Use the Magic Word
There is a magic word that, if you use it appropriately in a negotiation process, will work wonders for you. That word is “help”. If you close each negotiation request with some version of, “How can you help me with this?” you will be amazed at the results. Why does this simple word work so well?
Let’s go back to our sales analogy - the employer has made a buying decision and that decision is you. They will do everything within their power and within reason to get you onboard with their organization. When you ask for their “help” you are showing respect and demanding nothing. You are also tapping into a very powerful urge that most people have to help someone they like get what they want. They understand that a happy employee is a productive employee.
Remember, you can ask for anything, but demand nothing. As long as you are not perceived as demanding anything, you won’t blow the negotiations.
Managing Multiple Offers
In the best of scenarios, you not only have one offer to consider, but several simultaneously. This is possible, but what will happen (more than likely) is that you will get an offer from one employer you are interested in, but are waiting for an offer from another employer you would prefer to work for. So how do you handle that situation? You need to be careful, because if you don’t play it right, you could blow both offers.
The key is to be honest with both employers. The employer that has already made you an offer needs to know that you are very excited about their offer and that you have other offers pending in the near future. You owe it to yourself to see how these other opportunities play out, so ask the first employer to give you two weeks (or whatever) to receive and consider the other offers. The employer will be somewhat concerned to learn this news, but should give you a reasonable amount of time to evaluate your options. It may also make them a little more flexible when it comes time to negotiate.
An offer received from one employer can be used (carefully) to move other employers along in making a decision. Once you receive an offer from one employer, contact the other employers you are in current negotiations with to:
- Let them know you have an offer from another employer
- Find out how soon they expect to make a decision
- Ask where you stand compared to other candidates they are evaluating
If you are a strong candidate in their eyes, they will let you know that. It may even spur them along to move their decision timetable up so they don’t lose you to a competitor. If you aren’t being seriously considered for the position, then their lukewarm response will be a good indicator to move ahead with the first offer.
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