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What You'll Learn In Today's Episode

  • Negotiating isn’t just a process for seeking agreement between companies or organizations. Using it wisely can benefit you, personally and professionally, as well.
  • Even experienced professional negotiators don’t necessarily recommend pushing to renegotiate the terms of a new job offer. Will your interests as a whole be satisfied? If so, accept it as a win.
  • If you’re out for a promotion or higher pay on an existing job, keep respectful. Even if you feel you’ve been passed over or treated unjustly in the past, you’ll get further. Winning allies is always more productive than hostility.
  • Keep genuine, too. Be honest and transparent. This applies to employers as well as employees. Paired with empathy (or at least a desire to understand the other side), it gets you closer to alignment.

Watch This Episode On NEGOTIATEx TV

Welcome back to the NEGOTIATEx podcast! A student of Aram’s recently shared how shrewd negotiating helped him get better pay. In fact, the resulting raise more than doubled his pay. Clearly, the Framework of negotiating elements isn’t just for big corporate meetings.

Negotiating Pay

Let’s say you’re starting a new job. Some career advisors advocate driving a hard bargain. Should you negotiate your salary further?

Not necessarily. Sometimes you’re just better off accepting a reasonable offer. As a matter of fact, you could undermine some of your gains.

Despite his extensive professional negotiating experience, Aram doesn’t recommend it for every situation. Avoid hubris. If your interests as a whole will be satisfied, take the good offer as a win.

Don’t get mousy either, but beware of damaging relationships. In all honesty, flagging yourself as demanding is not the smartest way to start a job.

On the other hand, what if you’re seeking a raise or promotion at a job you already hold? Scrutinize how you will present yourself and how you will engage those involved. These things are extremely important.

Show Respect

First, keep respectful. Everything you say and do will probably be noted, if not officially recorded. As a matter of fact, you will be communicating on multiple levels at once.

Treat your supervisor or manager the same way you’d want to be treated. Accordingly, focus as much on relationship-building as you do on your overall goal(s). Making allies, if not friends, is always preferable when negotiating pay.

Workplace enemies, meanwhile, can make even short career phases feel like eternities. Consequently, it’s always better to be someone a supervisor won’t mind advocating for.

As a business owner, Nolan agrees from the other side: When hiring for a new business venture, he couldn’t afford to pay someone their professional full market value. Instead, he offered greater scheduling and deadline flexibility. It worked.

Keep Genuine

The second factor to maintain, after respectfulness, is sincerity. Keep open and genuine when negotiating pay. This is what expedited a favorable agreement between Nolan and his employee.

Fostering alignment is vital. In fact, your goals are probably unreachable without it. Transparency, combined with the discovery of common goals, is gravel poured along otherwise slick paths.

Observe the Options

Third, consider your employer’s options. If you have buy-in, seek room for possible creative solutions on their end. In other words, if you know they can’t give you A, what about B or C? A job title, future training, stock options, or something else could be feasible.

Remember that your boss probably has a boss. In fact, whatever the two of you work out will still have to be run by that 3rd party. Keep this in mind as you brainstorm. To be honest, sometimes a supervisor wants to give you something, but they don’t get to make the final call.

Remember that your boss probably has a boss. In fact, whatever the two of you work out will still have to be run by that 3rd party. Keep this in mind as you brainstorm. To be honest, sometimes a supervisor wants to give you something, but they don’t get to make the final call.

Flip it around in your head: What would you be willing to ask for on an employee’s behalf? That being the case, avoid asking for something that you’d roll your eyes at having to relay. Negotiating pay will go best when you are empathetic enough to keep realistic.

Key Takeaways

  • Consider everyone’s interests. Don’t just focus on your own. Interests are more than just pay, so try to determine the full range. In fact, companies are utilizing some creative strategies now when higher compensation isn’t doable.
  • Know what you’re worth. Have a fair understanding of your skills’ market value. At the same time, if you’re an employer, review the going rates in order to offer competitively.
  • Visit our LinkedIn page. We’ve got links to current and previous podcasts, interesting show notes, and more. Additionally, feedback and suggestions are welcome as comments, too.
  • Give us a 5-star rating at Apple, Spotify, or wherever you listen from. Your input helps us to grow. If you’re receiving value, please share the NEGOTIATEx podcast with a friend, too.

Nolan and Aram share more on negotiating in your workplace in this episode of the NEGOTIATEx podcast. Questions and topic suggestions to team@negotiatex.com are always welcome. Don’t forget to drop by negotiatex.com for more information on today’s topic and our negotiation prep tool, either.

