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How To Negotiate During A Job Offer (Without Risking Your Job)

Sales professionals are negotiators by nature, which means you may be tempted to negotiate the terms of your next job offer. It’s a good instinct that can pay off in the long run but it can also spoil your relationship with your new employer or cost you the position entirely. Here are a few pointers on how to negotiate without risking your new role.

 Work With A Recruiter

Directing everything through your recruiter may seem like an unnecessary step while you’re forwarding resumes and setting up interviews. However, when an offer comes in a few thousand dollars lower than you were expecting you’ll be glad to have someone to relay that concern back to the hiring manager. You can also be completely honest with a recruiter and let them handle the diplomatic part.

A good recruiter will ensure that an offer doesn’t come across your desk unless it’s something you’ll reasonably accept. This saves you from having to reject offers and shut down potential relationships for the future.

Don’t Be Unreasonable

Whether you’re negotiating for yourself or working with a recruiter the key is to pick your battles. There are some gulfs in compensation that are too big to bridge effectively and some items that aren’t worth going to the wall over. If you’re getting a raise on the base, do you really need to pass on the offer because your cellphone won’t be covered?

The employer probably thinks they’ve made you a reasonable offer. Respect that even if you have issues with the offer. You can also try to propose solutions other than ‘Show me the money!’ which would bridge the gap. Flex time, telecommuting days and scheduled raises pegged to benchmarks are just a few suggestions for overcoming compensation gaps.

Know When To Negotiate

First, understand whether the person you’re working with has the power to negotiate. Second, try to understand whether the person you’re negotiating with is inclined to do so. Sales managers or entrepreneurs may be willing to adjust an offer while a corporate HR manager may tell you to take it or leave it.

You may think playing hardball on your first inside sales role shows character and killer instinct. Really, it shows that you don’t understand how little leverage you have. Save the power plays until your numbers support them.

Do you have any successful tactics for negotiation? Have you ever played hardball during a job offer? Let us know in the comments!