“Salary negotiation is simply one interaction among many. After it’s done you have to live and work with the people on the other side of the equation for the foreseeable future. If one person walks away feeling like they’ve lost or been forced to compromise it sets up a disempowering context for the rest of the relationship. When it comes to employment, the paradigm of someone winning and the other person losing doesn’t serve either party in the long run.”
~ Michael B. Junge
Client Mark Asks: I’ve been asked to take on more responsibility, but no mention has been made of any pay increase. I think this is a good time to ask for a raise, but I feel mentally unprepared to do so. What can I do to gain the courage I need to bring this up while the time is right?
Coach Joel Answers: Benjamin Franklin once said, “By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail.” This quote is true for many aspects of our lives, but especially true when it comes to salary negotiation. Whether you’re negotiating your salary for a new position or asking for a raise at your current employer, if you want to succeed, you must prepare. To mentally prepare yourself, focus on these three facets:
Having confidence in yourself is critical to a successful salary negotiation. Although the outcome of your salary negotiation may significantly impact your livelihood, it’s important to not take the process too seriously. Instead of stressing over the process, relax and enjoy the negotiation and believe in yourself. Believe that with the right strategy you will win the negotiation.
Don’t be so invested in the outcome that you’re unwilling to take risks. If you’re unwilling to take risks, you’ll likely not be willing to ask for what you really want. Be fearless and courageous when negotiating, as I emphasize in Get Paid What You’re Worth. Of course, this courage must come from having confidence in yourself and your value to the company.
Believing in yourself will help you manage your stress during the salary negotiation process. It’s natural to feel awkward, uncomfortable and stressed going into a negotiation. However, instead of trying to avoid the uncomfortable confrontation, that comes with the process, know in your heart that you are worth every penny you are asking for and the more confident in your worth, the more money you can make.
To help build your confidence, understand the fact that your salary is negotiable. The reality is 90% of all human resource professionals expect you to negotiate your offer. With this in mind, they often purposely present a lower offer than they are willing to pay, expecting you to negotiate. Use this knowledge to give yourself an even greater boost of confidence in the negotiation process.
The most common reason why new hires don’t negotiate a salary or employees don’t ask for a raise is they don’t think they deserve more money. As a result, when you undervalue yourself, you underearn – shortchanging yourself and your family! Be confident and believe in yourself! Combine this confidence in your worth with patience, and you’re two-thirds of the way to success.
Patience is a virtue, especially during the salary negotiation process. Most salary concessions happen at (and sometimes after) the deadline. Although you may be tempted to give in early and accept an offer, be patient. Don’t try to rush the process, if you want to increase the chances of getting what you want.
When you consider an offer for less than you want, it’s critical that you fully understand how much you’re losing, by settling for less. When accepting a new position, remember future raises are often a percentage of your salary. By starting with a lower initial salary, you’ll continue to earn less than you would with each of these raises. For years, you’ll feel the repercussions of initially accepting a lower salary. A little patience now can pay off exponentially in the future!
The third component of mentally preparing yourself for negotiating your salary is the acquisition of key pieces of knowledge. This begins with knowledge about the employer with which you’re negotiating. Be sensitive to their economic state. The challenging economy, over recent years, has been difficult for many businesses. For this reason, a hiring manager or your boss may be under pressure to work with increasingly tight budgets. Do your research and be mentally prepared to make concessions to the salary figure in exchange for other benefits or perks that may be easier for the hiring manager or boss to say yes to.
You must also do your research about the salary range for the position you’re interested in, factoring in your specific experience and education as well as your geographic area and cost of living. If you’re asking for a raise, track the results of your hard work, to quantify the value you’ve brought to the company. This knowledge not only ensures you’re requested salary is appropriate and realistic, but also helps solidify your confidence in your value.
Lastly, learn about the company’s needs and how you can fulfill those needs. Reiterate to the hiring manager why you are the best fit for the position and, therefore, worth the salary you’re asking for. When you’re asking for a raise, again demonstrate to your boss why you’re a valuable member of the team. Use quantifiable examples, when possible, to show how you’re activities are best fulfilling the mission of the company, taking advantage of opportunities, and best overcoming the challenges they face. Again, this knowledge not only helps you convince the hiring manager or your boss of your value, but it should also give you an increased level of confidence, which will help ensure your salary negotiation is a success.
Still not ready to approach your boss and ask for a raise? Joel offers coaching to help you overcome the fear that stands in the way and learn effective strategies that will increase your chances of a positive outcome. Click here to learn more about Joel’s salary negotiation coaching.