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A 12-step process to negotiate a salary without fear

negotiating your salary

Negotiating a salary is never easy, and whether we like it or not, most of us hate negotiations because we’re afraid someone will take advantage of our weaknesses.

Every time we feel that we’re being put in an unpleasant situation, we have the habit of assuming the other party is not taking us seriously. As far as salary negotiations are concerned, the fear of rejection often makes us accept a wage that doesn’t comply with our abilities. Step up your game and learn to negotiate your monthly salary without fearing the other party won’t agree with your conditions.

The following 12-step guide is meant to help you bargain for what you deserve without fearing rejection.

1. Don’t demand, just ask!

You have to ask for the things you deserve, but make sure your conditions are not perceived as a demand. Don’t be too specific and allow the employer to suggest an offer. Negotiating a salary can be a really difficult task, mainly in today’s rough economic environment. You have to be able to justify your statements and requirements.

2. An optimistic attitude matters

Discussing about salary terms is definitely a delicate issue, so you must be optimistic and respectful. If the job offer is attractive but you just can’t accept the salary terms, don’t show antipathy. Rather than adopt a bad attitude, try to discuss with your employer about your wishes. He might not be able to offer you a higher salary, but there are other aspects he might be able to provide. It’s important to find common ground and reach an agreement.

3. Emphasize your skills

A more fulfilling deal during a job interview calls for an emphasis on your skills. Mention your achievements and discuss about your successes related to your previous job. The employer will see that you’re willing to work hard and that you’re always ready to take chances to enhance performance.

4. Have faith in your skills

You know what you’re capable of, so don’t hesitate to speak up if you want a better salary and always be ready to take No for an answer. Do you have a strong CV? Can you justify your affirmations and requirements? Do you understand the fact that a job interview is simply another challenge?

5. Analyze the situation

Prior to negotiating a wage or a raise, it’s important to do your research. What are the company’s policy on salaries, how much are other people being paid, are you important enough for them? Be confident and if you’re replaceable it’s best to just walk away as their offer won’t match with your demands.

6. Allow the employer to come up with the first offer

A job interview should begin with the following question – how much does the position pay? In some cases they might surprise you with a higher salary that you expected in the first place. However, if they’re putting you to state a number, ask for more in order to make room for a negotiation.

7. Don’t follow your goal

You are not advised to start a salary negotiation with your goal because you risk getting less. It’s best to ask for more than you’re willing to take. There’s plenty of time to settle for less.

8. Approach the matter from a different perspective

How valuable you are for your employer? Don’t just bring about family matters as you won’t get a raise if you state that you have 10 kids to feed and a huge mortgage to pay. It’s best to approach the matter differently. Assess your importance to them, and try to guess what’s at stake. If you’re valuable, you’ll eventually get what you want.

9. Get the validation you deserve

If you’re valuable for the interviewing company, it’s essential to make your potential employer to state out loud that you are needed. As soon as you have that affirmation, they won’t resist if you’re asking for a higher salary.

10. Be pro-active

Ask questions from an interviewer’s position. You might be the interviewee, but that doesn’t mean you’re not allowed to get clearance. Open-ended questions that can be answered with yes/no will place you in a better light in front of your employer.

11. Follow the 80/20 rule

In a salary negotiation, it’s best to allow the employer to talk 80% of the time. Devote 20% of your time to talk and state your wishes clearly. The less you engage in the conversation, the better chances you have to get what you want. Employers like to be listened.

12. Always be ready to walk away

When you can’t get what you deserve from a salary negotiation, it’s best to say NO and walk away. That willingness will give you great power over the employer. He will sense it, and might accept your terms. Yet, if you’re desperate he will most likely force you to accept miserable terms.

All things considered, salary negotiations should be seen as challenges, not as terrifying debates. Some individuals know how to ask for the things they want, while others are afraid to express their requirements, since they assume it can persuade their employers to fire them.

If your job doesn’t satisfy you and your needs, renegotiate the terms. If you’re a valued member of their team, you have the right to enjoy better working conditions and a higher salary. Don’t just assume they’ll let you go.

Photo credit: radiant guy via photopin cc


About Greg Dillon

Greg is the founder of strategy consultancy GD | Inspires and spends his days strategising for various design agencies and clients around the world - see more at http://gdinspires.com. He is also a prolific entrepreneur having launched Strat-Talking.com - a website aimed at giving advice and insight to new, existing and veteran freelancers as well as commenting on all things strategic as well as acquiring CreativeAgencyFreelancing.com for designers. Feel free to email him at: greg@gdinspires.com or follow on Twitter @CAFreelancing.

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