No one really *likes* salary negotiations, but the truth is, these five minutes of your time – when executed correctly – can have a tremendous impact on the strength and stability of your financial life over time. Here’s why…
Suppose you’re interviewing for a mid-level engineering position and have been offered a low salary of $45,000/year. While you might argue with yourself that you can certainly live on less money each month, the true impact of this lowball isn’t just seen in your bi-weekly take-home pay.
Because future salary negotiations and pay increases will be based on your current salary (for example, you may receive a 2% increase in pay twice a year), accepting a lower starting salary will limit the potential of your future salary increases as well. In addition, if your company offers a percentage-based match for your 401k retirement account, taking a low salary means lower contributions to this account – potentially leaving you financially unprepared for old age.
When all of these different factors are taken together, some experts estimate that negotiating as much as $5,000/year more over your offered salary can have an overall financial impact of $100,000+ over ten years of employment – making your salary negotiations some of the most critical minutes you’ll ever go through.
Obviously, then, it’s in your best interest to learn how to negotiate effectively – and NLP techniques can help you do it. Consider implementing all of the following tactics to your next salary discussion and see what a difference a little negotiation can make!
Tactic #1 – Matching and Mirroring to Build Rapport
Depending on the company you’re interviewing with, earning this extra $5,000/year or more through salary negotiations may be as simple as asking your future employer to consider the raise. Companies that are doing well financially often have a significant amount of “wiggle room” to bring on talented employees – and if you’re to the point of negotiating salary, you already know they value you in this way!
If you encounter signals that indicate your negotiations may not proceed as smoothly – for example, hedging language or an HR representative who appears uncomfortable – incorporate NLP mirroring into your salary discussions.
Take a look at the person with whom you’re negotiating and attempt to mirror everything about him. How is he sitting in his chair? How frequently are his hands moving? What tone of voice is he using? Where are his eyes focusing? By mimicking these actions, you’ll build a level of subconscious rapport with your representative that may lead to better salary negotiation outcomes.
Tactic #2 – Reframing Your Value as an Employee
Modulating your physical behaviors to match your representatives can be a surprisingly effective technique, as it leads to the feeling of “We’re all in this together!”
However, if simple mirroring isn’t enough to get the job done to your satisfaction, try to pick up on the specific language your negotiator is using to shoot down reasons for denying your compensation requests. These clues may provide insight into potential opportunities to reframe your value as an employee, thus justifying your higher salary request.
One way to reframe salary negotiations is to move the focus away from what you’ll cost to bring on in order to focus on the type of value you’ll bring to the company. For example, suppose that, although you’re being brought on as an engineer, you have sales or public speaking experience in the past that makes you a more effective employee than engineering hires with no communication skills.
Whatever your “x factor” is, drawing attention to it and in order to reframe your salary discussion to focus on value – rather than dollars and cents – can be a powerful way to take control of the negotiations.
Tactic #3 – Use Empowering Questions to Guide the Negotiation
Finally, once you’ve established a proper NLP reframe that positions you as a valuable hire apart from your resume and stated experience, it’s time to seal the deal with empowering questions.
Essentially, empowering questions are designed to bring about the response you want, but to do so in a way that allows the subconscious buy-in of your salary negotiation representative. Empowering questions are best understood by looking at the classic sales example of a potential buyer who, after watching a sales presentation asks, “That’s great, but does the product come in red?” The sales person who answers, “No,” has a significantly lower chance of closing the deal than the sales person who uses empowering questions to ask, “Would you buy it if it did?”
Now, let’s apply an empowering question to our salary negotiations. If you’ve used reframing to demonstrate your value to the company, use an empowering question to close the deal.
For example, if you’ve made your case that your exceptional communication skills will help the company close more business and eliminate the training costs most engineers need to boost their interpersonal talents, you could use the empowering question, “If I brought in an extra $100,000/year in business and eliminated $10,000 in training costs, wouldn’t that be worth an extra $5,000/year in salary?”
Of course, be careful not to promise more than you can deliver, as you’ll likely be held accountable to these standards once you’ve accepted the job. Be realistic, but don’t sell yourself short – truly effective salary negotiations rarely occur when you undercut yourself!