Money & Career

How to negotiate a raise

By: Jasmine Miller

Author: Canadian Living

Money & Career

How to negotiate a raise

By: Jasmine Miller

What you need to know:
What you want. You could walk into an interview thinking, I want $100,000 a year, but you could also say to yourself, If I had four weeks vacation a year and only $75,000, that would be success, too. If you want a raise, have a specific number in mind.

What you're worth. Research salaries for similar positions at other companies in your industry. For a salary negotiation with your current boss, point to work you've done that proves you are worth a raise

• People don't listen for long, so get to the point fast.

The minimum you're willing to live with. (You can apply this not only to a job interview negotiation but also to hammering out a deal with a contractor or a salesperson.)

When to back down. Sometimes if you're too forceful, a person won't want to negotiate with you. He will feel pushed into a corner and won't know where to turn, so it helps to give him options.

What you need to do:
• Negotiate directly with the person you'll be working for.

• Share a work-related story and a personal character story. You can change the mood of an interview with humour and a good story, plus the right one can show your best qualities, such as tenacity, entrepreneurship or problem-solving abilities.

• Follow up an interview with a handwritten note to show that the negotiation process is important to you. If you're negotiating with your current boss, follow up with an e-mail, reiterating what was agreed upon so far and what, if anything, is left outstanding.

What you need to say:
• At a job interview, ask a lot of questions, about the company in general and about the job you're applying for in particular.

• Make statements that show your worth. "I understand that historically this has been a sales-focused company and for the last while sales haven't been as high as you wanted. Based on my experience, I feel I can help turn that around."

• If you hit a wall on salary, go in another door. "Let's get all the other issues nailed down and revisit this at our next meeting."

• "If you aren't able to match what I'm asking for, what can you offer?"

• "If there's no money in the budget for a salary increase, can I get more time off, paid or unpaid, a flexible schedule, training or take a course."

• "What can I do now to increase my odds of getting a raise in six months?"

Our experts:
Gail Vaz-Oxlade, author of 10 books on personal finance and the host of Life Network's new "Till Debt Do Us Part." Gail says she "always negotiates everything." This includes her last car. She wanted zero per cent financing, not the 2.8 per cent being offered. When the salesperson told her he couldn't meet her expectations, she thanked him for his time. "I got up and left the office," she says. "And he caught me on the showroom floor." Given a few seconds to mull it over, he decided he could give Gail what she wanted after all. "And I'm still driving that car," she says.

Ellie Rubin, international speaker, TV personality and author of Bulldog: Spirit of the New Entrepreneur (HarperCollins Canada, 1999) and Ambition: 7 Rules for Getting There (Penguin, 2004). "One of the best deals I ever struck was when I took a senior sales job at a communications company. I guaranteed that I would double the quota they wanted me to reach within six months instead of 12. If I reached my goal, they owed me double the bonus. If I failed, they owed me nothing. Guess what happened?"

Grant Yoxon, managing editor of the online magazine "I always feel like I'm getting ripped off, so in my family, we always say, ‘Is that the best price you can give us?'"

Right now, Grant and his wife are in the market for a new dining room set and have been negotiating on and off for six months. They regularly visit the store, check the price and talk to the salesperson. "When the price is right, we'll do it," says Grant. "But we're not paying top dollar." And he's in no rush to buy -- a move he says puts you in a better bargaining position, whether you're after a new washing machine or a shirt.

Now that you have that hard-earned money, don't waste it. Our experts explain how to negotiate:
The price of a car or appliance
Your home's selling price, mortgage and insurance price

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Money & Career

How to negotiate a raise