We negotiate every day, it’s how we do things and get things done. Life is a sequence of negotiations and even the most tedious of tasks are a negotiation. Something as simple as ordering a coffee is in fact a negotiation.

So, if negotiation is part of our everyday living… and we’re comfortable with that – why do we struggle asking for that pay rise?

First of all, it’ personal and it’s hard talking about money – it makes us feel uncomfortable. In life timing is everything and there’s no difference to asking for a pay rise or negotiating a remuneration package.

Since everything we do in life is a negotiation, there needs to be some sort of influencing, convincing and persuading… believing in ourselves is essential – otherwise our salaries will stay the same and we will continue to feel stuck in our careers and can’t grow!

If you don’t believe in yourself, why would anyone else believe in you? 

Below are 5 tips to help you to negotiate salary with clarity and certainty:

1. Become a great listener – to be an effective negotiator you need to first, and foremost, listen. A great listener is ‘actually listening’ to the person’s point of view and understands their needs. If you don’t listen, you won’t gain leverage and you won’t be in control of your negotiation? Being ‘all ears’ allows you to focus on the issue so that you can be the solution to their problem. When you’re present, you’ll be able to pick up on clues on how to position yourself during the debate. Being aware of your employer’s body language, allows you to read their emotions. And when you listen, and not just wait for your turn to speak, you’ll come across as intelligent, there’s mutual respect and you will be heard.

2. Be brave & ask – you know that saying, ‘if you don’t ask, you don’t get’, well this is no different to salary negotiations. Instead of waiting for a salary review, set up a meeting with your manager. Be prepared to do your ‘homework’ and know your quantitative achievements; and remember, it’s not personal, so ‘stick to the facts’ and leave the emotions out. This also works well in dealing with recruiters, if they know your salary expectations, they will be able to look out for suitable opportunities for you. Additionally, they can also help you “sell” your strengths to a potential employer, which takes the pressure off you but gives you leverage during the interview.

3. See “NO” as “not yet” – when we hear “no” it often feels like a rejection, but according to Pynchon, “a negotiation doesn’t actually start until someone says no.” It’s just part of the “selling” process and you need to come up with the “goods”. Believe it or not, the word “no” has a lot of power – use it to your advantage, it’s not a stop sign! A “no” is just an opportunity to show your convincing style, so don’t tense up like it’s the end, learn to relax and give your current or prospective manager the space to open-up to your negotiation. And gaining power with the “no” means you’re identifying the best path to “yes”. When you become a strong negotiator, you will be comfortable with the “no” because it is in fact “not yet.”

4. Know your worth – you won’t underestimate your abilities when you know your value, and more importantly you won’t “undersell” yourself. Most Managers respect employees that are ready to step-up and take leadership roles, don’t be afraid to ask for extra responsibilities and let your efforts be noticed so that you can get rewarded. By doing your research you will know your worth; and by having a range in mind, you’ll remain in control and have some bargaining power. When you’re comfortable with your strengths and know your value in the marketplace, you’ll become your own “ambassador” and opportunities will present themselves.

5. Be savvy when negotiating salary – don’t be shy when negotiating your salary, otherwise there could be a compound effect which will feel unjust. Men usually pitch themselves at the higher end of a salary and women need to develop that philosophy too. Being confident in your abilities helps you deliver your “value” where you won’t feel like you’re limiting yourself. You understand all variables in the negotiation process because you’ve taken the time to get a feel for a company and their benefits and from this, you will attract opportunities that feel right for you.

The same goes with job offers. Even if you’re offered an amazing opportunity but the money is not right, there’s always room for negotiation. By putting together, a plan of your future “performance”, you will be able to illustrate what you will “bring to the table”. And if they still can’t match your salary, why not ask to be paid in increments. This way, it’s a “win-win” for both where your performance outweighs the “money” because you’re now adding value and not considered a “cost”.

When interviewing, don’t allow your past work experience to overtake your future career possibilities, otherwise you won’t have room for negotiation. Your resume gets you the interview (on paper you are right for the role) but your “soft skills” or attitude is what gets you the job. You won’t be able to negotiate if you don’t have a salary range in mind, and your future employer may offer you a “low” salary because you didn’t have any leverage. Some view this as a starting salary because you’re not considered as experienced as others in the marketplace.

Ask lots of questions, especially if things don’t seem clear so that you don’t make assumptions; and by being prepared and writing down your achievements, it allows you to articulate the value you bring to the organization. You will be able to pitch yourself at a higher level when you really know your power and own your worth.

Strong negotiators always pay attention to the facts, they know you’re both having an honest conversation where a mutual agreement will occur. And remember “silence is golden” in any discussion – your patience and flexibility allow you to hold the power and gets you over the negotiation line, every time!

And as the saying goes… “you don’t get what you deserve; you get what you negotiate.”

If you are interested in knowing more… feel free to read my book – Confessions of a Recruiter! https://www.amazon.com.au/dp/B07L4ZM84Q