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How to Negotiate Your Salary

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Most of us don't negotiate -- with our bosses, our clients, even our cable companies. We know we're leaving money on the table, but we're not sure what to say. We don't want it to be awkward. And what if they say no?

So we create reasons not to negotiate, like:

  • "Negotiate? In this economy? I should just be lucky to have a job."
  • "I need to get more experience before I negotiate."
  • "I just joined this job 6 months ago... it would look bad to ask for more now."

The truth is, if you do it the right way, negotiating your salary actually makes you more attractive to your employer. When you use the right phrases and mindset, you can convince your boss to give you a raise -- and he'll be happy to do it.

Today, I want to share a specific technique that thousands of my readers have used to negotiate thousands of dollars in raises.

What you'll notice is something unusual that you rarely hear about successful negotiations. Yes, your body language matters... and yes, the words you use matter.

Here's the surprising insight: 80 percent of the work is done before you ever set foot at the negotiating table.

This is called The Briefcase Technique, and I've put together the video above to show you exactly how it works.

Notice a few things.

First, this isn't just for negotiating salary. You can use this for job interviews, client pitches (for freelancers), and virtually any other type of negotiation.

Second, when I initially released this technique publicly, it got re-posted on a discussion forum, where people said things like "yawn" and "he could really use a professional clear plastic binder too."

It may seem theatrical, but it works. Notice what's really happening here. Besides its theatricality, the Briefcase Technique forces you to do your homework before you ever set foot in the room. You'll need to truly understand the hopes, fears, and dreams of the other person -- whereas most people walk into an interview and simply "answer questions" or into a salary negotiation and "ask for a raise."

Again, 80 percent of the work happens before you walk in the room.

You do this by studying the needs of the other person -- not simply writing down what you want. What does your boss really want? What do they fear? What if you gave them a 30-day, 60-day, and 90-day plan?

If you do, you've just separated yourself from 99 percent of other applicants. And when you do your homework, the Briefcase Technique can produce powerful results. If you're curious about the exact words and body language to use in a negotiation, check out the exact words to negotiate your salary.

Ramit Sethi is the author of the New York Times bestseller, I Will Teach You To Be Rich. He's used these interview techniques to land job offers at companies like Google, Intuit, and a multi-billion-dollar hedge fund. He writes about the psychology of personal finance, entrepreneurship, and careers at iwillteachyoutoberich.com.