“Have you checked this out!?”
How much weight do we give to a recommendation from a friend? Be it for a restaurant, a movie, or the next big app. Enough to check it out right?
When I recommended the Ultimate Guide to Negotiate a Raise to a friend, he wanted to try it out. He was hesitant at first.
In this post, I want to share his case study as he got an 8.3% raise. His actual increase was around 17%, but the contractor took a cut. All this with only two hours or prep!
How much will your life change if you earn 8.3% more than you make right now? Plus, every increment going forward will be relative to the new salary.
Setting the Stage
Q. Tell us who you are?
Omi, (We will call my friend Omi) “I am an engineer who works in a traditional Asian automotive company. I am employed via a contracting agency for the past five years.”
Q. Give us your view of the company culture for salary increments. Who is the decision maker for your salary?
Omi, “We are a large company, so you know how they must operate. There are inbuilt systems for salary increments. Getting a 1-3% raise is standard, but some years you might not get any! My manager is the main communicator to the decision makers. Which is the director of our group and the HR.”
Building Your Mindset.
Q. Why did you never negotiate before?
Omi, “I had one of the classic barriers that you mentioned in the guide. ‘They should recognize me for the work and give me a raise.’ Also, I didn’t want to seem money hungry. I also didn’t know anyone in the company that had asked for a raise and got one.”
Q. So what made you negotiate your salary this time?
Omi, “At first I thought the V-Negotiation System would not work for me. Then after speaking with you, I got excited and had to give it a shot. There were two other strong triggers:
- I got competitive data that some of my colleagues were at a higher level and a higher salary.
- I had an understanding that the budget for the next year will be set soon. So if I wanted to ask for a raise — now is the time.
Positioning Yourself As A Top Performer
Since the timing mattered, Omi shortened the V-Negotiation timeline. His first step was to gather data points that placed him as a top performer.
Word of caution: Omi got a great result from doing a lean version of the guide. You might too. To maximize your chances of getting your best raise yet, follow the entire V-Negotiation system.
Q. Did you ask for a meeting to set goals or was it a direct compensation review?
Omi, “I was offered a pay raise in the past, which I rejected as I did not want to seem greedy. Stupid mistake! Since they had made me an offer in the past, I skipped the goal meeting and went straight to the compensation discussion.”
Q. In the time before the meeting, how did you set your presentation?
Omi, “I prepared a simple 2-slide deck.
- In slide 1 I showed the additional responsibilities I have taken. The duties were far beyond the role for which I was hired. I also talked about the new skills I had gained.
- In slide 2 I talked about how the topics we covered in slide 1 impacted our group and the company. I put into numbers the time I had saved for the company and how it improved the team performance.”
Results that show you are a top performer are great. Also, you always want to bring it back to the company.
Q. The guide has scripts to tackle objections during the review. Did you find them helpful?
Omi, “Damn! I didn’t know scripts like these even existed! The scripts gave me the confidence to know that there is a cordial way to talk to my manager. At the same time, I can push for the salary increment. I used them during the negotiation. One thing I want to caution your readers is to not play around with the script. The words you use is like walking on a minefield. If you fumble around you don’t seem confident and that can hurt your chances.”
Q. What were the most important takeaways from the scripts that you used?
Omi, “The two most important concepts for me were:
- Empathy: My manager is a person who is accountable to her managers too. It was important for me to empathize with her position. Every time I would rebut her objection, I would show empathy. I would say something like, ‘I know you have always supported me as a team member and I know this decision is not completely in your hands.’
- Attention: Shut up and listen was the best technique, Varun. Once I would make my case, I would shut up and be comfortable with the silence. It was s**t difficult. After our meeting ended, I didn’t say a word to her about my salary, and a month later I had an appraisal letter in my hand.”
In the Compensation Review
“Once we entered the meeting room, we settled, and I asked her about her week and if she had any travel plans for spring.”
Before a work meeting, there is always some small talk. This meeting is no different. Small talk helps people relax. Then Omi presented the slide deck. At the end of the presentation:
Omi: “Based on what I have shown here, is there room for my salary to grow and match the additional roles I play?” [Attention]
Manager: “I agree that your role has expanded and we are happy with your work. I am not in a position to make a salary commitment to you because that decision rests with the division director (two levels above her) and the HR.”
This was her first objection. Many people would leave the conversation here, but from the ultimate guide, we know that the first objection kicks things off.
Omi: “I understand your position, and you have always supported us when it comes to management decisions. If I look at my peers at X group and Y group, they are at an employee level 2. With the data I have presented in slide 1, my performance has exceeded that of my peers. Are there ways we can close the gap at the employee level?” [Attention]
Manager: “The groups you are referring to get specialized training before they start to work here and that’s why they have a higher salary.”
Omi: “I agree specialized training has to be valued by the company. Based on my research the specialized skills were gained during their work here. In the past two years, I have strengthened my technical skills with self-learning in CAVA and Polyworks (industry-specific software). That has enabled the management to make me the leader of the Z (can’t share specific name) project.” [Attention] (You don’t need to end every time with a question.)
Manager: “Maybe the team is set that way. Let me talk to the director and the HR team and see what I can do.”
Omi: “Thank you for meeting with me today. Would you need anything more from my end to support your discussion with the management?” [Attention]
Manager: “I have everything, thank you.”
Omi did very well with the scripts. We talked about how market data would have helped his case, and he could have also asked for benefits. He is going to add these two elements in the next compensation review.
A month after the negotiation meeting…
“My manager comes to my desk and says that I have been promoted to level 2. It comes with a 17% raise. As I am employed via a contractor, my salary increased by 8.3%.”
So, how does it feel?
“Dude, it feels awesome! I have few hundred dollars extra in my bank each month. That too for spending two hours to prep for the meeting. I will be using it to fund an apartment I have bought in my hometown.
I was also pissed that I had not negotiated earlier (a common sentiment)! I came home pissed, but my wife’s reaction to the raise changed the feeling. We were both happy about the extra income.”
Q. How do you feel about negotiating next time?
Omi, “This experience has given me so much confidence. It was an eye-opener as we feel that no one negotiates and we are greedy to ask for more money. But actually, negotiating your salary is a known process, and we let our emotions blind us.”
Varun, “Man! I am excited for you. Thank you for sharing your story.”
So this was an experience of a friend who used the V-Negotiation System to fuel his dream of owning an apartment. Negotiating your salary is the quickest way you can earn more money year after year. Especially if you can prove that you are a top performer for the team.
What was your top insight from this case-study? You can share your comment here or via email (I respond to every email. You can get my email by subscribing to Beyond Grad).