The Conferences for Women
"Negotiation Strategies To Get What You Are Worth"
Moderator: Laurie Dalton White
Guest Speaker: Victoria Pynchon
LAURIE DALTON WHITE
: Welcome, everyone. This is Laurie Dalton White and I'm the conference director for The Conferences for Women. Many thanks to those of you for joining us for today's teleclass, "Negotiation Strategies To Get What You Are Worth" with Victoria Pynchon.
Victoria is the co‑founder of She Negotiates, a training workshop for women on the most effective negotiation strategies and tactics. She Negotiates' work has been featured on NPR's All Things Considered, The New York Times, CNN, and The Wall Street Journal. Vickie is now working on her third book, Getting What You Want, Scripts for Conversations Leading to Agreement.
I'm excited to have Vickie with us today because negotiation is always a topic that ranks at the top of the issues attendees want guidance on. We encourage those listening in to follow along on Twitter and tweet highlights using #txconfwomen, #masswomen and #pennwomen.
Today's presentation will cover how you can learn your true market value and avoid gender blowback when negotiating raises, promotions, and fee increases. And Vickie will also provide guidance on how to influence your negotiation partner to offer what you want without changing your own personality or discarding your values.
Again, I'd like to encourage everybody to follow along on Twitter and tweet highlights @masswomen, @pennwomen, and @texaswomen.
Welcome, Vickie. We couldn't be more thrilled to have you today.
: Thank you so much. It's a pleasure to be here. It's always a pleasure to work with The Conferences for Women.
I'm going to really briefly talk about gender roles, then I'm going to move into essentially a five‑step process for negotiating. Most women ask me questions about salary negotiation, but these steps also apply to raising your fees; negotiating for a flat‑screen TV; for a car, which frightens most of us; and any other problem or challenge that you have, and so I'm going to start with the challenges that are particular to women.
So 10 years ago Linda Babcock and Sara Laschever at Carnegie Mellon University wrote a book called Women Don't Ask. That book created a firestorm in career women's circles. The book said that the wage gap was at least, in part, our fault; that we weren't just bad negotiators, we didn't negotiate at all. We didn't ask. Doctors, lawyers, women on Wall Street, we actually reported that we were happy with what we got or we suffered in silence believing that we were valuing our relationships over money, something that women often say, and it's a good thing.
So we weren't born not being able to or willing to negotiate. It wasn't in our stars, it's not in our genes, it's in our culture. So when we performed, we were not asking for our full market value.
When we did ask, we often suffered social sanctions which are also known as gender blowback.
If we ask for ourselves, we're often punished slightly by having offers withdrawn, by having people talk about us behind our back, because it's just not within our gender role to be self‑serving. It's in our gender role to be other‑serving, to make sure that everybody at the Thanksgiving table gets equal portions.
The good news is that we're not bad at negotiation. We're actually very good at it. And when we negotiate for friends or family, the research shows that we negotiate every bit as good as men do. So the key for us is to understand the most powerful tactics, negotiation tactics, and at the same time understand what the social sanctions are when we do ask for something for ourselves and to take action to reduce that gender blowback.
So that's what I'm to talk about now, relatively quickly, because it's a lot of material to squeeze into 20 minutes.
So negotiation is not haggling in a bazaar over a rug or bargaining for a pair of sunglasses on the beach. Negotiation is a conversation, and women love that. We can stand in the back of a grocery store line, begin idly chatting with a woman in front of us, and by the time we reach the cashier we know about one another's problems with their children. Little Timmy is in rehab and June didn't get into the college of her choice. So we affiliate with one another really quickly.
So negotiation is a conversation, but it's a conversation that has a particular purpose. And the particular purpose of a negotiation is to get something that we want or to resolve a dispute that we have, or often to get something that our family needs or that our children need. So negotiation is a skill. It's just like playing the piano. No one is born a great negotiator, men or women. And by the way, it's just as hard to be Ken as it is to be Barbie.
So when social scientists take a look at judgments made against men in leadership studies, they find that when men are hesitant, when men use the words "we" and "us" when talking about achievements, when men are questioning, ask a lot of questions, they downgrade men on leadership because those are qualities that most people see as being feminine.
On the other hand, when women are dominant, when they don't ask questions but are directive, when they use the words "I" and "me" a lot, they are downgraded on leadership. So we need to be always aware that there is this element of gender stereotypes that's operating.
So Step Number 1 is simply preparation. What is our market value? Lawyers and, I think, businesspeople, too, define market value as what a willing buyer will pay a willing seller on the open market. And the best way to think about market value is comparable worth.
When you are looking to buy a house or you are looking to buy a car, you try to find the best price. And when you are looking at houses, your real estate agent will give you comparables; that in the last six months, four houses have sold in this neighborhood for around $500,000, and so this price for this particular house which is very similar to the other houses should also be worth around $500,000.
