Salary Negotiation: 5 Tips to be More Successful

salary negotiationSalary negotiation… it’s a fact of life. At some time, you may have to negotiate for an increase in salary.  For many this can be stressful and uncomfortable. Negotiation is a skill everyone can learn based on understanding the science behind the negotiation process.

This blog post was generously provided by Larissa J. Schultz, CMP, MHA who has negotiated countless contracts in the meetings industry to create win-win partnerships.


Following are five tips I’ve put together to help ensure a more successful, and possibly enjoyable, negotiation process for you.

Tip #1: Prepare. When it comes to each and every negotiation one thing is clearly important – preparing!

Preparing means before negotiations begin and it also means doing so even if you know the other person well.

It’s been proven time and again, those who prepare tend to have more advantages. By preparing in advance you are better able to be in the moment during the negotiation. You have the ability to better analyze the other party’s offer effectively, you can better understand the nuances of the concession making process, and better achieve your negotiation goals.

Tip #2: Know Your Goals and How to Ask for Them. Yes, it seems like 2 tips in one, but really knowing your goals and knowing how to articulate them have to go together.

During the prep stage you should determine what your ultimate goals are, how to quantify them, and how you will articulate them. Saying, “I want a raise.” probably won’t get you very far. But the following statement, “Based on the quality of work I have done for you over the past 3 years, I wanted to discuss with you the possibility of an increase in salary.” creates an opportunity for a conversation to begin.

Tip #3: Get your BATNA On!  Your BATNA is your Best Alternative to a Negotiated Agreement.  Farmers learned years ago, if you trip on the way back from collecting eggs and drop your basket – eggs are no longer for breakfast!  “Don’t put all your eggs in one basket.”

BATNA is your Plan B if the negotiations are failing to produce results. Failing to have other options when you begin a negotiation is unwise. It puts you at risk

Tip #4: Understand the Relativity of Rational and Fair. People tend to view the world in a self-serving manner and define the “rational” thing to do or a “fair” outcome in a way that benefits themselves.

Therefore, you asking for an increase in salary may seem “rational” and “fair” to you, but it may not seem that way for your boss or client.

Your goal for this should be to determine how they could see it as a benefit for them? At that same time, make sure you are proactively managing your perception of fairness, and ensure what you are asking for is indeed rational and appropriate for the work you provide.

Tip #5: Your Reputation is All You Have. Reputations are like uncooked eggs – fragile.  They are important to build, easy to break, and difficult to rebuild – just ask Humpty Dumpty.

Having a positive reputation – being honest, trustworthy, keeping your word –increases the chances of negotiations going smoothly and being successful with a positive outcome. During the negotiation be sure you act consistent and in a fair manner. Be reasonable and rational, avoiding dramatic emotion and personalization.  Always seek feedback after negotiations and use that to strengthen your credibility and worthiness.

In closing, if you want to negotiate for a salary increase remember – until you ask you are currently at a “no”. It won’t be risky if you take the time to prepare, know what you’re asking for, understand how to ask for it, have a plan ‘B’, and always be reasonable, fair, and rational.