How to Negotiate Like a Boss

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Many of you are unfulfilled in your careers. You feel as though you’ve earned the opportunity to grow at the company, contribute to more challenging projects, and make more money. But you STILL haven’t.

And it is a simple reason why. You get what you negotiate, not what you deserve.

This is true not only in your professional life but in every area of your life. People may know your worth but life isn’t merit-based; you can’t assume that people are going to give you what you’ve earned.

You must negotiate for it. But before you parade into your supervisor’s office demanding a corner office, here are 10 tips on how to negotiate like a boss:

1.Know Your Industry 

You must be an expert in your field before you can negotiate like a boss.

Read. Attend events. Find mentors. Do work at every level., even if it seems menial. Figure out what creates real value in your field.

Be prepared to answer these questions: Where are the value points in your field? Where are the seams? What are you doing better than anyone else? In what way are you irreplaceable?

2.Look at the Data

Has productivity increased since you came on board? Have costs gone down? Has turnover decreased? Has your division closed more deals?

Translate those facts into financial impact, and use that as the baseline for assessing the value you are creating at the place in which you’re working.

3.Know What You Want Before You Sit Down to Negotiate

Before you go into the room to negotiate, know what you want. However, that doesn’t mean only having one goal in mind. That doesn’t leave you any room to maneuver. If you ask for something and the other guy says, “No,” you don’t want to be sitting there with your mouth open and no idea what to do next.

Always have a Plan B and even a Plan C. If they knock you down on salary, can you get more vacation time or a better title? If you’re closing a sale and the customer won’t pay your price, can you get them to sign a long-term sales contract? And so on. Prepare all this in advance, assume you’re going to get pushback, and plan for it.

In fact, pushback is a good thing. If you know what your value is and you’re really fighting for it, you should expect pushback. If you’re not getting it, then that’s a sign you’re not asking for enough! That’s why agents and attorneys always go high with their first asks.; they know the other people will push back. But the stage has been set for them to get what they need to get for their client. Resistance, in this context, is a positive sign.

4.Have a Good Supporting Team

In all my negotiations, I’ve always had a good team around me to help and give me advice. I’m the quarterback, but my lawyer and agent do the negotiating.

In some instances, you will need to find a good attorney who can represent your interests and handle negotiations for you.

However, if you are doing the negotiations yourself, don’t go into any negotiation unprepared. If you have sought the counsel of somebody at a higher level than you who has already negotiated a deal like the one you’re heading toward, you’ll be going into a negotiation unprepared—and that means you’re preparing to lose, not win.

5.Be Ready to be Tough 

You have to be fearless.

As the Bob Sugar character said in the film Jerry Maguire, “It’s not show friends, it’s show business.”

So, prepare. Rehearse. Know what you’re going to say, and don’t back down until you get a deal that you can feel good about.

6.Benefit Everyone

An organization is always going to look out for its own interests first, not yours.

That’s true, but what happens when you align your interests and theirs? I’ll tell you; you win. 

If you want to be a smart negotiator, show clearly how you getting what you want will benefit the people you’re negotiating with. You get more money, but they get your big ideas, longer hours, your departmental reorganization plan, your killer app idea—you get the picture.

Talk about how your success is their success. That’s a winning pitch.

7.Silence is Golden

Don’t talk to fill the quiet. When you’ve said your peace. Sit quietly and wait for the other party to respond.

Silence can be a powerful negotiating and sales tool because it forces everyone to really think about what’s just been said and what will be said next. Get comfortable with that. Once you’re done, you’re done. It’s up to the other party to go next.

8.Don’t Negotiate with Yourself

Once you’ve made an offer, don’t budge from it until you get a counteroffer.

Sometimes, people will ask for something and then, when they don’t get a quick yes, immediately start backtracking: “Oh, well, I could actually get by with $5000 less.” Don’t do that. Be confident. If you’ve done your homework, created value, and have sound reasons for what you’ve asked for, stick to it.

9.Be Willing to Walk Away 

This is the strongest tool in all of negotiating. If you’re willing to walk away from a deal or a job if you don’t get what you need, you will have the greatest leverage.

Walking away tells the other party that you’re not needy and will not accept less than you’re worth. This is a brave move and should only be used when you can live with the reality of leaving your job.

10.Don’t Be Afraid of No

Don’t second-guess yourself. I find it amazing what people will agree to if you just ask, so ask. Remember, the worst they can do is say no.

Don’t be afraid of no.

Now that you have 10 tips on how to negotiate like a boss, it’s time to take action! In the comments below, let me know which tip you are going to apply TODAY!


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