The Raise: Don’t ask, don’t get

12 tips for negotiating your next salary increase

Marketing unveiled its 2012 Salary Benchmarks survey in its Oct. 8 issue, running a sector-by-sector breakdown of salary ranges for every level of the marketing industry alongside reporting and commentary on issues shaping the marketing job market. Over the coming days, will present some of that editorial package, explore freelancing, pay raises, title changes and talent retention.

12 tips for negotiating your next salary increase

If our Salary Benchmarks have you thinking you’re underpaid, perhaps it’s time to speak up. But there’s a right way and a wrong way to ask for a raise (no, it doesn’t involve throwing this magazine on the boss’ desk and threatening to quit).

“It’s important to have a negotiating strategy prepared in advance of raising the subject of a salary increase,” says recruitment and career transition expert Martin Kingston of Martin Kingston & Associates and Next Steps Canada. “The key is your confidence and your conviction in the fact you deserve an increase.” While every situation is different, he shares insider tips that every successful negotiator should take to the table:

• The most important ingredient is attitude—plan with a positive attitude and the desire for a win/win outcome.

• The person who sets the agenda will control the discussion. Develop an agenda for the negotiation and be prepared to justify why you should receive a raise.

• Remind your audience of your most recent on-the-job accomplishments and how you have delivered (hopefully above expectation).

• If you have recent job performance evaluations, bring them forward and highlight the positives.

• Keep a list of all the projects you have completed since your last salary review. Have you taken on more responsibility without a formal recognition of role change or position advancement? Has your company been weathering difficult times and layoffs that required you to do more work with less support? Now is the time to boast about it.

• You can negotiate on almost any basis except your needs. What you “need” is your problem, not the company’s.

• Be aware of company policies regarding salary increases. If they’ve publicly introduced a freeze, you’ll have a very difficult time proving you’re an exception.

• During a wage freeze, consider instead negotiating for perks, a performance-based bonus or a non-salary privilege—training, extra vacation or a new personal expense allowance.

• Be prepared to discuss the nitty-gritty. Know what the going rate is for comparable positions in similar size companies. Does your company have established salary ranges? Know where you sit in comparison to the average and top-level within your class/role.

• Never make an impromptu decision during a negotiation. You must decide the limits of your flexibility before you begin.

• At all times maintain a balanced approach. Don’t get emotional or threatening.

• At the same time, show strength of conviction and, most importantly, a belief in your personal worth to the organization.

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