The 7 Steps to Successful Salary & Contract Negotiation or Re-Negotiation

Many women and men alike struggle with negotiating their employment contracts and salary packages.  From graduates to executives most of us find it uncomfortable to negotiate for ourselves at work, even those whose roles require a high level of negotiation expertise. The reality is that emotionally and psychologically it is very different negotiating a business deal versus your own salary package. 

With so much movement in the job market now, it is a great time to become familiar with salary package negotiation techniques and to do some reflection on the value you bring. Whether you are looking to stay and re-negotiate your contract or embark on a new career with another employer, investing in yourself, your career and salary negotiation skills is important.

If you find you avoid salary negotiation or are not very good at it, take a moment to read below.

  • Prepare the meeting agenda (keep it brief).
    • A clear road map of what is to be discussed will keep you on track and provides a more professional edge to the discussion.
  • Research the job market for current salary data & document what you are seeking.
    • There is an abundance of free information available online for salary data such as pay scale, also through personal networks, HR, Industry Associations and Recruitment Firms you can find out where to pitch yourself.
  • Prepare the business case (keep it factual and concise).
    • It is less about your needs (i.e. tenure or having a big mortgage to pay) and more about you selling your past value and achievements and your future potential and benefits to your employer.
  • List your alternatives & what items you would be prepared to negotiate.
    • You must have clarity around what items you are looking to negotiate, such as base salary, flexible work hours and a car park (avoiding a shopping list of requests, instead package it up). No more than 3 items!
  • Anticipate potential objections & prepare responses.
    • Entering into any sort of negotiation is more likely than not to be met with objections. Ensuring you prepare for these is very important so you don’t get put off. The most common objection provided is variations around the company and/or division not having the budget or funds to provide any increases. Very rarely is this the case, as they can and will always find the funds if they believe you to be an asset to the business.
  • Book a meeting with the decision maker/s on neutral territory.
    • Wherever possible conduct the negotiation meeting face to face and on neutral territory. This ensures that you are is not disadvantaged.
  • Role play and practice of negotiation meeting. 
    • The avoidance to negotiate is largely due to people not have the training or experience in negotiating. Without seeking out opportunities to practice negotiating (around anything, even a coffee) and role playing you are unlikely to gain the confidence you need to be successful. Research suggests that if you don’t act on the decision to do something out of your normal routine within 5 seconds, chances are you won’t act. So there is only a small window of opportunity each time to convince yourself to move out of our comfort zone.

If you are interested to learn more, I will be speaking on this and similar topics on Broad Radio Live-Streamed Radio Show for Women | Broad Radio  on 1st February. Alternatively, you can book a complimentary 30-minute call with me via this link Coaching Services (diversitas.com.au)  or book in for a one-to-one virtual Salary Negotiation focused Coaching Session to prepare you for your next salary package or job flexibility discussion with your current or potential new employer.

Kelly Magowan is the author of ‘The Busy Women’s Guide to… Salary Negotiation’ and has been successfully coaching clients and running salary negotiation workshops for over 15 year for organisations such a Women in Banking & Finance, Business Professional Women (BPW), Melbourne Business School – University of Melbourne, La Trobe University and many more. 

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