Using Amplifiers To Increase Sales

Hi everyone,

In this week’s episode I discuss “amplifiers” and how to use them to increase your sales.

Tell me what you think about “amplifiers” and let me know what questions you have about how to use them.

Ps. Yes – I happen to be wearing the same shirt on the same day two weeks in a row – I guess I’m going to have Cinnamon start helping me so I don’t keep doing that :)

Tagged with:
Posted in Pinterest, Sell

Adding Rituals To Increase Sales

Hi everyone,

In March of this year we started publishing our weekly newsletter with a commitment to doing it as a trial for 3-months to see how it would go. We are so grateful that many of you have tuned in regularly to learn about sales and marketing.

Today we are announcing a format change. We will continue doing the weekly newsletter but it is going to be morphed into a weekly video! From now on - We’ll be doing a short, practical, educational video each week. I hope you enjoy them. Let me know what you think about this first one – leave a comment below. Do you think adding rituals can help you improve your sales?

 

Posted in Newsletter, Sell, Uncategorized

What Every Amazon & Etsy Seller Ought To Know About Creating Your Own Website

Hi everyone,

The newsletter is online. You can download a printable copy here. I’ve also included all the content in this post!

Lots of sellers on eBay, Etsy, and Amazon have never gotten around to setting up there own website.

MSG Newsletter

Is that you?

That is a massive mistake that is costing you thousands of dollars – maybe tens-of-thousands, hundreds-of-thousands, or even millions!

Four Reasons You Need A Website

#1. Because the easiest place to tell your story is on your website. People buy from people – and they bond with people. If you want to have any hope of building a long-term relationship with buyers – you need to connect with them on an emotional level. Bonding is best done on your own website!

#2. Because the easiest place to collect email addresses is on your website. Regardless of whether you eventually sell product on your own site, or continue to sell it on the big ecommerce platforms (or both) your cheapest, easiest, and best advertising option is email marketing. And it is simple to collect email addresses on your own website, but almost impossible to collect them via the big ecommerce platforms. Imagine listing a new product (on your own site or on Amazon, eBay, or Etsy) and sending an email to 40,000 or 50,0000 eager buyers! Your email list obviously starts at zero, but the more you focus on capturing email addresses the bigger it will grow. When we “woke up” and realized this in 2009 we only had 125 email addresses on our list. Today we have over 40,000. You can do it too.

#3. Because you shouldn’t build a business on “property you don’t own”. If you’re building your entire business on Amazon, Etsy, or eBay, then you’re placing your future in the hands of those companies – not your own. Of course you can use sales on those sites to scale up your business, they make a great sales channel, but don’t rely on them 100%.

Even if you want to continue to sell exclusively on those sites, you should have a website up and running – and collecting email addresses – just in case you need to shift to being a direct seller through your own site.

#4. Because easiest place to give away freebies, promotions, and “ethical bribes” is on your own website.

Website Tools That Make It Easy

If you haven’t made your own website until now it must be because you believe it’s hard. While that might have been true a few years ago – it’s certainly not anymore. Here is a short list of the most simple website solutions.

The Best Beginner Platform: www.wordpress.com

The first thing you need to do is go to www.wordpress.com and create a site. You can purchase a domain name for something like $11 a year. Of course there are other options – ignore them. A site on the wordpress.com platform will serve you really well.

The Best Theme: DIVI

The look and feel of your website is controlled by the “theme”. The absolute best theme available is called “DIVI”. You can have it installed on your new wordpress site for as little as $5. Just look at this search on Fiverr.com – DIVI Theme Installers.

The Best Email Integration Tool: Mailchimp

The most important aspect of your website is setting up an email collection form so you can begin regularly communicating with your followers. Mailchimp is simple and free to use until you reach 2,000 followers.

Conclusion: There is literally no reason to NOT have a website – and the benefits are undeniable. Spend a few hours this week making your new website a masterpiece. Work through the uncertainty and painful learning curve and come out victorious!

Jason & Cinnamon

 

Posted in websites

What Every Online Seller Ought To Know About The Substitution Effect

Hi everyone,

Screen Shot 2014-08-04 at 4.23.02 PMThe Newsletter is online. You can download a printable copy here. I’ve also included the entire text in this post as well. I hope you enjoy this one. It reveals some powerful keys to success!

Jason & Cinnamon

- – - – - – - – - -

There is an economic law called the “Substitution effect” which secretly undermines the work of some online sellers, while helping others.

