“The number 1 rule in any negotiation is don’t take yourself hostage. People do this to themselves all the time by being desperate for “yes” or afraid of “no,” so they don’t ask for what they really want. Instead, they ask for what they can realistically get. I’ve heard many people say, “Well, that’s a non-starter, so we won’t even bring it up.”
― Christopher Voss
The worst mistake you can make in salary negotiations is making the first offer.To be ready for the negotiation, you must do some work and obtain the necessary information.
Criteria may include the following:
- Understand the other person’s needs and wants
- Identify the parties involved and the decision-maker(s)
- Have a clear comprehension of your main interests. Examples include:
- Price point
- Vacation time
- Define your timeline – when would you like to start the job or have the promotion
- Know your best alternatives
- Determine your threshold – this is the minimum requirement(s)
In any negotiation, the first rule to apply is this:
Never give the other party a baseline.
When asked about your expectations, you can simply answer with the following:
“I’m currently looking at a number of opportunities and I can’t give you a number. But I’m interested in seeing what you have to offer. Thank you very much.” This will allow them to give you a starting point. However, if their initial proposal is not close to what you want, you can be creative and generate other possibilities. For example, if job salary is not negotiable, you can perhaps discuss having more paid-time-off (PTO) instead. Another potential option may be increasing work performance (two or three) reviews per year. That way you can have more chances to ask for raises and promotions.
During the process, it’s imperative to only discuss one item (salary, PTO, health benefits, etc.) at a time. If the offer doesn’t meet your key needs, you must be willing to walk away. This simply means it’s not a good fit. You can decline it knowing you have other opportunities which are more aligned with what you’re looking for. Don’t ever settle. Go for “No”. After given an offer, you should first show appreciation and ask if it’s negotiable. You never want to accept the initial offer. That’s because it shows personal disempowerment. Rather, you want to demonstrate you’re someone who wants more out of life and goes after your desires.
This is especially critical if you’re in sales. To handle the situation professionally, you can say something like this:
“Thank you for the offer. I greatly appreciate it. Is there any flexibility in the base?”
They will most likely do one of two things.
- They’ll say their offer is reasonable but will ask what you had in mind.
- They would like to have a conversation.
Regardless of the response, you can now start the negotiation process. The following works quite well.
“Based on other opportunities I’m looking at, I think I’m worth X (their proposal plus 15%). If you can match this, I’ll give my notice tomorrow and we’re done.”
This shows two important things:
- You already have an offer that’s better than theirs.
- They can see the deal being complete as soon as they give you your asking amount.
In addition, getting a “no” is a great sign in a negotiation. This means you’re pushing the envelope. Otherwise, you’re not getting the best possible deal.
For example, if a hiring manager has $120,000 in his budget for your salary and you asked for $90,000, he would gladly agree to that. But if you had asked for $130,000, he would have said “no” because it was out of his allowance range. You can do this through email, over the phone or in person. The ladder two options will be more effective since most people find this type of conversations uncomfortable. Hence, you can use that to your advantage by leveraging your emotions. You can express your excitement if they can make “this” or “that” happen. Let them already envision you as a valuable member of the company.
The other party wants the negotiation to end by making a deal. To avoid disrespect and resentment after the deal, don’t exceed more than two counter offers. Maximize Your Earning. No matter what position you hold in an organization, you are replaceable. Your needs and wants aren’t the company’s highest priority. Rather it’s to maximize profit and its shareholders’ happiness. To achieve that, your employer makes certain to get the most out of you. Therefore, it’s in your best interest to do the same in return.
Even if you’re satisfied with your current role, you should try to increase your income through negotiation. To gauge their commitment to you, say something like this:
“I’m really happy the team is performing well. I’ve been passively looking at other opportunities and people also have reached out. There are other openings which are monetarily beneficial for me outside the company. I was wondering what’s going to be in the budget. Do you think there’s a possibility for me to progress here?”
Another option is this:
“I like working here. But I want to feel as I’m moving forward in my career. I want to make sure I’m getting as much as I’m putting in. What can you offer me?”
Being loyal is good, but don’t underestimate your own true worth in the workforce. Therefore, always be open to other job opportunities. By simply exploring those options will give you more leverage in your negotiations with your current employer. It also gives you reassurance of your true value given your talented skill set. This reinforces the abundance mindset that there are numerous choices for you outside of your existing job. Most things in life are negotiable. Even though they might not be common practice, you can still ask for it.
An example would be requesting the waiter at the restaurant for free dessert in trade of a boosted tip. By exposing yourself more to daily situations where you can practice your negotiation skills, you’ll be more comfortable during the necessary times such as asking for a raise or promotion. Make it a constant practice to implement your negotiations skills.
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