Skip to content

Negotiating Your Salary Like a Pro

From time to time I get engaged to help executives negotiate their compensation. These are often complex deals, with incentives (and disincentives) to encourage the kind of relationship both parties want to have, and can stretch on for a week or more as all the details are ironed out and put into a contract. 

Your compensation model is probably simpler than that, but is still a high-stakes negotiation with thousands of dollars per year at stake, as well as vacation and other employment perqs. Given that most employers make very low annual compensation adjustments, getting the initial number right can have a large, ongoing impact on the money you make during your tenure. 

While most everyone goes through a compensation negotiation at least a few times in their careers, remarkably few people develop the skills needed to negotiate well, and they leave thousands of dollars on the table. Luckily, there are great resources out there to help everyone from wage earners to top earners develop tactical, easy-to-use compensation negotiation skills that they can put to work today.

One book that I recommend a lot is Negotiating Your Salary: How To Make $1000 a Minute by Jack Chapman. It’s nine bucks for the Kindle edition on Amazon right now, and it’s worth every penny. (For the record, I don’t know Jack and I get no compensation even if you buy it with that link; I’m just a fan.) The book walks you through the process, helps you understand how negotiations typically go and how to answer difficult questions that many people struggle with in the heat of the moment. Not only does it help with the initial negotiations, but it offers guidance with managing annual salary reviews as well.

If you’d like some tips on what to do (and what not to do) during your next compensation negotiation, check it out and let me know what you think. Or let me know what’s your favorite book on comp negotiation, and I can update this post to include it. Hopefully we can help everyone to get better at this vital life skill.