Knowing your worth

One thing that stands out the most when working with people on their Salary negotiation game-plan is that as they move through the process of understanding the what and how of salary negotiation and truly knowing their worth, they experience a tangible shift in their self-belief. There is a rising sense of pride and courage, and a braver person emerges. This is what motivates us at The Salary Coach – helping people to really know their worth and to take their career by the horns. Whether its in their own business or as an employee – similar outcomes are achieved. 

Asking for a pay-rise or pricing your product isn’t like buying a car or negotiating at a market for products. It’s a deeply personal conversation. The amount you are paid is inextricably linked to your sense of worth. It’s no surprise that people experience anxiety, find their voice becomes shallower, they become sweaty, and feel unwell when they try negotiating their salary or pricing their product. It’s also no surprise that most people don’t ask for a raise (66% according to Glassdoor) and don’t tell anyone what they earn (only 1 in 3 share information about their salary with their partner according to SEEK). It’s no wonder then that salary negotiation or pricing your product can feel like one of the hardest things to do.  

Fortunately, support is at hand.  At The Salary Coach we have developed a framework and program that brings together the skills and techniques of negotiation; overcoming the HR hurdles of the performance process, job grading and setting salaries; how to understand market dynamics for yourself or your product; and tried and tested techniques for overcoming fear, to help you achieve your salary goals. And the results speak for themselves with just under $9-million dollars of cumulative salary uplift gained by our clients, utilising this guidance over the last year. 

Salary negotiation is equal parts art and science and it can be taught.  Scared is what you’re feeling. Brave is what you’re doing.”  

– Catherine Heilemann, The Salary Coach

Your Top 3 Tips for Salary Negotiation Success 

#1 – Only YOU know your worth 

Stop letting other people dictate your worth. Only you know what you’re really worth. 

Here’s how you do that: 

— Make a list of your career achievements to date.  Make it a comprehensive list – showing what you have achieved and how you did it (especially if you had considerable challenges). The more you can differentiate yourself from your colleagues or your competitors, the more sought after you become. In other words – if you can’t distinguish your career achievements from those of your colleagues, the more you blend in with the crowd and the more replaceable you are perceived to be.  

Explore your differences – make them an asset. 

— Make a list of the talents, attributes and characteristics that make you unique in your profession.  

Make sure you look at your strengths and weaknesses from the right perspective, and allow your strengths to define you. Many people do the opposite. They are quick to diminish their strengths and emphasise their weaknesses, making themselves feel as though they are never quite enough. Lean into your strengths and learn how to use your weaknesses as opportunities to grow. 

#2 – Know your bottom line 

When establishing your plan, at The Salary Coach, we recommend having three staging guiding points at the ready – utopia, acceptable and the no-go zone. Understanding those boundaries will help you to stay on track and not be distracted by the diversionary tactics of your counterpart.  

How much are you prepared to accept? In any form of negotiation, we must know what our bottom line will be. Will you accept anything because you are desperate to keep the job or make the sale? If your manager knows you’ll accept 5%, there is no point asking for 25%. Be prepared to overcome objections and collaborate on solutions.  

If you’re an employee with no way of earning extra dollars, maybe there’s room to negotiate on working conditions: 

  • Can you work a day from home?  
  • Would your employer be prepared to allow time off for study opportunities?  
  • Can you pitch a special idea or lead a project that will give you more seniority and a better chance at a pay rise later on?  

If you are a business owner and wanting to price your product:  

  • Test the market, and do it slowly 
  • If you hit a level where a client starts to resist, you can either freeze your rate or offer a loyalty discount until you’ve built up other income streams or increased your reputation 

Price is often a proxy for quality. Think hard about the working life you want – and then ask for it. 

#3 – Listen and question 

Often when we get nervous and anxious, we stop listening.  Our minds race with all the counter arguments and justifications we could interject. Listen moretalk less.  

Listeners always appear more confident. If you can, make some notes so you can readily ask the questions you want to. For example, if you’re told they have benchmarked you, you can ask – ‘I’m curious as to how you have done that’? The more information you can gather, the better able you will be to substantiate your ‘why’ and stand your ground. 

Cringe and fear are the biggest obstacles when negotiating your rate. By applying these simple principles you’ll be part of the way towards both knowing and being paid your worth. 

If you would like further support, Catherine is offering 20-minute complimentary discovery sessions to LBD readers. To book, click here (http://bit.ly/salarycoaching). To download a free salary negotiation planner visit our website here. (http://bit.ly/thesalarycoach)

Catherine Heilemann

Catherine is a human resources expert who has worked with some of the most career minded and ambitious Australians.  For more than 30 years Catherine has worked in the fields of human resources, sales, business management and change management with companies including IBM, Westpac, Allianz, Telstra, St George, Blackmores, Fuji Xerox and Mobil Oil. 

As an expert coach, Catherine has worked with thousands of individuals to refine their focus, overcome career development blocks and progress their impact at work.

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