How to Negotiate a Salary Increase

A lot of us think about negotiating a salary increase, but not many of us muster up the courage to do so. In most situations it’s a stressful and difficult topic for people to approach their manager with. However, if you find yourself in the situation where you are negotiating a new salary, you must be prepared to put yourself in the most beneficial position.

Here is an outline of 10 very important and effective tips to set you on the right path towards confidently negotiating a better salary, regardless of your current situation or expectations. Put yourself in the best possible position, read these carefully and look to apply them to yourself.

1) Be politely persuasive:

If you’re at the position of negotiating a new salary, you must have some good reasoning behind it. So use these reasons as leverage to persuade the decision maker that this is a mutually beneficial decision, for you and the company. Always be polite too, even if you find yourself disagreeing with some of the feedback you receive.

2) Aim high, but be realistic:

Negotiating a salary increase is not akin to selling a high-ticket item. You don’t go in with a high offer, assuming you will just work your way down to a happy medium. If you overshoot too far there is a realistic chance that talks will completely breakdown. So keep it realistic, but work towards the top end of the salary bracket you are in.

3) Use a serious but understanding tone:

You need to set a serious tone if you want to be taken seriously. However, it’s important you take time to listen to and understand any feedback you receive. There are a lot of points you will want to get across, which is fine. But listen as well as talking.

4) Be clear about your intentions:

If you have intentions on negotiating stock options, company shares, new commissions, be clear with what you want. Don’t over complicate what should be a straight forward explanation. You should have rehearsed what you’re going to say over and over in your mind already, making the discussion part easy.

5) Try to meet your manager’s needs too:

A negotiation is a two-way process. Your manager may already have ideas he/she wants to discuss with you, or will have some off the back of the negotiation. Do your best to accommodate what they are asking of you, expect a little give-and-take.

6) Be ready with a ‘plan B’:

It’s hard to predict what is going to come out of a negotiation. Often it goes in a completely different direction than anyone anticipated, but this doesn’t have to be a bad thing. Have a plan B, or even a plan C ready in these cases. If you feel like you are losing the negotiation, and it’s going in a direction you are really not interested in – start again with plan B.

7) Research objective criteria:

Presenting your case with some objective criteria as backup adds a lot of weight to your argument. If you can prove that similar firms within the same industry pay a certain amount, then you can argue that you should be getting at least that amount. Giving your manager some proof to work with makes their decision a lot easier to make.

8) Be prepared to hear ‘’no’’:

It’s certainly not what you want to hear, and you shouldn’t really consider it happening. But if you’re not at least a little prepared, you won’t know what to do should it happen. Will you try again in the future? Or try to find another job with a similar company that meets your expectations?

9) Prepare to over-deliver on your promises:

As part of the negotiations you will probably be promising to achieve certain goals or targets. If your manager agrees, there is nothing more embarrassing then under-delivering after they took a leap of faith with you. So you better be prepared to over-deliver on your promises, and make it happen at any cost.

10) Learn from your experience:

Regardless how the process works out for you, learn from your experience. Most people go through very few salary negotiations during their employment. So learning from previous experience and improving each time can pay off in a big way.

In Summary:

Whether you are successful, ended up with a result you didn’t expect, or are completely shut-down, this is a learning process. If you meet the criteria above regarding being ready, and having clear goals and reasons for negotiating a new salary – go for it.

If you don’t, you will always be wondering what may have been. I wish you success.

Author: Noel Griffith is a webmaster at and works as a recruitment consultant and career advisor. Image: Shutterstock.

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