Author Topic: Negotiating 101  (Read 1285 times)

Villanelle

  • Walrus Stache
  • *******
  • Posts: 6721
Negotiating 101
« on: November 02, 2022, 06:54:15 PM »
I may be getting ahead of myself, but I want to be prepared.  I've thrown my hat in the ring for a copywriting job for which I am extremely qualified.  I have a somewhat unusual combination of random skill sets and affiliations, all of which they happen to be looking for.  And their response to my inquiry email, in which I included my qualifications, was quite enthusiastic.  So I think I have a great shot.

The pay range is quite large, at $0.X - $0.2X per word.  Clearly, I'd like to make as much as possible, but even that low end is more than any of my other freelance gigs, though to be fair this will require slightly more research and thus slightly more time per word. 

Like so many people, I'm terrible at negotiation.  Appallingly bad.  As in, it's the source of jokes in my friend group. I know I can't expect myself to suddenly become some badass, hardened negotiator, but I want to push at least a little.  When I'm anxious (and negotiating makes me extremely anxious), I do best with having basic scripts from which I can at least start.  I'd love any suggestions you might have for specific approaches to the conversation about pay.

I will likely take the job, if offered, even if it's only $.25, so that's something to keep in mind.

All I have so far is something along the lines of, "I'd feel really great about accepting this if we could agree on [whatever they are offering, plus ~~5-10cents more]."

Should I try to justify a higher amount rather than just throwing out a specific #?  If so, how do I do that (especially because all my other gigs pay less)? 

Any other tips, tricks, or scripts will be much appreciated.   


use2betrix

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 2511
Re: Negotiating 101
« Reply #1 on: November 02, 2022, 07:07:54 PM »
Iíd suggest reading (or listening on audible) to ďGetting to YesĒ by Roger Fisher. Great book on negotiating.

Omy

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1771
Re: Negotiating 101
« Reply #2 on: November 02, 2022, 07:26:57 PM »
They already know you're well qualified...why not start the negotiations with "I charge xxx" and see what they say?

Sibley

  • Walrus Stache
  • *******
  • Posts: 7550
  • Location: Northwest Indiana
Re: Negotiating 101
« Reply #3 on: November 02, 2022, 08:09:14 PM »
askamanager.org has good advice for negotiating salary. Good luck!

tygertygertyger

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 887
Re: Negotiating 101
« Reply #4 on: November 02, 2022, 08:37:50 PM »
I read a book on negotiating once that helped me understand why being a hardass doesn't work for me. You have to find your own style... often people being a hardass is how people view a very macho male-centered way of negotiating. For me, I find what works best is being very diplomatic while asking for what I want. Also, I have a strong preference to negotiating via email rather than over the phone! Most people say it goes easier over the phone, but I feel exactly the opposite... I want the freedom to take my time to respond, so I know what I'm saying isn't about feeling pressured. You really want any arrangement to work for both parties, so adding pressure or panic doesn't help. (My two cents! Worth what you paid.)

I think the book was Women Don't Ask. A friend of mine who works in a male-oriented manufacturing company recommended it to me.

Also seconding the Ask a Manager site for scripts! Such a good resource, and you can tailor it so you feel comfortable with what you're saying.


tygertygertyger

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 887
Re: Negotiating 101
« Reply #5 on: November 02, 2022, 08:43:44 PM »
Oh, and I don't think you need to justify yourself. If they've already tossed out a range, then I would state what would make you comfortable accepting their offer. Clearly they are already enthusiastic, so you have nothing to lose. The line you've started sounds good to me, very pleasant and straightforward. I happen to love negotiating, and since it's a big part of my job, that's a very lucky thing for me. So feel free to come back here if you'd like people here to help vet your response!

Also good luck! I am a huge advocate for people to negotiate, so I'm excited you're pushing your comfort zone.
« Last Edit: November 02, 2022, 09:13:20 PM by tygertygertyger »

Moonwaves

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1959
  • Location: Germany
Re: Negotiating 101
« Reply #6 on: November 03, 2022, 01:50:35 AM »
I might say something like "the work looks so interesting I'd be prepared to accept 0.29 or even 0.27. Is that the very upper limit of the budget?".
I am however, not great at this stuff. Either I really want/need the work and so I give a low-ish price, or I don't really want it and give a much higher line price that really only direct corporate clients are ever going to pay.