Let me explain it and suggest ways you can “break the law”. The Substitution Effect says:

As buyers’ incomes decline (or overall prices in a marketplace rise) the buyer will replace expensive items with less expensive options.

In practical terms it means we all look for cheaper options when we’re feeling “tight” on funds. It’s a basic consumer behavior.

Substitution Effect Winners

When buyers are feeling the pressure to look for less expensive options a few winners emerge in every market – the lower priced sellers.

These sellers offer good products at discounted prices and as shoppers hunt for cheaper options they repeatedly chose these discount sellers.

Substitution Effect Losers

The first assumption is that it is the high priced sellers that are the losers. But guess what? it’s not!

The high priced sellers in each market don’t frequently feel the most dramatic impact of the substitution effect. These ultra-premium sellers are somewhat immune because they weren’t ever selling on “price”. They always tend to sell using techniques more aligned with “status” “quality” and “personal satisfaction”.

These sellers also tend to have powerful branding, high quality images, big email lists, and professional copywriting. All of these assets work together to help them combat the negative forces at play.

So who is the victim in the Substitution Effect scenario? The big victim is the mid-priced seller.

The mid-priced seller isn’t using “price” as their selling tool, nor are they using powerful “psychological selling tools” and well-honed business assets. They are simply benefiting from the flow of general consumer demand.

Four Ways To Avoid The Damage Caused By The Substitution Effect

So how do you stay clear of the negative impact of the Substitution Effect? Here are four ways,

#1 – Avoid The Deadly Middle: when it comes to pricing your work either become a low-cost provider, or work to be the ultra-premium provider. Avoid the deadly middle and you’ll suffer the smallest impact as buyers shift their behavior.

#2 – Be A Better Bonder: People buy from people and as they make purchasing decisions they consider who they are helping or hurting if you have a fantastic bond with the customer they are less likely to leave you for a generic alternative. Good bonds are forged by fantastic customer service, iron-clad refund policies, generosity and most importantly infusing your brand with personality!

#3 – Build Business Assets: If you can build an email list of several thousand (or tens of thousands) enthusiastic buyers – you’ve got a super weapon to combat the substitution effect. What are other ways you can build business assets? Work hard on your logo, clarify and strengthen the impact of your founder’s story, and increase your social media influence. You should also develop the discipline of having a certain amount of your monthly expenses used to advertise – say 5-10%. Learning how to advertise your work is part of a disciplined marketing program.

#4 Serve The Customer Instead of Just Selling A Product: The most important way to avoid the substitution effect is incredibly simple. If you serve the customer, rather than selling a specific product, then you will be open to changing your product offerings as the market changes. In other words you can offer lower priced alternatives as needed. Just make the differences between your higher and lower priced products very clear.

Conclusion: The Substitution Effect is a powerful economic force that YOU have to proactively combat if you want to maintain or grow revenue. You can do it!

Jason & Cinnamon

 

Posted in pricing

Advertising On Pixie Faire

Hi everyone,

Instead of a normal newsletter this week we took the time to launch our new Pixie Faire advertising program. For those of you who are Liberty Jane Partners – and focus on doll clothes – this is for you – everyone else (our apologies) this one is “inside baseball” for our tribe. To learn more visit us on Pixie Faire…

pixie faire advertising

Posted in Partner Resources

More Professional Help To Revamp Your Etsy Shop

 

Hi everyone,

This week I’m not making a newsletter (in my old school format) and instead I made you a nice collection of little graphics. I’d be thrilled if you’d pin them onto Pinterest for me! Our topic this week continues to be YOUR Etsy Shop Revamp! Yes – You Can! I’ve got five five-dollar resources for you from Fiverr.com. Well – a few require additional printing costs, but they are minimal. There isn’t ANY reason you can’t implement these ideas. And if you do they will radically upgrade your Etsy work. Let’s dive in…

Project #1 Brand Overhaul. As you know I think your brand is the most important element of your online business – so our first suggestion is to start with a brand overhaul by NJFerris.

Brand OverhaulProject #2 Facebook Fanpage. Next I’d recommend you get choiceconcepts to set you up with a wonderful Facebook Fanpage and use it as the primary way you chat with your prospects and customers.