So that's ‑‑ the same thing applies to our careers. Before the Internet it was very hard to get this information and, in fact, Congress passed a law that people who have been unaware that they have been the victims of wage discrimination, they don't have to file a suit before they learn that they have been a victim of wage discrimination. But today you can go onto the Internet and get comparable data. So we advise our clients to go to glassdoor.com or salary.com or payscale.com to get an idea of what it is other people in your position are making.
Now, I want to give one kind of added element to this, and that is since 2008, so many people have lost their jobs that the people who remain have been overperforming. They have picked up duties that were not included in their original job description. So we also urge our clients to go back, look at your job description, see whether or not your duties have expanded, see whether or not those expanded duties should put you in a different title, in a different position, and then look at that position as your market value. Because your market value is your value to your employer in your employer's hands. How much money do you make for your employer? How much money do you save for your employer?
So those are the easiest and the basic ways to find out what your market value is, so preparation.
The next step is to know what your bottom line is. This is also in preparation. And what's your bottom line? Your bottom line is the point at which it would be better for you to have no agreement at all than to have the deal that's offered to you.
So if you know what your bottom line is, you say okay, I'm making 50,000 but I haven't gotten a raise since 2007. I'm performing more duties; my job title should actually be chief of operations instead of manager of petroleum products. So you set your bottom line somewhere above the number that you think your market value is at.
I want to remind you that in setting your market value, if you are listening to this short phone seminar you are likely in the 20 percent of employees who are engaged, and you probably have been at the top of the bell curve most of your life. So you should always put a premium on your value to a company, and that's particularly true when you're seeking a raise. And it's something that you can support and should be prepared to support with documents and numbers and figures, because business loves numbers and figures.
So know your bottom line, start two or three moves in advance, and plan your concessions in advance. The research shows that negotiators are happier when their bargaining partner makes a number of concessions than they are when they get what they think that they wanted in the first place. If, for instance, my employer offers me a raise of $10,000 and I say yes immediately, he's going to probably think I should have started lower. She was so eager to take that number that I could have offered her 5‑ and she might have taken that.
So when we make a number of concessions, usually two or three, our negotiation partner is happier. So know what your bottom line is, plan your concessions in advance.
When you sit down at the negotiating table, engage in small talk. The researchers have shown that people who begin a negotiation with small talk are four times more likely to reach a deal. Small talk allows us to build trust. It allows us to find experiences in common. It relaxes everybody. And it establishes a process that, again, is not haggling but is more of a conversation.
So you know what you want and what you deserve, but your focus when you move from the small talk portion and you start talking about the subject of the negotiation, your focus should be the other person, not yourself. And there are probably lots of questions that you have related to your employer's ability to give you what you want. It might have to do with the resources your employer has, how those resources have been divided, whether or not, for instance, your employer might be able to provide you with something that's low cost to him and high value to you like telecommuting.
So you ask diagnostic questions, questions whose purpose is to diagnose your bargaining partner's needs, what their challenges and fears are, what their preferences and priorities are so that you can start the process of requesting something for yourself by framing it as beneficial for your negotiation partner which is really one of the best ways to avoid gender blowback. Because you open with questioning that's very ingratiating. People loved to be asked questions about themselves. And then you follow it up by framing everything you have to give as something that satisfies what they need.
And then often, for women, it's very hard to say ‑‑ even to themselves ‑‑ I deserve $200,000 or I want $200,000 a year. So we advise to objectify yourself a little and say something along the lines of, you know, the market value for the position that I'm now in is $200,000 and I am making less than market value right now, so what I'm aiming for is to bring my income up to market value.
So that's very objective. It doesn't suggest that you deserve something just because you think you are good, or that you're selfish and you are asking for a bigger portion of the company pie than most women would. Also giving relational accounts, which simply means that you talk about ‑‑ you ask those diagnostic questions and then you talk about your relationship to the firm or to the company and how you're benefitting the company because, again, that is an excellent way to avoid gender blowback.
I think the last thing is ‑‑ last, most important thing is to, when you make concessions, you stress how difficult those concessions are to make and you ask for reciprocity. Reciprocity is a really strong pull in us, in all people. It's a universal tendency of people to feel like they should reciprocate a favor.
So when you make a concession, you say something along the lines of it's really difficult for me to lower my expectations by $10,000. I'm willing to do so because, for instance, you just told me that you are having a cash flow problem. I'd appreciate if you would reciprocate with a similarly tough concession and let's talk about what you could do to make it up to me including, perhaps, we can talk about we can have a quarterly review and we could revisit this issue after you resolve your cash flow problem.
And that's it. That's pretty much what I can do in 20 minutes.
: So questions for you, Vickie. I think in our prior conversations you have shared that one of the biggest concerns that you hear from women when in a negotiation, especially when it relates to salary, is what do people do when asked ‑‑ or a new prospective employer, what do people do when they are asked about their current salary?
: Right. I have actually advised women both to tell and not to tell. My most recent advice is to tell, but I'll tell you how you should frame your answer. The reason that my mind was changed is that I read a lot of management white papers that said that the refusal to tell your salary is vastly irritating to HR managers, and the last thing you want to do is irritate them.
