How To Negotiate for More Money
- Negotiating a higher starting salary or a pay raise is rarely easy. We may want or even need more money, but I don’t know anyone who gets excited about having to ask for it. Not only have most of us grown up hearing that talking about money is impolite, as I discussed here, but when looking for advice we hear contradictory opinions.
On one side, we’ve been taught not to be money grabbers, or to come across as self-interested jerks. Common sense certainly dictates that if you know your company is struggling, it’s probably not the best time to ask for a pay raise. No one wants to be the nail that sticks up.
But not asking could have some serious consequences in how we’re perceived by others. As this article suggests, not speaking up for yourself may make you seem expendable. Further, no one wants to look like a pushover, or feel taken for granted.
It’s a nerve-wracking issue, and each case is different. Asking, and getting, what you deserve should be a straightforward process. Try these tips to make the experience a bit easier:
1. Make the ask. If you’re interviewing for a position, it is absolutely fine and expected to negotiate from the first offer. The hiring manager is prepared to negotiate from the starting figure, and will typically leave themselves some wiggle room. So if you don’t ask, you will likely leave money on the table. If you don’t usually do this, you’re not alone! Even Sheryl Sandberg admits to almost jumping at Facebook’s first offer, until her husband encouraged her to counter. The same is true for getting a pay raise within your current position. See below.
2. Frame your request in regard to future potential, not past performance. From a company’s perspective, the only reason to be paid more is because you will deliver more in the future. If you’re asking for a pay raise, don’t make it about how hard you’ve worked in the past, your personal situation (new mortgage payment, kids in college, etc.) or what others are getting paid in your position. Talk instead about what you can do, and what your future plans are for your position.
3. Consider non-salary options. If your company can’t elevate your salary, think of your compensation as a whole. Depending on your company and line of work, you might also try to see if you could increase your benefits package, expand your vacation days, or gain flexibility. A title increase may also be an option, and to the company, it’s free.
4. Schedule a time to meet and talk about expectations. If you’re asking for a pay raise, don’t surprise your boss. Instead, set up a meeting with him or her to talk about expectations – and give them a sense of what’s coming. Scheduling a meeting gives you and your boss time to prepare, which may ultimately make the experience less stressful for both of you.
5. Don’t threaten. It’s fine to ask for money, but if you threaten to leave over it, even if you get what you want the process will leave a bad taste in everyone’s mouths. Ask for the money based on what you can do for the company, and don’t make it a requirement of your employment. (This goes for new hires or current employees.) Show your employer that you’re reasonable and understand what the company offers you as a whole, and that salary is one consideration.
6. Be prepared for No. As long as you ask in a non-confrontational manner, and at a good time, the worst you can hear is “no.” Be prepared for it, and keep your emotions in check about it. Remember that a “no” isn’t forever. Ask when would be a good time to revisit the issue, and follow up. A “no” now can be a solid “yes” later. And you’ll have laid important groundwork.
Kristi Hedges is a leadership coach, speaker and author of Power of Presence: Unlock Your Potential to Influence and Engage Others. Find her at kristihedges.com and @kristihedges.
(Image: Michal Marcol)
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