JupiterGreen

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 590
Re: Negotiating 101
« Reply #7 on: November 03, 2022, 06:45:09 AM »
Regardless of what they offer you (even if higher than expected) always say ďIím really excited about this opportunity, but I was hoping for a number closer to (whatever is your actual number or one higher than they are offering), is there any flexibility in the salary? That is a soft way to ask for more.

But before negotiating, I would always look at the market, your skills, and determine a clear number (or range) that your skills are worth. This always helps with negotiating a fair salary because you know what youíre worth. Donít make it emotional when you are discussing numbers. Employers are not your friends, you are trading them your most limited and precious resource (time) donít ever sell yourself short, you wouldnít do that to a friend.

Edit:
It helps if you give them a concrete reason to pay you more like: this job is looking for X but I have this additional experience, or Iíve done X and wouldnít need training on that, or I have worked in X X X and have unique skills and connections that I could bring to your company. So to sum it up:
1. Know what your worth
2. Ask for what your worth
3. Back it up with skills you bring to the table/ why they should pay you more
4. Never settle for the first number they throw at you

You can even do this in jobs with set salaries if you can make a good case. It doesnít hurt to ask just be respectful. If a job rescinds an offer because you negotiated, you donít want to work there. The only exception is if you are in a job everybody wants (I am, boo but it comes with amazing benefits. For the record I still did ask for more $ at hire cause Iím crazy like that)
« Last Edit: November 03, 2022, 07:01:15 AM by JupiterGreen »

Villanelle

  • Walrus Stache
  • *******
  • Posts: 6721
Re: Negotiating 101
« Reply #8 on: November 03, 2022, 09:07:48 AM »
I read a book on negotiating once that helped me understand why being a hardass doesn't work for me. You have to find your own style... often people being a hardass is how people view a very macho male-centered way of negotiating. For me, I find what works best is being very diplomatic while asking for what I want. Also, I have a strong preference to negotiating via email rather than over the phone! Most people say it goes easier over the phone, but I feel exactly the opposite... I want the freedom to take my time to respond, so I know what I'm saying isn't about feeling pressured. You really want any arrangement to work for both parties, so adding pressure or panic doesn't help. (My two cents! Worth what you paid.)

I think the book was Women Don't Ask. A friend of mine who works in a male-oriented manufacturing company recommended it to me.

Also seconding the Ask a Manager site for scripts! Such a good resource, and you can tailor it so you feel comfortable with what you're saying.

Thanks for this, and for the offer to help vet responses.  I am really hoping the conversation happens over email.  Like you, I do much better than way than phone.  It also gives me time to run things by this thread if needed. 

This style sound like a much better fit for me.  Uncomfortable, but less so.  Thanks!  I'm going to look for that book, too.  Probably too late for this particular situation, but longer term I think it would be good to have a bit more knowledge on the subject.  Thanks!

Villanelle

  • Walrus Stache
  • *******
  • Posts: 6721
Re: Negotiating 101
« Reply #9 on: November 03, 2022, 09:21:51 AM »
Regardless of what they offer you (even if higher than expected) always say ďIím really excited about this opportunity, but I was hoping for a number closer to (whatever is your actual number or one higher than they are offering), is there any flexibility in the salary? That is a soft way to ask for more.

But before negotiating, I would always look at the market, your skills, and determine a clear number (or range) that your skills are worth. This always helps with negotiating a fair salary because you know what youíre worth. Donít make it emotional when you are discussing numbers. Employers are not your friends, you are trading them your most limited and precious resource (time) donít ever sell yourself short, you wouldnít do that to a friend.

Edit:
It helps if you give them a concrete reason to pay you more like: this job is looking for X but I have this additional experience, or Iíve done X and wouldnít need training on that, or I have worked in X X X and have unique skills and connections that I could bring to your company. So to sum it up:
1. Know what your worth
2. Ask for what your worth
3. Back it up with skills you bring to the table/ why they should pay you more
4. Never settle for the first number they throw at you

You can even do this in jobs with set salaries if you can make a good case. It doesnít hurt to ask just be respectful. If a job rescinds an offer because you negotiated, you donít want to work there. The only exception is if you are in a job everybody wants (I am, boo but it comes with amazing benefits. For the record I still did ask for more $ at hire cause Iím crazy like that)

I really like this, and if they come back with a lower number, I think I could then pivot to the script I posted about feeling great accepting at [number higher than their counter and lower than mine]. 