Your time’s important to us. Thanks for listening!


Nolan Martin : Welcome to the NEGOTIATEx podcast. I am your co-host Nolan Martin with me today is my good friend, Aram Aram as usual, sir. How are you doing? 

Aram Donigian : I'm good. I'm good. I got it. I got a fun little story to tell you though, to start us off. 

NM : All right. Let's hear it. 

AD : All right. So, uh, my wife's been gone for the last couple of weeks, and so I've been trying to survive with just me and the six kids, 

NM : ...And new puppy right? 

AD : And new puppy. So far I have been able to do that, but it's warmed up here. We're finally getting a little bit of summer in the Northeast. And had a number of flies, just kids, leaving doors open and flies getting in the the house, flies driving me crazy. So I decided to tell one of my boys. I said, listen, if you, uh, I just like, the flies are everywhere. So I'd be like, come on. If you can kill a fly, they're pretty fast. I said, I give you a buck for every fly you can kill. All right. So 12 dead, challenge accepted, 12 dead flies. Later he comes back and says, “Hey dad, you owe me 12 bucks.” And I'm like, oh my goodness, what did I get myself into? Right. So over committed, right. Which is something we always need to be aware of in negotiation. So I over committed. And uh, so here I am thinking, oh no, I gotta pay him 12 bucks, but my wife's not here. She'll never know. And then he says, I mean, then he says, or I'll just take a Coke. And I'm thinking, now I'm wondering right now. And I'm wondering which one of us needs more negotiation advice. This young man who doesn't know the value of a Coke, versus $12 or me who's about ready to say, heck yeah, even though I know I'd get in huge trouble with his mom. If she knew I was giving him a whole can of Coke.

NM :   So what did you end up doing?

AD : Well, I did the right thing. I gave him the Coke and saved myself $12. And, uh, so we high five. He's quite excited. He goes walking out of my office, he trips on stairs and spills, half the coke. 

NM : Does he get reimbursed for that half or is it gone?[laughs]

AD : It was gone. The sale was done. It was his. So he was still happy. Cause he got half the Coke. I was happy because he only had half the sugar. So I didn't, I only felt half as guilty about the arrangement. 

NM : That’s a pretty good story, I don't think I have anything to top that. So we'll just carry on with today's conversation. And so I am pumped about today's conversation because I think it's going to provide a lot of value for a lot of people that are stepping into a new position or potentially trying to renegotiate their salary with their employer. I know that you recently heard in or heard back from one of your previous students and they were telling you about the amount of success they had. By actually applying the same principles of negotiation to their salary negotiation. So I was hoping we could kind of talk about that today and, and kind of give some advice to all of our listeners.

AD : Yeah it's a common question about how do I apply these skills to negotiate more effectively for a salary, for a new position or even for a pay raise. And I, I spent a little bit of time in my class, very, very little on the topic because I think that once you gained kind of basic skills, you're able to navigate those waters pretty well. There's a lot of things out there written about job negotiations. I think some of them are really good. Some are probably less effective, but I think you can get the basic principles down. You can navigate those waters pretty well.

NM : Yeah. And I think that's kind of why the principles of negotiation are so powerful is because you can really apply it to anything. So let's, uh, let's kind of talk about the background. Like what, uh, what were they trying to do? And 

AD : Well in this case, and again, I think there's, I think there's similarities. There's obviously some differences, whether you're with a company or whether you are just trying to get on with the company. In this case, my student had been with the company for not quite a year, but then it came up time for, to discuss a potential raise. And really, again, thinking about the things we've talked about so many podcasts before, the student was just sharp about thinking about how to leverage the relationship that he had with the manager and developed over the last year to really dig into what interest there were, take time to consider what jobs are out there if they, if they had to walk away. So the idea of alternatives, you know, really get creative around potential options and also think about what are fair comparisons, you know, throughout just transparent, open communication, both ways, lots of good questioning. And then finally, you know, thinking about commitments, committing to come back after having discussed it. And at the end, you know, the student was able to negotiate a two and a half times, not percentage, but two and a half times greater raise than what had originally been proposed. So I think that's a nice application of some of these concepts. 

