Here are Twelve ADVANCED VARIATIONS
on the Five Fundamental Salary-Making Rules.
Have you read FIVE
FUNDAMENTAL SALARY-MAKING RULES
on the Home Page? I suggest you read those first.
A) WHAT IF… I get the sense that they’re under pressure to fill this
B) WHAT IF… I am excited about the job. Will I lose negotiating power if
I let them know?
C) WHAT IF… the job can make or save a lot of money for the company
D) WHAT IF… I sense that my direct boss will be hard to work for?
E) WHAT IF… I’ve already asked for everything I can think of
F) WHAT IF… salary and benefits isn’t enough but I still want the job?
G) WHAT IF… if what I’m asking for seems big to me, but I know it’s
H) WHAT IF…
employer won’t go as high enough, but the opportunity is still a good one?
J) WHAT IF… I’m helping company grow overall, but there’s no stock
options or profit sharing?
K) WHAT IF… I can’t afford to lose this offer – how can I still
L) WHAT IF… my salary history is obviously beyond their range? How can
I “not” get screened out?
M) WHAT IF... It's getting harder to postpone salary discussion. What
are four more strategies?
A) WHAT IF… I get the sense that they’re under pressure to fill this job?
SPIN/VARIATION: Make Them Sweat.
Inside information can be as valuable as your entire salary! Imagine if you
knew they were hiding the fact that they were desperate to have you working
for them. What if the hiring decision maker had offered the position to
another – who didn’t take it. Now the project is behind schedule and they
need to fill the spot immediately. How would that affect your leverage?
Your negotiating power would go up immensely and that can add dollars to
The best way to understand what's possible here is to click/read through the
real life example. I love it when I can help a client lock in on one of
these because they're so valuable.
Life Example: Make Them Sweat
Advanced Training, Inc.,
[ATI] sent trainers to client companies to train employees in standard
software (Word, Excel...). A star trainer, Betty, quit to go out on her
own. ATI's customers rejected three trainers they sent to replace her.
Betty talked with these former clients and found out how desperate ATI was
to have her back.
When ATI approached Betty
to ask if she'd reconsider, Betty said, "Maybe... but my current independent
contracts preclude me from working at ATI for six months." 6 months!! ATI
could lose customers entirely in six months. Tens of thousands of dollars.
Betty negotiated better pay, finder's fees on new business she brought in,
severance in case things didn't work out, and limited the vague noncompete
to a specific list of four clients.
B) WHAT IF… I am excited about the job. Will I lose negotiating power if I
let them know and show it?
SPIN/VARIATION: Don't Play it Cool.
Most people have the erroneous assumption that in job interviews and
negotiations they should "not appear too eager." In some types of
negotiations, purchasing a car for instance, “playing it cool” pays off.
Showing how much you really want those wheels costs you some negotiating
In job search however, people hire enthusiasm over cool. Knowing that you
really want a job can even make an employer increase the offer in hopes of
attracting and retaining such enthusiastic help. On the other hand, knowing
an employer is sold on you gives you leverage. It's important that your
attitude is well matched to your natural personality and express it in a way
consistent with that personality.
B) REAL LIFE EXAMPLE: Don't Play it Cool.
Some people are lovable. Some people
are funny. Some are quiet as a mouse. Any type can be "just the right"
style for a given Hiring Decision Maker [HDM]. Hiring is a haphazard,
prejudiced, imprecise art -- certainly not science.
Bret noticed three telltale signs his
currency ran high with the HDM. He spoke as if Bret was already a part of
the company; he returned a couple times in the interview to talk about their
common alma mater; he said that the combination of graphics and teaching was
rare and a great fit. Bret joined in the "Hallelujah Chorus" sharing how
excited he was about the fit, too. Then he used the "What's the best you
can do?" strategy to capitalize on that personal chemistry and pushed the
HDM another $4,800 to the top of his range.
C) WHAT IF… the job can make or save a lot of money for the company soon?
SPIN/VARIATION: Detecting Urgent.
If you're being considered for a time-sensitive position, your
"meet-the-deadline talents" can be worth money. If orders are piling up,
customers waiting, sales leads getting cold, filing deadlines approaching
fast, production line down, etc. Knowing there is urgency is the first step,
but there's more to it than that. This is another strategy that is best
understood with a real life example:
C) REAL LIFE EXAMPLE: Collecting on Their Urgency
A not for profit group had chapters in
every state. Their current VP of Finance was content to pay bills, post
expense reports, process payments -- and he was woefully inadequate at
filing IRS 990's and managing the W-2 withholding and deposits from
employees. Some of this problem came from slow or missing information from
the state branches. The organization lived with the penalties, which the VP
recorded, but buried them in the books as best he could.
