5 Tips for Sharpening Your Negotiating Skills So You Can Nab Yourself a Pay Rise


You’ve been working in your role for awhile now and have started to take on more and more responsibility. Or, ever since you started in the role, you’ve been doing far more than what was advertised. Or, you’re doing what you’re meant to do, but have spoken to other people in your industry and discovered you’re getting severely underpaid. Whatever the reason, you’re wanting a pay rise.

“Don’t you deserve to get paid your worth?” says Sam Trattles, a professional negotiator and author of book Negotiate Your Worth. “If you feel there’s an imbalance between what you bring to the table and what you receive in exchange, then it’s time for a chat. Be brave — if you don’t ask, you definitely don’t get. What’s the worst that can happen?”

So, how do you go about it? Ahead, Trattles shares five tips for sharpening your negotiating skills so you can better your chances at getting a pay rise.

Familiarise Yourself With Industry Salary Trends

“If you’re looking to open a discussion about a different remuneration package, it’s in your best interest to understand the trends in your industry,” says Trattles. “Not as a threat, as support for your case. The Great Resignation and current economy make it an excellent market to investigate your options, inside and outside where you currently work.”

Take the Time to Build Your Case

“If your typical approach to this discussion, or meetings in general, involves little else than ensuring you have a fresh cuppa ready in time for kickoff, then you need to think again. Preparation is king! I recommend you invest 70% of your time preparing, prior to stepping up to the negotiating table.

“A few things to consider when building your case:

  • Know the company’s policy on pay reviews (timing, triggers, process).
  • Outline why it makes sense that you would be asking for this now.
    • Sit with your current job description and note down what it says, versus what you actually do. Are you doing more, managing more, delivering above target, etc, etc.
  • Be clear on your goal — know what you want, when will you ‘walk away’.
    • Find evidence to support the package you’re seeking (from job boards, recruiters, etc).
  • Practice talking through your case with someone who knows you (or your manager), get them to ask questions and see things from their side of the table.
  • Consider where they might push back, or want more information, then you can prepare your responses.

“All of this work should help build your confidence and enable you to outline what a difference you make in the role, with key proof points that would make it easy for your boss (or new employer) to lean into the conversation that you are of great value.”

Factor in Perks and Benefits

“Cash is not always king — I know shocking, right? But it may not be your only driver, and it might actually be challenging for an employer to meet your desires. So, determine what’s important to you so you can be flexible or not — your choice.

“You may want to bundle in: training, a car space, travel allowance, to work on a key project, flexible or condensed hours, the ability to salary sacrifice, etc, etc.”

Practice Your Delivery

“Hearing yourself talk through how the conversation may go will help build your confidence. Ask different people’s opinions on how you’ve built your case, they can help with perspective. They can help with what objections or challenges might come up in the discussion, which you can plan for. Seeing the discussion from other angles, can help you crystalise your key points and consider, ‘If they say [this], I’ll say this….’

“On a base level, this helps you think through who will lead the conversation,

  • How will it start — will you lead or simply say something like, ‘When do you feel I’ll be ready for a position review?’.
  • And how will it end, what will you do if you don’t get what you want? Perhaps you’ll say something like, ‘If not now, then when? And can we map out the path to get me there?’.”

Remember to Get Everything in Writing

“Us Aussies are very laidback, we often leave meetings with ambiguity — not entirely clear on who’s doing what, by when. So, ensure you take note of the outcomes and actions from the discussion and follow up. Also, a pay review takes time, it is very unlikely to be resolved in one meeting, so keep on top of where things are — it’s in your best interest.”

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