In June, the Denver Girly Geeks and I got together for a virtual discussion on negotiating effectively.
This was prompted by a recent Salesforce User Group salary survey, which showed that on average, women survey respondents were earning 80% of what the men were earning – even after controlling for job titles and experience.
What did we talk about?
- negotiation is a skill, it can be learned and improved with practice
- women have some key advantages as negotiators: we often excel at negotiating on behalf of others, and we are good at coming up with win-win solutions
- practicing with low-stakes situations helps build confidence – whether it’s asking for a discount during farmers’ market closing hours, or calling your bank to waive a fee
Here are a few of the Q&As from our lively discussion:
Q: How do I get over feeling intimidated in negotiations?
Doing my homework helps me keep from getting derailed by nerves. When I’ve done my research and have a good feel for the fair market value, I can be more comfortable. That holds true whether we’re negotiating salary, software pricing, or buying a car.
I also make sure I have a BATNA, a Best Alternative To a Negotiated Agreement. This helps me understand my true negotiating position, and gives me the confidence to walk away if the other party is offering a truly raw deal.
Q: How do I negotiate with vendors to get a fair price? As cloud apps admins, we deal with this a lot and aren’t usually trained in the best way to do business negotiations.
Understand what you’re paying for. A good place to start is to ask the vendor to explain the basis of their pricing: is it user based? is it based on which modules are included? are you potentially paying for extra features you don’t need?
Getting a price breakdown can help make it easier for you to compare alternatives, and assess whether a particular vendor’s premium price truly provides extra value for what you need.
Q: How do I negotiate with my partner when it comes to sharing household chores?
Start by asking for help. Many times, one partner may not realize that the other partner is starting to feel a little overloaded; and they’re happy to help once you make a request.
A good way to open the conversation is by offering choices – let your partner know you need help, and ask if they’d prefer to take over dishes or laundry (or lawn work!).
Q: How do I negotiate with a prospective employer? What if they’re not flexible on salary?
Sandra shared a great tip – ask for two things that you’d like, so the employer has the option of saying yes to either one (or both!). This could be salary and vacation time, or flexible hours and tuition reimbursement support.
Before going into your negotiations, make a list of all the things that are important to you, or that you might like. You won’t present this laundry list to your employer; it’s there to help you. The more options you have, the more possibilities you open up for a mutually acceptable agreement.
And if neither of your proposed options works? Ask, “Hmm. How can we get creative?” Then let them talk.
To Kerry and the wonderful women at Denver Girly Geeks – thanks for your thoughtful questions!