Salary Negotiation Tips: Thou Shalt Not Agree

Saying ”OK” or ”yes” to the first salary offer can leave thousands of dollars on the table.

artSalaryThe Ten Commandments of Salary Negotiation (Part 4): Salary expert Jack Chapman offers 10 lessons on salary negotiation in the vein of the Ten Commandments.

After months of preparation, getting your resume fine-tuned, answering ads, researching on the Internet, following up leads and networking with numerous people to find the right job, one word can throw away thousands of dollars.

Believe it or not, that word is “OK.” It may be inexperience in dealing with salary negotiations, or just an anxious moment, that makes you say OK. Either way, blurting out OK to the first salary offer can leave money on the table.

Consider what you might do instead. How about memorizing a one-word response that will work in every negotiating scenario?

Think of this as a riddle: What’s a four-letter word that has no vowels, is not in the dictionary and makes money every time you use it with negotiating precision? Give up? The word is “Hmmm” — a single word that buys 30 seconds of silence. A 30-second pause really amps up the pressure on employers to offer more.

Many of my clients have said this is the one technique that has made them the maximum amount of money with the minimum amount of effort. All you need to do is shut up — harder for some than others, eh? But it’s doable by anyone.

The move is called “The Flinch.” It works in salary negotiations, raise negotiations, flea markets, used car sales, the sewer repair bill — just about anywhere financial transactions take place. When you hear the other person’s first offer, don’t say OK. Say Hmmm.

Take some time to really ponder it. Check your gut — are you delighted? Neutral? Disappointed? Worried? Give yourself some time and in the seconds of silence the other person’s offer is more likely to improve in some way.

Don’t blabber. Be quiet. Let silence do its work.

Read other installments in this series:
Part 1: Salary Negotiation Tips: Thou Shalt Not Speak Too Soon
Part 2: Salary Negotiation Tips: Thou Shalt Not Regret Salary Disclosure
Part 3: Salary Negotiation Tips: Let the Employer Make the First Salary Offer
Part 4: Salary Negotiation Tips: Thou Shalt Not Agree
Part 5: Salary Negotiation Tips: Know How Much Money You’re Worth
Part 6: Salary Negotiation Tips: Thou Shalt Covet Thine Own Benefits and Perks
Part 7: Salary Negotiation Tips: This Is the Job Thou Coveteth
Part 8: Salary Negotiation Tips: Thou Shalt Not Worry about Earthly Economy
Part 9: Salary Negotiation Tips: Thou Shalt Not Take the Name of Thy Salary in Vain
Part 10: Salary Negotiation Tips: Honor Thy Wealth and Prosperity