You also have to be a realist.
Sometimes it doesn't matter what you say or how well you say it. If your company
seems bent on getting the most while giving the least, setting unreachable goals,
regularly changing the rules (or managers), rewarding favorites or managing through
intimidation and fear, consider going elsewhere.
Before the meeting
"The worst thing you can do in negotiation is wing it," says Latz. You
don't want to negotiate instinctively or intuitively, he says. "The best
thing: Act strategically."
Once you've done your research,
plan what you're going to say ahead of time. Decide what you want, both in money
and perks. Be able to quickly articulate your past year's accomplishments and
put a dollar figure on them, too.
- I've saved or made the company a specific amount of
money. Why it works: You're pointing out "you already raised that
money for them, and you'd just like a little part of it," Bolles says.
successfully shouldering more than my job, which merits an increase. Why
it works: It gives you leverage if the company decides that raises must stay within
a set range. "Here's what you hired me for, here's what I'm doing now,"
says Thomas. The percentage policy "doesn't apply to me because I've got
a new job here."
- I'm a standout at the job,
and my salary is at the lower end of the typical pay range. Why it works:
You've demonstrated you know what you're worth and market forces, not need or
greed, set the price.
Decide how much you want and what
you're willing to accept. Whatever number comes out of your mouth first "locks
in the upside," says Thomas.
If you suspect your boss
is going to try to low-ball the money, is there anything else that would compensate,
like extra vacation time, a more flexible schedule, work-at-home days, health
club membership, options, bonuses, additional benefits, a different title or the
proverbial parking spot?
Even if money's tight, "there
may be other things for them to give," says Bates. "Find out what they
And, if you don't already know, learn the
basics of job hunting. While a smart negotiator won't threaten to go elsewhere,
just knowing what you're worth and that you have options will give you the confidence
you need to bargain successfully for the money you want, says Bolles.
should not be going in to ask for a job with the air of a desperate job beggar,"
he says. "A person who wants to be good at asking for a raise has to first
be good at job hunting.
"Job hunting, in today's world,
is an actual survival skill." And it's learned, he adds, not innate.
effective tool: "Have a picture in your head of a successful interview for
a raise," says Bolles. In negotiation, like sports, he says, "what you
envision has strong, strong power."
Dratch is a freelance writer based in Atlanta.