I know when I think about “negotiation “connoisseurs – I can’t bear but to think of a room of tough executives spewing warring words back and forth to each other in order to secure the best deal. OK, perhaps I may be exaggerating but being a great negotiator is a remarkable skill to have, not to mention it can come in handy in your career, business or even in everyday life. We have all heard that men tend to be better negotiators than women, but maybe it’s that we each have a different approach that we bring to the negotiation table.

Think about it for a second. It’s that time of the year where you know raises are being allocated into your company’s budget and you begin strategizing how you will reason your deserved raise with your boss. Or you have to “defend your case” when you’ve presented a $3,000 quote to provide marketing consultation to a company and they want to pay you $1,000. How do you prepare? What do you say? More importantly, how do you say it? Welp, it’s time to put your “big girl panties” on and get to negotiating as if you were a pro. How will you do it? I’m glad you asked! I’ve got you covered with a few helpful pointers because as I love to say “no one has the time” for you not to negotiate the best for yourself!

  • Never negotiate from fear. As you read in part 1 of our “Negotiation Series” – starting out with fear is perhaps losing the battle before you’ve even suited up. Fear tends to happen when you have not properly prepared for that meeting or the deal. Once you walk in fearful, it will be easily detected.
  • Deserving a raise just isn’t going to cut it. Your boss or potential client does not care about who you have to feed or how much you deserve that money. You have to present hard evidence that explicitly represent the value of your contributions, include solid facts and figures. Keep a trail of all of your accomplishments to use as leverage in negotiating. (Read more in our Paying Your Dues and Keeping Your Receipt article)
  • Know the industry standard. Stay abreast of what your colleagues in your company or industry both male and female are making. Ask around or use websites like www.vault.com or www.glassdoor.com. This way you can learn if your compensation is comparable and the standard market value of your work.
  • Don’t wait to deal with the raise until the last minute. Normally raises are allocated around the same time every fiscal year. Anticipate it ahead of time and prepare accordingly, great preparation exudes confidence and strategy. Practice until you are confident!
  • Leave the apologies at home. Refrain from using “I’m so sorry to bother you with this” or “I hate to be a pest but…” Using that sort of language has you looking like a sore whimp from the jump. Be confident in asking for it.
  • Never ask a “yes” or “no” question. Speak in terms that will get your boss or the potential client talking. Instead of asking, “I would like 10% raise, is that feasible?”, you should say “I was thinking of a raise in between 10% and 15%, which one would you like to approve?” This gets them talking instead of just saying no.
  • Learn to play the game. If you really want to get a 10% increase or get paid $100 per hour for your consulting services, never start with that number. Start with a number that is higher than what you really want. For instance, if you want a 10% raise, ask for a 15% raise because chances are your boss will counteroffer with 12% or 10%, or even better, he or she may just give you the 15%. Either way, you win!
  • The worst you can hear is no. If you hear no, it’s OK. But try to walk away with something. Perhaps an agreement to revisit in a few months or more vacation time.
  • Have an attorney on call. Before you sign any contracts, please have it reviewed by your attorney. There could be loopholes in your raise agreement, so have it reviewed before you put your John Hancock on anything.
  • Be ready to walk away. Sometimes there will be an instance where you will have to be prepared to walk away, sometimes your asking for a raise may tick your boss off so be prepared to walk away. Or perhaps it’s just not worth it, you have grown out of the job and it’s time to move on.
  • You are most powerful when you don’t need the raise. When you have your finances straight and you have your emergency funds, retirement investments, sufficient savings and little debt then that enables you to be even more powerful in that negotiation room.  You are not negotiating from a place of desperation or fear; you are negotiating from a place of confidence, preparation and power. You better work it girl!