Money, that dirty word! More often than not I come across people who are either embarrassed by talking about money or scared of asking for more.
As a sales manager, it is my job to discuss and negotiate with customers every single day. So perhaps I am at an advantage here, but that’s exactly why I want to share some of the things that through the years helped me to negotiate my salary effectively. Let’s dive right in!
The first important thing when asking your manager for a pay rise is to make them aware ahead of time that that’s what you want to discuss. There’s nothing worse than scheduling a random ‘Catch up’ in your manager’s diary and then showing up asking for more money. It will catch them off guard and they may not like that. It will also make it more difficult for them to give you an answer, as chances are they’ll need to discuss budgets with their managers first.
TIP 1. Make sure you give your manager a heads up that you would like to discuss your salary. Schedule some time in both your calendars and, if possible, create a small agenda so that you can both be prepared for that discussion.
Most companies will have a regular time of year when salary increases are given. It’s important to know when this time is for your company and why. Is it right after the end of the financial year? Or perhaps at the beginning of the calendar year? Knowing this will help you to schedule your salary review at the right time not just for yourself, but also for your company (it’s pointless to ask for an increase if you just had an annual review two months before).
TIP 2. Schedule your salary review at the right time. If you have missed your company’s regular month to discuss this, identify another event that may help you make your case. For example, you could schedule this after/during your performance discussion. Just make sure you are on track with all your objectives!
Once your review is scheduled, it’s time for you to prepare to amaze your boss with your skills and results. Yes, that’s right, you have to make sure you are showing them how valuable you are to the company. Depending on your role and on what your company does, you could create a powerpoint presentation to support your request with some visual results. In the presentation, you could add sales results, publishing projects or acquisitions, feedback from customers, social media analytics, or whatever is relevant to your department.
TIP 3. Pitch yourself to your manager. Make sure you have not only listed your results but that you also showcase situations and projects where you went above and beyond your current role. This is something my former boss suggested to me. It’s not enough to do your job properly. If you are asking for more money, you should be ready to show why you deserve it and where you have been going the extra mile to deliver excellence!
And finally, make sure you don’t just make it about results. Companies are run by people and people are the key to a company’s success. So talk about your colleagues, your relationship with them, your rapport with other departments. Show your manager that you are a team player and that investing in you will mean investing in the whole team.
TOP TIP. Get some feedback from your colleagues! This is something that I did once and I asked one person from each of the departments that I worked very closely with to give me some feedback on my work and in general on their feelings working with me. I shared this feedback with my manager who had the chance to hear my success from others too and to see that I consider my working relationships and my amazing colleagues very much part of my success.
Ultimately, you may still not get a yes from your manager, but that shouldn’t get you down. I still remember one time that despite my best efforts and great results, my manager simply said to me that he could not give me a pay rise. He recognised all my great work and results and how valuable I was to the company, but his answer was no. A month later several redundancies were announced and the department was downsized considerably. I then understood why he said no and I was grateful that I had been the wisest version of myself and instead of getting cross at the rejection, had simply asked when we could review my salary again and what I could do to make sure the next time I would get a yes.
These are just a few basics that hopefully will be useful to think about when planning your next salary review. My biggest tip is to make sure you use this as an opportunity to asses your work, strengthen an honest relationship with your manager and ultimately get a better deal for yourself. There’s nothing wrong about asking for more if you think you deserve it. Be brave and start the conversation. You may not win at the first attempt, but you will feel a lot better for having tried!