You’ve been working your butt off at your job—logging on early, eating lunch at your desk and basically just crushing it across the board. I should really be getting paid more, you think to yourself. But, as many of us know, salary negotiations can be tricky for even the most deserving employee. Here are six tips from Andres Lares, Managing Partner at Shapiro Negotiations Institute, a global provider of sales, influence and negotiation training and consulting, for getting that pay bump you’re pining for.
1. Consider Who You’re Trying to Influence
Think about who you’re negotiating with. Is it Human Resources or your boss? Lares notes that if you do have to go through the process with HR, consider discussing your ask with your boss first. “He or she might may help you potentially influence another department or at least substantiate the reasons for the compensation increase,” he says.
2. Show Up on Time for the Meeting
This seems fairly obvious, but we don’t just mean showing up on time—it’s about appearing professional and prepared. If the negotiation is taking place over Skype or Zoom, test these platforms early to avoid any tech issues. If you are running into any issues prior to the interview, Lares urges letting everyone involved know what’s going on.
3. Build Rapport
“Small talk is so important, it greases the wheels of communication and sets up chemistry,” Lares tells us. “Rapport building is also closely associated with building trust and credibility. This is about the other party feeling that you have their best interest at heart and/or your intentions are genuine.” How do you do this? Try to smile, keep an open posture, ask questions, show genuine interest, don’t interrupt and mirror phrases and mannerisms.
4. Script Your Argument Ahead of Time
Lares explains that negotiation conservations are often closely tied to emotions, especially when you’re arguing for something in your favor. “It is critical for you to script out different scenarios to see how you will respond if the argument goes in your favor or against,” he says. “By scripting ahead of time, you’ll avoid any rash decisions or responses. Think strategically.
5. Understand Other Sides
It’s easy to think salary negotiations are all about you, but Lares tells us it’s important to consider your employer’s side. As you’re script your argument for a pay increase, consider what your employer will say. “Empathy, or the ability to sense other people's emotions, coupled with the ability to imagine what someone else might be thinking or feeling plays a large part in the negotiation process,” he says, adding, “Consider what your employer is concerned about.”
6. Negotiate More Than Just One Item at a Time
Sure, more money may be your end goal, but according to Lares, it’s helpful to store alternative benefits in the back of your mind in case your employer tells you, without a doubt, that a higher salary isn’t in the cards. Can you negotiate for transportation costs to be covered instead? Or maybe extra PTO days? Lares says, “Negotiating over only one aspect can quickly turn into a zero-sum game.” Think about it: If you go in with the goal of more money and your request is shut down, you leave with nothing; if you go in with the goal of more money but are willing to accept another benefit as a concession, you at least leave the conversation with something.