Fear of negotiating holding you back? Follow these tips.

Fear of negotiating: Identify the mindsets holding you back

We’ve all heard the statistics: women make 82 cents to every dollar a man makes (and if you’re a woman of color, you’re making between 55-86 cents/dollar). While it’s not a silver bullet, negotiating your salary can close the gap, but often fear of negotiating holds women back.

Before we get to the strategic talking points, let’s first make sure we’re in a good headspace so that we approach negotiating as an opportunity rather than an obstacle.

Fear of negotiating comes from misguided mindsets, molded in large part by the way girls are socialized. Here are some of the most prominent misguided mindsets:

I’m worried they won’t like me

We’re conditioned to be “the good girl,” to be nice, to not disrupt. It’s no wonder that many women dread salary negotiation for fear of pissing the other person off. Instead of looking at the negotiation as a win-lose, it can be a win-win. It’s an opportunity to look super professional, too. Walking in confidently, buttoned up, and with a well-researched case presented in a respectful, thoughtful way will make them think, “Damn, I want her to do that for my company.”

I feel lucky to have the opportunity

They should feel lucky to have you! It’s very expensive to lose you. There’s a difference between being grateful and having gratitude, so make sure you’re not putting yourself beneath the hiring manager just because you feel lucky to have the opportunity.

I think I need to underprice myself to be competitive

Think about buying wine. You go to the liquor store, peruse the shelves and find the cheapest bottle. You pick it up but then hesitate. Why is it so cheap? Does it taste bad? You put it down and pick up the second cheapest bottle. You’re on a budget but you don’t want to sacrifice taste. Moral of the story: underpricing yourself is undervaluing yourself. If you don’t value yourself, then why would I? Plus, if you underprice yourself, that depresses wages for all of us. So don’t do it.

It feels like me against them

You’ve gotten this far in the process which means they’re invested in making it work. You’re both on the same team, trying to figure out the best way to get what each of you wants. A salary negotiation is creative problem solving, trying to reach a compromise in which both people have to give up something in order to get something.

Fear I might lose the opportunity

The chance that they rescind the opportunity or fire you is extremely slim. Why? Losing you is very expensive because it means launching or continuing a search for a new candidate. That being said, the strongest negotiators are those who are willing – and able – to walk away. So make sure you have a financial cushion that will allow you to stay strong in your negotiation. You should also be interviewing elsewhere. It’s never good to put all your eggs in one basket, no matter how badly you might want that job.

They don’t have enough money

Sometimes no amount of negotiating will get you the money you want. (This is especially the case in non-profits.) Here’s the good news: There are other non-monetary things you can negotiate. Be prepared to discuss full compensation—more on this later!—and ask when you can revisit this discussion. Be sure to ask what they need to see from you in order to get to the number you wanted.

Ready to overcome your fear of negotiating? Check out our Salary Negotiation 101 course. Folks who enroll in this course on average receive a $15,000 pay bump.

Now go get paid!

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