you’re looking for, whether you're a new employee or asking for a raise. "You want to be prepared for this in advance, because if you’re caught off-guard, you risk low-balling yourself or otherwise saying something that will harm you in negotiations later. Be sure to do your homework ahead of time so that you’re ready with an answer when the question comes up," says Alison Green, author of How to Get a Job: Secrets of a Hiring Manager.
Asking for a Raise: Our Two Best Tips
Head spinning with all that advice? Don't worry. Here are the most important things to remember:
Douraghy says "whoever mentions money first loses" is completely not true. While you don't want to bring it up as the first question of the first interview, you don't want to leave money on the table.
Feel free to bring up the numbers when it feels appropriate, but keep the following in mind:
Offer your first number above where you want to settle to leave room for negotiation. You can always negotiate down, but it's incredibly hard to negotiate up if they accept your first offer.
Know When to Walk
Pick the absolute lowest amount you will settle for. Know what it is and be prepared to walk away if you don't get it.
How to Start the "I Need a Raise" Conversation
Douraghy also pointed out to the General Assembly audience that there is a KPI (key performance indicator) for every job. Before asking for a raise, make sure you know what the KPIs are for your job and that you are meeting them. Unsure? Just ask your boss.
Once you feel confident with your performance markers, make sure you are also:
- Getting to work on time
- Willing to take risks
- Continually learning new skills
- In alignment with the company values
- In alignment with the CEO's values
- Able to quantify how you add value to the company
Once you've identified all of these things, just do it. There doesn't need to be fear in negotiating. The worst thing that can happen is they say no.
Go Forth and Negotiate
Now that you're armed with some basic tools, you'll be ready to negotiate away. Need a job to practice your skills on? Check out our open positions here.