Rule#1: Never Ask Permission

Rule#1: Never Ask Permission

ExcusesSo what’s wrong with asking if the salary’s negotiable?

Think about it… your opponent can just say “No,” and you lose automatically.

All because you asked permission to negotiate.

Even if your opponent responds with “Yes, we can negotiate,” your negotiating position is still weakened.

After all, you just announced that you plan to negotiate your salary. Any element of surprise you had is now gone.

Always Presume Negotiability

Of course the salary is negotiable. Everything is negotiable. Life is negotiable.

That’s the only mindset of any value in your salary negotiation.

Negotiation is a game of information. You want to collect as much useful information from the other side as possible, while revealing as little useful information about your own position as is reasonable.

Think of all the free information you give away when you ask “Is the salary negotiable?”

First, you give away your ignorance of the answer. If you don’t know whether or not the company negotiates (or has ever negotiated) with employees at your level, then there’s a good chance you didn’t do your homework. When I discover that I’m negotiating against someone who is unprepared, I know I can get much more aggressive with my counter offer and they’ll be less likely to notice.

Second, you give away your lack of training in salary negotiations. “Is it negotiable?” is the classic “tell” of the amateur negotiator. Once those words leave your lips, don’t be surprised if your Opponent starts playing hardball with your entire compensation package.