NM : All right. So that kind of brings me up to the point of what we talked about in the pre-call and that's do you always need to negotiate your salary when you're trying to get a, land a new job, 

AD : Amazingly enough, that's somewhat controversial, right? So there are going to be some career advisors out there that can tell you, oh, you always negotiate your salary. And you know, I would push back. I go back to my example of my story with Jack. Jack, would've been better served, my son, he would have been better served to not negotiate further. Just take the $12 he'd been offered versus  negotiate further. Although it's an interesting study in what his interests were and his lack of understanding about what everything was worth. So, no, you don't always negotiate. If you came to me today, Nolan with a proposal or an offer that satisfied my interests in a hole because I really wanted to work for you. I really wanted this job. What you were offering me was incredibly fair. Why would I negotiate that further and risk damaging the relationship. risk possible? No, when that didn't need to be that way or even risk, if you were to agree to something greater risk, putting you at some greater risks. So I don't think you always negotiate. And I think that when you do, there's, there's a few things we can get into in terms of advice and principles that are pretty applicable.

NM : Yeah. Let's go ahead and let's go ahead and jump into that.

AD : So I'll tell you the biggest thing I'll tell, I would tell anyone if they're negotiating, whether for their initial salary or as part of a raise or promotion is this is, this negotiation is the first or maybe second. Maybe your job interview is the first opportunity to gain an impression of what it's going to be like for you to work for this company and for this company to work with you. So how you present yourself and how you carry yourself and how you communicate and how you engage on a problem to be resolved is really an important indicator. And it goes both ways. And so I wouldn't treat it lightly and that's why I wouldn't be flippant and say, you always negotiate. I would treat this process with tremendous respect.

NM : And yeah I think that goes the same way. So from my perspective, I've never had to go initially into a salary negotiation, however, I am a business owner. And so I've had to do this from the opposite end. And I think that there's a lot of alignment here, whether you're the business owner or the employee as to finding some common ground and really working out the best solution.

AD : Yeah. Agreed completely, completely agreed. Right. And that, so that development of that relationship, the integrity of it really does go both ways. I think it's so wise for you to say that as a business owner, I'm curious, and to turn it on on you. And as you look at that negotiation you had, I mean, early stages of your own business, how did you handle some of the tensions about what you could provide you couldn't, what was some of your thinking as you went about that? 

NM : Yeah. So, I mean, I was honestly just completely open with, so we're talking about my writer, Jon and I was just completely open with Jon. I was like, “Hey, here is what I can afford to pay you. I know that this is not necessarily the full value of your worth, but I also don't want you to feel like I'm dangling a carrot over your head and that I'm going to get to that salary anytime soon.” So, I mean, I will, I will work with you as to maybe, you know, giving you more flexibility. Like I'm very loose on my deadlines because of this. I say, Hey, I need you to work 30 hours a week. Like here's the goals for the week? However, like as long as we meet the publishing deadlines, I'm very flexible for operating within like two to three weeks in advance, you know, or he has the ability to work on the weekends if, if I'm working during the week. So I've kind of tried to find other ways to, to kind of figure out how could I allow this to be better for him, even though he may not be getting the salary that we both are looking like we both want him to get, and that's just because we're a new company. And so, yeah. 

AD : So I think you hit on, I think he hit on a number of key points, right? So the first piece is the open transparency at the beginning. I think that's showing respect for the relationship between you and Jon. You're being polite and forthright. You know, I, I would tell if I'm on Jon's side maybe, or if I'm advising the candidate asks for the salary, you know, to be genuine, to be likable. But I think that applies for you as well as the business owner. It's interesting. You talked about like fair worth knowing your value on the market. And there's a number of websites you can go and see what jobs, the kind of the range that different jobs price out at. That's harder to do depending on the maturity of the company. So in your case, it's a little harder to either quantify that or even get to that and see maybe on the lower end of the spectrum, but it still sounds like that's part of the conversation, that that was still part of the conversation, what's fair and reasonable. Yeah.

NM : Yeah. I think we both came to the table kind of understanding the general range of, of what a writer with his experience, um, costs. And so, yeah, I think, I think that's definitely part of the negotiation prep, at least from my end and Jon probably already kind of knew his worth off top of his head. 

AD : The other thing you get in that I heard you get into with your, to Nolan is the idea that, you know, you explored some of Jon's interests, right. And beyond pay. And so there's, um people always not always, but often do have more interests than just that single amount. Right? So the idea of, you know, the autonomy that I get, where I'm working from, how much travel is going to be involved, am I a good fit with you as my employer or with this company? What other benefits are there? What's the start date? Will there be leadership opportunities, we'll have access to senior leaders. These are all interests that people have, and those can be fulfilled in some creative ways, right? So what we, you and I would call options, but there's, there's a number of creative things we can do to try to satisfy. Yeah.