When Arvan interviewed, he learned of
the problem. When it came time for salary negotiation, he bought in his own
accounting estimate of these useless penalties -- over $10,000 annually. A
quarterly filing was due soon and he'd need to be Gestapo-like to get
cooperation and data to file on time. He turned that urgency into a $5000
personal bonus if he met the deadline. [Which he did.]
D) WHAT IF… I sense that my direct boss will be hard to work for?
SPIN/VARIATION: Make Your Boss a Star (Combat Pay)
Bad managers often know how to not get fired. They’ve learned to play
politics and win. Part of their politics is "looking good." Bad managers
often have high turnover, which makes them look bad. If you learn that the
manager is worried about his image, you can use that to your advantage.
You, of course, have to decide independently whether you're willing and able
to live with such a boss. If you do, you can negotiate for "combat pay" (but
don't call it that!). Read the example to understand it better.
D) REAL LIFE EXAMPLE: Combat Pay
Sally heard enough to know the HDM
didn't had a "hard to work with " reputation, and that he couldn't afford to
have another employee quit on him. She arranged a special meeting with this
supervisor and used the "Make Him a Star" strategy. She said to him, "I
understand that MY success depends on making YOU successful. This is true
in any company. What, then, would you want from me so that at your next
review, your boss calls you a "star"? He answered three things.
In her salary negotiations, she alluded
to this conversation. In her basic step 5 [Clinch the deal...] she said,
"If I achieve the three things we talked about, what kind of bonus would
that be worth?"
WHAT IF… I’ve already asked for everything I can think of?
Asking “What Else?”
It’s rumored that an employee at a shampoo manufacturing company put a
suggestion in the suggestion box on how to practically double sales by
adding one word to the packaging. Specifically, after the shampooing
directions he suggested they add the word “repeat.”
The power of suggestion boxes! How does that apply to this strategy?
You don't need to know all the negotiable items up front. Your employer
knows them, probably, better than you. The "What Else?" strategy can turn
these invisible items into cash. It only works one time our of 5, but that's
no reason not to try, eh? Read Mike’s example:
E) REAL LIFE EXAMPLE: What Else Is There?
Mike worked marketing financial
services. Right around 2001 most companies pulled back. Signing bonuses,
stock grants and options, golden parachute severance agreements, etc., and
even traditional compensation elements were drying up.
the shift to a "buyers market" had not taken place
in this company's HDM's mind. He was still accustomed to building a package
with these incentive elements included. When Mike replied to the
traditional offer with, "Hmmm. We could consider that. What else is
there?" The HDM said, "We could add a $10,000 sign-on bonus."
Remember after the main points are
covered to ask "What else?" Four times out of five you'll come up empty
handed, but 20% of the time you'll score!
F) WHAT IF… The Salary and benefits isn’t enough but I still want
SPIN/VARIATION: Think Package, not Salary
Creative thinking can come up with a host of non-cash items that can boost the
value of the whole compensation package without having to increase the base
salary. At the very “specific to this job” end of the spectrum you’re familiar
already with airlines perks, right? Some people keep their airline jobs
precisely because of the free trips for the whole family.
Then there’s the joke about the refuse collection company that offers to pay
$45 an hour plus all you can eat! [I know… it’s not all that funny, but it
does illustrate the point that there are “hidden possibilities” specific to
certain jobs. Things like...
• a personal laptop for a job that requires computer activity
• Great big discount on company products or services
• I-Go-Car payments (internet based car-sharing program) even if you don’t
qualify for a company car.
F) REAL LIFE EXAMPLE: Think
Package, not Salary
(In addition to Julia’s story,
here, please read and listen to Jim’s story; it's on the Home Page sidebar.)
Julia’s perks ended up tripling
– that’s right, three-times – her original salary offer. The job was a
research analyst to help the company spend advertising dollars more
productively. She had to do research to find a way to get more leads from
the existing advertising budget by better copywriting and better targeting
market segments. She was going to walk away at the original offer: $40,000
and 50% co-pay on major medical insurance. But we made it work… watch:
• First she negotiated adding clerical help that allowed her to complete
this “full time” corporate research job in only 20 hours a week.
• When she examined the medical benefits, she figured (correctly, it turns
out) that she could get a more cost effective carrier. She volunteered to
do all the work to switch the company to a more cost effective insurance
carrier, saving the company $3,200 a month and in exchange it got her 100%
coverage for her and her family.
• Tuition reimbursement, retroactive commissions when her research produced
20% leads increase on the existing advertising budget.