So what you want to do is reanchor and reframe. So anchoring just means putting an anchor at one end of the bargaining range, establishing where you want to be and supporting where you want to be with as much data as you possibly can.
The first thing women should do is to understand that their salary is not their total compensation, so we tell women to make the effort to monetize all of their benefits and to respond to the salary compensation with those benefits, including the monetized benefits. So that's going to include 401(k)'s, if they have them, it's going to include the value of the benefits that they have, sometimes life insurance, disability, health insurance, travel allowances, just every single thing that you can think of that your employer provides you, including if your employer has a budget that sends you to conferences every year.
And you should also think about your career plan in total and understand that you are not just talking about salary and compensation. That's also a way to avoid gender blowback is to talk about a career plan in terms that benefit your employer.
So what you want to do is put as many items on the table to trade as possible, to stress your desire to serve the company at your highest level of competence, and talk about not only your total compensation but also what you'd like your employer to do for you to further your own career plan which is going to include, maybe, assignment to certain committees like the management or the finance committee, access to clients, access to human resources. When you go into a job, you are going to want to be allowed to use the best people in the office on your teams, et cetera.
So you reframe. You say what your total compensation is, and at the same time you can reanchor by saying well, that's my total compensation, but one of the reasons that I'm looking for a new job is because I haven't had a raise in six years. I've taken on these other duties. Although my job title is now X, actually, my job title should be Y which is what you're looking for, and the market value for that is Q. So I'm looking to be compensated at the market value that my experience, skill and education puts me at.
: Are there any other things that you hear in your work with your clients about their fears with regard to negotiation?
: Yes. And I can tell you I also work with men; men also call us for consultation. And I can tell you that I have never had anyone call me, no matter what level they were working at, for whom asking for more money was easy. So it's difficult for all of us to sit down and to risk rejection. No one wants rejection.
So the question was ‑‑ oh, what are their greatest fears. So their greatest fear is that they are not going to be just rejected, that a job offer will be withdrawn and they won't be able to say it.
So they will say ‑‑ the employer says well, congratulations, we want to hire you at a compensation of a hundred thousand, and what you want to say is, you know, thank you so much for the job offer and what I want is 150,000. Everyone is afraid to say that because they are afraid that the offer will be withdrawn.
So again, you go back to the first principle which is negotiation is a conversation whose purpose is agreement, and you want to ask diagnostic questions. So if you have provided data to your prospective employer that shows you should be making 150‑, then you want to ask what are the reasons why what you are being offered is less than what your benchmarking shows to be $150,000 market value. Then you're probably going to get a real explanation for why that is, and that's good to be good enough for you or it's not going to be good enough for you.
You should always leave room in this conversation, particularly if you really want to keep this job or to take a new job, to back‑pedal. So you want to say, you know, I'm really interested in taking the job. $100,000 doesn't really provide the kind of incentive that I was looking for, but I don't want you to conclude that I'm telling you no. What I'm looking for is a way that we can satisfy your needs and my needs as much as possible, as fairly as possible, so that we begin our relationship with both of us feeling good about it.
So you always include, in your counteroffer, invitations that you are flexible, that you are willing to talk, and that you are interested in their needs and the restrictions that they have. Because we have no idea why people do what they do. They are often acting under hidden constraints, they are serving hidden stakeholders, or they have hidden interests. So that's where you go back to the diagnostic questions, to find out whether there's someone else who is controlling the conversation, to find out whether there's some interest or problem that they can't pay you that much now, like the cash flow problem I was talking about, or a pending merger.
I mean, you just want to gather as much information as possible while at the same time assuring them that you think that there are so many ways to skin this cat that you are certain you will be able to reach an agreement that's mutually beneficial. That speaks well for you as a prospective employee. You are showing off your problem‑solving skills. And if you are in business, someone who negotiates well, fairly, and charitably is the kind of employee that most employers want to have on their payroll.
: You know, this has been an incredible refresher for everyone, no matter what stage of your career so, Vickie, many thanks for being with us today. If anyone listening wants to contact you regarding their own negotiation challenges, what would be the best way to follow up?
: I'd say the best way would be to go to shenegotiates.com. On our resource page we have a number of resources, like we have a negotiation plan, I think it's six or seven pages, and it might be useful for people to take a look at some of the materials on the resource page before they call us so that they have a better idea about the services that we do provide.
But you know, if they just need help and they don't know what to ask, just go to [email protected]
or [email protected]
and say help, and then we'll arrange a call and find out what the individual's need is and how we can best serve them which is, unsurprisingly, negotiable.
: I was also going to ask what's the timing of release for your third book, Getting What You Want, Scripts for Conversations Leading to Agreement?
: That's a good question.
: I think that's something we could all use.
: We are hoping to have it in print by the end of the year.
: Okay. Well, then, I would encourage everybody to make sure and keep up with our emails because when the book comes out, we will promote it on our website and in our newsletters.
So thank you again, Vickie, and thanks to everyone for joining us.
: Thank you so much.