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4 Steps for Your Next Salary Negotiation — Bright Space Coaching | Leadership Development for Women

(Last Updated On: April 21, 2022)

Last Updated on April 21, 2022 by Admin

Step 1: Decide What You Want

This first step addresses the first barrier of not having all of the information you need to know exactly what you want to ask for. It seems obvious, but it’s important to call this out.

Everything is negotiable, and you need to truly consider what you’re willing to ask for. The common asks are salary, benefits, PTO, bonus, sign-on bonus, etc. But there are other work-related benefits that are also up for negotiation. Maybe you need flexible work hours because your children are still doing virtual school. Maybe you prefer working from home because you’re over your 2-hour commute. Maybe you want to travel more for work – or less! Maybe the travel is too much.

The second part of this is to decide what you want for your career. Is there something you want more of? Like more flexibility or more time off? Is there anything you want less of? Less going into the office. Less travel. Less busy work. More opportunities to use your strengths.

It helps to consider your core values. If one of your values is family – maybe you want to ask for things that allow you to spend more time with your family or contribute financially to your family. Maybe you value education, so you ask for something that helps you grow as a leader. Maybe you value autonomy or independence. So remote work would be a great option for you. Make it personal, start with your values.

Then, decide how you want to spend your time in your career. Do you want to work full time or part time? Do you want to work on projects or facilitate meetings? Finally, consider where you see your career going. Do you envision staying with the same company for a long time? Do you see yourself in the same position, or changing careers?


Determine Your Limits

Now that you know what you will ask for, it’s time to determine your limits! There are three components to consider:

  • Best Alternative to a Negotiated Agreement (BATNA): In other words, what will you do if you don’t get what you want? There are always options here. Sometimes, it means staying with the status quo, and sometimes there’s another option. There’s always another option if you’re willing to get creative!

  • Acceptable Number: What is your cutoff point – the minimum amount you’d be willing to accept? This is the lowest deal you’d accept before choosing your BATNA instead. For example, the lowest salary amount you would accept before finding a different job or deciding to stay in your current job.

  • Ideal Number: What you’d love to achieve in the negotiation. Something that would make you pop a bottle of champagne in celebration. This should be better than your BATNA, ambitious (a little scary, pushing the limits of what’s possible), and also realistic at the same time – you want it to be something the recruiter or manager might potentially agree to, not something impossible or out of left field. It really shouldn’t be too much higher than your Acceptable Number – maybe $10k-15k more.

Your Acceptable Number is NOT below what you deserve or what the market value is. This is not you settling for a salary! This is the minimum acceptable salary that is still a great salary, it still allows you to live your life, pay your bills, etc. You are NOT settling when you set this number. Let me be very clear about that.

Think about the acceptable number as what you deserve, that’s a good or great number. And the ideal is just that – it would be amazing if they offered you that, but it’s not necessarily an expectation you have. You would still be happy if you got the acceptable number. Because what we don’t want is to create a situation in which you accept the offer and resent the company.

Here are a few strategies for finding the best salary ranges so you can determine your numbers:

  • Talk to friends who work for the company

  • Talk to recruiters, HR professionals, others who have the information

  • Glassdoor, PayScale, Google search

Be sure to use more than one source to verify. If you’re having trouble finding your specific job title on Glassdoor or PayScale, it’s even more important for you to talk to real people about salary expectations. Lean on your colleagues, network, or professional organizations for support.


Step #2: Set the Foundation

This step addresses barrier #2, not wanting to feel like you’re bragging about yourself. It’s all about finding your SPARK, which stands for:

  • Strengths

  • Passions

  • Accomplishments

  • Resources

  • Knowledge

Your SPARK helps you build confidence in who you are when you come to the negotiating table. You already have so much experience and expertise, and it’s likely that you haven’t taken the step back to look at it holistically. By doing this, you’ll have evidence of the success you’ve already achieved, so you know you can achieve more in the future.

These are the things that are unique to you – and together, they help set you apart from others in your industry. It’s very unlikely that someone else will have exactly the same combination of traits as you. Which is great news because it’s easy to think that there are already thousands of managers out there, or hundreds of consultants.

The truth is: no one can do what you do the way you do it. No one can teach what you teach the way you teach it. Your SPARK is what allows you to have a unique voice in your industry, and it’s what attracts your dream clients and employers to you.

People will be attracted to you because they like what you stand for, they like your personality, they resonate with you. In many cases, you’ll attract customers and employees and mentees who come to you because they see themselves in you.

This is why it’s so important to BE YOURSELF, especially in salary negotiation. When you are clear on who you are, your strengths, accomplishments, and experiences, you don’t have to brag. You can clearly state why you deserve the salary you’re asking for, and you have the data to back it up.

You can do that through your SPARK Statement. Maybe you’ve heard the term “elevator pitch” before – and this is a similar concept.

It’s not enough to talk about what you do or what you’re good at. You also have to show the results you get, the outcomes you achieve, and the overall transformation your organization experiences because of your work.

A simple formula for the SPARK Statement looks like this:

I help [who] achieve/do [outcomes] so they can [result/transformation].

Here’s mine for example:

I help women leaders in male-dominated companies demolish systemic barriers to equity to create the workplace of choice for women.

Take some time to play around with this framework, then write down your completed SPARK Statement. You can practice saying this statement out loud before your salary negotiation, or you can state it as a reason you deserve what you’re asking for.


Step #3: Practice Your Pitch

Now that you have your SPARK Statement, it’s time to practice! And this step is important because it helps you overcome barrier #3, not wanting to seem ungrateful for the offer.

Most women approach negotiations like this:

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