Where there’s a will there’s a way!
G) WHAT IF… if what I’m asking for seems big to me, but I know it’s really
not to them?
SPIN/VARIATION: Small by Comparison
I was working with a plant accountant at a food processing plant of a fortune
500 food company. He explained to me that something had to be $40,000 or more
to get "on his radar screen." By that he meant that unless something costs,
makes, or saves "$40,000 to $400,000," he doesn’t have time or attention for
it. He’s spending the bulk of his time on huge projects, so a $1,000 or $10,000
problem to him will probably not get to the top of his “to do” list.
My thought was, "he's got a 'petty cash' category that's bigger than some
people's entire annual paycheck." $40K for him is "small by comparison."
$1000 can look small by comparison when you negotiate, say, $50,000 salary. But
to you, it's an entire budget for a 5-day vacation. It's worth asking.
The strategy here is to put David next to Goliath and say, “You’ll never
miss a little thing like this – let’s throw it in for good measure."
LIFE EXAMPLE: Small by Comparison
Jill started with a $45,000 offer, then negotiated her $50,000
base, her bonus, and the sales performance levels required of her. When
that was done she asked for a special incentive.
"My sales target of $950,000 represents a net profit for the company of
$100,000 or so. If I can reach that goal, I'd appreciate a one tenth of one
percent special travel bonus: a week off and air fare to San Francisco (the
company's headquarters). There she can spend a day working, and 5 days
visiting friends." This should cost only about a dime of every $100 she
See how that works?
Instead of asking for another $950 on top of $50,000, she asked for a “dime
out of every $100 she sold.” Who could refuse her a dime?
H) WHAT IF… The employer won’t go as high as you want, but
you think the opportunity is still a good one?
Sometimes in negotiations, the other party just can’t get to where you want to
go. Sometimes employers are reluctant to bring you in at the top of the range.
Sometimes they want to hire you but just can't bring themselves to break out
of their preconceived range.
In these circumstances, it appears as though you're faced with accepting a
job at a low salary, or letting go and pounding the pavement again. There's
a third option. Get a commitment for a review. Sometimes it’s even a
commitment for a specified raise later on.
H) REAL LIFE EXAMPLE: Delayed
REAL LIFE EXAMPLE: Mark interviewed for a kind-of entry-level job: manager
of branch bank. The branch only had a few accounts. Mark thought he could
increase the number of customers as well as run the day-to-day operations.
The bank president wouldn't go to Mark's researched response: $30,000 and
Mark accepted $25,000. But, he did get the president to assert that the
bank was fair, and that would consider a raise in six months.
After three months, Mark had brought in several new accounts from the
neighborhood, negotiated a credit-card service, and tested their system for
Y2K bugs. He got a call that he was getting a bump to $30,000. Delayed,
but he got it, eh?
What happened over those three months? Because Mark had pressed a bit for
the $30K at the starting gate, the president kept his eye on him. Once he
recognized that Mark was really valuable, he knew he’d only keep Mark by
increasing his salary to what he wanted..
The important part to note is. If Mark had NOT pressed for $30,000 the
president would never have paid attention as well, nor would he have “jumped the
gun” by 3 months.
I) WHAT IF… I want more than a vague promise
of a future raise?
Even better than “H: Delayed Reaction” is negotiating
for retroactive compensation.
Can't get what you want up front? If
you use the "value continuum" negotiation strategy you can convince your
employer that you are worth it, but it will take a little time to prove it.
Negotiate a "Retroactive Value based on Future Results."
This is best explained by an example:
I) REAL LIFE EXAMPLE:
REAL LIFE EXAMPLE: Jeff, pharmaceuticals sales. Getting into
see doctors was his specialty. Charm, persistence, respect, rapport with
staff, studying the biochemistry and speaking their language, benefit
oriented presentations. He was good -- but it would be six months before
they'd see it in sales.
He said, “Even though you won’t see the money for 6 months,
I'll create that value from Day 1, so how about hiring me at $72,000 and
making the salary $78,000 retroactive to day one, conditioned upon hitting
predetermined sales targets?"
He hit them in 6 months; he got the salary increase
retroactive to his starting date.
J) WHAT IF… I’m helping the company grow overall, but there’s no stock options
or profit sharing?
SPIN/VARIATION: Negotiate for the Long Term
In the dot.com era, dollars could be low -- even zero or less than zero -- if
the payout looked big enough later. Today most folks say, "Show me the
money." Focusing on the immediate can be a mistake thoug. You must think
outside the "employee" mentality to cash in on this.
