Many of us dislike negotiating because we are afraid of being
taken advantage of, especially when we believe that we are
in a weak position. Salary negotiations provide a classic
example. Has the fear of rejection of losing the job
or antagonizing your boss kept you from putting your
best foot forward in negotiating your livelihood? Here is
a 12-step process for negotiating your salary without fear.
1. Study the situation. Before negotiating your salary
or asking for a raise, do research. What is the organization's
policy on salaries? Have they established a range for your
position? What are other people in comparable positions inside
the organization being paid? What do other companies pay for
this position? How important are you to the organization?
If others are being paid more, and you are a key employee,
be assertive (See #5). If the policy is not to pay what you
want, and you're replaceable be prepared to walk (See
2. Know what you want. This may sound simplistic,
but in reality many people negotiate for a salary without
having a clear idea of what they want. First of all, what
is your goal, i.e., how much will you be satisfied with? Second,
what is the most you think the position will pay the
maximum? It may be more than your goal. If it is, you might
begin by asking for more than you want (See #7). If the maximum
is less than your goal, is it acceptable? What is the least
you will accept your bottom line? Once you establish
your bottom line, be prepared to walk if you can't get it
3. What is important to you besides money? Are you
willing to accept more intangible rewards, e.g., vacation
time, flexible hours, working from home, bigger title, more
responsibility, stock options, pension plans, bigger office,
etc. Don't forget to consider these items as part of the overall
4. Make special time. Don't discuss your salary as
an afterthought at the end of a meeting. ("Oh, by the way,
there's something else I'd like to discuss with you.") Give
this subject the attention it deserves. Arrange a special
meeting that will focus on your salary. Get the boss to commit
to a block of time.
5. Be assertive ask for the order. Don't be
afraid of losing the job. Ask for what you want. "I think
I'm worth more than you are offering/than I'm being paid."
If they don't agree, maybe you don't belong there. The result
is always positive. Either you get paid what you think you're
worth, or you discover that this isn't the right organization
for you and maybe you ought to look for a better job.
6. Get the employer to make the first offer. If you're
interviewing for the job, ask, "How much does this position
pay?" If you're negotiating for a raise, ask, "How much of
a raise can you approve?" They may surprise you by offering
more than you expect. If they offer less, or they insist that
you name a figure, ask for more than you want (See #7).
7. Open with an extreme position. Ask for more than
you are willing to accept you can always settle for
less. If you open the negotiation with your goal what
you'll be satisfied with the employer may interpret
this as your opening move and they will offer you less. When
you ask for more than you want, (a) you may get it, or (b)
you can eventually settle closer to your goal. If they say,
"The salary range for this position is x to y," you can (a)
go for the high end of the range, or (b) challenge the range
by explaining how you are an exception.
8. Approach it from the employer's perspective. What
is your value to the employer? Don't say, "I have nine kids
and a big mortgage, so can I have a raise?" You're not being
compensated based upon your need. Phrase it from the employer's
point-of-view. What's at stake for them how do you
impact their bottom line?
9. Get the employer to affirm your worth. As part
of establishing your value to the organization, it's important
to receive your employer's validation that they need you.
Once you obtain this affirmation, their resistance is lowered.
10. Ask open-ended questions. As in any interview situation,
be pro-active. Be the interviewer, not the interviewee. You
can accomplish this by asking open-ended questions, i.e.,
questions that can't be answered with a simple yes or no.
Open-ended questions require lengthy answers. Ask your question
and shut up.
11. Let the employer do most of the talking. Follow
the 70/30 Rule: Listen 70% of the time and speak only 30%
of the time. The less you talk, the more information you'll
get, and the better they will feel about you. We all like
people who listen to us. Let the employer talk themselves
into giving you what you want.
12. Be prepared to walk if necessary. I call this Brodow's
Law always be willing to walk away from a negotiation
if you can't get what you want. Another way of putting it
is, never negotiate without options. In a salary negotiation,
your willingness to walk away gives you tremendous power.
The employer will sense it. Conversely, if you are desperate
for the job and perceive that you have no alternatives, they
will sense your desperation. Face it, the worst thing that
can happen is, you'll have to look for another job
a BETTER job. They can't shoot you! If you know what you want
and stick to it, you will win no matter what happens.