NM :  And I think it is important for the employee, the NEGOTIATEx listener employee to go into this and really understand the broad spectrum here. Right? Understand, you know, look at it from the lens of your boss. And then think about, as we said before, his, his boss that he has to satisfy the company that he has to satisfy whenever he does, you know, get to an agreement with you. Everyone's interests need to be aligned. And so I think that a smart NEGOTIATEx listener going into the salary negotiation just needs to understand, you know, where can I gain some ground and where should I just not push because I'm smart enough to realize that it just, it isn't there. 

AD : Yeah, no, absolutely. Know the role of the person you're negotiating with, and then, and then kind of what is their ability to get creative because one piece of advice would be after we've uncovered those interests that they have, and we have, well, where's the room for creativity? Is it around a job title? Is it around some sort of conditional whether that's time or performance-based, um, raise increase? Is it around company stock? Is it around a signing bonus, moving expenses, bills,  flexible work hours, the ability to work from home, commitments for future training, vacation time, so forth, those are all creative solutions. And we've got to make sure that's something that the person we're negotiating with can actually do, or, or that we are, we're equipping them to go have that conversation internally. Should that, should that be what they need to do?

NM :  Yes, I think, um, I think there's a lot of powerful things. Is there anything else you want to kind of cover on this? 

AD : Yeah, I think the only other thing that I would probably add, so maybe two forth, obviously we haven't talked about knowing your alternatives in the story I told about my student and he took time to really know what his alternatives were started to do a little fishing, even though he really wanted to be back at this company. So knowing your alternatives and not underestimating yours and not overestimating theirs too. There's a reason why someone has offered you this job. There's a reason why someone has, has kept you on for a year and for them to go and externally hire someone else or to go back through the process is, is painful. So, don't put too much of an overestimation on what their alternatives are. So be sure to research yours. The other piece of advice I would give here is sometimes what you need to negotiate for is more information or simply more time to make a decision. And I'm not talking about, you know, trying to lead someone on needlessly, but, but I think sometimes there's more information about the job, about what are we committing to about expectations that can be helpful or time if I'm considering different options that I have different job opportunities, a little bit more time, and being as transparent as possible. And that's been advice that I've certainly given to folks getting out in the military before who have 2, 3, 4 different job offers and they all satisfy different interests in they're really trying to weigh and they're trying to figure out, you know, they're and they're coming in at different times. So being able to navigate kind of just get a little bit more time on the clock and you really help them to.

NM : Yeah, I think that's definitely a smart approach. They're not to rush, rush into any decision at all. So, well, Aram you know, we had an awesome conversation today, but this is a podcast that is all about action. It's all about elevating your influence through purposeful negotiations. So with that, what is some action items we can give our listeners so that they could become better prepared when they are either going into a salary negotiation, or if they're the boss and looking to negotiate someone's salary?

AD : Interests are often more than just pay. So make sure, consider for all parties involved with a full range of interests. As you think about those interests, there's a lot of creative things that companies are doing in 2021 to solve for, you know, differences in pay because we're going to satisfy for other things. So be really creative and then third, you know, know what your worth? Know your comparables have a fair understanding of what you are worth out there on the market. And if you're on the other side, if you're the employer hiring no, what this position is, is fairly, fairly worth, have a solid range.

NM : And then from the employer perspective, it worked for me. It may work for you as well. And that's just to be completely transparent. Like, Hey, here is what, you know, work towards that solution together as the employer, you're still going to find out what are the interests of this employee and how can I best satisfy them to make sure that they are still growing in the company. And they feel like there's some more opportunities to get where they want to get. So the next thing I would say, action, item number three is go to apple podcasts or wherever you listen to this, we are growing. We really appreciate it. But also this time, if you could do us a little favor, if you could go to our LinkedIn page, NEGOTIATEx, we are creating a bunch of pictures and images to kind of just support what we're talking about in these podcasts episodes. And it's just going to help convey the message a little bit better, or maybe even it's something that you want to share around with the employees in your company to help them become better negotiations, get turned on to this podcast. So that is all for us on today's podcast episode, if you have anything that you would like to cut for us to cover in future episodes, you can shoot us an email at team@negotiatex.com. We'll gladly take a look and see how we can work it in to help get you the answers that you need. And we will see you in the next episode. 

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