Where to begin..
First with a mental reframe... negotiating like a girl isn't solely about what you can do for yourself. It isn't a selfish act. It isn't just for the hard core aggressive types in this world. It is a necessity to get ahead and to grow as a professional. And if you are the giving type, I’ll simply say, when one rises we all rise. Focus on you and those you lead or influence. Help those around you increase their skills, ask your partner for help and use these below strategies to negotiate not only your pay but importantly your next promotion, your next business deal or even your next convo with the family.
Know this, if you don't ask for it, you probably will not receive it. And, hey - worst case, they say No. We eat No's for breakfast.
So my friend, let's earn you your seat at the table.
HERE’S THE HOW:
As an entrepreneur, business builder, corporate ladder climber I’ve had to get comfortable asking for what I want, otherwise it’s rarely given. The tough part is as women typically, we not only are uncomfortable asking for what we want, but we also must be cautious in how we ask. If I had a dime for every time I have been called aggressive, crazy, intense, or worse (but we’ll leave those out), I would have a heck of a lot of dimes. So every so often I think about my personal motto:
1) Always ask for what you want, always.
- You will hands down never get what you don’t ask for. This is especially true for women and minorities. There is much research that proves that we don’t negotiate enough.
2) Assume you just might get it.
- When you remove the fear from your ask, you are more thoughtful, you consider how to make it a win-win, and you are less emotional. All critical if you are going to be bellying up to the proverbial bar.
So the question becomes the how...
If you want a promotion, more money, a new client, how do you get it? And why do we HAVE to negotiate for what we want?
FIRST WHY IT IS SO IMPORTANT TO NEGOTIATE:
If we just look at salaries, it’s imperative. Linda Babcock did a study for her book Women Don’t Ask, she found that about 7% of women attempted to negotiate, while 57% of men did. That could help explain part of the wage gap. Now you might say ok so we don’t negotiate as much on average but what are the effects of that? Let’s talk numbers:
Example: Imagine two people were offered a $100,000 salary, and one negotiated an extra $7,000 and one didn’t. What is the cost for the one that got $100,000 vs the one who got $107,000? Many would say $7,000. Codie, I’m not an idiot. But that is wrong. Due to compounding, if nothing else changed and both the person who negotiated higher, and the one who didn’t, got the same raises and promotions throughout their career, something astounding happens. Thirty-five years later – the person who didn’t negotiate would have to work 8 years more to have as much at retirement as the one that did negotiate that initial $7,000.
Now, the question is: $7,000 may not be worth the risk, but how about eight years of your life?
The average wage growth in the US over the last 5 years is around – 2-2.5%. That won’t even cover your rent increase. If you don’t ask for more you almost certainly won’t achieve the financial success you want.
Have I convinced you to don your little negotiating cap?
MY TOP TEN TRICKS to NEGOTIATE LIKE A GIRL:
(Aka ask for what you want... and get it).
1. Always ask
- Nothing beats practice. Start small, negotiate with friends and family first. Then negotiate with a client, then go toe-to-toe with the boss. But with love and numbers backing you. Always.
2. Don’t come in committed to outcome
- Come with options not outcomes. Instead of saying I want X amount, consider flex work, more vacation, an assistant, a virtual assistant – get creative with your asks and make sure you earned it, and there is a mutual benefit.
3. Explain why you deserve it and know what you are asking for
- Never come and just say, “I want more money.” This rubs me the wrong way when done to me. I immediately calculate the percentage change they are asking for and say, “What are you doing to earn 35% more money?” Rarely do they have an answer and they didn’t even realize they were asking for such a big % increase. Thus, back it up with facts and numbers. Say, “I did x and y and z and my plan for the coming 6-12 months is to accomplish this and that. Given that, I think the work I am doing is worth more than I am currently making. Thus, I wanted to talk to you about a pay raise?” Then shut up. They may be telling you you’re about to get one higher than your ask.
4. No emotions or needs (needy ain't cute)
- I don’t care that you can’t afford X, or feel like you want to make Y. Make it about what you have earned, not what you want. Be proud of never accepting a cent you didn’t earn.
5. Put yourself in your bosses (or counterparties) shoes
- What are their goals and how can you align? Everyone wants more money and if you’ve ever been asked for a raise by an employee you’d know that there is only so much money to go around. How can you put yourself on the other side of the table?
6. Best book on negotiation
1. The art of war is an uncomfortable classic – it shows you the non-politically correct ways of power but knowledge is power so it is worth reading. Even if you don’t want to use these strategies (I mean they list Genghis Khan so you can imagine the strategies he used – yikes!), you will recognize when they are being used on you. Aka, you won’t get murdered in a negotiation.
7. Be likeable.. Sounds simple, huh?
- I can’t emphasis this enough, making your “opponent” like you and want to give you what you want, is worth its weight in gold. That means smile, cajole, apply to their better instincts, state the benefits to them. My go to line is this… “You can’t blame a girl for asking can ya? What kind of employee/sales person/business person would I be if I ask for the business?” BIG HUGE ENDEARING SMILE following.
8. Ask for more than what you want..
Henry Kissinger the ultimate negotiator said, “Effectiveness at the conference table depends upon overstating one’s demands.” First because the universe just may give it to you, and then because there will be flexibility on the downside.
9. Get them to say their position first
For example, if you are negotiating a salary or package with a new gig and the person asks you for what you make currently, you don’t need to answer. You can say, “'Well I'm flexible depending on how you structure compensation for the growth potential and the right company fit long term. Would you be willing to share the rough salary range you have in mind for this position?”
If they push again and ask what you make you can say, “Charles this is really not something I give out broadly… kinda like a woman never tells her age (wink wink smile), why don’t you tell me what your range is and I’ll let you know if that fits my range.”
Confidence is everything.
- The main point is don’t just shout out the $ amount you could be too low or too high. Prep for this question and know what this position is roughly worth.
10. Reluctant seller/buyer
- Remember the one who wants it less almost always wins. So even if you want this new job/client/raise so badly you would sell out your mother, you need to pretend you don’t.
- Let me give you an example, say you have a job offer you’re dying to take, you hate your current job and are about to quite anyways and make $0. Here honesty is not the best policy. Reframe your mindset, they must negotiate to get the best deal for their company and you must negotiate the best for you, so for now, no transparency.
- You can say, “I’m really happy in my current role and growing immensely. I’m always open to the right opportunity at the right company but I’m not actively looking.” Why? Remember playing hard to get with a dude? It’s the same thing, it increases your perceived value, and makes them want you more.
Want some tips to be unforgettable?, click here
After I ask for what I want, I watch the others reaction. If they give in easily, I say nothing but thank you and remember that next time I better go higher. If they flinch, look uncomfortable or get angry I wait for them to speak and then I say with a big huge smile my favorite line again, “Can’t blame a girl for asking can ya? Seems we never get what we don’t ask for?” SMILE.