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How to Negotiate Salary: 5 Tips You Need to Know

01.10.17   |   Job Search & Career   |   David DeMelo, Division Manager, at Treeline, Incorporated

how to negotiate a salary in the job offer stage5 Tips to Negotiate Salary and Get the Raise You Deserve
 

Whether you are in final stages with the company you’re interviewing with for a new job, or are asking for a pay raise at your current company, negotiating salary is never easy.

We all want to be passionate about our jobs and love what we do. And although money is not everything, it is something, so how do we ask for more of it? 

Even though this conversation may seem uncomfortable, it can be both tactful and tasteful. It’s okay to be disappointed with a compensation package and not accept the first salary offer. However, I don’t recommend that you demand a pay raise or provide the ultimatum that you will quit or won’t take the job, but rather have a plan and facts to support the plan for why you need more.

Here are 5 tips to help you negotiate salary in your job search without burning any bridges.
 

1.        Be Educated

I would recommend doing some homework. We live in a time where we can get information at our fingertips. If you are wondering what others make in similar roles, do your research.

These websites can give you some insight on the past and present reps with comparable roles earned or are earning. Have this data to support your reasoning for a higher salary. Remember all negotiations require justification and “just because” is not negotiating.  

{Related Article: 30 Ways to Ruin an Interview in 30 Seconds}
 

2.       Ask the Right Questions

In sales, anyone can tell you that you can make “unlimited earnings” and you can become a millionaire. What’s important to ask is what is realistic if you are to hit your goals. If you are in final stages with a company, ask questions around the the offer and compensation structure. You want to find out if the commissions are realistic and if they are uncapped you want to find out if the earning potential is truly unlimited. This is up to you to find out, not for hiring manager to tell you. You can find out this information by simply asking the right questions.

Ask questions about:

  • Quota
  • Average deal size
  • Sales cycle
  • Commission structure
  • Payment schedule
  • Ramp-up time
  • How many reps are currently hitting quotas
     

3.       Bring Data to Support Your Requests

We can all say what we want for a dream salary and comp package, but you need data to support why you deserve a higher salary. Bring data that would give you ammunition. If you are in final stages with a company, make sure you have your brag book, awards, and recent W2 earnings on hand. You’re in sales, so you know numbers matter. Have data to show why you are worth more and what your potential is to be a top producer at this company.

  • If you were the top performer at your previous company be able to state out of how many
  • If you were 120% of your quota, be able to state what your quota was
  • If you brought in the company’s largest deal, state how much the deal was worth
  • If you brought on new clients and closed business, be able to state how many

This type of data will help you support your reasoning for a higher salary. Be able to bring solid information to back up why you believe you are worth x amount or you should be compensated at a certain level.

{Related Article: How to Crush the First 90 Days at Your New Sales Job}

4.       Walk the Line

There is a difference between confidence and cockiness. You can deliver a strong message without a strong tone. Articulate that you are confident in your ability to ramp up quickly and become a top producer.

  • Be able to draw parallels from your previous successes that got you to where you are now
  • Use positive and proactive words
  • Write down what you want to say and even practice the conversation with a friend or a recruiter if you are working with one
  • Focus on the future and articulate why you want to join this company and your goals
  • Use the power of the pause and do not let your immediate reaction be defensive or offensive

Let the hiring team know you are prepared and ready for this opportunity and are willing to learn the model to become successful but need them to equally invest the same belief in you.

{Related Article: How to Lose a Deal}

5.       Be Optimistic but Realistic

Do not price yourself out. We all want to make as much as we can, and shoot for the biggest base that we can.  For an example, if you are at a $50K base and last year you made a total of $100K; don’t expect to get a $100K base salary. Set your own expectations that receiving a bump up in base is realistic, but to match your total earnings is unrealistic. Organizations are looking for justification and to double your salary although would be awesome, that is a huge hill to climb.

  • Know your number (what is the lowest you are willing to go to accept the offer)
  • Remember there may be other reasons you are making a career move (location, benefits, management team) and weigh those in your salary decision
  • Have a clear mind and understanding what is worth the move and what’s worth walking away
  • Know what is more important to you, a higher base or a higher OTE

We all want a higher salary, but it’s important to not just throw numbers around, but actually have the data to support you convictions. If you have unrealistic salary expectations, expect to be disappointed. If you have reasonable salary expectations and are prepared to support your request, you are more likely going to successfully negotiate salary. You are in sales, negotiations come with the territory and it's important that you CLOSE the salary negotiation like you would any deal. 

  • Gain verbal agreement on the job offer and compensation plan
  • If you are happy with the offer then verbally accept what was agreed upon. If unhappy address this immediately.  Do not wait for a written offer to then start negotiations. Seize the moment. Your greatest chance for a successful negotiation is to negotiate in person. 
  • Ask for the job offer and compensation plan in writing 
  • Review the offer in writing and submit as your official acceptance

As a salesperson, take advantage of your negotiations training and put it to work for you. Be confident, have a plan and be prepared. Remember, if you never ask for it, you will never get it.

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