In American business culture, you have to ask for it.
Whether it’s a bonus, a raise, a better job, a better seat, or a promotion, you need to ask for it.
Of course, it’s too easy to talk yourself out of it. “I don’t want to be rude.” “I wouldn’t want to come across as pushy.” “I don’t want to get ahead of myself.”
But just as often as avoiding embarrassment or awkwardness, you’re avoiding success and advancement.
Time and time again, we see it. Members like you who tell us they were afraid to ask, or too nervous to ask, or unsure about the right way to ask.
As often as not, they tell us years later that their fears were ungrounded, their concerns made of air, their uncertainty a mask for anxiety.
William Shakespeare, as usual, may have said it best: “Our doubts are traitors, and make us lose the good we oft might win, by fearing to attempt.”
In American business, you have to ask for the order, ask for the customer to visit your store, ask for your supplier to give you better pricing.
And in American business culture, you need to ask for the raise, ask for the bonus, ask for the job.
How to ask for more money at a new job
Of course, one of the best times to “ask for it” is when you’re negotiating your compensation at a new job.
In our experience, it turns out companies often have an extra $5K or $10K in their budget for your role. Asking for that little bump is easy to do, often expected, and perhaps just as often, granted.
This has been one of our most effective bits of advice over the years. And we’ve found the insight made famous by psychologist Robert Cialdini has been extraordinarily effective for our members as well.
Cialdini found that providing a reason made it more likely that people would grant a favor or request. Which makes sense.
But Cialdini’s insight was that people were much more likely to grant a favor even if the reason were completely obvious or did not make sense.
“A well-known principle of human behavior says that when we ask someone to do us a favor we will be more successful if we provide a reason. People simply like to have reasons for what they do.”
The example he cited was cutting the line for a copying machine. Stating “I’m in a rush” got 50% more people to allow you to cut in line. What was surprising was that stating “because I need to make some copies” also got 50% more people to allow you to cut in line, even though that’s what everybody is doing in the copier line.
It’s the same thing with your new job.
When negotiating your pay, this takes the form of asking for that extra $5K or $10K and citing an obvious, or non-obvious, reason.
“I’ll be travelling more, so I’ll need to pay for more childcare, so would really appreciate $10K more in the base.”
“I was expecting to be paid more to make a move, so I’d really appreciate an additional $5,000 in order to leave my current company.”
We’ve found, in actual practice with our 9+ mm members, that simply providing a reason, any reason, can be very, very effective in garnering you that additional $5 or $10K.
Polite persistence wins
A friend was recently negotiating for a new job at a large famous tech company we’ll call “Giggle”.
And “Giggle” put together a terrific offer right out of the gate. Great pay, great job, great company.
She asked me “well, what should I do, should I just accept? I don’t want to make them mad with a lot of demands.”
And this is where members like you hurt yourselves most.
When an HR department at a larger company has extended you an offer, you typically have several chances to negotiate before they’ll get flustered and go away.
Especially if the negotiation is with an HR person and not directly with your hiring manager, what you need to understand is that HR has an entire process to get you to accept an offer once it’s made. The process includes schmoozing, calls, persuasion, documents, information, and, very importantly for you, a little bit of wiggle room.
So I told my friend that she didn’t need to worry until she heard something like “well, this is the best we can do, and perhaps if it doesn’t work for you it just isn’t a great fit for you at Giggle.”
We eventually got her a bigger bonus, more vacation, and more equity, but, to their credit “Giggle” resisted our every effort to move up on the base compensation.
So there’s a limit.
But if she had not “asked for it”, she never would have gotten more vacation, more equity, and more bonus.
Once you’ve asked for your favor, polite persistence wins.
And that, Members, is how you squeeze a little bit more out of the economy for you and your family.
I’m rooting for you!