The power to persuade is useful in plenty of situations. Sales presentations, supplier transactions, team meetings… just to name a few.
And there’s one context in which your persuasive power can have an especially large impact for you personally: your next salary negotiation.
The good news is that the ability to influence others isn’t inborn. It can be learned.
In fact, here are two surefire tips that could see you walk away from your next salary negotiation pleasantly surprised…
1. Gather benchmark data
Knowledge is power. You’ve heard it before and you know it’s true. So before your next salary negotiation, take the time to gather relevant knowledge.
What kind of knowledge?
Ideally, high-quality benchmark data to support your desired salary package. It’s one thing to know what you WANT to earn, but to influence effectively you’ll need to know what you SHOULD earn.
So, whether you’re entering a new job salary negotiation or it’s time for a pay rise, you’d better get researching. Check out the average salaries for similar positions to gain a sense of the relevant standards in your industry.
Some helpful sources of data to explore:
- Salary websites like Glassdoor or PayScale let you access in-depth salary information based on location. These services are free.
- Recruiters and employment agencies can provide you with salaries to compare and some of the larger specialist recruiters produce annual salary review guides.
- LinkedIn allows you to connect with a range of like-minded professionals, many of whom can provide you with useful information about similar roles.
By sharing this kind of information as you negotiate, you’ll boost your persuasive power by lending legitimacy to your desired salary package, and increase the chances of securing the package you want.
2. Enhance your BATNA
If you haven’t heard of the term BATNA before, it’s worth knowing. It’s an acronym for ‘Best Alternative to a Negotiated Agreement’. It refers to what you’ll else you could do if you can’t reach an agreement via negotiation.
As was the case for gathering benchmark data, knowing your BATNA will also enhance your persuasive power.
You see, if you have ‘weak’ alternatives, you’re more vulnerable. If you have nowhere to go other than to accept what you’re being offered, you have less leverage – and you’ll feel compelled to make larger concessions. And that’s hardly a pleasant or powerful position to be in.
Which is why you should enhance your BATNA before any salary negotiation. In fact, according to latest research, you should do it in three ways: quantity (ie. increase the number of alternatives available to you), quality (increase the value of your BATNA) and plausibility (improve the likelihood of securing your BATNA).
For example, if you’re applying for a job, at the same time you should apply and interview with a number of other organisations (quantity), negotiate high value packages with those organisations (quality) and move as far along the recruitment process with them as you reasonably can before you come back to your own (or your preferred) organisation (plausibility). That will reduce your reliance on one organisation and significantly boost your leverage.
Don’t negotiate without preparing
There’s a lot to consider before you can confidently begin salary negotiations. But if you want to maximise your influence, you need to prepare strategically – no matter how hard-working and deserving you are.
To help you get an edge in your next salary negotiation, download our free Harvard-based Negotiation Plannerfor more tips and preparation strategies.
About the author: Nicole Davidson is CMA’s Principal Consultant and facilitates workshops across our full suite of programs, including Getting to Yes.