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Negotiating 101: Prep, Exchange, Bargain, Close

The art of negotiating effectively is a vital part of business, making it a critical part of your career. Your relationship with your employer is a business relationship after all. While you may have personal bonds with your boss, corporate partners, customers and colleagues, the foundation of those relationships is business and the moment this relationship no longer makes good business sense, changes will be made. Because of this, it is vital that you make sure the package offered suits your needs. This is where negotiating comes in.

Before you can even think about initiating a negotiation with a client, potential employer, etc. you need to do your research. How will you even know what to ask for if you don’t know what you’re worth? What do people in your industry typically make? What are people who do the same job making right now? How much of an effect should your education and experiences have on your rate? Do your research! Make sure that before you pursue a new opportunity you’re equipped to negotiate. Ensure you have all your ducks in a row and are ready to articulate what you’re worth and why.

Once you’ve done your research, it’s time to present it to the person who wants to hire you. You’ll also learn more about what they’re able to offer based on various factors. This is the exchange of information. Typically your potential employer will present an offer to you opening negotiations. At this point, you have a choice. You can accept the offer as is, which is rare or you can negotiate. If the offer seems unsatisfactory for one reason or another, you can present your research, showing that you’re informed and empowered. Your potential employer may provide data based on their pay scales, budget, etc. Once you’ve both presented your research and relative fact and figures, you can move on to the next step.

The bargaining step is crucial. This is where you’re able to present alternatives to the originally presented offer based upon the information discussed in the exchange step. This is where you’re able to get creative based upon your needs. If the offer contains a salary or fee that’s too low, bargain for a higher one. If they’re not able to meet your monetary requests, negotiate from a different angle. Consider other perks or benefits that would make your job easier. Try to sweeten the pot another way. Perhaps this job will require heavy travel. If so, ask for travel benefits like public transportation coverage, gas or mileage reimbursement, etc. You have options. Use them.

The final step is the close. The negotiation is closed when you’ve come to an agreement and are both satisfied with what’s being offered. At this point, the details of your offer are put in writing in the form of an offer letter or contract. This is not a step you should rush to get to. Make sure you’ve done your best research, presented your research in the right way and bargained strongly. The better you do in these steps, the happier you’ll be at the close.


Hi, my name is Pamela Shand and I want the best for you in your career. I started Offer Stage Consulting to show job seekers how to overcome the most annoying challenges and get where they want to be in their careers. It is possible to actually be happy at work!

Let me show you how.

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