Nothing is too good for JobStar readers! So Electra asked the author of the BEST Salary Negotiation guide on the market to offer his BEST salary negotiation tip!
Anyone Can Negotiate Their Salary--THIS MEANS YOU!
Jack Chapman, author of Negotiating Your Salary: How to Make $1000 a Minute, 2006. Ten Speed Press. $14.95.
Bam! Those two letters just cost you plenty!
Can you tell how much they cost you? Choose one:
Those two letters...
A. flushed your new $1000 stereo system down the toilet;How could those two letters be so powerful? Easy--"O.K." is what most people say in response to a salary offer. They mean "I'll accept what you've just offered, thank you."
Depending on where your salary is to begin with, you could lose A, B, C, D, or E. But you could also keep it, and more besides, if you learn even one small negotiating technique: change the "OK" to a "Hmmm," and watch what happens.
If you're at minimum wage, and the employer says, "$4.65 an hour," an "OK" will freeze it right there. But a "Hmmm" response could increase it, and just 50 cents an hour more will earn you $1000 extra in a year of 40-hour weeks. That's easily a fine new stereo system--or a year's car insurance--or a month's rent on a great apartment.
The same goes for all other levels, too. A simple "Hmmm" instead of "OK" can change a $25,000 salary into $28,000 and finance your new computer system. $45,000 can be pushed to $50,000, affording you that much-needed two-week vacation.
The "Hmmm" response can drop another ten grand in the bank for high-level executives, and senior-level execs can buy a $25K freshman year for a daughter or son by swallowing the "OK."
Anybody can manage that swallow, so anybody can negotiate a better salary. Sometimes hourly-wage earners think "Salary negotiation is for the big shots."
Not true. In fact, it's easier to negotiate more at the hourly-wage level than practically anywhere else. Why? Perspective! An extra $.50, $1, or even a $3-5 an hour increase seldom exceeds a company's phone bill! From your perspective it's a ten- to fifty-percent raise. From their perspective, an extra fifty cents an hour costs them only as much as an extra hour of long-distance calls a week--something most businesses do without a second thought.
Don't worry that the employer will change his or her mind about hiring you just because you ask for more. If you've interviewed well (and you must have done that or you wouldn't be getting an offer!), you're the front runner already. Choosing the second best or going through the whole recruiting-interviewing-hiring process again will cost a company much more than $1,000 - $5,000 anyway in the long run. Odds are, you'll get that little extra, and the employer will still consider it a good bargain to avoid that hassle.
And what's the worst that happens if you don't? Your new boss will know that you believe you're worth more and treat you better.
Besides, you probably aren't even pushing employers higher than they expected to go anyway. Good managers always start low to give themselves negotiating room. They might even really want to give you more, but if you say, "OK," you tie their hands! There is no gracious way for them to raise the offer.
Changing "OK" to "Hmmm" is rule number three of the five salary-making rules contained in the book Negotiating Your Salary: How to Make $1000 a Minute.
As stated in the book, rule three is "When you hear the figure or range, repeat the figure or top of the range, and then be quiet."
This "contemplative" first response to an offer can be called a "flinch." Even if you're so excited about the offer that you're ready to dance a jig, make your first response a flinch!
How do you carry off an effective flinch? First, make sure you repeat the figure they give you before going into the "contemplative" routine. (That way the interviewer knows you haven't fallen asleep or tuned him out!) Then, you say something like, "Hmmm," or, "$X/hour? Hmmm. Isn't that a little low?" Or, "$X/hour. Hmm, is that the best you can do?"
Paradoxically, when you do this, you don't just get more money from your potential employer; you make him or her feel better about it, too!
How's that possible?
Well, say you're selling a car. Mr. Buyer asks, "How much do you want for the car?" You say, "$8,500." If he says "Sold!" right away, how do you feel? What's your first thought? Right! You think, "Phooey! He agreed too quickly. I was too low. I could have gotten more!"
Now notice what happens if he flinches and says, "Hmmm, is that the best you can do?" You say, "Yes. I have done my research; that's a good deal on this car; its the best I can do." By the time you close the deal, you still get $8,500, but you also get the inner satisfaction of winning in the negotiations by sticking to your price.
But the chances are, your future employer won't come back with a "Yes, I've done my research," etc. Instead, he'll offer a bit extra to sweeten the pot--he's got room to give a little, remember?--and you'll both come out ahead. You, with more cash in hand; the employer, with a heightened respect for you.
While it's true, then, that "Anybody can negotiate salary," it's more true to say, "Everyone should negotiate salary." No matter what your level, there's easy money to be made by changing "OK" to "Hmmm." Whether you're a hamburger flipper, or a shift supervisor of burger flippers, or an executive negotiating a regional marketing position for a burger-flipping chain, don't say "OK"; say, "Hmmm."
P.S. What you've just read focuses only on rule three. To get the absolutely best shot at winning in your negotiations, be sure to snag a copy of Negotiating Salary: How To Make $1000 a Minute from your bookstore so you can learn all FIVE rules: When to discuss salary, how to research your market value, how to add bennies and perks, getting it in writing, etc. . For now, remember, just saying "Hmmm" instead of "OK" could boost your money 10% right off the bat.