By Anita Bruzzese
Whether you’re trying to get a new job, a pay raise or move into semi-retirement, you’re not going to get what you really want unless you learn to use proven, effective methods employed by the best negotiators.
Here’s what the best negotiators know:
It's important to make the first offer.
When you propose something such as a pay raise, this is seen as an “anchor” because it’s sort of like dropping an anchor on the table. That’s the point that starts negotiations. If you let someone else first propose a number that’s less than what you want, it will be more difficult to negotiate for more.
Research shows it’s better to be specific when negotiating because it makes you seem more knowledgeable. For example, you can ask for a raise of “$5,024 a year” instead of “about $5,000,” or set “Sept. 22” as the day you will become semi-retired and work reduced hours instead of saying “sometime this year.”
Have the right mindset
It’s important to stay focused on your ideal target when entering negotiations, otherwise known as having a “promotion focus.” When you think about your goals, you need to see them as a way to get something you want and end up in a better position. Before a negotiation, list everything you hope to accomplish and how it will benefit you. Refuse to allow any thoughts about what could go wrong to enter your mind. It's estimated that women who fail to negotiate their pay in the early days of their careers end up losing out on about $2 million in pay over their work lives.
Nibbling pays off
Once you get something you want, such as working from home three days a week, then there is no reason not to seek more. You just have to “nibble” at it. For example, you can also say, “Oh, by the way, I’ll be using my personal cell phone quite a bit for business purposes. Can I get some reimbursement on that?” When you get that approval, you might add: “Oh, it would also be so helpful to be able to hire a virtual assistant to keep my calendar when I’m on the road this year….” Remember: If you don’t ask for something, you won’t get it.
Avoid being empathetic
Women often are seen as having keen emotional intelligence, which includes being empathetic. Such traits are becoming more valued in the workplace, but women need to learn to set their empathy aside when they’re in the midst of business negotiations. Research shows that while it’s important to be able to clearly understand the other person at the negotiating table, it’s not a good idea to feel sympathy or compassion for that person. In other words, you want to understand the person’s perspective – but not cave into feeling empathy as that reduces your ability to achieve your desired outcome.
Finally, it’s a good idea to practice your negotiating strategy with a trusted friend or family member so you can eliminate any weak points, be confident – and get what you want.