It is so tough to figure out what the work is worth.  Im a fairly new freelancer, and pay is all over.  Given that my random skills and areas of knowledge come in to play for this one, and also give that the initial work will be on a somewhat tighter timeline, I think it's probably worth the higher end.  If I need to mention specifics, I could include their timeline as part of the justification, though that only really works for the initial work and it is framed as an ongoing thing. 

The initial project will be about 40k words in 5 weeks.  How long that takes me depends heavily on how much research is needed.  I can write 1000 words in an hour if it's just pure writing and I'm on a hot streak, but if I have to do heavy research, that can drop to <250.  As safe average with light research is maybe 450.  At $.35/word, that's a bit over $150/hr, which seems insanely high!  Even at a slower pace and the bottom of their range, it's about $100/hr, which is still a thrilling number, though I won't tell them that!


JupiterGreen

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 590
Re: Negotiating 101
« Reply #10 on: November 03, 2022, 11:40:53 AM »
Regardless of what they offer you (even if higher than expected) always say ďIím really excited about this opportunity, but I was hoping for a number closer to (whatever is your actual number or one higher than they are offering), is there any flexibility in the salary? That is a soft way to ask for more.

But before negotiating, I would always look at the market, your skills, and determine a clear number (or range) that your skills are worth. This always helps with negotiating a fair salary because you know what youíre worth. Donít make it emotional when you are discussing numbers. Employers are not your friends, you are trading them your most limited and precious resource (time) donít ever sell yourself short, you wouldnít do that to a friend.

Edit:
It helps if you give them a concrete reason to pay you more like: this job is looking for X but I have this additional experience, or Iíve done X and wouldnít need training on that, or I have worked in X X X and have unique skills and connections that I could bring to your company. So to sum it up:
1. Know what your worth
2. Ask for what your worth
3. Back it up with skills you bring to the table/ why they should pay you more
4. Never settle for the first number they throw at you

You can even do this in jobs with set salaries if you can make a good case. It doesnít hurt to ask just be respectful. If a job rescinds an offer because you negotiated, you donít want to work there. The only exception is if you are in a job everybody wants (I am, boo but it comes with amazing benefits. For the record I still did ask for more $ at hire cause Iím crazy like that)

I really like this, and if they come back with a lower number, I think I could then pivot to the script I posted about feeling great accepting at [number higher than their counter and lower than mine]. 

It is so tough to figure out what the work is worth.  Im a fairly new freelancer, and pay is all over.  Given that my random skills and areas of knowledge come in to play for this one, and also give that the initial work will be on a somewhat tighter timeline, I think it's probably worth the higher end.  If I need to mention specifics, I could include their timeline as part of the justification, though that only really works for the initial work and it is framed as an ongoing thing. 

The initial project will be about 40k words in 5 weeks.  How long that takes me depends heavily on how much research is needed.  I can write 1000 words in an hour if it's just pure writing and I'm on a hot streak, but if I have to do heavy research, that can drop to <250.  As safe average with light research is maybe 450.  At $.35/word, that's a bit over $150/hr, which seems insanely high!  Even at a slower pace and the bottom of their range, it's about $100/hr, which is still a thrilling number, though I won't tell them that!

$100/hr sounds good but remember they are not investing in you at all since this is freelance. They arenít giving you any benefits (Iím assuming). They can hire you for one job or short contract without too much risk. Yeah definitely mention the research as the reason you feel the job deserves a higher salary. Either way, you may need more clarity on that part of the job so it will probably be a helpful conversation to have.

Villanelle

  • Walrus Stache
  • *******
  • Posts: 6721
Re: Negotiating 101
« Reply #11 on: November 03, 2022, 11:58:52 AM »
Regardless of what they offer you (even if higher than expected) always say ďIím really excited about this opportunity, but I was hoping for a number closer to (whatever is your actual number or one higher than they are offering), is there any flexibility in the salary? That is a soft way to ask for more.

