If, like me, you need to make a case for every pay rise you get and you have to ask for it directly, this article is for you.

If you have regular appraisals that result in certain rewards, the points here will help you too. They will make sure you are rewarded as handsomely as possible.

Personally I love working in the private sector, everything comes down to a negotiation and what you get depends on the value you can provide and the case you can make for your advancement.

So, how do you convince your boss that they need to give you more? I have asked for every pay rise I’ve ever got and I haven’t been turned down yet. Here is what has worked for me…

  1. Add More Value

If you aren’t doing a good job why would you be given more? Remember that you are employed for one reason: To make your employers money. Even if you are the cleaner, you prevent them from having to do it themselves, this saves them time and they can use this time to make more money for the company.

Ask yourself what you can do to give more, now. Don’t wait to be rewarded, act now and show your boss why you deserve what you are planning to ask for. If you adopt the mentality of, ‘it’s not my job’ or ‘I don’t get paid enough for this’ you will never get a better position and you will never get more money for your work.

Show initiative, work hard and show your boss that they don’t pay you enough for what you do.

  1. Know Your Worth

What are you worth on the market? What do other company’s pay people in similar positions to yours? Have a look on the job sites and find out.

Then consider this: If someone new replaced you tomorrow, would they be worth as much as you? The answer should be a resounding NO! If it isn’t go back to step 1.

If it is a no, make a note of why…

Is it your knowledge of the company’s goals, processes and culture? Is it your relationships with suppliers, colleagues and your customers? Is it something unique that only you can provide, such as your connections? Think open and wide…

The answers to these questions will be the reasons why you are worth MORE THAN MARKET VALUE.

  1. Get a Meeting with Your Boss, at the Right Time – for Them

You should now be in a position to go for it, face the wolves and ask the question that so many others are scared to do. Go forth and ask for the pay rise and the change in benefits that you DESERVE.

Life is too short not to do this and you will end up hating your job, your boss and yourself if you back out.

There is a way to do this though and this is very important…

If your boss has just got off the phone to your biggest customer who has said they are taking their business elsewhere, don’t ask him that day.

Maybe he has just had a raging argument with this wife – leave it for another day!

Bosses are humans just like you and me, creatures of emotion not logic. Asking for a pay rise is a business discussion and you need to catch them at the right time.

If you have regular catch up sessions with your boss you could include this in the agenda – but warn them beforehand that you ‘want to discuss your position,’ ‘your development plan’ or ‘your future at the business.’ This ensures they are prepared and they don’t feel pushed into a corner off guard when you bring it up. They may react like a wild animal would in the same positon if you do that – it won’t end well for you!

If you don’t have regular discussions, email them with a specific request for a short meeting to discuss it. It needs to be done face to face and it must be planned. If they rebuff your request at first, keep asking until they have to accept, do not let it drop. If they don’t reply, confront them personally and tell them you need a response or arrange it there and then.

If ultimately you cannot get the meeting – do you really want to work for that person? I would look for something else.

  1. Decide What You Intend to Do For Them

Prepare well for your meeting, consider your bargaining position in relation to steps 1 and 2 above. You also, very importantly, need to outline what is in it for them…

The business needs to get something back for their increased investment in you, it must benefit both parties, and it is your job to convince your boss that you are a worthwhile investment.

Perhaps you will increase sales, work longer hours, save them money, make your boss’ life easier or develop new processes that will improve the business. This will depend on your company, your boss and your situation – just make sure that your argument is a strong, calculated and well thought out one.

Your boss doesn’t care if you want a better lifestyle, want a new Mercedes or want to buy your wife expensive presents. They want to know what is in it for them and the business. A lot of employees make the mistake of thinking this discussion is about them, it isn’t, speak the boss’ language. What motivates them? What does the company need? What are they trying to achieve personally?

Finally on this point, do not let this put you off. A good boss will welcome your approach and your ideas. After all, if they are sound plans everybody wins!

  1. Ask for Specifics

It’s no good to say I want more money, ask for a specific amount and back it up with why. It may be you want more benefits or better conditions.

Even if all you want is more money, ask for additional benefits too – these are your tools in the forthcoming negotiation! Put your eggs in many baskets, the more baskets you have, the more concessions you can give without giving up what is most important to you.

Maybe you currently get £25,000 a year and you want £30,000. Why not ask for £30,000, a phone, more flexible hours and a more senior job title? If they say no to the phone, hours and title it is much harder for them to say no to your raise!

Who knows you might just get it all, don’t sell yourself short, but do make sure your requests are realistic, think through your requests carefully.

  1. Negotiate and Ask Questions

Following on from the above, recognise and embrace the fact that this is a negotiation. Some people are scared of negotiating, but remember the best negotiations are win-win, what’s scary about that?!

As the purpose is to benefit both parties don’t let it become a one way interview – ask your boss questions too. Here are a few examples you could use to show your enthusiasm and to prevent objections:

‘What are your concerns about my proposal?’

‘What can I improve on to add more value in my role?’

‘How do you see me progressing through the company?’

‘What would you like me to do more of?’

‘What could I do to show you that my plans are sound?’

Keep the questions open (use what, when, why, where and how) to get thorough feedback. Listen to the responses with care so that you can address any concerns that they have.

If you are a novice negotiator, don’t worry, you actually do this every day you just don’t realise it. We negotiate with our kids every day to get them to do anything, we negotiate with our partners for similar reasons and I bet you’ve bought a used car before…

For more tips on negotiating, have a look out for my post on this subject later this week! Sign up to The Business of Life Club now so you don’t miss out – just enter your email address in the right hand column or at the bottom of this page if you are on your mobile. This notifies you when a new post is published and gives you access to giveaways and exclusive content from time to time, all for FREE!

Thank you.

– Matthew Brown

Related reading – 7 Tips to Deliver an Unforgettable Speech