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Have you ever wondered exactly how someone negotiates their compensation package? You've heard the success stories - individuals who talk employers into giving them thousands more. Salary negotiation is a game - a sophisticated game - but a game nonetheless. You too can acquire the salary or benefits you most desire if you engage these strategies in your next salary discussion.

A win/win approach is required. Use a warm, friendly tone to open the conversation. Try this baiting statement to determine if the employer is willing to negotiate. "Considering my background and experience, I thought your offer was rather low." Then, fall silent. Wait for the employer's next move. If they are open to negotiations, reaffirm the value the employer receives by hiring you to do their job. Discuss the very reasons they've mentioned for wanting to add you to their team. Many times, simply asking for more money will result in a higher offer. If not, draw comparisons to industry and competitors' salary ranges for this type of position. Comment on your ability to become productive quickly. For example, a manager who seeks a $60,000 salary might say "According to my research, food process managers in companies comparable to yours offer salaries that range in the lower 60's. The extensive systems experience I bring and my strengths in streamlining processes and developing high quality, efficient teams are abilities highly valued in the current marketplace." Cite salary surveys in business magazines or trade journals to verify your data. When you're asked for a specific dollar number that you want, speak in flexible terms such as "I was thinking more like $63,000 instead of the $58,000 offered." This allows you and the employer to compromise and settle for the $60,000 you want. Compromise is the end result of most negotiations.

A word of caution-never bluff with an employer and never issue a "take it or leave it" ultimatum. You could be gambling and losing the job. Set your bottom line. Predetermine at what level the offer is too low to accept. Be sure to evaluate the whole picture-potential job satisfaction, promotional opportunities, and other benefits offered.

Salary negotiations are worth the risk when the additional compensation you are able to obtain takes minutes and not years to acquire.

Robin Ryan is considered America's top career coach with over 1000 TV and radio appearances including Dr. Phil Show, Oprah, Fox News, CNN. She is the best-selling author of: What to Do with the Rest of Your Life; 60 Seconds & You're Hired!; Winning Resumes; and Winning Cover Letters; and also the creator of the DreamMaker, Interview Advantage and Salary Negotiation Strategies Audio Programs. Robin has a busy career counseling practice providing individual career coaching, resume writing services, interview preparation and salary negotiations consulting to clients nationwide. A dynamic national speaker, Robin frequently teaches audiences how to improve their lives and obtain greater success. To purchase her books and audio training programs or learn more about her coaching services call 425.226.0414, email or visit