If you have followed the steps we’ve written about so far – outlining your accomplishments and value to the company, figuring out exactly what you want, and lining up your allies, then it’s time to negotiate for your salary increase.
To land a significant raise, and our clients do, we strongly believe in three things: Preparation, Presence, and Practice.
If you can anticipate the ways in which your argument for a raise will be challenged, then you can be prepared with answers.
Here are three typical challenges that you may face during a salary negotiation:
Challenge 1 – “We don’t have it in the budget.” Often that is a sentence to stop you in your tracks. So you need to continue the conversation by saying, “Here is what I am looking for, what is the best that you can do?” Ask them to make you a counter offer and Never bid against yourself. That means if you have asked for $10,000, and they say no, don’t come back and ask for $8,000. Insist that they make you an offer. If they dig their heels and tell you that nobody is getting raises this year, then be prepared with the other things that you are looking for.
Challenge 2 – “I want you to have this but I’ll never get it through HR”. The person you are negotiating with may not have the authority. Ask them, “I know that this is challenging, what do you think we can do about this?” Your strategy is to get your boss aligned with you and to advocate on your behalf. Make this a problem to be solved rather than a roadblock.
Challenge 3 – “I can’t give you this because I can’t give it to the others.” The strategy here is to use evidence (spreadsheets, charts, powerpoint) to make a case for your value that goes above and beyond your current compensation level. Perhaps you should be slotted into a new compensation level and there may be an opportunity for a bonus at the time of your promotion. And if you cannot be compensated in money, suggest other ways that you can be compensated.
Work on cultivating a self-confident presence. Not feeling so confident? Here is our advice. Review the evidence – why do you deserve this salary increase? List all all the reasons that you deserve this raise and notice how you mindset begins to shift.
Next? Review your skills and strengths – What unique skills and strengths do you bring to the table that are invaluable to your organization’s goals? One great tip to increase your confidence is to work with someone to help you to uncover more of your skills and strengths. This is a critical step during our executive coaching process but you can also do this with a close friend as well.
And one final bit of advice on presence. Sometimes pretending you have confidence, can lead you to feeling confident. This trick of “Fake it till you make it” is a good one because it works. You might surprise yourself with a feeling of confidence that you didn’t realize you had.
There is no substitution for this step. When we work with our clients, we spend a lot of time thinking through challenges, coming up with responses that feel authentic, then practicing those responses over and over. Just like learning to play an instrument or a sport, negotiating is skill that has to be practiced to be learned. And this skill that can be developed and strengthened with practice. Practice alone. Practice with a friend. Practice until you are confident that you have done all you possibly can to prepare for this salary negotiation.
We’ve given you our best advice, now go for it! We think you will be pleased with the results.