Show Me the Money

We all want it, but too many of us are afraid to ask in fear of being rejected. Sure, asking for a raise can often be scary—however, recent statistics from stated that, “75% of people who ask for a raise get a raise. It’s time to ask.”

Negotiating a new salary or asking for a raise can certainly be a scary experience, but it does not have to be. It is all about developing a sound approach to asking for that salary increase, not just shooting your boss an email saying you are going to quit if you do not get a raise. It also isn’t as easy as getting on a phone and yelling at your agent “Show Me the Money” like in the movie Jerry Maguire. Trust me, I wish it was that easy.

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So, how does someone go about asking for that raise in salary? That is a good question. I do not proclaim to be a salary negotiation expert, which is why I reached out to those in the industry who negotiate salaries for a living to get their feedback and industry-proven advice they provide their clients. After speaking with them, it dawned on me—I have been negotiating salary the right way all along without even knowing it!

For this week’s “Three for Thursday,” we will examine three steps you need to take in order to get that raise you have been angling for months. As always, if you have any salary negotiation tactics of your own, feel free to leave them in the comments section!

Do Some Research

Like anything in life, negotiating your salary starts out with doing research. You may think you are being underpaid because your personal bills are stacking up, but that does not mean you actually are. If you want to go to your boss with a number, you better know what that number is going into that meeting.

For this reason, salary negotiations need to start with you doing a bunch of research before even telling your boss you want a meeting to discuss a raise. You need to research industry standard for your position, geographic salary figures, projected industry growth and much more before you can arrive at the number you want to be making.

Why else is doing research important? Simply, you may be undervaluing yourself as well. You may be seeking a $10,000 a year raise, but do not realize you are $20,000 a year under what others in your position with the same experience are currently making.

Where can you find this information? There are great websites out there, like Payscale, which offer free salary reports. There are also government websites like the Bureau of Labor and Statistics which provide more information than you would ever care to know about the industry you are in and how much you should be making.

Salary negotiations involve prep work, but will be worth it in the end.
Salary negotiations involve prep work, but will be worth it in the end.

Develop Your Strategy

Okay, you have done the research and know your target number. You have the sources if your boss asks where these numbers came from, and can provide documentation if necessary. Now what?

Well, now comes the fun part—developing your strategy. Simply sending an email with these figures is not enough. You need to come up with an action plan of how you are going to present your research to your boss and show your worth in getting this raise.

Part of your strategy should be to examine your impact on company growth. If you are an account manager, show your sales figures and the direct correlation to revenue growth for the company. If you are not in sales, show how the projects you have managed or worked on have directly impacted revenue growth for the sales team. Knowing the financials from before you were hired is going to be key in this, and most are public knowledge you can find without feeling like you are “snooping.”

How to Negotiate

Alright, you are locked and loaded with data and your impact on the business—now you need to actually figure out how you will present this to your boss. A sound strategy from those in the industry is NOT to just shove everything in their face in a “look what I did” manner.

Instead (since your boss is likely an outlook person), you need a two-prong approach to your negotiation. Always begin with your work at the company first and how it has impacted the now and will impact the future of the company. Take your sales numbers and project them out over a few years, then show how this will impact overall revenue growth for the company. It seems simple, but all bosses want to know “what’s in it for me.” Showing them how the company will grow even more with you around is a great way to do this.

Once you have shown the impact on the company and what your continued presence will mean, now it is time to show industry salary numbers. Again, you do not want to approach this as “look how underpaid I am,” instead you need to approach the salary number in a completely different manner.

What is that manner? Well, ask yourself an important question—what would this raise mean to you as an individual? Then, without the details of that vacation you are going to take, convey that to your boss.

Negotiation professionals told me the No. 1 reason people ask for the raise is for better financial stability—and that makes complete sense. Not having to worry about whether you will be late on a bill or be able to afford an emergency expense is a huge weight off someone’s shoulders.

Conveying the removal of a potential outside distraction and planning for the future shows to your boss commitment to doing your job and continuing to help the company grow. Do not be afraid to explain that, and best of luck in your salary negotiation!

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