How to negotiate salary successfully: guide, tips and sample arguments

How to negotiate salary

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Outlines how to negotiate salary for success, with expert psychology tips, sample arguments to make your case, and things you should avoid!

You come across salary negotiations again and again in your professional life: when changing jobs, in an interview, after the probationary period or after years in the company. Demand more money, earn more salary – okay. But how much? How do you find your current market value and above all: How do you convince the boss to pay more money?

How to negotiate salary: clever strategies and arguments

We have collected the best tips and tricks for the salary interview that many have used to raise their salaries. In addition to proven arguments and negotiation tricks for how to negotiate salary, you will also find 8 classic mistakes that you should ALWAYS avoid in salary negotiations …

How to negotiate on salary: How much more money can I ask for?

Those who know how to negotiate the salary skillfully can get a raise of between three and 10 percent. If you change jobs externally, you can even get up to 20 percent. Especially if you are poached. Rules of thumb (average values):

  • Salary negotiation a year ago: plus 3 to 5 percent
  • More responsibility and new tasks: plus 5 to 7 percent
  • For a promotion: plus 10 to 15 percent
  • For successful salary negotiations you should know (and be able to prove) exactly where you stand in the company, what contribution you are making and what (future) successes you are using as an argument. What counts are services and added value. Only then will you have a chance of a raise in the negotiation.

TIP: Invest in yourself. Additional qualifications and training are always good arguments. Not only in companies bound by collective bargaining do you often get into a higher salary group.

TIP: Talk about a “salary adjustment” instead of a “salary increase”. Reason: “Salary increase” sounds like “pay more money”, like an increase for no reason. “Salary adjustment”, however, sounds positive. The subtext here resonates with the fact that something was previously incorrect and needs to be “adjusted”. There’s a good reason for that. What this amounts to is the same. But it can – depending on what makes your boss tick – seem more persuasive.
How to give salary expectations

Salary negotiations: first determine market value

Before starting the salary negotiation, you should determine your market value . Use our free paycheck to do this . Another trick: take your absolute minimum wage – and double it. Although the method only provides an approximate value, in practice it leads to astonishingly realistic and enforceable values.

In addition to profession and the industry, there are a few factors that have an influence on the salary. Employees in identical jobs and industries do not earn the same by a long way. The following influencing factors determine how much more employees can earn:

  • Position: Young professionals earn less than experienced specialists or managers. Income usually peaks between the ages of 40 and 50.
  • Qualifications: The better educated, the more qualified and specialized you are, the more you will earn. Students who have studied receive an average of $20,000 more per year than employees with “only” one training.
  • Company size : In large, international corporations, salaries are usually higher than in small and medium-sized companies.
  • Number of employees: From 500 employees, an additional salary of up to 50 percent can be achieved compared to the industry average.
  • Location: In the city and other metropolitan areas, more is paid than in the country or in structurally weak regions.

TIP: In the salary negotiation, please always state the gross annual salary. Even with the starting salary. Employers are not interested in what comes out net. Its costs are always gross, not net.

How to negotiate a salary: Create a performance portfolio!

The salary interview stands and falls with strong arguments. So previous and future achievements. They are the equivalent of your salary. You should therefore create a so-called service folder. On one to three A4 pages you write down everything that is convincing: projects, successes, savings, increased sales, overtime, above average. Additional qualifications and training also create added value. This is how the performance portfolio is structured …

  • Job description: Start with a job description. This makes it clear what is part of your job – and where you do more than you have to.
  • Description of services: Make a list with two columns. Links your achievements and completed and new projects.
  • Time sheet: The right column shows the hours you have spent on it. Attention: You should document voluntary overtime. But if you list too many hours, you might look disorganized.
  • Recognition: Was there praise from the boss, colleagues or customers (in writing, by email) as well as internal awards? Then that also belongs in the performance portfolio. All hard facts.
  • The performance portfolio is essential for your preparation. It not only documents performance. It helps against the boss forgetting and offers (almost) unbeatable arguments.

How to negotiate for salary: 15 brilliant tips and arguments

  1. Make the first move

Always make the first move and the opening bid. Those who start out end significantly more often with a negotiation result that corresponds to their goals. What has a psychological effect is the anchor effect: If we are unable to assess the value of a thing, the brain suffices with a figure that is completely out of thin air: the opening bid. So never be shy when discussing your salary — and state your price confidently.

  1. Benchmark your salary

In any salary negotiation you will likely see them attempt to negotiate you down. That is why many of poeple add an extra amount beforehand in order to be negotiated down to their target salary. The danger of this strategy: you either put them off or end up lower. It is wiser to just relate your own salary requirement to a benchmarked higher number and make a good case for it.

