Business Professionals Share Their Tips on How to Negotiate a Better Salary and What to Avoid When Negotiating

Business tips

business negotiation
The art of negotiation is one of those universal business skills that everyone must sharpen. 

You’ll need it most when interviewing for new jobs, angling for a better salary, or even starting a business venture of your own. In other words, it’s non-negotiable!

Here are some tips from business pros on negotiating for a better salary, and foundations for a better mindset in business dealings of all kinds. 

What to Expect

The song-and-dance of salary negotiation isn’t totally obvious to newcomers. Be prepared and know some basic tactics if you’re just starting out in your career.

“Expect the recruiter to make an offer on the lower end of the pay scale. Picking a number in the high range will give you room to negotiate down to a rate that will make you happy.” – Dr. Robert Applebaum, Owner of Applebaum MD

“Asking for an exact number shows the employer that you know the market value of the position. It’ll be easier for you to land a final offer that’s closer to your ideal number.” – Chris Vaughn, CEO of Emjay

“If it helps you to stick with a script and practice in the mirror or record yourself, by all means, use every technique to your advantage. You can build up confidence by repetition and shake off nerves when the big moment comes.” – James Sun, Founder of Beautytap

“’What is your desired salary?’ The unwritten rule when it comes to salary is this: whoever proposes a number first loses. When you interview, you should never feel pressured to answer this question. Simply let your interviewer know that the most important thing to you is how well you fit the position.” – Travis Bradberry, Chief People Scientist at LEADx

“You should leave the room feeling confident and satisfied with their final offer. Don’t be afraid to walk away if both parties can’t reach an agreement. Set a number that will prompt you to turn down the opportunity and stick with it.” – Haim Medine, Creative Director and Co-Founder of Mark Henry Jewelry

Honest and Transparent

Even in the competitive world of business, people appreciate real talk. Be honest, ask for what you want, and you may just receive.

“Don’t fall into the trap of playing mind games with your employer or clients, because that sets a bad precedent and lack of trust from the outset. Be honest with your expectations and your intentions and do your best to reach a reasonable compromise in a mature way.” – Luke Hotchin, Co-Founder of Kenzzi

“Asking for a raise can be extremely intimidating so practice what you plan on saying beforehand. Stand in front of a mirror or rehearse with a friend until you feel comfortable. Make sure you approach the conversation with confidence and a smile.” – Michael Scanlon, CMO and Co-Founder of Roo Skincare

“When negotiating a better salary, don’t lie about your previous salary or the performance tied to your salary. This is all information your managers will find out if they cross-check it, and rather quickly as well. Honesty can get you farther in this context, especially if it’s a raise within the company.” – Eddie Huai, CEO of Luna Blanket

“A defensible strategy explains what you want, why you want it, and how it is a win/win for both your boss and for you. The goal is to show value and benefit. “Never engage in negotiation as an ultimatum – an either/or – but rather as a collaborative process and a unique opportunity to create a compensation package that makes sense for both you and for them.” – Roy Cohen, Author and Wall Street Career Coach 

Bring the Facts

Let’s get real – the bottom line is the main concern for employers. Use statistics to your advantage instead of going off emotion alone.

“When negotiating salaries, it’s best to be confident, present quantifiable data, and avoid bringing emotion as much as possible. It likely won’t be a single conversation, so think about a single point you can make in each as you prove your worth and make a plan with your manager to get there, with clear results you can track along the way.” – Meghan Maupin, CEO and Co-Founder of Atolla 

“Go online and research the average salary of the position in your area before going into negotiations. Once you have an idea of the pay range, decide what you think your worth is to the company.” – Carrie Derocher, CMO of TextSanity

“The truth is that employers want to see real results and talk numbers, so bring up any facts and figures you think reflect your contributions to the team. If you can quantify things like customer satisfaction or link your efforts to revenue growth, that’s always going to work in your favor.” – Lucas Nudel, CEO of Pride Palace

“Show some pride in the work you’ve done and reference real results. Talk sales, marketing- any actual data relevant to your experience. Speak to the other person as if you’re on the same level and working towards a better future for the company as a whole, without being arrogant.” – Ashwin Sokke, Co-Founder of WOW Skin Science

Your End of the Bargain

Talk is cheap, as they say! You need to show you’re worth the raise by working hard and being a true team player.

“There isn’t a single sentence or magic word you can say to earn more money on the spot. It all comes down to how much value you bring to the company and if you’re really committed to growth. Showcase that through your daily actions and positive attitude, and you’ll always have better results when negotiating salary.”- Brandon Monaghan, Co-Founder of Miracle Brand

“If you’re unhappy with your salary situation, work with your employer to set goals and commit to reaching them in the span of a few months. That way, you both agree on the metrics and everyone is on the same page. This prevents confusion and aligns expectations with reality – when you ask for a raise, it’s not out of nowhere.” – Dylan Trussell, CMO of Culprit Underwear

“There’s a difference between wanting a raise and deserving a raise. Before asking, assess your performance to determine whether a pay increase is justified. Have examples that showcase your achievements to support your argument.” – Rym Selmi, Founder of MiiRO

“To negotiate a better salary, it’s important to showcase what you bring to the table – without stretching the truth about skills you actually possess. To be perfectly honest, as a leader, it’s much more appealing to hear, ‘I’m willing to learn, and I’ve done something quite similar,’ rather than see a new hire underperform on tasks that should come naturally. Be honest and illustrate how you’re willing to learn and grow.” – Travis Killian, Owner and CEO of Everlasting Comfort

Confidence Boosters

It could be the biggest success factor of all – confidence! Believe in yourself and put your best foot forward in all negotiations to increase your chances.

“It helps to be confident, yet poised, and to express yourself clearly and concisely. Discuss how long you’ve been at the company, all that you’ve done and how the company has benefitted from your efforts. Think about what excites you about working at this company so that you will exude this sense of enthusiasm. Then you can suggest what you would believe to be a reasonable number for your salary.” – Amber Theurer, Chief Marketing Officer at ivee

“Confidence is key when negotiating your salary, and over-apologizing for different weaknesses can actually make things worse. Instead, highlight the things you do well and emphasize their importance in the company. You need to look as indispensable as possible and be able to establish credibility early on in the negotiation.” – Cody Iverson, CEO and CO-Founder at VisCap Media 

“It’s all about framing the situation in a favorable light when negotiating salary, so keep things upbeat and positive from the start. Talk about the aspects of that job you like, the future you envision, and all that good stuff that shows you’re in it for the right reasons.” – Kelli Lane, CMO of Genexa

You’ve got to take initiative to get what you want in business and life! Try these tips the next time you’re looking for a raise, and you’re bound to get the results you seek.

Chris Price