Women are notorious for taking the first job offer for the least amount of money, and settling for the least amount of resistance. So many of us must have gone to the same school that bangs into our heads, “Be grateful to get a job and don’t act like an ingrate by holding out for more money.” Bad advice in this competitive marketplace. You need to know your worth, know your industry, and know what salary ranges you can reasonably expect in your particular field of work.
There is a time for polite caution. However, you certainly have permission to ask for as much money as possible, based on your skills, educational background, and experience on the job.
The first order of business is to remember this critical point: YOU Negotiate ALL THE TIME!
Here are some ways that we all negotiate in our daily lives:
--Finding a choice parking space before someone else gets it
--Getting the lowest price you can for that perfect outfit
--On the phone with a utility customer service rep when you work out installment payments
--The curfew for your teenager when all of the other moms and dads say otherwise
--Switching your days off with another colleague when you really have plans next Monday
That list could continue when you think of the countless ways we navigate the variables in our lives just so that we can live comfortably and confidently “in our own skin.”
Here are FIVE quick tips to help you get paid what you’re worth during salary negotiations, or to help you sign the right business contact that would make the toughest negotiator proud.
1. Do Your Homework And Know The Price Parameters
Don’t ever go into salary negotiations or contact talks without understanding the numbers. You can visit salary.com, www.glassdoor.com, or other web platforms that can give you the range of wages and salaries for countless job positions. Go online and do a google search. Ask the question, “How much does the average X make in (your state or county)? I just asked the question, How much do lawyers make in Massachusetts?” and received an instant list of salaries of some of the top law firms in the state.
The same is true for business contracts. Understand what you should receive in a contract by searching for similar contacts online. If you belong to the trade association in your industry and actively engage in member events, you can check around with your colleagues to see what other possibilities exist when landing a contract with a similar company.
2. Establish Your Clear Goals and Expectations In Advance
Yes, you want to receive the most money possible. However, you want to understand all of the price ranges that make your request reasonable and justifiable. If you are responding to a job offer, how much money do you need to live comfortably and adequately? If you are signing a business contract, do you understand all of the tasks and responsibilities it takes to complete the project on time and under budget? Know your numbers and set your goals before you begin to negotiate
3. PRACTICE and Create Pre-Meeting Responses To Objections To Your “Asking” Points
Remember you are representing YOURSELF when you negotiate for a salary or contract offer. Make sure you practice your responses and think through your answers BEFORE the conference call, face to face meeting or Skype/Zoom session. Rehearse your responses, even to the point of creating a written script for yourself. And for goodness sake create responses to the reactions you may receive when you take your numbers higher, based on the position or contract you’re pursuing. Know how to respond to, “Oh that’s too much.” Or, “That amount is outside of our budget.” What’s your comeback line if those responses are given? Perhaps you can say, “I understand $XXX might be higher than you had anticipated, but here’s where my services/skills/talents/ will add substantial value to your organization.” At that point, you begin to SELL your value, talents, skills, expertise and educational background to the company representative. This leads to my next point….
4. Stop Selling Yourself SHORT
You have more talent, experience, natural ability and tenacity that you realize! You must learn how to turn OFF the little voice inside that is overly cautious and too quick to remind you when something in the past didn’t work well for you. You must listen to the bigger voice inside you that reaffirms your value, self-worth, and integrity. That’s the voice that reminds you of your strength and your courage and points to the situation you had in the past when against all odds you achieved that goal and resolved that difficult problem. Turn off the little voice! Tune up the bigger voice. Stop telling yourself that you’re not good enough. Smart enough. Attractive enough. Tell yourself that YOU DESERVE the very best available in your industry. You are striving to achieve each day. You’re getting closer to achieving your goals and aspirations.
Say it. Think it. Believe it. Stop selling yourself short!
5. Make Silence Your Best Friend
Now the critical moment has arrived. You found the courage to ask for top dollar and you are waiting for the response.
STOP TALKING AND BE QUIET! SILENCE IS NOW YOUR BEST FRIEND.
Find new courage. Breathe. Wait for the reply. If the offer still isn’t to your liking, counter the offer and again....
STOP TALKING AND BE QUIET!
Yes, silence makes us uncomfortable, but it is a powerful way to reinforce our financial goals during negotiations. Make sure that your voice level stays at an even keel, which indicates a sense of confidence and empowerment. Try this technique, and you will be amazed at its effectiveness. In the end, you will marvel at how well you negotiated your salary, benefits package or business contract.
Good luck. Be prepared. Expect to negotiate with confidence, diplomacy, and determination.
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Carole Copeland Thomas is a 27 year speaker, trainer and consultant specializing in global diversity, empowerment, multiculturalism and leadership issues.