How to Negotiate What You Are Worth

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By Grace Totoro, creator Winner’s Pitch™.

How to Negotiate What You Are Worth

If you have ever been looking to buy or sell something, chances are you have been in a negotiation transaction or conversation. Life taught me that the one who is ready to walk away holds the negotiating power. If I’m a seller, and I know the value of my product or service and the value it will bring to my potential customers, my role is to convey it in terms that will resonate with prospective buyers. Then, I will probably generate the sale. This guideline is right in a job search, as well. That means understanding my prospects’ reasoning and motivators even before we go to the negotiating table. Often, there are exceptions to the negotiations rule. However, you do not want to negotiate from the defense when it comes to an offer during your job search or career transition.

How to Research and Determine Your Market Value For A New Job Or Existing Career

Yes, there are salary guides and recruiters to give you ideas of what you are worth. These resources will provide you with a baseline and are essential. However, it is the nuances about you, your specific qualifications and a demonstration of your impact that will pinpoint the number that fits your value.

Supply, Demand And ROI

If you have been following and reading my Career Coaching articles here and on LinkedIn, you already know that I have said job and career changers who promote experience alone may hinder their chances of being selected.

Why is this? It is the law of basic economics (supply and demand). When you are a rare commodity in significant demand, it is easier to stand out, and negotiations are more straightforward. When the opposite is true, it is your unique value and contributions to an organization’s bottom line that will separate you from others. However you get there, presenting your value will often sway the selection process in your favor. Your expertise is a combination of experience, current skills, traits and the demonstration of how all of that translates into “cha-ching” — a.k.a., profit.

It is essential to understand that some professions indirectly improve profits by supporting other jobs that are the business of the business. What does this mean? If you are a human resources executive working for an engineering company, for example, your role may provide support in the form of compliance, talent acquisition, succession planning, training and hiring. You sit alongside the executive team, which oversees professions that manage expenses, engineer existing and new products, improve technology, make sales, etc. — all leading to profit. The occupations that directly impact the top line, bottom line or both may realize their value more quickly. However, if the role exists in a company and it is a familiar role, it has a value. Once you understand the importance of your role, you are now ready to insert your particular expertise into the selling formula.

To help you determine your professional value, ask yourself the following questions:

  • Who are my prospective employers and what are their needs, pain points and areas that need attention?
  • How will I meet these requirements?
  • What will it cost me to meet these needs in terms of hours, days and so on?
  • What will the company gain if they hire me over someone who may be less expensive?
  • What makes me different from others who portray themselves to do what I do, and how will these differences benefit the company?
  • What problems do I solve, and how will I help my prospective employers cost-effectively resolve them?
  • How do my years of experience translate into solutions today, and how will that benefit my next employer?
  • Can I demonstrate my value and my competitive differences and show my prospective employer an ROI?
  • Do I have today’s skills in technology or a specific skill set that makes me unique, meaning getting results differently than my competition in a cost-effective way?
  • Can I calculate and quantify a cost or time savings or a revenue increase when I perform in my expertise? For example, think about how many hours it will take to generate results. Think about how that outcome will either save dollars or time or increase revenue dollars based on the audiences’ biggest pain points. If my expertise adds millions to the bottom line, while my competition will add just thousands, I can justify a higher pay.

Now that you know what you are worth, here’s how to negotiate.

You must:

  • Be able to briefly communicate what you will do and what it will mean for the employer in their own language.
  • Redirect your buyer (in this case, your current or prospective employer) to hearing the value of your services rather than the cost of hiring you. If your buyer is more concerned with price, then you have choices to make: Be creative with your salary negotiations, or walk away.
  • Consider your experience as it is supported by results. Just because someone has many years of experience doesn’t mean it is relevant, especially if they haven’t kept their skills current and impactful.
  • Make sure you have reliable references from someone who will confirm your impact.
  • Make your value proposition about serving, helping and partnering, and you will innately see your value.
  • Speak in your prospective employer’s voice, not your own. By the time you get to the negotiations table, you should know more about them and how you will impact them in their areas of need.
  • Add your authentic voice into your communications, elaborating on why you do what you do.

Proposals And 30-60-90 Day Plans

A robust negotiation strategy that I teach my clients is to create a sample 30-60-90 day plan with likely outcomes every 30 days. This is a potent negotiating tool, as it shows the potential employer you understand their needs and demonstrates with words how you think and will go about generating what you propose.

The Bottom Line

There is no room for fear in negotiations. Demonstrate and state your value with passion and contagious enthusiasm, and the right offer will prevail.

This article originally apppeared at

Overqualified? What You Need to Do to Get HiredGrace Totoro is is a career transitions coach,  Founder and CEO of TransitionsByGrace,LLC, Member of Forbes Coaches Council and contributing writer for  and Creator of “Winner’s Pitch”.  To Learn More visit

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