Negotiating your salary can be difficult, especially if you're like me and don't want to ask for something. But it's science that is clear: being underpaid can be frustrating, and I know how bad it feels to go into work every day feeling that we aren't valued enough

So why do so many feel underpaid - or just suck at negotiations? I think because many believe there's a secret that will somehow work out.

So what about the five salary hacks?

Cheap guru advice or bargaining tricks just don't work! There is no hidden secret, and there are not shortcuts without science!

What really works to negotiate a higher salary?

Here are 5 steps backed by research in psychology that you can use to negotiate a higher salary. The steps build on each other to help you maximize your confidence and convince others. This process helped me negotiate an EUR 25,000 increase in my starting salary not too long ago! 

Many of my clients also made an extra few thousand euros thanks to these steps.

It is true you won't be able to master all the steps simply by reading this guide, but with those 5 salary negotiation tips you'll have the 101 for your next salary talk.

1) Prepare & Plan Your Salary Negotiation

  • What is your goal? Probably a high salary. But what exactly? Surprisingly many professionals can't even articulate the exact amount they want to earn. As soon as they set out a number causes them some anxiousness. This is ridiculous because if you can't convince yourself then how will you persuade someone else! So be specific about what salary you are targeting for your position, industry, location and seniority - the more clarity the more confident you will feel.

  • Most important & overlooked: Be very clear on WHY your skills and knowledge are worth the salary. It's not about what you want, but why your boss will pay for it. If you did the research in the first part this should be easy but don't only base your number on market competition- create a value proposition! The more value you show and the more you show them you are difficult to get the more you earn. 
  • You can find some salary benchmarks in the resource section of my free Job-Hunt Guide >> Get Your Copy Here.

2) Define the Rules

  • This can make a difference between an intense negotiation with awkward moments and a pleasant experience, even when tough talks are happening. Basically, just be clear about where/when to negotiate. For example, if there's an upcoming job interview or talk at work that may involve salary discussions. Let them know you plan on talking about compensation during this meeting - and befriend the assistant of your boss because she will know when it's best to ask for one!

  •  You must know your minimum salary, or the number that you will walk away from. Write down and commit to it. People sometimes call this their BATNA (Best Alternative to a Negotiated Agreement). 
However, I saw many clients who walked away from an offer despite not having any other offers because they had a very clear number in mind; later on these turned out being better than what was offered them!

So stick to you number- it can do wonders! 

3) Clarify what you mean with your Salary expectations

  • Often we get stuck in the numbers after exchanging salary expectations. Not a good idea! Better is first to see if you are talking about the same thing? - like is it just your monthly salary, or does that include other benefits?

  • You should also clarify when your next salary review will happen. Many people assume that salary increases are automatic, but in my experience as an HR executive I can tell you we like to trick job candidates into believing there will be another increase- which never happens! So make sure to ask before. 

4) Bargain & Problem-Solve

  • This is probably the part you spent most of your time preparing for. Yes, there are tricks to negotiating that can be highly successful - yet often, the five hacks you read or a simple "never put your number first" does not work as it needs to be seen with all other steps. Negotiations heavily rely in psychology, economics and social science; therefore an effective process requires more tools. That is why I spend a whole module in my Master classes on proven bargaining tools.

  • Here are some things you can keep in mind. One is to defer your first number as long as possible, and the other to link it specifically with your value proposition (step 1). I've seen these bargaining tools work wonders for my clients who have managed to get a lot more salary thanks in part this.

5) Close & Formalize your Salary

  • Once you agreed formalize your agreement and name the next steps. A handshake or an ok on the phone are not enough. Everything should be in writing (including any discussion about benefits, future salary talks, etc). A handshake or an ok on the phone are not enough- everything should be in writing (including any discussion about benefits, future salary talks, etc).

  •  Finally, don’t forget to thank them, or remind them about the amazing things you do for their team (especially if they negotiated well). The boss may feel doubtful or even angry. So make sure to thank them and remind them why they made the right choice: Because you look forward to providing value for their team!

  • Always, always have everything you agreed on in writing. Bosses tend to 'forget' they promised you a higher salary in a few months. 

Use this 101 Salary Guide to Get started & if you want to really earn more learn the Proven Tools in Private Coaching

So here you have a 101 guide for your next salary negotiation. It is not a fast hack.
Mastering salary negotiation takes time and training. But negotiation is not rocket science either; these are little things that most people can do to make a big difference in your salary over time!

Most candidates never even think about these 5 salary negotiation steps though, so by following them you're already leaps ahead of them.

And if you really want to make sure you earn what you deserve (or even more), then I like to invite you to my
1:1 Power Advisory program. 

Together in laser-focused sessions, we will create your value proposition, find your numbers, and create a structure process so you have everything you need to earning several thousand more.


>> Book your first free discovery call here!

Which part in the salary negotiation do you struggle most with? Comment below and I will try to help!

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About the Author

Work Psychologist & Advisor, with the sole purpose to find and offer you the most competent advise so you grow professionally and live a fulfilling work-life on your terms. 

Find out more: How I went from being an anxious, always pleasing and stuck in the rat-race professional to creating a well-paying career and fulfilling life on my terms.


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