8 Ways to Negotiate Your Way to a Higher Salary
In my time working for and writing about startups, I've observed that people who deserve a raise the most are often the least likely to ask for one. It seems like every organization has that one workhorse who completes large numbers of tasks but who doesn't seem to know their own worth. Sometimes people forget that they should let their employer or client know that their additional expertise, knowledge, and skills are more valuable than they were in the past, when they had not acquired the skills that they have now.
While it can be a scary experience, it doesn't have to be as frightening if you follow these eight ways to negotiate a higher salary.
1. Focus on what a raise would achieve for you.
The power of positive thinking goes a long way, as do affirmations that involve telling yourself you deserve to make more. This gets easier to do as your skills and capabilities increase on the job and as you deliver results for your company. If you believe you can get a raise, this can come through in your body language and what you negotiate with your boss, possibly making you more likely to convince them. However, if you sound unsure, this could also be transmitted and derail those salary negotiations. Be sure to look at the negotiations like a partnership rather than "you versus them." This may calm you down and decrease any pressure.
2. Research salary averages to justify a salary.
Sites like Glassdoor, Indeed, Payscale or Simply Hired can work well for you. You can even narrow down the data to your state and city to further backup your salary negotiations. In addition, you can look at online job listing sites to see what current positions like yours pay. This data is good to bring with you to your discussion.
3. Share your performance record.
This is an effective way to illustrate why you deserve a raise. The hope is that you would be able to list all of your achievements, which are tied to an existing performance plan. You would be able to check off the completion of certain goals that you and your boss had previously created together. It's an effective way to illustrate your worth in terms the company can understand as well as show them what it might cost to replace you.
4. Have a salary and perks list ready to negotiate.
Think in terms of the bigger picture about a higher salary. This includes (but is not limited to) extra vacation time, working from home, more responsibility, a bigger role, more training or even a flexible schedule. You may easily be able to get a pay increase if your boss thinks it's the only thing you want. Make sure you've accounted for all the perks you think you deserve and then determine (or at least think about) what you're willing to settle for.
5. Don't be the first to name the salary.
I generally advise people to let their boss mention salary specifics first. If you go first, you could be selling yourself short. In the moment, you may doubt yourself and go lower for fear you might upset your boss. If your boss agrees immediately, you may have started the negotiations too low. If they name a figure for what they think you deserve at this point, you have a good idea where you stand and you can explore whether or not there's wiggle room to go higher. I recommend asking for a few days to mull over the offer. It will give you a chance to consider how you feel and either accept it or come back with a counteroffer.
6. Schedule a time to discuss this issue.
This may sound like common sense. Alas, I've seen people just barge into their boss's office and try to start a negotiation. Make an appointment that gives you time to prepare and will help ensure you have their full attention. You can opt to do it during a scheduled performance review or select another time that may seem like an opportune point in the year to discuss a raise, preferably right after a great quarter of financial results.
7. Practice your presentation before giving it.
If you're giving your boss a presentation about why you're worth more money, it's important to be ready and sound confident in your delivery. That takes practice in front of a mirror. Even better is to practice with a friend or family member so they can throw in some questions or barriers that the boss may hit you with during the conversation. This way, you can be ready with various responses, especially if you get pushback or a straight out "no."
8. Remain professional no matter what happens.
Negotiation is not easy and it can be difficult if you are not getting anywhere. Regardless, leave emotion at the door, and you'll do better. No matter what happens, remain calm, cool and collected because getting angry certainly will not get you what you are after. Don't compare yourself to co-workers, put others down, or be arrogant or greedy in your demands. Being entitled or threatening doesn't help either. Keep it professional and recognize it's usually all about making a compromise.
Sure, negotiating a higher salary is not easy. However, these raise strategies have been proven to work for many types of employees because they focus on showcasing the value proposition you offer, which is what entrepreneurs often think about as they mull over whether to give you a raise or not.
Use the boss's language and be prepared. You may be out celebrating that healthy new salary -- perks and all.