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How to negotiate like a pro: 6 key steps

06 Jun 2017   Negotiation Tips

6 key steps to negotiation success

If you’re coming up to your quarterly or annual review and you want to know how you can prepare yourself to negotiate a better salary, working conditions, more flexible hours, a bonus or promotion – you’ve come to the right place. Negotiation is a life skill. However, for many of us, the thought of negotiating causes anxiety and stress- but it doesn’t have to.

6 top tips to have you feeling confident, comfortable and in control of your next negotiations.

  1. You don’t ask; you don’t get.

It might be nerve-wracking going into negotiations with a superior, but more often than not it pays off. You need to remember the cost of not asking is higher than the cost of asking. No organisation, business owner or manager is going to sit across the table from you and offer you your dream package without you having some input. If you want it, and believe you are worth it, speak up.

  1. Do your research

There’s no point going into a negotiation and plucking a number out of the air when it comes to salary or anything else in your overall remuneration package. Do your research before the meeting and know what the bracket of earnings are for people in your industry. Find out what your peers are being paid in similar organisations. Check out online job boards or speak to your recruiter to get a gauge of what the current earning potential is. Know your numbers before you step into the room.

  1. Know what the other side has to offer

Reading between the lines here: be reasonable. If you know your company’s budget, ask for a pay rise within that budget. While it’s a good idea to ask for a little more than you would expect to receive, asking for something beyond reasonable expectations is not a great strategy. And don’t be solely focused on the dollars. There are other items worth negotiating when budgets can’t be stretched any further. Can you negotiate additional annual leave, a promotion or increased responsibilities, or whether your end of year bonus can be calculated according to your contribution and KPIs, rather than being tied to the success of the business as a whole?

  1. Know your worth

As Steve Martin so eloquently put it, “Be so good they can’t ignore you.” It’s important to have a full understanding of the value you provide to the organisation you work for. And you need to be able to effectively communicate this by backing up your requests with your previous achievements. Have you hit or exceeded your KPIs month on month? Did your recent marketing campaign bring in unexpected revenue for the business? Have you built new relationships with key partners and affiliates and what dollar value did this bring to the business? You need to have a firm grasp on the value you bring, and it can’t be wishy-washy. You’ll be asked to justify your requests – so be prepared.

  1. Know your limits

While it’s important to go into negotiations feeling confident, you still need to have a solid understanding of the skills and experience you bring to the table and what your limits are. You need to be aware of the extra responsibilities that come with a promotion. If you negotiate for a job title and pay rise you’re not qualified for, you can damage your credibility and reputation when you can’t deliver.

  1. Don’t make it all about you

In other words, arm yourself with a great attitude. We all enter negotiations wanting an outcome that benefits us the most. We’re trying to get exactly what we want. But instead of focusing on ourselves, take a step back and look at what’s mutually beneficial for the business. Your superiors are also entering the negotiation wanting what’s best for them. Make your goal about the best outcome for both parties. Not only does it show that your values align with theirs, but it also makes the other side realise you’re both on the same team. If you’re willing to accept some concessions for the greater good, this is going to reflect well for your long-term career advancement.

Whether you realise it or not, you’ve been negotiating your whole life. You negotiated with your parents how many chores you had to do to get your pocket money. You negotiated with your roommates about living arrangements. As a parent, you probably bargain with your kids to get them to brush their teeth and go to bed. So take these life skills and bring them into the meeting room. You might discover you’re not such a bad negotiator after all!