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CAT | Negotiate

Whether you are negotiating a brand new job offer or a simply trying to get your boss to give you a pay raise, here are 5 levers or hooks to drive a negotiation.

Five levers to start a salary negotiation
1.) Goodwill – Sometimes all you need is a smile or actually just need to ask. “Thank you for your offer, I really appreciate it. However, I was hoping for a slightly higher salary – is there anything you can do?” If you are nice, calm and sympathetic about it, the person you are negotiating with will try to help you if they can. So don’t be afraid, just ask.
2.) Hard data – Hard, cold facts are always a good thing assuming they are in your favor.
For example, research salaries for the specific company or industry in question on websites such as glassdoor.com, payscale.com or salary.com. Sometimes industry guides such as those from Vault and other also contain hard data. Next, you can also poll folks in your network if they know the industry – just ask them “what kind of salary should I expect?”. Use the data you collected thoughtfully and carefully in your negotiation, mainly as a “proof-point” in your reasoning. “You are offering me $70k for this position. However, my research tells me that your competitors pay $80k for the same position. Can you raise your offer to match the industry standard?”
3.) Profit share – Ask for a share of what you bring in. If your job allows you to measure your impact (not every job does), then ask for a cut of the proceeds. Ask what they expect you to achieve (sales, cost savings, etc) and then ask them for a small cut of anything you do above and beyond their expectation. If you don’t meet their expectation, it won’t cost extra, if you exceed their expectation they are still better off than before.
4.) Better offer – Now we start to play hard ball. Here you either bluff or actually have a better offer in hand and use that for leverage “I would love to work with you guys, you seem like the perfect fit. However, I also have an offer from XYZ, and they are offering me $20k more for the same position. Can you improve your offer? I would really prefer to be able to chose your offer over theirs”. This is a risky play – you can quickly offend people – so be careful in your tone (don’t be arrogant or aggressive), body language and messaging (be polite and friendly!).
5.) Threat – This is the toughest and riskiest approach. Here is simply say that unless a certain condition is met you cannot accept the offer – fix it or else you will walk. All the points above about tone etc apply here aswell. But be very careful, if you mess this up you might end up with a successful negotiation but with an unhappy boss who felt he was taken advantage of – not a good start to a new career.
Remember, salary is not the only variable in a negotiation – consider things such as benefits, timing to promotion, future salary increase promises, bonuses, job responsibilities, work hours etc.
We will discuss these issues in another post, but keep them in mind.
Also, remember to go into the negotiation with a clear threshold in mind. Set your minimum expectation. Be willing to walk away if they don’t hit that threshold, be willing to shake hands if they do.

Five levers to start a salary negotiation

1.) Goodwill – Sometimes all you need is a smile or actually just need to ask. “Thank you for your offer, I really appreciate it. However, I was hoping for a slightly higher salary – is there anything you can do?” If you are nice, calm and sympathetic about it, the person you are negotiating with will try to help you if they can. So don’t be afraid, just ask.

2.) Hard data – Hard, cold facts are always a good thing assuming they are in your favor.  For example, research salaries for the specific company or industry in question on websites such as glassdoor.com, payscale.com or salary.com. Sometimes industry guides such as those from Vault and others also contain hard data. Next, you can also poll folks in your network if they know the industry – just ask them “what kind of salary should I expect?”. Use the data you collected thoughtfully and carefully in your negotiation, mainly as a “proof-point” in your reasoning. “You are offering me $70k for this position. However, my research tells me that your competitors pay $80k for the same position. Can you raise your offer to match the industry standard?”

3.) Profit share – Ask for a share of what you bring in. If your job allows you to measure your impact (not every job does), then ask for a cut of the proceeds. Ask what they expect you to achieve (sales, cost savings, etc) and then ask them for a small cut of anything you do above and beyond their expectation. If you don’t meet their expectation, it won’t cost extra, if you exceed their expectation they are still better off than before.

4.) Better offer – Now we start to play hard ball. Here you either bluff or actually have a better offer in hand and use that for leverage “I would love to work with you guys, you seem like the perfect fit. However, I also have an offer from XYZ, and they are offering me $20k more for the same position. Can you improve your offer? I would really prefer to be able to chose your offer over theirs”. This is a risky play – you can quickly offend people – so be careful in your tone (don’t be arrogant or aggressive), body language and messaging (be polite and friendly!).

5.) Threat to walk away – This is the toughest and riskiest approach. Here is simply say that unless a certain condition is met you cannot accept the offer – fix it or else you will walk. All the points above about tone etc apply here aswell. But be very careful, if you mess this up you might end up with a successful negotiation but with an unhappy boss who felt he was taken advantage of – not a good start to a new career.

Remember, salary is not the only variable in a negotiation – consider things such as benefits, timing to promotion, future salary increase promises, bonuses, job responsibilities, work hours and others. We will discuss these issues in another post, but keep them in mind.

Also, remember to go into the negotiation with a clear threshold in mind. Set your minimum expectation. Be willing to walk away if they don’t hit that threshold, be willing to shake hands if they do.

Good luck!

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