7 Key Steps For A Successful Salary Negotiation


Feeling nervous for your upcoming salary negotiation ?

Understandable. A salary negotiation can be a pretty stressful ordeal. There are so many variables. What do you say? How much should you ask for? And do you even deserve it?

All these, and many more, questions are probably running through your head before a salary negotiation. But no worries, there are steps you can take to maximize your chances of success.

salary negotiation tips

Salary Negotiation Tips

First things first, the initial step before a salary negotiation is to…


  1. Assess your career

Map out your career. Write down your main accomplishments, strengths, and themes. These will serve you well as you prepare for your negotiation. Try to narrow down specific benefits and values that you have brought to the organization and how you help it move towards its goal.


It doesn’t have to be pretty at this point — just jot down the key points. You’ll get time to refine it later.


  1. Learn the constraints of the organization

“Know your enemy”, Sun Tzu wrote in the Art of War. Well, hopefully you employer isn’t your enemy, but that advice is applicable here.


The better you know your organization and its constraints, the better you can tailor your ask. It will also allow you to think of more creative out-of-the-box solutions.


  1. Know your value

This is key. Not only to know the tangible value you bring to the organization (e.g. $100,000 in sales last year), but also your market value. What do they pay for Senior developers in your city, for example?


If possible, try to find out — either via sites like PayScale or Glassdoor, or via job advert sites. If you can show — black on white — salary statistics for your job, it can definitely be leverage.


  1. Build your story

Once you’ve got all the three points above down, it’s time to tie it into a story. Create your power statement and key stories to demonstrate your value and future potential. Make it tangible, short, and impactful. And don’t be afraid to cut the fat — ideally stick to no more than three points. Any more than that will be easy to forget.


  1. Gather internal support

Do you have an internal champion? A direct supervisor or colleague that can vouch for your competence can be a big help when it comes to creating leverage. So don’t be afraid to reach out and ask them to comment on your performance.


  1. Write your script — and rehearse

Get the coffee brewing, open your laptop, and crack your fingers — it’s time to get started. Look back at point four and write out your story. Emphasise the three key points, and ensure you get your message across. Have a friend or colleague read through it and give you some feedback.


Next, define exactly what you want. At some point, you should be able to approach them with  a line that goes “If you can get me X, I’ll accept the offer right away.


After you’ve got that nailed down, it’s time to come up with potential objections or difficult questions that might come up. How do you tackle them successfully? Write down a few potential scenarios and make sure you have them covered.


Once you’ve got a script that you’re happy with it’s time to work on delivery. Generally, you shouldn’t rehearse a speech verbatim on your salary negotiation — it might come across as a bit awkward. But remember the key parts along with the objections.


Then rehearse your delivery in front of a colleague or a friend — or even alone. Just see to it that you’re comfortable and confident in your delivery.   


  1. Extend the negotiation timeline

It’s showtime. You deliver your points, but let’s say things don’t fully go as planned. Then it might be best to extend the negotiation timeline a couple of months down the road (though this is mainly true if it’s a raise at your current company). By postponing the negotiation to a later time, you could either find another over to use as leverage or improve your performance.


Furthermore, an extended timeline gives you enough time to evaluate an offer properly. That way you’ll feel less pressured into an unsatisfactory deal — or you may fully realize the benefits of the offer at hand.


By following these seven key steps, you should be all set for your upcoming salary negotiation. Come armed with hard facts and confidence, and you’ll see that a satisfactory conclusion comes much easier.