Coming to terms with the fact you’re being underpaid isn’t an easy thing to do. And if you’re one of the many women who’ve unfortunately already come to this conclusion, you’ll most likely react in one of three ways:
- Complain about not getting a raise.
- Think about asking for a raise.
- Actually, ask for a raise.
Even though you know the third option is the best choice – the one most likely to bring about the outcome you want – nine times out of ten, it’s not the one you’ll choose.
The reasons for not choosing the third option are varied. They can range from being unsure of how to bring up the subject of a raise, to being afraid of your boss’ reaction, to simply feeling overwhelmed by the process in general. I totally get that the thought of asking for and receiving a raise can be daunting, but believe me, it is not impossible.
Here are 5 super easy steps I teach women on how to negotiate salary increases of $5,000, $10,000 and even $25,000.
1. Be Strategic about Your Timing
Once you’ve worked up the courage to ask for a raise, you may be tempted to march into your boss’ office on the spot and demand more money. Before you do that though (slow down, girl), you should know certain situations are more conducive to positive results than others.
For example, when you’ve:
- Completed a huge accomplishment at work
- Received a promotion
- Conducted market research that shows you’re being underpaid
- Been offered a job with a new company
Situations like these give you leverage and make it more likely you’ll get a “yes” response. Although you may be tempted to wait until your next annual salary discussion to express dissatisfaction with your pay, this isn’t necessarily the best time as money decisions have most likely already been made. Instead, take the lead on when the conversation will happen. Be intentional about not only what you’ll say, but also when you’ll say it.
2. Do Your Research
Approaching the salary conversation with specific examples of how much people in similar roles to yours get paid will dramatically boost the odds of your boss agreeing to your request for more money. Sites like Glassdoor.com and Payscale.com have completely changed the game on conducting salary research. With a few simple clicks, it’s possible to find the average pay for virtually any role at any company.
Being armed with information to support your request for a higher salary is the single most important aspect of the salary negotiation process – and often heavily influences the outcome in a positive way.
3. Get on Your Boss’ Level
If your boss usually prefers a more laid-back style, now isn’t the time to suddenly get super formal. If she prefers to have meetings in the late afternoon, don’t schedule your salary conversation at 9 am. If she likes a detailed agenda outlining meeting topics ahead of time, be sure you give her one.
Switching the style of communication you and your boss usually have can cause confusion and put her in an uncomfortable headspace. When people are uncomfortable, they’re less receptive to the information being presented to them. Don’t get trapped in the belief that because the subject is money, you have to be more stuffy and formal in your approach. How do you and your boss normally interact? Go with that.
4. Be Straight Forward
When asking for a raise, avoid the urge to start speaking in code or beating around the bush. Although it can be challenging (due to your nerves getting the best of you), the best approach is to be clear and to the point.
Being straightforward also helps keep your emotions in check. Emotions like: anxiety, anger, nervousness, and fear can sabotage your efforts to have a constructive conversation about your money goals and expectations. Creating bulleted speaking points that are direct and to the point can help you keep the conversation on track and avoid getting sidetracked.
5. Have a Clear Call to Action
Often the best salary conversations lose steam at the most important part – the end. No matter how well everything has gone, don’t undermine all of your hard work by not making the actual ask for more money. What would you like your boss to do at the end of the conversation? Make sure your ask is crystal clear so there is no room for doubt or uncertainty in your boss’ mind about what it is you want.
Going after your next raise doesn’t have to be a scary or convoluted process. Although it may not feel like it, having the money conversation with your boss is just like having any other career-related conversation – the key is to be confident, strategic, prepared and straightforward.