What’s your Strategy to Get the Salary You Deserve?

On #60Minutes this week, Mark Benioff from Salesforce was interviewed on the company’s role in being a leader to close the gender pay gap. It was a fascinating interview; Salesforce is a pioneer in working to create gender parity and pay women and men equally for the same work. It’s inspiring to see the steps they are taking to take giant steps forward in this area.

One thing that struck me during the interview, however, is how often I’ve seen women thwart themselves and make key mistakes when negotiating compensation for their new job/role. In my experience, these women are exceptionally good at confidently articulating their skills and experiences and making a great pitch for why they’re the right fit for the job. However, when it comes to negotiating a salary or a raise, women can sometimes lack a strategy and can end up disappointed with the compensation they receive.

So what’s your strategy to get the compensation you deserve? Here are a couple of reminders to consider:

  1. Be confident. Have good, justifiable reasons (or better yet, good market-relevant benchmark data) when you ask for a raise or negotiate a higher salary or bonus. Know and believe in what your skills and experience are worth.
  2. Don’t over-explain. It’s understandable that you may be nervous in a conversation, so use Tip #1 to your advantage. But stick to a simple, powerful message. Many young women especially start explaining their reasons for wanting a raise or a higher salary and the message gets “lost” with too many words. Keep it short & simple, keep it focused on your skills, contribution and value and keep personal reasons out of the conversation.
  3. Use silence. When discussing what you want, present it confidently and simply and then take a step back and be quiet. Let the other person across from you talk for a while and listen to what they have to say. Don’t try to fill the silence with more justification or explanation.
  4. Know what it will take to be happy and when it’s time to walk away. Be willing to negotiate and compromise some (you won’t get everything you want) but be clear going in to the conversation about your bottom line. If you feel really disappointed with where you landed, chances are you’ll be resentful – so do your best to hold tight to your personal bottom line.

Sheri Browning is a Partner at PeopleResults. You can reach her at sbrowning@people-results.com or on Twitter @sbPResults.

Sheri Browning