How to Negotiate the Best Salary

Whether you’re negotiating for a new job or have been asked to quote for a one-off gig, it’s crucial to get paid the best price possible for your services.

The trouble is, half the time you don’t know what you’re worth. How do you value experience? Or presenting ability? Or your knack for nicely cracking the whip?

How do you know what people will pay for your input in their project?

The short answer is, you don’t. The nature of negotiation is not knowing what the person across the desk or down the phone line is prepared to pay.

So what you need to do is have a big swing at it.

To get the best result, that means putting a high price on your head and seeing what happens. To decide on a figure, consider what someone else could expect to be paid, what you think you might be worth and what the employer could potentially pay.

Then, put forward a price that tips over the top of all these figures.

Here’s why setting a high price works


1. Price is closely associated with quality, so even if your pitch is compared against cheaper alternatives, there are perceived benefits of being more expensive.


2. In negotiations, room to move down from your original offer and still get a good result is a precious commodity. This empowers you with that option.


3. A flat no based on your first offer is unlikely. If you’re the person for the job, they’ll come back to you with a counter offer and you can split the difference.


4. There’s a decent chance the client will accept your once seemingly outrageous offer and throw in a sweetener too. This is obviously the result you’re after.


Now, it’s not always easy putting forward a plump price, especially for jobs you really want to win. The temptation is to back away from your initial price and leave the door ajar for them to whack you with a low ball offer. Whether this backing away is done to keep potential employers on-side, or you simply find the whole process a bit intimidating, it’s a very natural reaction.

But it’s one that can cost you a lot of money in the blink of an eye, especially if it’s a long term contract or full time job you’re negotiating.

So stick to your guns and go in blazing. Because, if you nail that price nice and high and you get a bite, you’ll feel confident to do it again next time.

And this is the fifth and probably most important reason to have a go: get it right and you’ll no longer under-price yourself in the future.

Image: Tristan Martin, via Flickr