So you’re ready to confidently negotiate a pay raise. Your boss is ready with reasons why you can’t get the amount that you deserve, even after you’ve presented a solid case. And s/he is ready right now.
Are you ready with replies which will keep the discussion going? Can you sustain the negotiation process until an agreement is reached which satisfies both parties? Or will you be halted in your tracks by your boss’s first objection or reason for refusing your request?
The first readiness step is to anticipate all the objections, arguments or obstacles your boss might have for not granting your pay raise request. You are the best person to develop a specific list which matches your boss at your employer setting.
Imagine yourself in the room where the meeting with your boss will take place. See yourself presenting your well-researched and documented case for a pay raise. What questions and objections do you anticipate from your boss? Write them out.
Assess the Objections Before You Negotiate a Pay Raise
Even when your boss wants to give you a raise, s/he might have legitimate obstacles to granting it. On the other hand, there may be no obstacles to signing off on your raise, yet your boss might offer objections which are actually smoke screen excuses for not granting it.
Reviewing your worksheet with the written questions and objections you anticipate from your boss (you did write them out, yes?), let’s assess each one.
Put a star next to the anticipated objections above that you believe are legitimate.
Put an X next to the anticipated objections you believe are just smoke screen excuses, i.e., those which conceal actual reasons.
Your discernment of the two types prior to the meeting can help you clarify hidden agendas which in turn, may guide you in developing your negotiation strategy and replies.
Be Collaborative, Not Combative When You Negotiate a Pay Raise
Whatever your boss’s response, maintain a collaborative—not combative—frame of mind. Craft replies which are problem-solving—not pleading—in their tone. Use an approach which aims to meet the needs of both parties and so moves the negotiation along to a mutually-agreeable outcome.
Your next readiness step is to write scripted replies to the anticipated objections. Your communication style, your negotiation style, your boss’s personality and needs, and your employer’s culture must all be considered as you craft your scripted replies.
Four Steps to Help You Craft Your Replies
1. Get acknowledgement from your boss of the merits of granting the raise, even though s/he contends there are reasons it can’t be granted.
Your initial response to your boss’s stated reason for denying your raise, unless it’s related to sub-par performance—in which case you have a different issue to address—is to get your boss to concede that s/he would otherwise grant you the increase. For example:
What I hear you saying is that, you would grant my request for a ___% increase if it weren’t for the budget constraints. Is that correct?…Thank you. I appreciate your recognition of the value I’m bringing to the job.
This acknowledgement by your boss of your contributions and value as an employee is crucial. It sets the stage for Step 2, to move forward with reframing the pay increase issue or for engaging your boss in a collaborative, problem-solving negotiation of the options you generated when completing Chapter 6 of The Essential Pay Raise Workbook for Women.
2. Be prepared to reframe the raise objection or to negotiate your options.
This is the core of your negotiation, thoroughly prepared from completing Chapter 5.
3. Be prepared to negotiate to negotiate.
The “negotiate to negotiate” strategy is employed if you find you need to keep your pay raise issue alive. It’s a way to fend off an outright refusal or a final “no.” Be prepared to ask your boss if you can revisit the issue. For example: May I have a better understanding of [the stated reason behind the objection]? Take notes as s/he provides you with more specifics.
I’d like to take into consideration your comments and concerns and modify my request. Would you be willing to take another look in [time frame]?
Use the words that match the issue and that are natural for you. It’s frustrating to be stalled, but it’s better than giving up! As long as the discussion continues, the possibility of getting what you’re pursuing remains.
4. Practice, practice, practice your scripted replies to each of your anticipated objections.
Even if you can’t recall the exact wording when you’re in the meeting with your boss, your repetitive practice imprints onto your mind the essence of the response. As a result, you’ll be able to respond readily and confidently when faced with each objection. Content plus confidence move you toward the outcome you want.
Be Ready to Reply to Four Common Objections
This article is an excerpt from Chapter 7 of The Essential Pay Raise Workbook for Women. It has seven full pages of scripted replies to objections which keep your pay raise negotiation moving forward towards your goal.
- “We don’t have the budget for your pay raise request.”
- “I’d like to grant you a raise, but it’s not my decision.”
- “I can’t give you a raise; you know we only give COLA increases.”
- “I can’t give you a raise; you’re already at the top of the pay scale.”
How to Confidently Ask for a Pay Raise
- Are You Passive About Pay?
- How to Get a Pay Hike of 10% or More – Part 1
- How to Get a Pay Hike of 10% or More – Part 2
- Are You Asking for the Wrong Type of Pay Raise?
- How to Time Your Pay Raise Request to Get the Most Money
- How to Prepare for Pay Raise Request Objections