What Your Secret Fears Mean For Your Negotiation Success

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Part of being an effective negotiator is being able to overcome objections with creative solutions. Most of the time, I’m coaching people on how to overcome objections from the other side. But I’ve also spent a fair amount of time helping people deal with their own objections about why they should make more.

Do any of these sound familiar?

“But I’m planning to leave the company soon anyway, so it’s not really fair…”

“But I work at a non-profit…”

“But the company’s profitability is in question…”

“But I don’t want to cut myself off from future opportunities…”

“But I should wait my turn…”

These are all concerns my clients have shared with me. I know they feel personal, but nearly everyone I’ve worked with has similar doubts.

You’re not perfect, but then no one is. If not you, who?

Earlier in my career, I approached tasks in a way that probably drove more than one of my managers nuts. I’m a very efficient worker, and I don’t like to waste effort on things that don’t seem worthwhile. Now, as a business owner, it’s an invaluable trait. But as someone’s employee, let’s just say it wasn’t quite the same.

For example, I might be asked to draft a memo introducing a new program offering. I knew my boss was going to edit it line by line, and basically rewrite the whole thing. It didn’t seem worth it to put a lot of effort in because the boss’s way was, in my mind, the “right” way. Why bother?

When I reflect on those experiences now, I realize that I missed an opportunity to take ownership of my work and career. It’s a different execution of the same roadblock my clients put up for themselves.

Our internal objections are actually sneaky ways of giving in to fears. What if they don’t think I’m good enough? What if they say I’m not worth it?

If you own your experience, you can minimize the nagging doubts that are holding you back.

The most convincing way I’ve found to own your experiences and share them with confidence is to turn to objective facts about both your own performance and your worth in the marketplace.

First, take stock of your accomplishments. If you don’t already, start a daily log of your activities. This doesn’t have to take you more than 5 minutes each day. When you finish a significant task, jot it down on your list. I use Evernote to do this, and I have a new note for each week. On Friday afternoons, reflect on your list, and bold your KPIs and anything notable that’s made a big impact.

You should also keep track of compliments you get from others. Add a label to your email and star any notes of thanks or congratulations that you get. When it’s time to prepare for your performance review, ask for a raise, or interview at a new company, it will be easy to put together your evidence.

Second, keep up with the market rate for your role. Network with people in your industry and be willing to bust the salary taboo. Ask people who would know what the going rate is for your position — that’s anyone who does your job, who’s done it and has been promoted, or who hires for your job.

If you make it a habit to note your achievements and keep up with market trends, you’ll be ready when it’s time to ask for more.

This post originally appeared in Women@Forbes, where Alexandra Dickinson is a contributor. She writes about how to use a negotiation mindset to achieve your goals.

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Alexandra Dickinson

Alexandra Dickinson is the CEO and founder of Ask For It, a boutique consulting company working to close the gender wage gap by effecting change at both the institutional and individual level. We work with companies, schools, organizations and individuals through a combination of trainings, workshops and consulting. Our goal is for women and men to be paid based on their talents and skills, regardless of gender, and for our company to have been an important part of that change.