by Judson Graham

The goal of any negotiation is to reach an agreement. While each party in a negotiation may take a different route, the negotiation is a collaboration to reach a common destination. In order to be successful in any negotiation, it is imperative to have a clear understanding of what your goals are and to strategize the most appropriate and effective means to reach those goals. Before any salary negotiation, you must commit significant time to map out the presentation that you will make to your employer and form a strategic plan to overcome the objections that you are likely to face.

Research before you determine the salary that you will ask for. There are countless websites that provide “insider” information about the salaries paid at many companies. Understanding the range of salaries paid by competitors can help you to gauge the overall market and guide your salary demands accordingly. Resist the urge in a salary negotiation to talk about the salaries paid by competitors and trust that the employer is aware of market salary range for your position.

Begin your negotiation by expressing your appreciation for the opportunity to work for your employer. Be armed with concrete examples of why you want to be an employee of your company and what it is about the company that you most value.

Document your value to illustrate that it is in the company’s best interest to pay the salary you have requested. In the weeks leading up to your salary negotiation, build a list that identifies, with specificity, the value that you will add to justify the salary that you are demanding.

Anticipate the objections that you will encounter and be armed with responses to overcome these objections. If you cannot anticipate what your employer will say to attempt to keep your salary lower than you may wish, then you are unprepared for the negotiation.

Remember that your salary negotiation is a collaboration and that the employer wants to work with you, to the extent that it is possible. If you enter a salary negotiation anticipating a fight, then you will lose. The negotiation should be collegial and friendly, but don’t be afraid to firmly assert your rationale for the salary you are seeking.

Consider the “big picture” when you negotiate. If your current role does not command the salary that you would like, or if your employer has constraints on what they can offer you, take the opportunity to discuss your long term goals. You can always leverage a salary negotiation to learn what steps are necessary in order for you to build the skill set or get the experience necessary for a higher-paying role down the road.