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Keys to Winning - Active Listening in Salary Negotiation

You are discussing a new job. And your salary expectations.


Then imagine if your counterpart says something like, “Man, we have had so many failed projects, we will pay through the nose for the right project manager!”


Oh, I exaggerate here, but imagine! How much power would you say you have in that negotiation? Massive right?


Listening carefully can be your most powerful asset in any negotiation, and in salary negotiation in particular. Instead of solely focusing on presenting your qualifications and desired salary, adopt a strategic approach that revolves around identifying and solving the employer's underlying problems.


You can unlock unlimited hidden nuggets when you let your counterpart do most of the talking!





Here's how this approach can work wonders for your negotiation strategy:


The Power of Active Listening in Salary Negotiation


When you speak less and encourage the other person to talk, they feel heard, at ease, and often reveal valuable information about their role and the company. This not only offers insights into the organizational culture, helping you determine if it's the right fit for you, but it also provides insights on significant challenges the teams are tackling. This presents an opportunity for you to position yourself as the problem solver. I cannot understate the importance of active listening in salary negotiation.

I only wish I could find an institute that teaches people how to listen. Business people need to listen at least as much as they need to talk. Too many people fail to realize that real communication goes in both directions.
Lee Iacocca, Chrysler

Understand The Needs of your Future Company


Whenever possible, shift the spotlight from yourself to them. Pay close attention to their words and intent. What challenges or issues are they trying to address? What goals do they want to achieve through this hire? Active listening allows you to grasp their pain points and objectives.


Ask Thoughtful Questions


Engage in a dialogue that encourages your employer to share more about their expectations and the specific problems they aim to solve. Ask probing questions. Then clarify. Thoughtful questions can uncover crucial insights that may not have been evident initially. Focus on learning as much as possible.


I remind myself every morning: Nothing I say this day will teach me anything. So if I’m going to learn, I must do it by listening.”
Larry King, CNN

Positioning Yourself as the Solution


Showcase Your Skills and Experience


Once you've identified the problems or challenges your prospective employer faces, align your qualifications and experience to demonstrate how you can provide solutions. Highlight relevant accomplishments and skills that directly address their needs. This is the proof. Once you state that you are their dream candidate, it's time to underscore that claim with data.


Provide Concrete Examples


Share real-world examples from your past experiences where you successfully resolved similar challenges. Offer specific details and outcomes to illustrate your problem-solving abilities.


Tailor Your Pitch


Customize your pitch to emphasize how your unique skill set and expertise align with their goals. By showcasing your value as a problem solver, you become the candidate who can make a significant impact. Don't forget to pick-out words from your counterpart's vocabulary. This is called mirroring, and is an effective way to signal that both your interests are completely aligned.


Active Listening in Salary Negotiations with a Problem-Solving Approach


Shift the Focus


When the discussion turns to salary expectations, pivot the conversation by highlighting how your contributions will positively affect the organization. Frame your desired salary as a reflection of the value you bring and the problems you can solve, rather than a stand-alone figure.


Highlight ROI


If possible, provide examples of how your work can generate a return on investment (ROI) for the company. Demonstrating that you are an asset rather than an expense can sway the discussion in your favor.


The Art of Silence


Encourage Them to Share


Throughout the negotiation, encourage your prospective employer to share their thoughts and concerns. When they talk more, you gain valuable insights into their perspective and priorities.


Tailor Your Responses


Use the information gleaned from their dialogue to tailor your responses effectively. Address their specific points and show empathy toward their needs and objectives.


By actively listening, identifying the employer's problems, and positioning yourself as the solution, you can transform the negotiation process. This strategic approach not only enhances your chances of securing a favorable offer but also portrays you as a candidate who is keenly focused on contributing to the organization's success.


FREE Training


When you are ready to bravely ask for your worth, get the salary negotiation training here.

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