Asking for a raise, no matter how needed or overdue it may be, can be quite intimidating. Even more intimidating — negotiating your salary for a brand new job. Here are some ways to fine tune your negotiating skills so you can be fully prepared and hopefully successful when it comes time to walk into your boss’s office.
Have a reasonable, but desirable number/range:
Have a desired number and the minimum you’d be willing to take already worked out before you begin negotiations. Keep both amounts satisfactory and reasonable. Do research to find what other similar companies in the industry offer employees in your role. Some say it’s best to avoid specific number dropping. Instead, if pressured, it may be best to offer a range that you would be happy with.
Know why you deserve the raise:
It’s pretty safe to say that everyone, even those who know they haven’t been doing the quality work to deserve it, would be happy to receive a raise. Raises are nearly always desirable. When you want a raise, it’s time to evaluate why you deserve one. Think from your boss’s point of view. What have you accomplished? What successes have you contributed to? What have you brought to the company? Showing your accomplishments with numbers to back them up may be the best strategy, but may not always be applicable, depending upon your profession. It’s also best to keep personal reasons out of the conversation. Saying how the raise would really help your finances makes it less about the merit of your request and more about your personal need. Even if the need happens to be there, keep the discussion merit based.
Only negotiate in person:
It’s never a good idea to try to negotiate in an email or over the phone. Talking face to face is always the best way to go.
Timing is going to be important when it comes to whether or not your negotiations are successful. If you just successfully completed a project or had a stellar performance review, this can only work in your favor as it will complement why you deserve the raise. Timing may also work against you if the company is taking a hit or your latest project wasn’t a successful venture.
Balance listening and speaking:
This definitely comes in play when you are actually negotiating. Don’t feel like you have to do all of the talking. Hear your boss out and listen to his or her concerns. Consider these issues carefully before responding, but make sure that you say what you both need and want to say. Just don’t be afraid to listen. That way, if there is resistance, listening and weighing what your boss is saying will make it much easier to find a compromise that works for everyone.
Be open to other options:
A raise is simply means more income—but there are other benefits that can be offered. These are things that you should consider and be open to when negotiating. Negotiating, when successfully done, is often about compromise so that both parties are better off. Sometimes additional vacation days, added bonuses, promotions or other perks may be offered. Be willing to discuss these additional benefits and consider what would be acceptable for you beforehand so you have some idea when negotiations are actually taking place.
Negotiating is a skill that is best learned through practice. While practicing what you are going to say can be beneficial, it may also help to actually negotiate with another person beforehand, whether in a low pressure situation or just with a friend who is willing to help you with your preparations.
Regardless of the outcome, learn from the experience:
As stated before, the only way to get better at something is to have more practice and more experience—Negotiating is no different. Try to take something away from the experience, whether you get the raise you were looking for or not. In both success and failure, there is something to learn.