We all know the importance of job satisfaction. Most employees spend at least a third of their day at their work, and up to half of their waking hours. That’s more than most people spend with their friends, their families, even their dogs. Given the sheer amount of time dedicated to working, it makes sense that people look for high job satisfaction.
One key component of that job satisfaction is a salary that matches your worth. Your paycheck is far from the only factor in job satisfaction. However, if you are consistently underpaid, you will likely feel undervalued and frustrated about the many hours you spend working to barely make it by. Key negotiation strategies garnered from the best negotiation skills seminars can help you get paid what you deserve.
The first rule of most negotiation seminars is to come prepared. In a negotiation, knowledge is power. If you don’t have that knowledge by the time you arrive at the table, it can damage your negotiating position.
Before coming to an interview, much less a salary negotiation, conduct market and salary research in your field. This information will help you know where you stand and how aggressively you can negotiate for a higher starting salary.
- Is the market growing rapidly?
- Is there a high demand for your skills?
- What are others in the profession matching your skills paid?
- How does this company’s pay stack up to others?
- Is the company willing to go higher for truly stand-out talent?
If you don’t know about the market, it’s easy for an employer to make you feel that you’re one of many and that you have low bargaining power. Also, if your employer knows you accepted lower pay at an earlier position, they may try to take advantage of your (former) willingness to be paid less. Employers may then only offer you a small percentage increase on your previous salary.
However, negotiation seminars teach that with a strong understanding of the market and your place in it, you can more confidently ask for a competitive salary. The employer will likely be impressed by your savvy as well as your understanding of where the industry is going and how you fit in it.
Know Your Value
Negotiation seminars emphasize that the most successful deals are the ones where each negotiator walks away feeling like they achieved what they wanted. This advice holds true in salary negotiations, as well. When you push for a competitive salary, you may imagine that your new boss might push back against the idea of paying more than they need to.
However, if you are able to demonstrate the unique value you would bring, the company may want to offer you a competitive salary. Don’t focus on why you need the money, but rather why the company needs you.
Highlight your skills, experience, and any qualities that set you apart, and explain how those qualities translate into better output for the organization. If you can make your value clear, the company are more likely to pay a bit extra to ensure that your talent is contributing toward their bottom line.
Just as you go into a salary negotiation ready to speak to market trends, competitive salaries, and the value you can bring to the company’s bottom line, it also pays to go in knowing what you want for yourself. Have a specific number in mind based on your salary research.
From your research, you should know the salary range for the median employee in that position and in that industry. So start your negotiations at the higher end of the salary range. That way, if your new employer seeks to bargain you down, they are starting from a higher, but still reasonable, number.
Another negotiation tactic is to name a very specific number, avoiding a round figure. Humans are prone to looking at the first few digits in a big number, which can make it easier to negotiate a higher salary. For instance, a store can convince you to buy a loaf of bread that costs $3.95 more easily than one that costs $4. Likewise, employers may pay $88,500 or even $91,000 more willingly than $90,000.
Round numbers invite pushback, whereas non-rounded numbers suggest some thought or formula has been used. If the average salary range for your position is $80-90,000, this negotiating tip may help you earn a few extra thousand a year without the employer feeling the pinch.
It’s also important to clearly know your absolute lowest acceptable amount. The hiring manager may have been trained in negotiations. Sometimes, hiring managers may take advantage of your desire to be hired, putting pressure on you to accept a lower salary than what you’re worth.
Remember to stay cool under all that heat. Starting your negotiations high and knowing your absolute lowest limit can help you feel confident that an offer within this range is an appropriate one.
Think Beyond the Paycheck
Negotiation trainers frequently remind their students of the importance of staying creative and flexible when looking for an outcome that gives each negotiator a win. Think of your contract negotiations in the same way.
There may be many reasons why a certain company can’t pay you the exact dollar amount that your skills command. Sure, the offer may be so low that you decide to walk away. However, in many cases, organizations with limited funds can try to attract you through benefits packages that make it worth your while.
Some organizations offer retirement savings matches that pay serious dividends down the line. Others offer benefits like gym access, free lunches, or continuing training and education. Many companies offer flexible work hours that can give you the freedom to maintain a happy work-life balance, go back to school, or even work a fun side job that brings you more money, variety, and experience.
If you think that the salary is a below what you would normally accept based on the market and your experience, you may even be able to convince the company to throw in a few extra benefits, each of which adds value to their offer. So, when pushing for a deal that works for both you and your employer, take into account the whole array of benefits on offer.
If you apply these tips and techniques in your next salary negotiation, you can confidently work toward achieving a competitive salary.