I talk to a lot of people who have very interesting possibilities in long term
compensation, and most of them never collect a dime because they didn’t
negotiate it up front. A section in Chapter 8 in
Negotiating Your Salary: How to Make $1000 a Minute
discusses how this is particularly glaring in sales. In sales, it's easy to be
paid your salary and commissions every month, and never cash in on the
future value of the present sales.
I have lots of examples. Here’s a million-dollar one.
LIFE EXAMPLE: Negotiate for the Long Term
Betty was going to be setting up cosmetic surgery centers in
upscale health clubs in major metropolitan areas. The sales and marketing
plan was this: Simple surgery for things like moles, skin cancer check,
etc., delivered right at the club lead to bigger cosmetic surgeries like
liposuction, breast augmentation etc.
Betty’s job was to assemble a sales team, get them to find and
enroll the ten upscale health clubs. Each salesperson would then “take
residence” in that club and build the surgery business as described.
Once the first city was set up, Betty was scheduled to move on to the next
city and do it again. The original city's team would thereafter report to
Betty was focused on the short-term earnings. She wanted $100,000 to do the
job we could call: "new city set up." I got her to think, in addition, long
term. What if she changed the job to "National Sales Manager" -- even though
there's no "national" sales force yet. In each city, she already will have
developed a good managerial relationship with the ten “in-club salespeople,” why
send that money to corporate?
Why not keep them reporting to her and take an override. We
had her negotiate a 1% override on sales, and to keep each city's sales team
to continue reporting to her.
That 1% put $15,000 in her compensation the first year with only a small
increase in time an effort to continue managing city #1’s team. But that’s
still not “Negotiate for the Long Term.” $15 K is hardly a living wage, but
watch what happens. By city #10, she’s still getting her 1% override
her salary. At that point, she could stop opening up more
territories, and live off the $150,000+ in overrides.
Further, by negotiating a buyout clause,
she assured herself not
only of $150,000 in the not too distant future, but about a half-million
if she should choose to leave the company or they
should be acquired.
Left to her own, she would only have negotiated a salary and bonus. Someone
else would profit from all her groundbreaking work.
WHAT IF… I’m not comfortable dodging the salary question? What can I do?
SPIN/VARIATION: Preemptive Strike
If you're having difficulty following BASIC RULE #1, "Postpone Salary Talk until
they're Serious." it's likely because you feel awkward not answering a direct
question. When people ask, "What are your salary requirements?" or, "What are
your current earnings?" you feel compelled to answer. After all, you don't want
to seem uncooperative, right?
Preemptive strike is a strategy for you. The best defense is a good offense,
they say. With this strategy, you postpone salary talk by you taking the
initiative and bringing it up early [but not too early!] in the interview.
You’ll find it described in full detail in Chapter 3 of
Negotiating Your Salary: How to Make $1000 a Minute.
LIFE EXAMPLE: Preemptive Strike
Henry thought his Ph.D.
would overqualify him for some lab work he was applying for. He thought he
would be able to bring a lot of value to the research project, and possibly
land some new funding.
To defuse salary
discussion, he brought it up early, once he had the chance to develop some
rapport with the research director. "I know this is much to early to talk
specifics of salary, but I wonder if you could give me some ballpark idea
what range you were thinking of for this bench position?" They told him a
[low] number. "Hmmm. We should definitely keep talking."
That kept the employer from pressing him
further about money. Then he turned the interview focus back on his
capabilities and the project's needs. They eventually upgraded the position
from bench researcher to project manager, and he landed a salary in the
range he wanted.
L) WHAT IF… my salary history is obviously beyond their range? How
can I “not” get screened out?
SPIN/VARIATION: A Lot!
You can use this strategy when you know they're wondering if they can afford
you. Also when you think you'd be screened out for earning too much even if you
don’t tell them how much you make. Another requirement for this strategy to
work is that the new job needs to obviously different from the one you came
This one’s easy if it fits you. Read the example.
LIFE EXAMPLE: A Lot!
Ted managed a real estate office in Los
Angeles for ten years. His income in his tenth year was somewhere around
$350,000. Relocated in Chicago, he decided to change careers.
A new school superintendent had been
hired by the public school system and changes were in the works. He wanted
to work there and knew the best he'd do is somewhere in the low 100's.
In an interview with the new superintendent, Paul,he was discussing some of
his talents and how they might fit into the "new deal" in the making. Paul
asked, "How much were you making in L.A."
"A LOT!" Ted replied. He paused. "A
lot more than you could hope to pay me, but that doesn't matter. I'm not
looking to go back into real estate. If there's a way I can help with this
program money won't be a problem."
