By Sunny Simon

I could almost feel the joy jump off the screen as I read my client’s email. It went like this: “Good news! I ask for and got my raise last Friday. I didn’t get what I initially requested, but I received it in the end. I was happy about the increase, but really proud of myself for speaking up. This was a first. I’ve never before had to ask for a raise.”

It was good news indeed! Several weeks prior we discussed her salary situation. My client, Diana, a CPA, has been with her employer for about fifteen months and worked extremely hard through two tax seasons. We both knew she deserved a salary increase, but it was up to her to make her voice be heard. To do that, took composure, confidence and a few other elements. Thinking of asking for a raise? Read on.

Your chances for getting a salary increase are good if you understand the three key elements. Scoring a win in any negotiation requires preparation. Know your numbers.  Diana researched what other CPA’s were making in her city. She also reviewed HR’s data on salary structures. If you need help with gathering figures, try GlassDoor or PayScale.

Timing is essential. One of the questions I asked Diana was how the firm was doing financially. She knew they had a good year and there was money in the coffers for key players. Another important aspect of timing is selecting an opportune time to hold the meeting. Don’t ask to convene with your boss when she is knee deep in preparing a major presentation. Perfect timing is something I learned long ago. Whenever I needed to negotiate with my Dad, I arose at 5:00am and joined him in our kitchen for breakfast. He was a morning person, and since no one else in our family was up at that hour, I had his undivided attention.

The most crucial element to fattening your paycheck is evidence. Take the time to build a case of how you added value in the past year. Did you save the company money? Win a key contract? Bring new clients to the firm? Perhaps you mentored other employees, created a more efficient work process, or developed an idea for a new product.

Prior to the day you sit opposite the key decision maker, practice your script. Do you sound confident or are the words spewing out of your mouth? Keep perfecting your pitch. Then take a deep breath, conjure up your most confident attitude and present your case. Good luck!

Sunny Simon is the owner of Raise the Bar High Life and Career Coaching. More about Sunny at www.raisethebarhigh.com

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