Asking for more money isn’t easy, which is why many people don’t ask for a raise as often as they should, or they accept whatever little they are offered during pay reviews.
It’s vital to take the initiative and be well prepared to argue your case – and that’s where a salary coach can help.
A salary coach helps people understand the value they bring to their work and develops their negotiation skills so that they can maximise their earnings.
“We create a really powerful game plan that enables people to think on their feet when they are in that critical situation of asking for more money,” says Catherine Heilemann, director and master coach at The Salary Coach.
Salary coaches run clients through practice sessions so that they are ready for the worst-case scenario: as Heilemann says, “sometimes some pretty awful things are said during conversations about salaries.”
She teaches clients how to rebut some of the most common excuses for rejecting a pay rise and how to effectively communicate their value to an organisation.
Heilemann also shares insights on how the review process works – which is typically many months in advance. This is why it’s important to begin your campaign as early as possible.
When to get help
Help can be sought at any time, though there are typically three scenarios that involve a salary coach helping a client to maximise their earnings:
- You’ve been offered a new job at a new company
- You’re continuing at the same job with the same company but feel a raise is warranted
- You’re taking on a new role at the same company
Case study 1: ‘But I’m not in sales’
Heilemann was approached by a business optimisation expert who wanted a raise but lacked confidence in asking for it.
“My client couldn't imagine championing herself because she doesn't consult and she doesn't sell – her focus was on fixing businesses.”
Heilemann helped her understand how her role involves improving businesses and getting stakeholders to sign up to her ideas.
“During that process, my client came to understand that she does consult every day. The only difference between her and a salesperson is that she doesn't ask for orders. This was a watershed moment because throughout her entire career she never thought of herself as a salesperson. And yet every day she was getting her ideas over the line.”
After interviews at several different organisations, Heilemann’s client took on a role at a well-known company and got a base salary increase of $20,000 with an extra $1900 a year for superannuation.
“On top of that came a $4000 bonus because of the way she negotiated. They thought she wasn’t going to say yes, so she also picked up share options worth $40,000 a year,” says Heilemann.
Case study 2: The early career secondment
A TV producer in the early stages of her career was offered a secondment and approached Heilemann for help in understanding whether she could capitalise on any financial opportunities.
“When people go into a seconded role, they often don't think of it as having higher duties and therefore higher earnings. Like many people, my client thought that she needed to prove herself while on secondment, but the fact was that she had already been identified as a valuable asset.”
Heilemann worked with her client to identify the higher duties and develop a game plan for negotiations.
“When you're early in your career, these types of conversations are very difficult because you don't have the same level of bravado that more experienced workers have. So, we worked a lot on her self-belief.”
Heilemann’s client got an 8% salary increase. The secondment later turned into a permanent position, and the raise became permanent too.
So, if you’re someone who absolutely dreads the salary conversation, perhaps it’s time to consider enlisting the help of a salary coach. Who knows, it could be well worth your investment.
SEEK’s pay calculator can help you easily work out the take home pay for different salaries. The tool also takes into account relevant taxes and superannuation.