How to Negotiate a Higher Salary

Whether it’s a new job, a chance to advance in your current job, or a leveraging opportunity that arises through an exit from a company, you must believe you are worth what you’re asking for and be prepared to prove it.

“You are not going to get what you deserve; you get what you negotiate,” says  Priya Nathan, V.P. Sales Executive at Marsh and the leader of the discussion for last week’s ATC Women in Tech Leadership Roundtable on negotiating a higher salary, sponsored by Luna Data Solutions.

She offered the following advice to those looking to earn more money in the coming year:

Plan ahead

The best time to ask for a higher salary is during your initial job interview. So, do your research before you arrive. Review information on the latest salary trends from recruiters, Glassdoor and Indeed to see how you measure up to other professionals in your field.

If you’re already employed, set-up a meeting with your boss one to two months ahead of annual budget to discuss your raise and give yourself time to research and prepare. Oftentimes, if you wait until your annual review to state your case, the next year’s budget may have already been approved and you may miss your chance to make more money.

Don’t leave anything off the table

After you’ve reviewed the average salaries for your job, pick the high range and consider adding another 5-10% as your starting point for the negotiation.

“Don’t feel guilty about asking for more,” Nathan stresses.

You cannot get what you do not ask for. This is your opportunity to put it all out on the table. If it’s a new job, ask for a signing bonus, paid time-off, maternity leave, or help with moving expenses. And write down your ask before your interview or meeting, so you don’t forget.

Prove your profitability

Ultimately, we all are a number, and it’s our job to prove our value. Document your accomplishments throughout the year in a running spreadsheet to demonstrate your success, and highlight ways you’ve taken on new roles or responsibilities.

Include information on how you’ve brought in money or created value within the organization. Remember, numbers talk.

For more influential storytelling, consider combining this data with feedback and/or client success stories and avoid co-worker comparisons. Keep the focus on you and your intrinsic value.

State your case and wait for a response

“After the discussion, whomever speaks first loses,” Nathan emphasizes.

Show your boss what you’re worth and why, then wait for a response. You may leave the initial meeting without a resolution, but your boss should have everything he or she needs to make an informed decision based off your individual performance and success.

“No” doesn’t always mean “no”

A negotiation doesn’t start until someone says “no.” So don’t view it as a statement of how you’re doing, instead recognize it as the start of a larger conversation about your compensation. There’s still plenty of negotiating power left on the table.

How about asking for more time off, an opportunity to serve on a committee, or extra training? Through additional trainings and involvement, you can show your boss that you’re preparing for the next step of your career and increasing your value as an employee.