How to negotiate your way to a better deal

It’s fair to say that no matter how happy you are with your current role, you’d probably welcome a little a pay hike. But pay rises for just doing a great job are rarer than hen’s teeth so if you want to get a little more, the chances are you’re going to have to fight for it.

So what can you do to turn your annual review to your advantage? What is the case you need to make and how is it best to present it to the boss and make sure you come out on top?

Are you worth a better package?

Before firing off a strident email to your manager, ask yourself whether your performance really merits an increase. You should know whether you’re doing your job well and adding value to the company and ideally be able to demonstrate it. Can you can show improvements you’ve driven through, savings that have been made or growth that you’ve been at the heart of? If the answer is ‘yes’, that’s the best starting point.

Compile a list of your successes and achievements at the company with your evidence to back it up and construct a case not only for why you should be paid more for what you’ve done but how you can do even more in the future. Spend some time beforehand thinking about how you could change or develop your role within the workforce, then spell it out. You have this opportunity to blow your own trumpet so make sure you do it clearly and thoroughly.

Be clear what you want from your negotiations

Is a hike in salary your sole concern? Are you keen to alter the terms of your employment – maybe working away from the office one day a week? Or a change in your working hours? Might you be eligible for share incentives? Do you want more responsibility? You will already know how flexible or otherwise your company is on these issues and whether there might be room for negotiation. Set out clearly everything you’re looking for as an initial basis for talking.

Are you being paid the right rate for the job?

Do your research. Find out what other people in similar roles are being paid inside your company and elsewhere in your sector. Go through jobs on job boards and recruitment websites and show how your role stacks up against what the going rate is for what you do. If your salary compares poorly, you have grounds for legitimate negotiation. If, on the other hand, you are being paid well, or even above the rate, then you want to rethink what you’re asking for and go down the promotion or new role route.

Use precise numbers in your negotiations

We all know it makes sense to start high. That way, you appear reasonable when you come down to meet your employer’s offer. Even more importantly, you should go in with a firm figure in mind. Instead of asking for £100,000, settle on a precise figure – say, £107,000 or £104,000. The signal that sends is that you’ve done your research, you know the market rates and also what you need. You’re more likely to receive a positive response because your employer will respect the fact that you’ve done your homework.

Have a strong coffee before your meeting

It’s not a myth. When you take on caffeine, you’re more likely to be resistant to persuasion, according to a study published in the European Journal of Social Psychology. So, a quick shot of espresso will help you stick to your guns and get closer to a successful outcome.

Overall you need to be clear, concise, reasonable and calm. Be ready to compromise and to listen to counter arguments but be clear in your own mind before you start about what you’re prepared to accept as well as what you might do if they say no.

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