At the beginning of the salary negotiation, say that specialists in your position and industry are paid an average of $88,000 a year. Then state your desired salary: “In accordance with my professional qualifications, I think a salary of $84,720 is appropriate.” Your $84,720 no longer sounds as high thanks to the relation to the $88,000. On the contrary: you have already made a compromise. So the boss is now having a hard time pushing you down to $60,000.

  1. Never accept the first offer

NEVER accept the first offer. This is especially important in how to negotiate job offer salary, but also applies in annual salary negotiations. By making you an offer, the boss gives himself away and signals that there is willingness to negotiate and room for maneuver. You should take advantage of this by repeating its number, looking in shock and then being silent.

  1. Negotiate by email for as long as possible

If you are negotiating for more money, start in writing — for example by stating your salary expectations in advance. The University of Austin psychologist Marlone Henderson found that the written distance increases the focus on factual arguments. Bosses are then less concerned with their own benefit. Examples of passages for a salary negotiation email:

“The new tasks and projects will make a major contribution to improving the company’s results. My desired salary corresponds to the standard market salary in this industry and position. I ask you to respectfully examine my offer. I am convinced that we will come to a mutually beneficial agreement.”

“Thanks for the job offer. I look forward to working on your team. I would like to discuss my salary expectations beforehand. Based on my experience and qualifications, I consider an annual salary of $____ to be appropriate. I am confident that we will find a solution that will benefit both of us.”

How to write a cold email for job applications

  1. Name a precise but odd number

When asked about your desired salary , give a precise number. For example, “$69,540 a year” instead of “$70,000”. The social psychologist David Loschelder from Saarland University was able to prove: The precise number seems more convincing and better prepared. It signals: “I know what I’m worth – exactly to the dollar.” That reduces the boss’s psychological negotiating leeway.

  1. Demand insane amounts – but as a joke

To earn more money? Then you play extremely high poker! If you believe the study by Todd Thorsteinson from the University of Idaho, even an absurdly high figure presented as a joke (say, $800,000) in salary negotiations has an enormous influence on the later salary. This number also “anchors” your counterpart. Such a high salary requirement only works at the beginning of the salary interview and must definitely be garnished with humor. Otherwise the demand could come across as arrogant or stupid.

  1. Ask a favor

Not in the form of a raise, of course. Too flat. The psychological trick is this: after people have helped someone, it is easier for them to make further commitments. Behind this is the so-called Benjamin Franklin Effect. So you could ask for important information about a current project before the interview – or a glass of water. Anything that the boss is likely to say “yes” to. See next tip …

  1. Generate a “yes”

Get your counterpart in a mood of approval. The best way to do this is to let the boss say “yes” a few times. Before starting the correct salary negotiation, ask harmless questions, such as: “Have you recovered well on your vacation?” Or: “Isn’t that crazy: Christmas will be again in 90 days?!” The only important thing is, that the boss answers the questions with “yes”. In NLP language one would say that you “prime” or “condition” your boss to say “yes” for the later salary negotiation.

  1. Be confident

Many start the salary negotiations feeling shy and defensive: “I feel uncomfortable now, but I would like to have more money …” Never do that! You are not asking for handouts, you are negotiate to be paid what you are worth for the work you do! If you know your value, you can confidently claim it: “I think $67,650 is appropriate.” Of course, you shouldn’t be outrageous. But don’t shrink into being a supplicant either. That is taboo in every negotiation.

  1. Use pauses

Many salary negotiators cannot stand pauses in conversation and chatter away the silence. Silence is an underrated negotiating tactic. State your desired salary during the salary negotiation. Say: “I want to earn 10 percent more in the coming year.” Then keep quiet – and thus underscore your determination. Of course, the boss will ask how you got arrived at that calculation. But thanks to the performance portfolio, you have solid arguments.

  1. Actively listen

By listening, reading between the lines and asking questions, you can find out what the other person really wants. Who asks leads. As long as you ask, you will force the other person on the defensive and in need of explanation. You determine the conversation and can steer it through systemic questions. Avoid using an aggressive undertone and repeat the boss’s statements in your own words. That shows understanding – and often leads to concessions.

  1. Use the mirror technique

To have two people sympathetic, their body language is harmonized. The effect can be used in a targeted manner: By mirroring the behavior and choice of words of your boss in the salary negotiation (never aping!), You are subtly signaling that you are on the same wavelength. Effect: He gains trust and makes concessions more easily.

