A survey by Salary.com revealed that just 37% of employees always aim to negotiate their salary at performance reviews, or job interviews whilst 18% never do. The reason for the reticence in this area, which is in fact crucial to job acceptance, is fear. Fear is most often a consequence of ignorance, lack of preparation or organisation.
In the second of this series of blog posts, we will provide you with some important tips on how best to handle yourself during negotiations in order to maximise your earning potential
Firstly research performed by the European Journal of Social Psychology shows that simply having a coffee - or other caffeine high drink - before negotiations will make you less easily open to persuasion. This could be a key advantage when stubbornly holding out for the best possible offer. It’s also an easy way to give yourself a confidence boost before heading into an experience many find nerve wracking.
Even if you don’t feel it put on a confident persona when attending salary negotiations. Walk into the room with a self-assured style to convince the employer that you mean business both in the meeting and in a potential new job.
This can also have its advantages for you as the negotiator. Acting confidently can lead to you beginning to believe a bit more in yourself and your ability, thus helping you to play a calm, but powerful role in gaining the best possible package you can.
As well as a confident persona, ensure that you are positive and inspiring when engaging with your employer. Positive enthusiasm is infectious, and a smile will go a long way to forging a relationship between you and the individual who you are dealing with. This could be enough to convince them to listen more sympathetically to your demands.
Always go into the negotiations with a vast and varied array of questions prepared. These should be about the organisation you are working for and their needs, preferences, fears and even what they are ideally looking for from an employee. Remarkably only around 7% of all negotiators ask these ‘diagnostic questions’ to discover what a potential employer really wants. So considering their point of view really will help you to stand out from the crowd!
Talk Yourself Up
Now that you are confident, positive, ready to negotiate and know what the organisation is looking for from its employees it is time for you to really sell yourself. Remind the organisation of what you have previously accomplished, but as well as that tell them what you are additionally prepared to do for this increase in salary. “Remember Oliver, the orphan shamed for asking for another spoon of gruel? Imagine if Oliver had approached the headmistress with an offer to clean the dining hall and polish the flatware after breakfast. “‘I’d be able to include a shoe shine for both you and the headmaster if I only had a little additional gruel, and perhaps an egg for energy,’ he’d say, smiling with his most ingratiating grin.” Those are the words of Pynchon, and are very apt when it comes to negotiating a new salary package in any career. If you are prepared to give a little extra, then it is likely that the party you are negotiating with will reward this.
Ghost of Salaries Past
Many of us who have been involved in salary negotiations have previously been there. It’s the question that we all dread if we believe we have been undervalued, or are trying to increase our salary in a new organisation. “How much are you currently being paid?”
When you get asked this you should never lie, honesty and quickly provide the figure plus bonuses and other benefits before guiding the conversation towards what you are looking for. Do this by focusing on what you feel your market value is, as well as what new skills you have developed since that salary was decided, as well as how you aim to progress moving forward with additional responsibilities that make use of your skills. This should help to convince the employer that you are confident enough in your own current ability, and that you are looking to develop as an employee, you aren’t solely focused on potential financial gains.
Put Yourself in the Other Person’s Shoes
Don’t always think about yourself during negotiations, put yourself in the person you are negotiating to’s position. Consider their aim, and their thoughts on the matter. Psychologists say that when other people’s interests are considered a solution that suits both parties is more likely to be found. So don’t be selfish, think of others and the end result could end up being of massive benefit to yourself.
Remarkably perhaps most people - particularly women - are more successful when they are negotiating for someone else, so when you’re preparing for negotiations consider the impact of what you are asking for on other people. How will your family benefit? How will it positively affect their future? Even consider the impact of the salary increase on your employer, how would they benefit from you feeling like a valued and therefore happy member of staff?
Detach yourself from the situation, make it less about you and more about other people and you will find you could have more success in negotiations
Positive Not Pushy
The final essential for productive negotiations is to ensure that you are always positive about your role and the organisation you are working in as a whole. Don’t say that the work is becoming too much for you and you are feeling undervalued, or as if you are getting a ‘rough deal’ from your employers. Instead say you feel as if the role you are being asked to undertake is expanding and as such so are your contributions to the business. This will give you a strong standpoint in negotiations assuming you can outline how the role has evolved since your salary was last reviewed, and how this has added to your overall workload.
That was part 2 of our guide on how to successfully negotiate your salary. Make sure to check back regularly for part 3 - focusing on how to ask the question itself - which will be on our website soon.