Saturday, May 4, 2013

Job Offers and Gaining a Higher Income: It's All About Negotiation, Duh!

Looking for a new job?  What to be a high-income earner?  Great!

Don't like negotiation?  I mean, do you hate to negotiate?  That's good, very good.  

Now, do you  understand that having that attitude (hating negotiation) dooms you to be poor for your entire life?


Don't get angry with me for telling you that those who do not have good negotiation skills will forever be unsatisfied with life, will forever be under-paid. This is not my opinion, it's the truth actually, it's scientific fact.

Don't worry, I'm not putting you down. I'm just as poor as you are -- because in the past I told myself that I hate negotiating, and to be truthful I still do.  So clearly, I'm an expert on this topic.  But recently, I stopped hating negotiation and learned some techniques that have helped me gain a better financial situation -- so, rest assured that I know what I'm talking about! 

Negotiation is essential, negotiation is so essential in your life that it should be taught in kindergarten -- yeah, it's that essential.  Yet, we are thrown out into the world with little to no skills in this area and told to make a success of ourselves.  Yeah, good luck!

Note to self and all my friends:  If you ever have an opportunity to take negotiation classes - take them!  It will change your life forever.

Now sit back and relax. We are going to completely explore negotiation skills.  You can thank me later,  because this post is truly gonna change your life.  I'm going to help you get rich by negotiation!

How to Negotiation Your Salary 

Employers expect it and respect those who negotiate

Women and people who are historically low-income earners typically undercut themselves by avoiding negotiating.  They don't realize that many employers expect you to negotiate.  In fact, many employers see potential employees that negotiate as potential high-performers. These are the people that can think beyond the current job, these are strategic thinkers -- a job skills that is highly rated in the business world.  Show off your skills!

Prepare yourself, it's your best weapon

Do the homework.  It's very important to prepare yourself for negotiating, and the best way to do this is to figure out the salary you want or need. Then go to websites like: or and figure out what the pay rate scale is for someone with your experience and your occupational title, residing in your area.  Then compare the salary you want with the pay scale you've found.  The salary you want  should be above the 50% percentile of the pay scale you just research. If the salary you want is below the pay scale's 50% percentile, you should to adjust your numbers.

Don't let them get in your head

What most people don't realize is that negotiations happen before the job is offered, often during the phone interview.  He's the rule that you must understand at all costs: Never, never, never tell them what your previous or current salary .  

If they ask for salary history on applications put $0 in the box (if the box requires a numerical entry) if it allows text you can submit "competitive" or "current market".  If they ask you for salary history over the phone or email . . . I've come back with statements like: "Why don't we talk about this in person?"  or  "My current employer requests that I do not reveal sensitive company information."  The key is that you should never name a number first.

Practice responses and negotiation statements

Potential Employer: What type of salary are you looking for?

Candidate: "Well, I've actually done some research while preparing for this interview.  What I found is that there was a pretty wide range depending on a number of factors associated with the job, like years of experience, education, etc.  To answer that question I'd really need to have a full picture of all the responsibilities of this position before I know what that range could be. Let's talk a little more about the position, I have a number of questions . . ."

Potential Employer:  "I can't move you on to the next interview without your current salary.

Candidate: "Oh, well you have me in a corner here, because my current employer requests that employees do not reveal sensitive company information to outsiders.  While I'm still employed at [NAME OF COMPANY] my salary  is considered sensitive information.  My loyalties are with my current employer, you understand.  I really don't feel comfortable divulging sensitive company information.  I'm sure you understand."

Potential Employer:  We really need a number . . .

Candidate:  To give you a number, I really need to know more about where I fit within the organization, the requirements of the job and your expectations. I'm sure after exploring this further potential direct report, we can identify an overall package that meets both of our needs.

Potential Employer:  Oh, come on it's not rocket science.  Just give us an idea.

Candidate:  I really don't feel comfortable providing a number with the information that I have right now.  But you probably have a better grasp of the market range of this position. Can you give me a sense of the range your company is thinking of paying the person in this position?


Candidate:  I'm aware of the range for this position and I view myself as bringing value on the higher end of that range.  I'm looking in the range of . . .

Go for a range that begins on the higher scale of research (see "prepare yourself" above).  If your research says that 75% of people with your title and experience earn $60K, begin the range there.   Make sure to start at nearly the top of the range of your research and give them a large spread of $15K to $20K.  So for example, the range you are looking for would be $60K - $80K.

Practice Silence

After you are forced to state your price range.  Be silent.  Practice being silent.  Yes, it can be a little awkward, but get used to that feeling. 

Get Your Head Straight

Understand that negotiating your salary is the easiest money you will ever make.  It is literally the biggest factor in determining whether you are a high-earner or not. It also sets a precedent with your employer that you are to be taken seriously! You must decide mentally that you are going to ASK.  Seriously, you have done the hard work already, you have convinced your potential employer that you are the best person to help them.  You are the best person to meet the challenges they have in store.  

This is very important: If you are offered the job,  understand that before you sign the offer letter, your negotiating power will never be that high again.  Make the most of it!

After They Give You An Offer

Your response should be . . .

1.  I appreciate your offer of $XX but I was expecting $XX for my experience, drive and performance. 

(TIP: Make sure the amount your expect should be 5-10% higher than the salary you actually want.  If you want $50,000 you should say $55,000.)


2.  Most other POSITION TITLE in my region at similar companies are paid $XXX to $XXX and I think my skills and expertise are that valuable, if not more.  Can you offer anything in that range?

Your potential employer may baulk at these statements.  Expect that.  Understand that their goal is to get you to work for them at the lowest salary possible.  Don't back down.  Continue to show enthusiasm and excitement for the potential opportunity -- but stay confident in your abilities and value.  Ask them to consider the possibilities and get back to you later.

The recruiter will come back usually in the middle of what was offered and what you "say" you expected.  If you've done everything I have outlined, this amount should be exactly that amount you wanted in the first place.  Congratulations.  

But wait, negotiations aren't exactly finished.

Don't forget that salary is not the only thing to negotiate.

There are other things that you can negotiate and ask for, especially if you don't get the salary that you hoped for.  You can then compensate for that disappointment with other perks.  Make sure to consider these things:

1.  Signing bonus
2.  Flexible schedule/family & life balance/telecommuting options
3.  Benefits that start immediately, on the first day of work
4.  Additional vacation/sick/personal day matching your old job
5.  Promise of performance bonus
6.  Company paid phone
7.  Retirement matching

The list can go on and on, research the different perks that companies offer and figure out which ones matter to you. 

Seeing and Hearing Leads to Believing

So, in the past I've read and read and read every article and many books on negotiation -- however, negotiation techniques never hit home for me until I actually saw them being used and then practiced them in real life and in real time.  Here is an example of how to negotiate for a higher salary.  Notice how the mock negotiation session really give insight on how to effectively handle yourself during negotiations. 

The lesson here is: You need to "practice" negotiation. Practice, practice, practice over and over again until you can do it in your sleep.

Lesson Learned:

Now that you've learned all about negotiation, you should watch this 30 Rock clip - Negotiating with Jack Donaghy, it's funny but it's excellent! 

Please take this blog post and this lesson seriously because my goal is to be surrounded by influential, wealthy and powerful friends and associates.  New job opportunities and job offers are your best chance to become a high-earner and I really, really want that for you, my dear readers . . . because as you well know by now, I have always wanted powerful and influential friends!

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