The topic of money can be a tricky one to approach so what can you do to increase your confidence in asking for and talking about money? And what steps can you take to improve your chances of a positive outcome?
Nervousness about talking money can have many causes – a lack of self-esteem, reluctance to break cultural norms, fear of being seen as mercenary or fear of rejection. But it’s worth remembering that making sure you’re paid fairly is a basic right, and it makes good business sense too. Done right, demonstrating your negotiation skills will show commercial savvy that will impress your boss.
Start by looking back over the past year and thinking about where you have over-achieved. Look at your job description and think about when you have performed over and above that. Ask: what projects have you been involved in that have been real successes? List the impact you’ve had – on your team, the business and the bottom line.
Go to the meeting with a good idea of what you’re worth – and a good awareness of what you potentially deserve and are currently missing out on. Don’t negotiate for the sake of it – just to prove you can.
Robert Walters’ own Salary Survey can be very useful here. In addition, most industries are supported by publications and bodies which provide regular salary reports. It’s a good idea to speak to a recruiter you trust too. Recruiters deal with salary negotiations on a day-to-day basis and can give you guidance on what to ask for.
Role-playing what you want to say, and how, is a great way to grow your confidence for the meeting ahead. Discuss what you’ll say with a partner, mentor or friend(s) you trust.
Another way to take the heat out of the conversation is to imagine you’re acting on behalf of a third party, Ask yourself “How much should someone doing that job, sitting in that chair, be on? Given the role and the budget, how much should they be paid?”
Timing is vital when it comes to broaching the subject of salary. Ensure you time it around when the annual pay review occurs in your business.
Don’t try to combine your pay issue with another discussion. Call a specific meeting about your pay – don’t tack it on to a meeting about anything else It’s very important that things keep to the point and don’t digress.
You don’t have to be a master negotiator to close the deal, but knowing the basics can help you a great deal:
Don’t issue an ultimatum if you don’t get what you want. Instead buy yourself some time – say, ‘I’d like to think about that and come back to you’. Stay calm and professional, and take some time to reflect.
In some cases, if you don’t get what you want it may be that the manager simply doesn’t have it in their power to do anything at the current time. In such a case put in a date for a review and ask - when do you think we might be able to move on this? Note the date and follow up accordingly.
Always end positively. Regardless of the outcome, make sure you finish the meeting on a constructive note and show your appreciation for the time you’ve been given.
And if on reflection you’re still not happy with the outcome of your negotiation, of course, it may be time to think about looking for another job where you feel the pay is closer to what you deserve.
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