How good are you at negotiating for yourself? How about negotiating for your friends? Your family? Most women I know are amazing negotiators, except when it comes to negotiating for themselves. That’s too bad because women forgo an estimated $1 million in lifetime earnings because they don’t negotiate.
In order to negotiate well, you just need to be prepared:
What is your next best offer? Assume the negotiation totally falls apart. Where does that leave you? Unemployed? At your current job? At a previously offered amount?
For a new job, what is the absolute minimum you are willing to take? What are the things that you need to have to be at your absolute minimum? (The most perfect workplace ever? Or half days on Friday?)
What are other people in similar positions at similar companies with similar responsibilities making?
What is your value to the person with whom you are negotiating? What is their next best offer? (Are there dozens of people that can do what you do? Does the person have access to these people?)
Before you start a negotiation, you should consider your leverage and the timing of your approach. If you just decide one day that you need a raise, you probably won’t get very far, but if it comes when you are asked to take on more responsibility, you have more leverage.
Finally, some things to keep in mind:
A negotiation is a conversation, not a competition.
It isn’t all about money. Consider the whole package (vacation, benefits).
Be honest about your needs.
All things considered, it’s a pretty easy way to earn a million dollars.
Julie Lacouture is the Principal and co-owner of Mom Corps Los Angeles, a business specializing in helping companies find highly-qualified talent for flexible, part-time, or temporary jobs. See more at www.momcorpsla.com. Julie Lacouture and Mom Corps Los Angeles are not affiliated with LPL Financial.