Facebook Page done for youProject #3 – Beautiful Business Cards. Next I’d suggest you get trendy business cards made – you can include them in each package you send out from your Etsy shop!

business cardsProject #4 Beautiful Packaging Flyers. Now that you’ve got a great brand, a Facebook Fanpage, and business cards – we can move onto two more items that will really make your Etsy items stand out when people get them delivered. First, you can include an awesome retro-styled packaging flyer. Have it say something funny, kind, or meaningful. The packaging slip in your Etsy items should ROCK! And you can make that happen easily with a nicely designed packaging flyer.

retro packaging flyers

Project #5 Custom Wrapping Paper. My last recommendation is that you create custom wrapping paper. Yes you can do that easily! Simply have Pop Pop make your design – and then upload it to www.giftskins.com to complete your order! This could be used inside your Etsy package, or as traditional wrapping paper on the outside of your Etsy packages. Use it to create surprise and delight!

Wrapping PaperBonus Project #6 Etsy Power. If you haven’t picked up a copy of Etsy Power yet – be sure to snag a copy before the .99 cent promotional pricing goes away. And… a huge thank you to everyone that got a copy this last week – you helped make it a #1 bestseller on Amazon in the Home-Based Business category!

etsy power ad

Posted in Etsy, Newsletter

Professional Help To Revamp Your Etsy Store

Screen Shot 2014-07-14 at 4.08.56 PMHi everyone, The newsletter is online. If you’d like to print a 1-page version simply click here. I’ve also included the full text below.

In this week’s newsletter I share a list of high quality (and very inexpensive) helpers that can assist you in turning your Etsy Shop into a powerful sales platform. I hope you enjoy it!

- – - – - – - – - – -

We recently sent an Etsy survey to over 1,400 of you – Over 95% of respondents said,

“Yes – I’d like help with Etsy – if it’s simple to understand and implement.”

So let’s talk about using low-cost professional help using a site I love – fiverr.com! On Fiverr people will do (almost) anything for $5. You might think – seriously that can’t be real!? But I’m here to tell you – Yes – it is!

People on Fiverr are (usually) excellent and frequently you’ll be thrilled with the outcome. (Sometimes you get a dud, but if you search for the top rated sellers – you’ll probably be very happy).

Don’t think of Fiverr like a “one-and-done” cheap labor pool. Think of it like a classifieds board where you can find and then cultivate working relationships with professionals that can help enhance and strengthen your work. You really can create a virtual team using these wonderfully talented people!

I have had fiverr “workers” that I’ve repeatedly used for five years – and they are now a predictable, faithful, familiar part of how I get things accomplished. Spend the time to find and cultivate relationships with quality Fiverr professionals and in a few months you’ll look back and be very happy you did!

Let’s look at a collection of Etsy related activities and Fiverr professionals that can help you get the job done!

Create A Logo

Does your logo look home-made? Although Etsy is a marketplace for hand-made and craft items, you need a logo that looks really legit! If your logo has been a bit of an embarrassment – get it redone!

There are lots of top ranked logo designers on Etsy – for example srishet123 is rated very highly. Use him!

Upgrade Your Etsy Site Branding

Your brand is the most important part of your online persona – and there is no barrier to having a beautiful refresh done.

For a beautiful 5-piece Etsy banner set visit: SissyFrissys on Fiverr 

etsy power adGet It On Amazon Today!

 

Upgrade Your Etsy Listing SEO

Search Engine Optimization (or listing your products in a way that makes Search Engines happy) is a key part of traffic and sales success.

Do you need an Etsy SEO Pro to help you list your items? Visit Cuteasbuttonsby on Fiverr for immediate help!

Get Professional Product Descriptions

Your product descriptions are incredibly important if you want to “close the sale”. A Good product description sells the benefits of the item, touches on the relevant features, and leaves the reader excited about the potential of owning the new product.

If you need help with a wonderfully worded Etsy product description visit Arlissa on Fiverr.

Get A Professional Photographer

Most online ecommerce sellers will tell you that the “product shot” is incredibly important to the sales process. But most rookie online sellers will say, “I don’t have an expensive camera and a good lens, so I can’t compete”.

Not anymore! You can hire a professional photographer to take your product listings for you! Visit rockinphotogrob

Get Professional Photo Editing

Want to take your own product shots but have a Photoshop expert clean them up for you? Sometimes pictures and lighting just won’t cooperate – a Photoshop whiz is needed!

You’re in luck – Sachin81 is one of the Top Rated Sellers on Etsy and will do product shot related fix ups. Visit him on Fiverr at Sachin81. Have him remove unwanted background elements, make the background nice and white, get the picture’s sharpness and contract upgraded – the list is endless.