When he did find a role, they extended
the best offer they could put together.
N) WHAT IF… I BLEW IT! I told them my Salary history (or expectations).
SPIN/VARIATION: The Jury will Disregard that Statement
All is not lost! Just because they know your current salary or salary
expectations doesn't mean you can't negotiate for a fair market value.
In these "disclosed" circumstances it will be double important to do Salary
Making Rule #4 well and have good research. Once you've broken the sound
barrier on your salary, you at least have one advantage: no more tug-o-war
between you and your potential employer about salary. As such, you don't
need to address it again until there's an offer.
After reading the "right way" (my way, IMHO) to do it you might be TEMPTED
to clarify such as, "Mr. Employer, I know I mentioned that I'm making
$75,000, but I expect to earn in the 85-95 area..." DON'T do that. Just
let the salary question lay undisturbed. ...until negotiation time.
When they've decided on YOU. I. E., when they're making you the offer, not
your competitor(s), then it's time to make your move. More than likely,
they'll offer up a number, and you still blurt out the 4-letter word
[Haven't read that "Hmmm" article yet? Click here... get your copy), and
give them the silent treatment.
Respond with: "I know we've discussed my [present salary / salary
expectations, so I want to make sure from this point forward that we're
looking for a compensation package that is not just a "raise" from my old
job, but, rather a motivating, fair, value-based salary we will both be
satisfied with. Can we agree on that principle?"
Once you have your agreement on that, then follow Salary Making Rule #4 with
your researched response, and salary making rule #5, Clinch the Deal and
Deal Some More.
LIFE EXAMPLE: The Jury Will Disregard that Informaton, or...
Why I'm Looking, for Goodness' Sakes
The application Mary filled out asked her salary history. She filled in
the blanks and during the interview, her employer-to-be confirmed that she
was making $85,000. It was boring, but secure -- secure as jobs go in
today's economy, anyway.
She was interviewing for a job in the media producing a radio news program
with a positive twist: Everyday Heroes, Good Samaritans, and achievers. A
kind of "Chicken Soup for the Radio."
When she got the offer, it was for $90,000 and up to a 20% bonus (parity
with her last job).
Mary had been "around the block" in the radio business and while committed
to the concept, she was also aware that "bad news" programs outperformed
"good news" formats ten-to-one. She wasn't going to leave a $85,000 job
with relative security to take on a 10-to-1 odds underdog for a mere $5K.
"Thank you for that offer," she said. "And I can see that you've offered a
salary better than I have now. I'm interested in the challenge, and I'd
like to discuss this offer. I'm thinking we need to make sure the
compensation is not just based on an increase over my present salary, but
rather, commensurate with the size of the challenge. Does that sound okay
Mary explained, "The whole reason I'm looking and considering a riskier job
is the excitement and fulfillment. Because the risk is 10-times higher, the
reward should be significant, too; don't you agree?"
Once they agreed on that principle, they were able to negotiate a
significantly bigger salary and a VERY significantly bigger performance
FYI… that completes THIRTEEN
Salary-Boosting SPIN/VARIATIONS on the Five Fundamental Salary Making Rules.
There are more salary negotiation SPIN/VARIATIONS on this website available
to people who have bought the book.
Here are some of those WHAT IF...
What if they ask a past employer, will they get
What if I got a signing bonus but now I would like to quit?
What if its an employer's market?
What if I want sweet revenge for layoff?
What if I want it in writing?
What if I work hard but no raise?
What if I find out coworkers' salaries?
What if negotiating telecommuting?
What if it's a slow economy?
What if promotion is really lateral?
What if I'm paid lower for part time?
What if they offer deferred compensation?
What if I decide to walk away?
What if an employer finds out my salary?
What if I need more postponing phrases?
What if I'm underpaid?
What if I negotiate more benefits?
What if I am paid less as a woman?
What if I have an aggressive employer?
What if I started the job at a low salary?
What if I have to pay back my signing bonus?
What if I want a bigger title?
What if I want to negotiate departure up front?
What if I want to compare old pay to new?
What if I want to know the going rate?
What if I need to fix a negotiating mistake?
What if I need to know competing salaries?
What if I only get "fair" compensation?
What if I accepted a too low offer?
There’s many many more ways you can put money – and things like money -- in
your compensation package. It's like prize money-- you don't work any
harder for it, it just is part of the system. The first step you need to
take to “claim your prize” is to get the book,
Negotiating Your Salary: How to Make $1000 a Minute.
Next, send me information about your situation and I’ll see if it looks like
I can help you through COACHING.
Best of success to you in all your endeavors,