Negotiating your salary often sounds pretty intimidating. I get it. Negotiating in general often does. It definitely happened to me when I started thinking about it and doing it. And while I’m incredibly skilled at negotiating at this point in my life with no inhibitions about making great deals with corporate CEOs, also know that I wasn’t always like this. Two years ago, I was far from the negotiator I am now.
I say this to let you know that the ability to negotiate is not simply bestowed upon individuals. Good or excellent negotiators get to where they are by observing what the most influential negotiators do. Then they mirror that. Then they invent their own nuances to refine what they have learned and create a negotiating style that works for them. That’s how I’ve done it and continue to do it. I wish the same for you. Learning this skill will make your life better and make it easier for you to get what you want. Follow the five-step process and you’ll be a skilled salary negotiator in no time.
Disclaimer: A lot of people get a bad feeling in their gut when they hear the word “negotiation”. I understand this impulse given the old-school, manipulative sales way of doing things that used to dominate America. Please know that any and all negotiation we discuss here (and that I do) is negotiation based on integrity and honesty. Not only is this the right thing to do, it is also more effective these days.
Step 1: Have A Clear Vision For The Position And Salary You Really Want
To negotiate effectively, you need to know what your desired outcome is and be very clear about it before you get to the first interview. You need to know before you submit your first resume. There are two reasons for this.
First of all, if you don’t have a very clear idea of what you want (and what you REALLY want), the level of enthusiasm and passion that you put into your resume building and interview process won’t be as great. strong as it should be. Not if you’re going to negotiate incredibly effectively.
Second, if you don’t have a very clear idea of what you want, you’re not negotiating. You are the subject of the desires of others. It is as simple as that. Negotiation itself is about finding a way to get exactly what you want (or as close to it as possible). To do this, you have to know EXACTLY what you want.
Read also: How To Know If You’re A Natural Negotiator
Step 2: Find Out What The Decision Makers Are Looking For In The Ideal Candidate
You can often find this out through the job description. You can also ask each person you are interviewing with what they are looking for in the ideal candidate. In an ideal case scenario, you’ll have a connection in the company who can consult you on this before the interview process starts. But this last part isn’t necessary.
Once you know what they are looking for, do everything you can to SHOW how you fit the description of this candidate. Show through your resume. Show through the stories you tell that highlight who you are as a person, a professional, and the skills you possess. Show through the actions you take. And don’t hold back here. Ultimately, you want to show them that you are a better fit for the position than anyone else. This is what gives you leverage to negotiate.
Step 3: Understand That You Need To Do All The Right Things Leading Up To The Negotiation
So much of negotiation is the work that you put in before the actual negotiation takes place to get leverage. In the case of negotiating your salary, your leverage includes the mastery of skills you have developed relevant to the position you are interviewing for. It includes your track record of not only success, but delivering incredibly high-performing results. It includes your personality and leadership ability.
If you haven’t yet developed yourself to the point where you have leverage, be willing to. make sure you are prepared to follow through on the work it takes to makes to create leverage. It will result in you being way more valuable to employers and making more money.
If you have developed yourself to the point where you have leverage, great. Sometimes this process can be stressful and it can be tempting to settle. Just remember that by settling on less than what you want, you are limiting your own success now and in the long-term. The people who end up getting what they want stick to their guns, know what they bring to the table and won’t back down from asking for what they deserve. This isn’t in a cocky or arrogant way, but rather in a way that exudes confidence in yourself. It’s based on the facts of who you are, what you have accomplished and what your track record is.
Step 4: Know How Valuable You Are
Everything in sales and negotiation starts with you and your internal state. It starts with your emotions, the thoughts running through your head, and the values you embody as a person. At a physiological level, we have mirror neurons that tell us at a subconscious level where the other person is at. Make sure you take care of your end of things.
At every step through the interview process, you need to be in a GREAT state. Put yourself into a highly positive, optimistic state in which you are incredibly confident that you will perform at a higher level than anyone else in this role. This will come through in what you say and all of the sub communications your body language is giving off. For some people that means listening to pump-up music before. For others it means drinking a lot of coffee. For others it means exercising.
Whatever it takes to get yourself feeling GREAT, do that. And think about all of the great successes you have had in your life. It will boost your confidence to KNOW you are the best person for the job
Step 5: Don’t Settle
Let them present you an offer. If it isn’t what you KNOW you deserve, let them know that you appreciate the offer and are INCREDIBLY excited about the company… but you can’t accept it because you know that with your experience, work ethic and skill set which you have developed over time, you will be bringing a greater level of value than what the salary indicates. Beware of them pushing back and telling you that this job will result in you developing even more skills.
The truth is… if you are REALLY that good and are also skilled in communicating how good you are, someone will pay you the money you are looking for. If you aren’t that good yet, get that good. Build your skills to the point where you produce high-achieving results. Do your best work in your next job. Because thriving in the work that you do and being a better option than anyone else is what gives you the leverage to negotiate.
It’s not easy. But, it is effective. It’s what it takes.
Frequently Asked Questions
How do you ask for salary respectfully?
It is critical to request your paycheck politely in order to be adequately compensated while having a positive connection with your management. There might be a number of reasons why you haven’t been paid yet, including human error. Being polite indicates professionalism and comprehension. This may persuade the payer to keep working with you, particularly if you are a freelancer.
There are usually several ways to frame a question. Style and approach assist you in obtaining the information you want. When asking what an employer will do for you, choose your words and phrases carefully. Let’s get started. Using precise phrases may sometimes make a difference. When inquiring about pay, use the phrase “compensation” rather than “money,” and want a range rather than a precise sum. Similarly, if you’re looking for information on work-life balance, it could be better to approach the subject via the lens of “office culture.”
The key to discussing compensation effectively is to avoid making it the focal point of the interview. You want to communicate your interest in the role and illustrate why you would be a good match for the business. If you enter the discussion too quickly, it may seem that you are solely interested in the money side of things.
How do you find out how much you are worth?
Your wage should be determined by your experience, knowledge, talents, and geographic area. Looking at what other individuals in your profession, at your level, and in your locality are paid is a smart method to see whether you are being underpaid. There are many tools available to assist you in obtaining the statistics you want. Determine a wage range for yourself based on your study after checking internet resources and speaking with coworkers, which you may give to a hiring manager or your supervisor. Salary negotiations are often seen as adversarial discussions between workers and employers. However, attitude may stymie discussions.
How do I know if I am underpaid?
When you’re underpaid, you might feel emotionally drained, and this spills over into various aspects of your personal and professional life, including your motivation at work. Too frequently, your lack of confidence, knowledge gaps, and systems set against you may stifle your growth. Whether you’re searching for a raise or promotion, looking for job, or just interested (as you should always be), career specialists are here to help you determine your worth, ask what’s fair, and advance at every stage of your career.