  1. Refute counter arguments

Bosses like to iron out the desired salary with so-called killer phrases. You should be able to anticipate and counter these arguments (in your mind). This will throw him off his feet and take the wind out of his sails. For example, say, “I know you are currently on a budget. But that’s exactly what I’m going to change with Project XY: It generates more sales … ” The boss could also say that he was not satisfied with your previous performance. A classic that should unsettle you. Respond with: “Which services were specifically below your expectations?” Those who negotiate confidently get more. Further examples:

  • “I’m sorry, our company situation does not currently allow that.” – Answer: “I am aware of the situation. That’s why I would like to negotiate additional services. “
  • “You’re already getting more money than usual in this position!” – Answer: “That doesn’t coincide with my research. The average salary is … “
  • “Your desired salary is above my budget. That has to be decided by the management. ”- Answer:“ As my manager, you can best judge my performance. What increase do you think is appropriate? “
  • “If I pay you more, my colleagues will also want more.” – Answer: “Of course, I assure you that I will treat our agreement discreetly.”
  • “I can’t pay you more than _ euros at the moment.” – Answer: “Unfortunately, that doesn’t meet my expectations. Based on my future performance, I imagine _ euros. What do you make of it?”
  • “Unfortunately, you cannot earn any more salaries in this position. That goes beyond our salary structure “- Answer:” I am also of the opinion that my performance speaks for a promotion. Let us talk about the next steps in your career … “
  1. Stay flexible
    Those who stay tough in negotiations usually do better with them. If, for example, the supervisor remains stubborn and stoically rejects your monetary claims, you can offer alternatives: success bonuses, special leave , home office , staff discounts or petrol money . Such extras are often tax-free for employers. That makes them more attractive than a raise. And with the courtesy, you put the boss in a morally inferior position. He has to move now too if he is to feel fair.

What special salary benefits are possible?

  • Christmas bonus
  • Vacation pay
  • Bonus payments
  • Employer-funded pension
  • Cash benefits
  • Company car or company cell phone
  1. Keep calm. Especially at the end

Negotiations sometimes get hot. Dangerous! Especially at the end of the salary negotiation, during the last three minutes, you should maintain a confident demeanor. Now it shows who has the stronger nerves. Stick to your salary claim. Your arguments are sound and documented in a performance folder. The strenght is to be found in serenity. This is how you eventually win the deal.

Time for adjustment: When is the best time to negotiate a salary?

Every salary adjustment is a confirmation of previous performance. Accordingly, there are the right times for a salary negotiation:

  • Starting salary: The classic — You are hired by a new company and go into contract negotiations. It is completely normal for you to start charging a higher salary than before.
  • After passing probation: At the end of the probationary period, you have proven that you can do the job and are up to the demands. So a small raise could be in there.
  • At the employee appraisal: After a year, at the “ annual appraisal ”, employees and superiors take stock: performance, target achievement, future projects. Those who do well here have strong arguments for a raise.
  • With a promotion: Anyone who progresses one step on the career ladder has generally shown the best performance and takes on more responsibility. That should be rewarded accordingly.
  • In the event of a transfer: If employees are given new tasks internally or change departments, this is the right time to talk about a higher salary.
  • When the employment contract is extended.
  • Contract change: You previously had a fixed-term employment contract that will be converted into a permanent one. Mostly for positive reasons. They also speak in favor of a raise.
  • With a new fixed-term employment contract: Anyone who subsequently receives a second, fixed-term employment contract should always renegotiate their salary and ask for more money.
  • Just before the end of a successful project: Studies have shown that the best time to do this. Then you are still needed to achieve the goal. But success is within reach. This “appreciation climax” signals the perfect time for a salary negotiation.

How can I ask for a salary interview?

If you want to earn more salary, you have to take action. Hardly any boss puts on the donation pants on his own initiative. Choose a convenient time (see above) and ask for a one -to-one conversation. A positive salary negotiation takes time and calm. Formulations to ask for a salary interview:

After one year in the company

  • “I’ve been working for this company for two years now – and I still have great friends and a lot of commitment. That is why I would like to talk to you about my professional and financial prospects. When would you have time for about 30 minutes? “
  • “With the project, I am about to be successfully completed. It will save our company around _ percent. I would therefore like to talk to you about my achievements and future projects, as well as my salary.