But before negotiating, I would always look at the market, your skills, and determine a clear number (or range) that your skills are worth. This always helps with negotiating a fair salary because you know what youíre worth. Donít make it emotional when you are discussing numbers. Employers are not your friends, you are trading them your most limited and precious resource (time) donít ever sell yourself short, you wouldnít do that to a friend.

Edit:
It helps if you give them a concrete reason to pay you more like: this job is looking for X but I have this additional experience, or Iíve done X and wouldnít need training on that, or I have worked in X X X and have unique skills and connections that I could bring to your company. So to sum it up:
1. Know what your worth
2. Ask for what your worth
3. Back it up with skills you bring to the table/ why they should pay you more
4. Never settle for the first number they throw at you

You can even do this in jobs with set salaries if you can make a good case. It doesnít hurt to ask just be respectful. If a job rescinds an offer because you negotiated, you donít want to work there. The only exception is if you are in a job everybody wants (I am, boo but it comes with amazing benefits. For the record I still did ask for more $ at hire cause Iím crazy like that)

I really like this, and if they come back with a lower number, I think I could then pivot to the script I posted about feeling great accepting at [number higher than their counter and lower than mine]. 

It is so tough to figure out what the work is worth.  Im a fairly new freelancer, and pay is all over.  Given that my random skills and areas of knowledge come in to play for this one, and also give that the initial work will be on a somewhat tighter timeline, I think it's probably worth the higher end.  If I need to mention specifics, I could include their timeline as part of the justification, though that only really works for the initial work and it is framed as an ongoing thing. 

The initial project will be about 40k words in 5 weeks.  How long that takes me depends heavily on how much research is needed.  I can write 1000 words in an hour if it's just pure writing and I'm on a hot streak, but if I have to do heavy research, that can drop to <250.  As safe average with light research is maybe 450.  At $.35/word, that's a bit over $150/hr, which seems insanely high!  Even at a slower pace and the bottom of their range, it's about $100/hr, which is still a thrilling number, though I won't tell them that!

$100/hr sounds good but remember they are not investing in you at all since this is freelance. They arenít giving you any benefits (Iím assuming). They can hire you for one job or short contract without too much risk. Yeah definitely mention the research as the reason you feel the job deserves a higher salary. Either way, you may need more clarity on that part of the job so it will probably be a helpful conversation to have.

Good point, and one I was missing as I attempt to gird myself for salary battle.  I don't yet know the real nature of the work, so before we get too deep into the numbers, I probably need to ask those questions.  Even just knowing the topics will tell me a lot about how much research I need to do.  To put it in MMM terms, if one of those webpage's they want me to write is "why investing in real estate is worth considering", that's easy.  It would require almost no research, other than maybe finding a few stats to sprinkle in.  If it is more "how to property execute a 1031 exchange", then while I have a basic understanding, I'd need to research specifics and find IRS forms and policies to include.  So I'll need to ask for more info on the job before accepting or finalizing numbers.  I'm so anxious about the negotiating that I might well have entirely forgotten that, accept the job (and negotiated $), without even making sure I understand what the job is!

JupiterGreen

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 590
Re: Negotiating 101
« Reply #12 on: November 04, 2022, 07:18:34 AM »
Good luck! @tygertygertyger and @use2betrix thanks for the book recommendations

tygertygertyger

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 887
Re: Negotiating 101
« Reply #13 on: November 04, 2022, 12:25:56 PM »
Now that I'm looking it up, the same authors of Women Don't Ask wrote another book called Ask for It that might have more steps on how to do it. I read both, and both were great.

mistymoney

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 2462
Re: Negotiating 101
« Reply #14 on: November 05, 2022, 09:51:38 AM »
I may be getting ahead of myself, but I want to be prepared.  I've thrown my hat in the ring for a copywriting job for which I am extremely qualified.  I have a somewhat unusual combination of random skill sets and affiliations, all of which they happen to be looking for.  And their response to my inquiry email, in which I included my qualifications, was quite enthusiastic.  So I think I have a great shot.

The pay range is quite large, at $0.X - $0.2X per word.  Clearly, I'd like to make as much as possible, but even that low end is more than any of my other freelance gigs, though to be fair this will require slightly more research and thus slightly more time per word. 

