While we all know there are plenty of people out there who genuinely love their jobs, one reason still tops the list of why we go to work each morning: money.
The only problem is that few of us actually know how to negotiate our salaries. In fact, many employer expect you to negotiate for a higher wage. If you don’t ask for a raise, especially at the time of your annual review, you could be leaving money on the table that the company is more than willing to pay you.
The next time you’re feeling like you should be making more money, try these tips:
1. Forget about negotiating salary.
The best way to start negotiations is to not bring it up until the time is right. Make sure you’re giving an employer what they want: a productive, enthusiastic, and responsive employee.
The more employers see your value, the more receptive they’ll be to your requests. So, wait until you really crush a project or get a glowing performance review before asking for a pay bump. After all, timing is everything in business, including asking for a raise.
2. Do plenty of research.
Research will always be your friend. For one, it’ll help you come up with a much more realistic number than if you base it on what you think you’re worth. Come to the table from a data driven place.
Hit up sites like Glassdoor, Payscale, and the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Narrow down the data to state and city, and even do a quick Google search of recent job posts to see what your position gets paid at other organizations. There’s nothing wrong with passion, but you should support it with data.
3. Know your value.
Coming to the table with what people in similar positions make probably won’t be enough. Tie your contributions to a specific value for the company. Share how you’ve increased revenue or created cost savings. Or, focus on special achievements, initiatives, or process improvements.
Related: To Get What You Want, Play the Percentages
4. Practice to make perfect.
If the thought of asking for a raise makes you drip with sweat, do a practice run — and I’m not talking about with a friend. Call up your internet provider, bank, or credit card company and just ask whether you’re getting the best rate. Then, take a stab at lowering the rate. If they won’t budge, try negotiating for something else, like additional services or a free upgrade. This fairly low-stakes situation allows you to exercise your negotiation chops.
5. Get on the books.
No one needs to tell you not to ask for a raise in the hallway or lunch room — at least I hope not.Instead, set up a meeting where the two of you can devote your undivided attention to the discussion. And, of course, show up on time with all your talking points prepared.
6. Give ‘em a reason or two.
When you make the “ask,” be sure to mention all the research you did in support of your request. An explanation for the pay increase can go a long, long way to getting you close to what you want, especially if what you want is more than market averages. Explain exactly why you're worth the money. Get down to the specifics to appear as objective as possible.
Related: 6 Ways Volunteering Can Help You Reach Your Career Goals
7. Don’t make demands — or ultimatums and comparisons.
You do yourself no favors by making demands, ultimatums, or comparisons. Nor is it helpful to reason that you need the money to survive. Employers don’t dole out raises just to help you afford the cost of your lifestyle or because you found out a coworker makes more than you. And if you march in the office and say you’ll quit if you don’t get a pay bump, your boss may just call your bluff.
8. Prepare to wait.
If you think you’ll get an answer on the spot, think again. Rarely will employers agree to a salary increase without conducting a little research of their own. They’ll also need to make sure there’s room in the budget to even offer you a raise. Just make sure to leave the meeting with an understanding of when you’ll hear back with a decision.
You should never be afraid to negotiate on your own behalf, just as long as you’ve got the data and reasons to support the ask. And if the answer is no, understand that it doesn’t mean you’re a loser or they don’t value you as an employee. It could very well be a case of money on their end. Just cool off for six to eight months, and then ask again.
If you’d like to learn more about negotiating a salary increase, or would like to explore your options for other employment, please let us know. Our team would be more than happy to discuss what we can do to help you reach your career goals.