Get A Professionally Written Bio

It is very hard to write about yourself (for most modest people). But your “About Me” biographical information needs to be super good and interesting to engage with prospective buyers. In fact, your “origin story” is one of the key aspects of creating a powerful brand.

You can get a beautifully written bio done by a professional by using nystrele on Fiverr. He is a Top rated seller on the site!

Get Etsy Power!

In Etsy Power we reveal an important collection of 12 principles for helping you take your Etsy sales higher! Get it today!

 

Jason & Cinnamon

 

 

 

Posted in Etsy, Newsletter

A Beginner’s Guide To Marketing With Hashtags

Hi everyone, The newsletter is online. If you’d like to print a 1-page version simply click here. I’ve also included an expanded edition below.

A Beginner's Guide To Marketing With Hashtags

Hashtags seem to be everywhere these days. They have become a mainstream part of the culture, but lots of people are still trying to understand exactly what they are, how you use them, and why they exist. As a marketer you might be left wondering -

“How am I supposed to use hashtags for my business? – and should I invest the time to figure it out?”

Let’s start at the very beginning and then review everything you need to know to get up to speed on this topic.

According to Wikipedia:

A hashtag is a word or an unspaced phrase prefixed with the number sign (#). It is a form of metadata tag…Words in messages on microblogging and social networking services such as Twitter, Facebook, Google+ or Instagram may be tagged by putting “#” before them.

 What’s all that mean?

 Hashtags are the card catalog system of the 21st century - a method for tagging and then searching for topics

- Jason Miles

 Although hashtags are usually viewed through the specific social media platform you’re used on, most commonly Twitter and Instagram, they can also be viewed in a consolidated way via a third party viewer tool.

Exercise: Look At A Hashtag Viewer

The best way to begin to understand how hashtags work is to go look at them through an easy to use viewer tool. A viewer tool will allow you to see the big picture. You can look up any hashtag and see how it is being used.

I personally like statigram – recently renamed iconosquare.com It’s free and easy to use. To give it a whirl simply go to iconosquare and look for the search box in the top right corner.

Screen Shot 2014-07-07 at 4.13.56 PM

Simply type in a hashtag you’re curious about and look at the results. For example, type in “Pixiefaire” or “libertyjaneclothing”. Now try your brand, name, or other names you’re interested in. What you’re seeing is referred to as “User Generated Content” or UGC. Here is what we see when we type in pixiefaire:

Screen Shot 2014-07-07 at 3.56.43 PM

Can You Do Marketing With Hashtags?

Now that you know what a hashtag is and how to look at them. The next question is – can you can use hashtags for sales and marketing purposes? Yes! And that is the real powerful part about them. How do you do it? Let’s look at a simple hashtag marketing plan that you can implement without too much technical expertise.

A Hashtag Marketing Plan: Let’s outline a basic hashtag marketing plan. Here are the steps:

 Step #1 – Claim Your Hashtag & Promote It

The first and most obvious step is to begin using a hashtag in association with your work. You simply “claim it” by using it. There is no formal process and no one can truly own a hashtag. It can be your company name, your product name, a slogan, or just about anything else you want to use. Just realize anyone can use it – so don’t try to use a hashtag someone else has already taken. We started promoting the #pixiefaire hashtag by including a new widget box on our homepage that encouraged people to use #pixiefaire. Here is what that looks like:

Screen Shot 2014-07-07 at 12.53.55 PM

To generate enthusiasm and support you should begin including the hashtag(s) in your product listings, on your website, in your “about me” information, in your newsletters, and everywhere else your customers, fans, and followers might find it. The success of your hashtag promotion efforts will be directly tied to your brand power and influence. Strong brands will get significant engagement. Unknown brands will get very little engagement. But the good news is that even a few enthusiastic fans can make a big difference – so starting small is okay!

Step #2 – Track & Evaluate Usage

Use a free viewer tool, like Iconosquare.com to track and evaluate how your followers are using the hashtags you promote. You might be surprised to find a new level of community involvement in a fun and easy way. If it’s going well – work to take it to the next level. We were nicely surprised by how people started using the hashtag – and so we expanded it! You created an “inspiration” page that had a much larget collection of images. We talked about that in our newsletter and on our Facebook page. The full page looks like this:

Screen Shot 2014-07-07 at 1.17.44 PM

Step #3 – Thank & Engage Your Hashtag Users

Since most hashtags are used on Twitter and Instagram – you’ll want to get an account on each of those platforms. Then simply like, comment, or retweet the posts that include your hashtag(s). When you thank and acknowledge people for using your hashtag you reinforce the user behavior and join their conversation online. I’ll be honest, we need to get better at this step, (that’s one of our goals).

