When asking for more, negotiators know that any big changes in salary were probably negotiated months ago before budgets were set. It is far more difficult to make significant changes to budgets after they are set, so the biggest mistake we see is trying to negotiate salary after it has already been decided.
The second biggest mistake we see in salary negotiations is being selfish. Limiting your thinking to yourself is likely to disappoint. Instead, thinking about what additional value you can bring to the organisation will help to create additional budget.
Once you are negotiating the future and thinking about how you can help your employer grow the budget, the next thing is to use language that makes it easier for your boss to engage.
Instead of making demands, consider asking questions like:
- Boss, what would I need to do for the business to be worth $x more?
- Boss, just supposing I could deliver more XYZ, could you sign off on a bigger salary increase?
Conversely, on the receiving end of salary demands there are a couple of things to keep in mind:
- Be aware of your must-achieve and limit positions, and be prepared to structure expectations where needed. There is no point entertaining a conversation of salary that isn’t possible.
- Although it is easy to say “NO” to direct reports asking for more, skilled negotiators manufacture far better deals for all involved by putting a price on demands – “If you can sign off on ABC, I can sign off on $X more”. Interestingly, putting a price on demands works regardless of how big or small their demand is. The challenge in this is coming up with conditions to make demands work, creativity is needed and is unlikely to be achieved under time pressure.