How to Handle Salary Negotiations Like a Pro

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Approaching salary negotiations can be daunting, especially if you haven’t done much asking over the course of your career. It's unfortunate, but there are many women who do not think to ask for a salary raise or, even know how to approach negotiations. The following tips and tricks will provide some assistance. 

Women Don’t Tackle Negotiations Enough

There is a large body of research that suggests women are behind the curve when it comes to negotiating at work. They're more likely to take the first offer of pay, while men are eight times more likely to attempt negotiating a higher starting salary. Another study shows that half of men renegotiate their salaries while only one-eighth of women do.

Why Does It Matter?

First of all, you may be cheating yourself. But on a grander scale, these statistics all contribute to the gender pay gap. It matters because, according to the World Economic Forum, women are still paid less than men in every single country on earth and it will take 81 years for women to catch up. Can't wait 81 years for that raise? Salary negotiation can be used as one way, within your control, to minimize the gap. Thankfully, it can be done artfully and skillfully.

Lead with Value, Not Money

In salary negotiations, it can be very tempting to begin the conversation with money. Resist. Instead, start with re-stating your value proposition and your specific contribution to the team. This sets the tone and provides supporting evidence of your ask. 

Be Assertive

Assertiveness certainly takes practice, but do not be afraid to ask for what you deserve. Your best armor is to be well-researched. If you have clear evidence that backs up your request, it’s much easier to be assertive. Remember, the key is to be assertive, not pushy. Remaining tactful and professional will serve you well in your negotiations. 

Ask Questions

Questions are your secret weapon. Ask for clear reasons why your request can't be approved. Ask how your salary compares to others at your level. The more questions you ask, the more you’ll find areas of opportunities that may support your cause -- this is your ammunition.

Don’t Give Everything Away at Once

Save what you want most for last and use it as leverage. Perhaps you’re willing to take a $10k raise instead of $15k, if significant non-cash perks are on the table. Figure out what you want and prioritize it. Only a salary raise? Or perhaps a corporate expense account and change of title? Try to think outside of the box.

Use Silence

Most people are uncomfortable with silence and seek to fill it at any cost. This is unfortunate, because silence is a very effective negotiation tool. Lean back, tactfully stand your ground, and wait for a few moments. You might be surprised by what your employer says next.

Table the Discussion

There are times when additional approvals are needed during negotiations. That's OK, patience is key. If you can’t come to an agreement, table the discussion for a later date. Schedule a follow-up conversation. You may find that it was worth the wait. But if not, it is also critical that you also understand when it may be time to walk away to pursue other opportunities. 

Whether you work in Corporate America or you are a budding entrepreneur, knowing how to articulate and quantify your value proposition is critical in achieving your desired level of compensation.