Step #4 – Add UGC Into The Sales Process

There are various ways to include the User Generated Content. We took the next step by including our product information on the images being displayed – the product image pops up as you scroll over the image. You can go see how it works on our inspiration page - you’ll see something like this:

Screen Shot 2014-07-07 at 5.33.14 PM

When you can include your community’s hashtag’ed content into your product listings then you’ve got some exciting stuff happening. This will become a common practice over the next few years – and it’s something every online seller should begin to understand and explore. I wouldn’t be surprised if sites like Amazon, Etsy, and eBay begin to offer these types of integration strategies. There are free tools available with limited functionality that you can use to get the UGC displayed on your site – and even website themes that are now starting to have this type of basic functionality built in.

The only tool we’ve found that allows you to integrate UCG into the product level sales process is Readypulse. [Full disclosure - I'm honored to serve as an Advisor to them and we couldn't do what we're doing on www.pixiefaire.com without them]. We are seeing exciting results and as we continue to learn new things about UGC I’ll continue to write about the journey. There are still lots of unanswered questions in our minds about how to do all of this, but it’s fun to begin to see it all come together.

Regardless of whether you use Readypulse, or another tool, or even create your own customer code – getting UGC onto your product pages is a HUGE ecommerce trend that is only going to get more and more common – and I’d imagine it will even become expected by customers.

Conclusion

Hashtags are not going away anytime soon. In fact, they’re just getting started as part of society. So the sooner you begin learning how to integrate them into your marketing the better! Take the first step on your hashtag marketing journey today. You’ll be well on your way to engaging with customers and fans in an exciting new way.

Do You Have A Question About Hashtags?

Leave a comment and tell us what you think – or ask a question about hashtags!

Jason & Cinnamon

Posted in Hashtags, Newsletter

Etsy Power – 12 Proven Principles For Etsy Sellers

 

Hi everyone,

Etsy Power v2This week instead of writing the newsletter I spent the time compiling Etsy Power – I hope you don’t mind.

What’s inside Etsy Power? It’s the 27 page Etsy Survey YOU helped me complete a few weeks ago – plus a nice collection of related articles – these are things I’ve previously written that I reworked a bit to fit this context. When you put it all together it is a nice intro to Etsy.

If you’re a faithful reader of this blog, then you’ll have probably seen almost all of this content before – but you DON’T have it in a concise, easy to read format like this PDF or the ebook version. So I hope you find it helpful.

I’ve uploaded it here as a PDF file, (grab it for free).

Get It On Amazon: I’m also adding it to Amazon as a Kindle ebook so you can get it that way too. That version will cost .99 cents. I’ll share the link when it’s ready.

I would LOVE to have you leave me an Amazon review if you enjoy it.

All the best,

Jason

Posted in Etsy

Sample My New Book – Income Power

Hi friends,

Screen Shot 2014-06-23 at 11.11.36 PMHey, I wanted to take a minute and thank all of you who have picked up a copy of my new book Income Power – and taken advantage of the special offer currently underway on Amazon as part of the 20 Life Changing Books promotion. If you haven’t gotten my book plus 19 more for just .99 cents – be sure to snag a copy.

Today I thought I’d share a sample chapter from Income Power – it’s from one of my favorite chapters – about how to negotiate a starting salary. Of course you can also “look inside this book” on Amazon and see a fairly big chunk as well as the Table Of Contents. Maybe you don’t need this information, but if you have a spouse, family member, or friend in a situation where they might, then please share this with them.

I have included the entire chapter in this post below, and also saved it as a PDF if you’d like to download it and send it to someone more easily. Get the PDF file version here.

 

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Negotiating A Starting Salary - An Excerpt From Income Power by Jason G. Miles

Chapter Seven

If you’re trying to increase your income via a traditional employer, my best recommendation is to find a large company and seek promotions within it. In a large organization there are simply more opportunities for promotion than in a smaller business.

Over time promotions in one company will result in your resume looking more stable, as compared to an employee that has moved from one company to the next in pursuit of new opportunities.

