Negotiating a Dirty Word?

When you hear the word, money, or salary, how does it make you feel?

Is it a conversation you are comfortable having or does the whole situation make you feel sick to even discuss? Possibly depending on who you’re asking, but overall, it shouldn’t be considered a “dirty word”

In recent years, a lot of employers are finding that their employees or even candidates are hesitant to discuss wages or salary negotiations, but why don’t people like to negotiate a salary?

 Robertson Sumner has recently conducted some research and many people find it rude or awkward to ask for money but on the other hand, some people find the case of working hard to earn the salary success. But does this mean that each group of people are right? Not exactly.

But if negotiation is something you have found yourself doing in an interview or were not sure on how to approach the subject, here are some ways we can help you on addressing salary negotiation 

Your potential employer and you are approaching the issue from two different perspectives, naturally, you are looking to be compensated as much as possible, and the employer is looking to secure the best person for the least amount of money which both sides are valid.

We’ve come across a lot of job adverts, and you might have seen something that goes along the lines of “competitive salary” which gives nothing away if you don’t know what the competition pays, either. So, let’s look at some ways we can go about negotiating, what situations we can do this in and how much salary you are worth for your skills and experience. 


  1. Have you received the job offer from the employer?

    Every employer is different, and salaries will be brought up at different times, but we would suggest avoiding negotiating salary until you’ve received the written job offer, however, if the employer brings the topic of salary up try to avoid giving away your desired salary by saying what salary range, you’re looking for. If the employer proposes a salary, say that you’d prefer to discuss the topic when they offer you the job.

    If you’ve been offered the job, great news! By now you should know the salary the employer has offered but this doesn’t mean you have to accept it the ball is in your court, and you are now in a strong position to negotiate upwards if you wanted.

  2. Evaluate the good the bad & the ugly

    The salary of the role looks great! Well, that’s good, but is it? Is what they are offering you reasonable to the skills and experiences you have? It’s great to be aware of what other people in similar positions to you are being paid as a benchmark, so it’s worth being aware of that.

  3. What if you lose the offer?

    Not to get you too startled, but there could be a small chance the offer could be withdrawn if they don’t agree with the negotiation. Bear in mind to be realistic when pitching your ideal salary target, base your findings, research beforehand, and be courteous and professional in your negotiations, chances are that you will be offered a salary in between these two points which can be a great comprise.
    Something to keep in mind is your emotions and your predictions out of the negotiations, don’t mention things like, “I want to be paid…” or, “I feel I deserve to be paid…”. If you can show that your salary target is realistic and in line with industry averages, you are more likely to be offered what you’re looking for.

  4. Stats and figures

    Knowing what you’re worth is important to negotiating salary, but this depends on a number of factors, which are,

    Where you live and where the job is based: for example, jobs in London are generally higher than in the rest of the UK because the cost of living is so much higher in London so the majority of roles based in London will have a higher salary range.

    Experience: Your skill set and previous experience will have different salary factors example, someone with five years’ experience in a role or sector will be able to command a higher salary than someone who’s just starting out.

    Leadership: Did you know leadership skills are a huge bonus for employers, as they signal you could be an asset in the long term, this shows determination and loyalty within a role and as previously mentioned in the long run, for many companies this will be hugely beneficial

    For example, let’s say you have a masters, Ph.D. or bachelor’s degree in a specialised area relevant to the job, you’ll have a higher chance over candidates who don’t have them

    Professional qualifications:
    Let’s say you’re applying for a specific role and have completed a course for this subject, or have extensive knowledge of X Y Z software, this will give you a much higher chance of landing said role due to the specialist skills you have and may be able to command a higher salary.

Things to consider when negotiating salary at the interview stage.
Your basic salary in sales will be based on what your annual quota will be in the role – so what we would consider is the following:

  • Bear in mind taking a higher basic salary will come with more pressure to deliver – it’s therefore important you qualify out what the expectation will be regarding quota before committing to the position. A high basic salary is great but if it results in you receiving an unachievable target – then your job could be at risk after just a few weeks.
  • If you want a higher basic salary – have the results to prove it! Sales is a meritocratic industry where ‘years of experience’ don’t mean too much – performance against quota and £numbers delivered is how you’ll be measured. Therefore, if you’re after a significant lift in salary, have the numbers to demonstrate you’re worth it…
  • Demonstrate YOY growth in salary & number from a previous position – don’t be the person who expects a pay-rise after having several 12-month stints – demonstrate growth in a previous role, show commitment to the long-term goals of the business & you’ll have more chance of securing the salary you want.
  • Be willing to take an expanded role with the business – if you’re interviewing for a sales role & feel you deserve more money, I would have a business case as to ‘why’… What else can you bring to the table?! Are you happy to manage a small team? Run events on the side? Be a part of the HR Committee? Anything you’re looking to do over and above the required role could help get you a salary over & above the advertised amount.

Now that you have read the above and taken notes, what key things have you taken away?
The most important thing to really remember is to do your research on similar roles or people in the same situations as you to really gather factual evidence on whether you should or shouldn’t negotiate a salary. Negotiating shouldn’t be a scary subject to bring up, but at the same time, you should prep, do your research, allow them to offer you the salary first before you start making a negotiation and how does your skills and experience match up to the roles wage?

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