Shortly before the end of the trial period

  • “The week after next my trial period ends normally. You have already indicated to me that you are satisfied with my services and that you want to continue working together. That pleases me. I would therefore like to talk to you about my future tasks, my development – including the financial one – as well as new projects. “

The 8 worst mistakes in salary negotiation

There are many things you can do right in salary negotiation – but also some mistakes. These can cost you money. To avoid tripping yourself up, avoid the following negotiating mistakes:

  1. Having no arguments to support their case for a higher salary

Thorough preparation is the be-all and end-all for a successful salary negotiation. Those who naively start a conversation fail more often. Good arguments are important when it comes to a salary adjustment:

Good arguments

(+) Increased sales
(+) Reduced costs
(+) Further development
(+) More responsibility
(+) More performance

Bad arguments

(-) Private costs
(-) Planned acquisitions
(-) Peer comparisons
(-) More stress
(-) Threat of dismissal

  1. Wrong timing

Please never ask for more money on the doorstep. A fixed appointment is mandatory! Good timing is everything. If your boss is grumpy about the morning, make an appointment in the afternoon. Friday is also a convenient date. Most people are then in a better mood because the weekend is approaching.

  1. Compare yourself with colleagues

Anyone who feels that they are being paid unjustly can usually find out what their colleagues earn in the same position. Comparisons of colleagues, however, remain dangerous. Perhaps the colleague works more, more efficiently, more accurately, more successfully, … Comparisons are never a trump card in salary poker. The best argument remains the positive added value that YOU provide.

  1. Big emotions

Never react offended or loudly. Objectivity and calm wins. Anyone who gets emotional or moral in the salary negotiation and gets wrong in tone has already lost. In fact, this means: “I ran out of arguments, now I can only drum or press the lacrimal gland.” It is better to train your body language beforehand and exude a sense of security and a high level of self-esteem. That demands at least respect from the boss. How to not cry at work or in public: 10 strategies

  1. Blackmail attempt

A raise is a demand, not a coercion. Threatening is taboo. Especially not with the termination , motto: “If I don’t get more salary, I’ll go …” Only beginners do that. No boss will accept it because it sends the wrong signal for future negotiations. The maximum you can say is that you are dissatisfied with your current salary and that this is not common in the market. This gives the salary increase the character of a “retention bonus”. According to studies by Anne Gielen from Tilburg University, the boss pays more money for two reasons: When it comes to an important employee who otherwise leaves. And when the idea occurred to him himself.

How to recognise signs that it’s time to change jobs

  1. Lack of a record

Negotiating is good, fixing is better. No matter how harmonious or positive the salary negotiation went: Write down a record . Some bosses may no longer remember verbal agreements. He could also change his mind. Therefore: Make a report of the results, which is signed by both.

  1. Asking too much

Planning in a buffer and room for negotiation is okay. But anyone who overpitches with all seriousness, loses their chances of a salary adjustment. It no longer looks smart, it looks greedy. You should only ask for more than 20 percent if you can substantiate this in a comprehensible manner.

  1. Selling yourself below value

The opposite is also bad: if you’re going for a raise, don’t go for a measly one, please. Nobody takes the salary negotiation seriously if he or she senses that you are not realistically assessing yourself and your market value. If the desired salary is too low, the employer gets away cheaply. But you lose money AND respect . Even with future salary negotiations.

Also, keep in mind : Most wage increases are percentage increments. For example, 10 percent more salary than before. That makes the starting salary extremely important. The less you earn at a young age, the slower your lifetime income will develop (see graphic). Extrapolated to a working life of 40 years, even small differences in wages of $500 or $1,000 (thanks to the compound interest effect) can expand up to $400,000 over time.

Salary negotiation job interview: 4 tips

It is unlikely that you will negotiate your future salary in the first interview. Salary negotiations are usually part of the second interview. Then you should be prepared for how to negotiate job offer salary and know your market value. Here, too, a few psychological and rhetorical tips and tricks help when negotiating salaries:

  • Don’t talk about “money” right away in the interview. Enthusiasm for the job and the company must remain in the foreground. Otherwise there is a feeling of disturbance. Wait until the topic is brought up.
  • Enter a gross annual salary, for example: “My gross salary is $66,530 per year.” Requests for additional benefits such as vacation pay, travel allowances or capital-building benefits are not mentioned.
  • Answer the question about your previous salary honestly. Lies are discovered at some point. If you think you have earned too little so far, say so openly and confidently : “I think my previous salary is not a good comparison value. It was my starting salary, and at the time I bargained badly and sold myself below value. In the meantime I imagine a salary at normal market conditions – in the amount of … “
  • If the offer is too low: keep calm! That can be a stress test. It is better to repeat the request again with a cool head and objective arguments. It is a salary NEGOTIATION, not a value judgment about you!
  • Those who do not negotiate regularly and well about their salary are actually giving away money. That takes revenge and you miss it later in old age and in retirement.

In summary

A study once found that many people – mathematically – lose more than half a million dollars over their life simply because they do not know how to negotiate salary successfully. Please don’t make that mistake. We wish you good luck in your salary negotiations!

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