When it comes to asking for pay increases or negotiating starting salaries, most people hold back, worrying about the back-and-forth over money or, simply, waiting to be offered more. The good news? Research shows more than 70 percent of people who ask for more get more.
So, what to do if it's time to talk compensation? Be prepared, be value-focused and be confident. Because the numbers are in your favor. You just need to get over that initial hurdle -- the ask -- and position yourself for salary negotiation success.
Do your homework.
Before you make the ask, understand the market, your organization and what's considered "fair." "Come into your meeting with a firm command of average salaries," explains Dr. Kat Cohen, CEO and founder of IvyWise.
But, she says, you don't necessarily need to stop at fair if your job incorporates more than what that role typically calls for. Don't forget to account for the additional tasks you are responsible for when determining how much to ask. Sites like PayScale.com and Glassdoor can help gauge industry norms.
Focus on value.
During the conversation, focus on value first -- that is, what value you bring to your organization and how that should be compensated.
"It's very difficult for a manager to say no to someone who can clearly demonstrate that they deserve a pay rise based on meeting or exceeding measurable performance metrics," says Heidy Rehman, founder and CEO of Rose & Willard. "It's important to know how you're measured and thus how you measure up. A lot of people will say they work hard but that's meaningless if they can't show what they've delivered."
Get on the calendar.
Be smart and strategic about now just how you ask, but also when. "Never try to catch your manager ad hoc," explains Rehman. "You need their undivided attention." She recommends booking a room that's quiet and private, "preferably one others can't look into as the slightest distraction can work against you." This new environment also sets a more serious tone, which can be beneficial to your negotiations.
Keep in mind, though, that not every time is a good time. The better you can schedule your ask, the better-received it will likely be.
"Maybe don't try to ask for a raise when the whole team is in crunch mode before a big event or major presentation," says Cohen. "Try to schedule a discussion to address a raise after you have accomplished something big, or wrapped up a large project."
Be confident and calm.
Before going into the meeting or conversation, get your nerves in check, which can be easier said than done.
In an interview with The Atlantic, former hostage negotiator and adjunct professor at Georgetown University Chris Voss underscored the importance of preparing for the emotional side of the negotiation.
"Most people only prepare for the numbers, they don't prepare for the emotional dynamics that the negotiation is going to engage," said Voss. "So this is just simply adding a little bit more preparation to understand the emotional dynamics. Like, if I ask you for more money than you can pay, you're obviously going to become uncomfortable with that."
The biggest piece of advice? Just ask.
"You won't get what you want, unless you ask," adds Cohen. "Get over the fear of rejection, or the discomfort that might come with being direct and ask for what will make you happy. Many employers care about retention and employee satisfaction, so they want to know before it is too late, what-- if anything-- they can do to make your experience more rewarding for you. Open up dialogue and be transparent about what you need."