5 Salary Negotiation Tips You Need to Know

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The average employee in the US could be earning $7,528 more annually than their current salary. So, why aren't they?

An individual's starting salary may not seem like a huge deal. A low starting salary can actually damage an individual's earning potential in the long run; many bonuses and raises are given as a percentage of a base salary.

Beyond just making wise retirement investments, salary negotiation can have a huge impact on your future. But many people are scared or intimidated by the thought of asking for more money. Being prepared with salary negotiation tactics can alleviate some of that fear so you can walk into the negotiation with confidence.

Whether you are trying to get a raise or you are switching companies and need the advice to land a high initial salary, we've got you covered. These 5 negotiation tips will help you start the conversation and negotiate your way to the paycheck you deserve.

1. Come Into Salary Negotiation Prepared

One of the simplest negotiation tips is often one of the most neglected: you need to walk into your salary negotiation conversation with a number in mind. If you come in unprepared, you'll be at the mercy of an experienced hiring manager. Do research beforehand to learn the average rate for your skillset in your geographic area. 

You can use sites like Glassdoor or Payscale to compare salaries and see what your position is worth. You can also talk to recruiters in your area. They know what your skills and expertise are worth; ask them for numbers.

Even if your initial research just gives you a range, this can be extremely helpful. Though you may be tempted to choose a number in the mid-range, you should pick a number near the top. The number you come in with will likely be negotiated down, and starting high will get you a good salary.

Studies also show that using a precise number will cause hiring people to assume you've done more extensive research. Rather than asking for $85,000, go in with a precise number like $84,750 and you'll likely end negotiations closer to your desired outcome.

Something else to consider when negotiating your salary is asking for a sign-on bonus especially if an employer has the inability to give you the salary you desire, or to make up for the benefits you may be losing.   

Though a sign-on bonus may feel exciting (especially if it's a large sum), make sure to consider what it is replacing in the long-term. Don't accept a job with a sign-on bonus if the salary afterwards is not sufficient for your needs. If it's not, go back to negotiating or be prepared to walk away.

2. Demonstrate Your Value

Before you start discussing numbers, you'll want to give your employer a clear picture of the value that you are providing. You should walk into a salary negotiation with confidence from knowing that your work warrants higher pay.

You can share major accomplishments, how you've gone above and beyond your job role, or how you've increased your company's X by Y percent. Really anything that shows you are worth the extra money will help you negotiate the pay you want.

You can also discuss future projects and ways that you will continue to provide value to the company. Hiring managers want to choose people who are good at the work they do; make it clear that you are irreplaceable and worth the salary you want by demonstrating your skills before "the question of the numbers" comes up. 

3. Step Into Their Shoes

One of the best salary negotiation tactics to help you get what you want is to put yourself in their shoes. By doing so, you'll have a clear understanding of what exactly it is that they want. And this knowledge is a powerful tool that you can use to find a solution that meets both of your desires.

Before entering the salary discussion, figure out who you'll be negotiating with. People in different positions have different constraints in terms of what they are able to offer you. For example, an HR employee may not be able to raise your salary, but they could offer perks that make the job worth it. 

By knowing who you are going to talk to beforehand, you can begin to understand what it is they are looking for. You can also ask questions during the conversation to understand what they are looking for. What struggles are they facing that prevent them from giving you more money?

Once you know what it is that they want, find solutions that grant both parties what they want. For example, you may want a raise, but your boss may feel stressed out because of recent budget cuts. With this in mind, you can propose a solution that meets both parties' needs, such as a cost-cutting solution in your department that can free up some cash.

4. Ask for Advice

Of all the salary negotiation tips, this one may seem the most bizarre. Especially when you are trying to demonstrate your value and expertise, asking for advice seems like a weak thing to do.

However, this tactic is actually useful to help get the other person to start thinking from your perspective. A simple question like "what would you do if you were in my position?" will flatter the other party in the salary negotiation conversation, gaining their goodwill. It can help bring them closer to your side, and they may even come up with solutions to make things work that you hadn't previously thought of.

5. Know When to Walk Away From Salary Negotiation

Salary negotiation tactics can only go so far; sometimes the other party won't budge, and in this case, you need to be prepared to walk away. Come up with a minimum amount that you'll accept, and stick to it.

If you aren't getting what you want, though, you have to be willing to say "no." Sometimes the simple act of saying no will get the other party to agree, but don't expect this and make the mistake of walking away from a job you really want.  

If you really want the job but need a better offer, you may also want to consider other non-monetary benefits. Extra vacation time or continued education support can make a slightly lower salary worth it and allow both parties to walk away satisfied with the agreement.

Use Negotiation Tips to Get a Better Salary

With these negotiation tips, you no longer have to worry about asking for a raise or getting a good starting salary. There's always a consensus that you can reach. With these five salary negotiation tactics, you'll be able to land a deal that both you and your boss will be happy with. 

When you get the extra money, make sure to use some of it to protect your family's future. Learn more today about how life insurance can protect your loved one's financial future.