A funny thing happened today. Since Friday we have been trying to sell a really nice King Size Mattress with box springs still in the plastic for as low as $50. How could this not sell? I listed it every other day and on multiple platforms and nothing. Then today something occurred to me and I tried it out. I deleted the previous listings and listed it again this time for $200. Within minutes I received an offer for $100 and I took it. The logic behind the technique I realized is exactly the same as in salary negotiations. Let me explain further with examples I have seen over and over with friends and family. I have really studied this (as a one income household, pay is VERY important).
Let’s imagine a scenario where all too often a person is really desperate for a certain job. Perhaps they feel it’s even over their skill level and they would be happy just to get in and get the experience for very little money. They might even feel their acceptance of a really low wage will put them above the rest of the competition. When the employer asks how much they are looking to make, they throw out a low number hoping they at least get that. Don’t ever say something like, “I need to make at least $15 an hour to pay all my bills.”
The employer then typically thinks, this person is not worth much. Or I can take advantage of this person who is desperate. If the person does get the job offer, they typically accept the first wage thrown at them that is often low. They are just happy to get the job of course. The employee is happy they got the job but wonder how they will make it with the wage, and the employer may consider you lower skilled until you prove yourself.
Now let’s take a different route. You want the job badly, but you don’t let it show. You are confidant and pretend in your mind you have other offers or don’t really need the job. You want to exude confidence. You present yourself in the best way you can and delay any conversations of salary. If they pin you down you say you would be more than happy to discuss salary after an employment opportunity offer has been made. THIS is your biggest leverage. Leave the interview with a firm handshake and promise to follow-up. Immediately, even in the parking lot if you can, send a thank you email to everyone you spoke to (the hiring manager, HR recruiter, secretary even!) and thank them and reassure them you are their candidate.
When the call comes to offer you the job and they tell you how much it pays, DO NOT accept on the phone the first offer. No matter how desperate you are. Even if the pay offer is more than you dreamed it would pay, DO NOT take the first offer. Kindly tell them you would like to think it over and email them back.
Let me pause here and tell you what happens when you accept right away over the phone.
The employer thinks..Hmm I bet if I offered him even less he would have taken it. I don’t think I made out good here (even though they did by getting you so cheap).
Ok so back to the above scenario, you played it cool and now it’s time to counter offer. Against all instincts go HIGH. Not crazy high but higher than they offered so that when they counter your counter you meet in the middle which is still MUCH higher than the first offer. Include in the counter offer letter all the reasons you are worth more. Look up on the internet how much that salary typically pays and if it’s more add those stats in your letter. Basically let the employer know you have researched and know your worth!
Send your professional email off and wait..it wont be long. Typically the employer then counters with a wage in the middle of the two and then you can happily accept it. The only instances I can think of this not working is when the job has a firm set pay like minimum wage, or on comission etc. With all my friends and family, I have always seen great results with this technique!
You may have a fear that if you ask for more they will take the job offer away and give it to someone else. They won’t. They want you and now you are becoming more desirable as crazy as it sounds. Instead of you desperately trying to get them to pick you, they are now moving mountains to get you!
Pause again -here is why this works and what the employer is thinking..
Employer: Whew! He took my second offer. I feel like I got a great deal for a valuable employee. I feel good about this partnership.
You: I feel REALLY good about this higher wage and they really value me!
Now you better step it up and prove your worth. Make sure you accept in writing with an acceptance letter, thank them and again reassure them that you will be an asset and contribute to the team from day one! Google acceptance letters if you need help with forming one.
To bring it back full circle to the mattress illustration
Me listing this great set for $50-
Others: eh- it must not be worth much for so cheap.
Me- listing it really high at $200
Buyer: Wow that is a great value for that item. I wonder if I can offer less.
Me: I will take that offer because it was more than I was willing to accept in the first place. Score! I feel great about this. Really I should have counteroffered in the middle but this still works.
Buyer: Wow she took the offer, I got a great deal! I feel really good about this.
Compare that vs. this other sale scenario…
Me- listing this great set for $50
Buyer: I’m going to offer $40
Me: Well I’m desperate I’ll take it.
Buyer: Oh wow she took it, I bet if I had offered 30 she would have taken it..hmm. Must not be worth much and wonder if I overpaid? I don’t feel that great about this.
Is this crazy? Think about your own experiences and I think you will understand how this does play out. We are always wondering if we could have done better, same with an employer structuring salaries. Give them the feeling that they got a great deal on an awesome asset.
I am just using an illustration from today to show this example/technique. You can google salary negotiations and get a wealth of information on this topic along the same lines. On a personal level this has proven to be an amazing technique in my husband’s career. One time he even asked for relocation expenses even though the job didn’t care where he lived. What they ended up doing instead of providing that relocation money was increase his salary even more. One time when my husband threw out the really high number to us, the company came back simply with an OK! We were shocked! So I hope this encourages you to give it a shot and not accept the first offer. You may not be a fan of playing these games or using these tactics, but this is an area that will critically affect your life for as long as you have that job. It’s time to learn how to play the game.
Comment below your thoughts on salary negotiation. Do you have other tips you have learned and want to share?