The Top Seven Ways to Kill Your Chance for a Raise

Anytime you ask someone to exchange resources — time, money, etc. — for something of value that you provide, you are engaging in the sales process. Any basic sales and marketing training program will emphasize that a sales person has to focus on articulating and demonstrating the value and benefits that can be delivered to the buyer. Consider: When was the last time you parted with your hard-earned resources without expecting value and benefit in return? Clearly, the answer is “never.” A buyer’s basic mindset doesn’t include concern for the salesperson’s well-being but rather, “What’s in it for me?”

Unfortunately, too many people forget that negotiating salary is fundamentally a sales situation. They insult the intelligence of the buyer (their employer) when they use reasons such as the following for why they deserve or need a raise:

7. “I’m Buying a House”
6. “I’m Having a Baby”
5. “I Can’t Pay My Bills”
4. “I Always Show Up to Work on Time”
3. “I’ve Never Asked for a Raise Before”
2. “I’ve Worked Here for ____ Years”
1. “My Coworkers Make More Than I Do”

Here are some tips drawn from the article:

  • Brainstorm legitimate reasons why you deserve a raise, and be prepared to articulate these to your employer
  • Show a consistent pattern of exceeding expectations, not just meeting them, and help your employer see that this pattern will continue
  • Your personal financial burdens are not your employer’s problem and should not be brought in to salary negotiations; you want to negotiate from a position of strength, not weakness
  • Focus on your achievements, how you have benefited the company, and how you plan to do so into the future
  • Don’t highlight your bare minimum performance because this is not raise-worthy
  • Answer the question that is implicit in your employer’s mind, “What have you done for me lately?”
  • In short, focus on relevant negotiation points that will resonate with your employer

Whether you are an employee or employer, you can benefit from understanding legitimate vs. irrelevant reasons for negotiating a raise.