Like so many people, I'm terrible at negotiation.  Appallingly bad.  As in, it's the source of jokes in my friend group. I know I can't expect myself to suddenly become some badass, hardened negotiator, but I want to push at least a little.  When I'm anxious (and negotiating makes me extremely anxious), I do best with having basic scripts from which I can at least start.  I'd love any suggestions you might have for specific approaches to the conversation about pay.

I will likely take the job, if offered, even if it's only $.25, so that's something to keep in mind.

All I have so far is something along the lines of, "I'd feel really great about accepting this if we could agree on [whatever they are offering, plus ~~5-10cents more]."

Should I try to justify a higher amount rather than just throwing out a specific #?  If so, how do I do that (especially because all my other gigs pay less)? 

Any other tips, tricks, or scripts will be much appreciated.   

The only thing that I've managed was "could you go up to offer+5%" so if offer was .20/word, I'd say "could you go up to .21 per word?" and then stay silent as they digest that. since it is in pennies, maybe I'd go to .22 with the intent to be very happy with .21.

This is from allison green at askamanager. I only used it once, and HR said they needed to check with hiring manager.

That was a terrible 24 hours for me! I would have taken the job at the original offer!

They called me next day and offered 3% over the offer. So - I was extremely happy with myself on that score, and have occasionally imagined how much extra money I am getting from that short question and 24 hours of angst.

More company match, difference compounding at each COL increase, slightly higher bonus, and hey, a few extra cents on my soc sec checks later in life!

The compounding, in my opinoin, is nearly endless, and so mad at myself for not negotiating sooner. But lets face facts. A woman in the 80/90's trying to negotiate salary would not have been seen the same as today, so I try to forgive myself!

I'll likely neve negotiate again, at least not as an employee. So glad I did it once and lived to tell about it!


Villanelle

  • Walrus Stache
  • *******
  • Posts: 6721
Re: Negotiating 101
« Reply #15 on: November 05, 2022, 10:35:24 AM »
As it turns out, I was apparently overly optimistic.  They said they'd make a decision by the end of the week and I didn't hear anything.  So I guess the upside is that I don't have to negotiate anything!

I'm disappointed.  It's not like I need this job at all, but I wanted to get it none the less.  Ah well.  Next time. 

tygertygertyger

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 887
Re: Negotiating 101
« Reply #16 on: November 05, 2022, 10:41:56 AM »
They might still get back to you early next week, you never know. I am still thinking good thoughts.

But I am in the same boat, if it helps. Spoke to a recruiter who was very excited about me, and yet there's no word from the company... oh well?

mistymoney

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 2462
Re: Negotiating 101
« Reply #17 on: November 05, 2022, 11:16:15 AM »
As it turns out, I was apparently overly optimistic.  They said they'd make a decision by the end of the week and I didn't hear anything.  So I guess the upside is that I don't have to negotiate anything!

I'm disappointed.  It's not like I need this job at all, but I wanted to get it none the less.  Ah well.  Next time.

hoping you hear next week! I know that when we were hiring, I'd sometimes be off a little in telling candidates the timeline, as usually HR would act on my decision quickly and I'd frame that for candidates, but sometimes it took HR a week or more to get the wheels turning once I told them which way I was going to go.

Also, if we had 2-3 good candidates, it was difficult to make an offer and wait, worrying that you'd lose your 100% good second candidate while waiting for a slightly preferred #1 to make up their mind and then they decline.

Good luck!

JupiterGreen

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 590
Re: Negotiating 101
« Reply #18 on: November 07, 2022, 06:33:35 AM »
As it turns out, I was apparently overly optimistic.  They said they'd make a decision by the end of the week and I didn't hear anything.  So I guess the upside is that I don't have to negotiate anything!

I'm disappointed.  It's not like I need this job at all, but I wanted to get it none the less.  Ah well.  Next time.

hoping you hear next week! I know that when we were hiring, I'd sometimes be off a little in telling candidates the timeline, as usually HR would act on my decision quickly and I'd frame that for candidates, but sometimes it took HR a week or more to get the wheels turning once I told them which way I was going to go.

Also, if we had 2-3 good candidates, it was difficult to make an offer and wait, worrying that you'd lose your 100% good second candidate while waiting for a slightly preferred #1 to make up their mind and then they decline.

Good luck!

Agreed. If you don't hear by the end of this week, then I might assume it's a done deal. Good luck to you and @tygertygertyger that you land those jobs!