Contract negotiations can be incredibly stressful, frustrating, and tense affairs. Whether you’re just renewing your annual contract or you’re angling for a big raise, knowing how to negotiate effectively can be hugely beneficial to your personal financial situation as well as your professional aspirations. To that end, today we’ll explore the subtle art of negotiation and explain how you can get what you need (and want) the next time you sit down to discuss terms with your manager:
It may be tempting to hold all of your cards close to the chest in advance of a big negotiation session. Yet, this is often a counterproductive measure. Contractual negotiations don’t have to take on an adversarial tone. Rather, if you express that you want a pay raise, or more vacation time, or a larger role in the company before your contract comes up, it’ll give your bosses time to think of proposals that may benefit all parties involved. Note, you don’t have to give away specific details about your wants/needs, but it’s not always a good idea to blindside your manager either.
Do Your Homework
The more prepared you are heading into a negotiation, the better the outcome will likely be. It’s important to have detailed requests and information to support your positions. You don’t want to ask for a 40% pay raise when the industry rate is closer to 10%, for instance. On the other hand, doing your homework and seeing how other businesses operate will also make sure that you don’t undersell yourself either.
Want to advance in your career? Then you need to put the work in to earn higher positions, more money, and greater autonomy. Thankfully, there are numerous ways for professionals to increase their professional value. They can take a course to sharpen their sales skills. Or they can volunteer for new responsibilities around the office. Or they can even establish important business relationships throughout the industry. Anything that makes your performance more meaningful to your employer will help you come negotiation time.
Have Backup Plans in Place
Negotiations tend to go poorly when employees don’t have backup plans in place and they’re not willing to compromise. Never assume that your employer will meet all of your demands! Sometimes willing managers simply won’t have the ability to give you everything you want. That’s why it’s crucial to be willing to compromise and to have a plan for every possible outcome. Start thinking about what you may do if you can’t come to an agreement with your boss. You may decide that now is a good time to start your own business or to look for work elsewhere. But whatever you decide, keep your options open for as long as possible. This will give you leverage, yes, but will also ensure that no matter what happens, you have a plan to move forward regardless.