Negotiating a Job Offer (or anything else you want)

Learn the Art of Negotiating

To become a successful negotiator you don’t need inherent skills or years of practice, but you do need some practice.

After reading the following tips on how to negotiate like a pro, practice your pitch. Stand in front of a mirror, pitch to friends, video tape yourself–whatever you are comfortable with. Just don’t walk into a negotiation cold–the first step is having confidence.

Negotiating Tip #1: Confidence

With practice will come more confidence. Also, fake it until you make it. Negotiations don’t have to be stressful, but there is usually a certain amount of uncertainty, especially if you are new at it. Confidence is everything.

Negotiating Tip #2: Ask for what you wantask for what you want when negotiating

A good way to prepare yourself for negotiating a job offer is to practice asking for what you want in other areas of your life. For example, the next time you stay at a hotel, ask at check-in if they will give you a discount. You will be surprised how often you will get something simply by asking. This can work well in restaurants, shopping, renting a car, etc.

Remember: You will never get what you don’t ask for.

Women, pay particular attention to this. In Linda Babcock’s book, Women Don’t Ask, she found that about 7% of female MBAs attempted to negotiate, compared to 57% of men from the same program.


Negotiating Tip #3: Wait for them to make a movelearn how to negotiate

People have to like you in order for them to want to negotiate with you. Be nice and pleasant and easy to talk to. You will be more relaxed if you have practiced. If a potential employer asks you what your current salary is, you are not obligated to tell them. Instead, put the ball in their court and get them to give you a pay range. For example, you could say:

  • I’m flexible in what I will consider. Can you give me a pay range and I will let you know if that fits my range?
  • This is not information I give out freely, can you give me a pay range and I will let you know if that fits my range?

You get the idea. It’s always easier if they give you a number first.

Negotiating Tip #4: Assume You will Get It

By assuming you will get what you want (and knowing you deserve it) you can naturally be more confident about it. This will also help you be more relaxed, able to listen and calmer about the entire process. All things that will work in your favor.

Bonus Tip: Come prepared with options and be flexible. Instead of proposing a certain dollar amount (especially if you don’t know the pay range yet), you can discuss things like benefits, paid time off, flex time, education opportunities, etc.

Related: Before Accepting a Job Offer, Do This 1 Important Thing First

Negotiating Tip #5: Explain Your Ask

This is particularly important when asking for a raise and/or promotion at a current job. Have a list prepared that describes why you feel you deserve it. This should include past accomplishments as well as future plans and goals. Don’t expect your boss to automatically know what you have accomplished. Connect the dots for him or her and demonstrate how you deserve it.

Negotiating Tip #6: Play Hard to Get

In the art of negotiating, remember: “the one who wants it less wins.” This pretty much incorporates all the other tips listed above.

The employer needs to negotiate to get the best deal for their company and you need to negotiate the best deal for you.

If you are confident, can explain why you are deserve what you are asking for, are open minded, a good listener and likable, you will gain ground. Even if this is your dream job and you would do anything to get it, PLAY IT COOL!

Don’t accept the offer right away. Think about it. Counter it if you want to. Mention you have another offer or are happy where you are. This will increase your perceived value and make them want you more.

Do you have any tips for improving negotiating skills? We would love to hear them.

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