Averaging 24% Salary Increases Every Two Year

In the period of my career between standing in the vault and retiring from the 9-to-5 grind I worked for twenty years.

In that time period I worked for my first employer for roughly sixteen years and my second for roughly four years. But I changed jobs nine times during that twenty-year period.

As I was writing this chapter I went back and calculated my salary change associated with each job change to see what percentage of increase I was able to achieve as I negotiated my new starting salary amounts.

The largest increase I was able to achieve was 45%. The smallest was a straight transfer with no pay increase. The average increase over the course of the nine job changes was 24%. So every two years I received a 24% pay increase on average. Ultimately rising into the six-figures.

You Have Maximum Negotiating Power Before You Start        

Before you accept a job, either within your existing company or at a new one, you have an opportunity to impact your pay more than at any other time. So if you’re smart, you’ll put yourself in the situation of being hired for a new job, and then do a good job working through the salary negotiation process.

Here are two of the reasons why your salary negotiating power is highest as you enter a new job:

  1. Your new manager has a problem and you’re the answer. Every day the position goes unfilled your new boss is falling further behind on goals. You are the answer to solve that problem. Often times a manager will get very creative if they are desperate enough.
  2. The manager is at their “most optimistic” about you before you start. Many times managers get very high on the potential of a new employee. They see you as the answer to all their problems. You are the ace, the closer, the guru, or the administrative genius. You have the opportunity to use that positive emotional energy to secure higher pay.

In addition to these emotional reasons, there are also “budget & policy” reasons the manager has more flexibility during the salary negotiation phase. The amount of flexibility will differ from one organization to the next, and from one situation to the next, but frequently there is some flexibility that the manager is working with to finalize your salary negotiation. It may be limited, but there is usually some flexibility.

Your job is to gently inquire until you discover the maximum potential of that flexibility, and get your best offer, without damaging your relationship with your new boss.

Here are some of the budget and policy reasons that flexibility exists:

  1. Managers have an amount in their budget for the position. Generally it is the amount the prior employee made. That is, in essence, “all the money they have to offer”. If they needed more to meet your demands, then they would have to go and ask their boss for more salary budget or find it from another place within their budget.
  2. They know the current grade level for the position, which governs the minimum offer they can make, and the maximum offer they can make. This is the “theoretical minimum and maximum” they could offer if they had the money to do so.
  3. They know what the other employees in that position are making.
  4. They know what they are making.
  5. They know what their boss is willing to approve.

A Practical Example:

Let’s look at a quick example and see how these factors mix together to influence a manager’s behavior:

  • You are applying for a Senior Sales Manager position.
  • The position has been formally placed into the Grade Level “20″slot in the company’s Salary Guide, which means, in their system, that the minimum salary must be $62,000 and the theoretical maximum salary can be up to $82,000.
  • The manager knows the other people in that same job are making around $65,000.
  • The manager only has $68,000 in the budget for this position, because that is what the prior employee was making.
  • The manager has a very tight budget and there aren’t any other funds that could be moved around to make the salary any bigger.

So you can see that the manager is working with a range of possible salaries from $62,000 to $68,000. That is the practical range you can negotiate within. Theoretically you could be paid up to $82,000 for the job, which is the maximum of the pay range, but the supervisor doesn’t have that much money at his/her disposal.

If you state your “salary requirements” are $75,000, the manager can either counter back with $68,000 without too much drama, or they can say, “I’m going to have to check with my boss about that“.

If the manager does counter back at $68,000, and you accept, you’ve gotten the best possible outcome. If you would have made the manager go to his boss and ask for more money, you may have gotten it, but you may have stirred up a drama that complicated the negotiation and your future opportunities.

On the other hand, if you accidentally asked for too low a salary and said, “I really need $60,000“, thinking you were asking for a fair amount, they would likely come back and say, “Good news, I’m happy to offer you $62,000“. They would do that because by policy your minimum salary must be $62,000. You’d be happy with the $62,000, and you would never know they were willing to go to $68,000 to get you. In this case you left an additional 8.8% salary increase on the table – bummer!

The Parity Offer Trap

It’s an odd thing, but generally, if you’ve made $80,000 at a previous job or position, then in the salary negotiation for a new job, the manager will offer you $80,000. It’s almost like people think if you’re earning $80,000 then you “need” at least that much, or maybe they assume that you’ll be “okay” with that much.

They are comfortable offering you a salary on par with your prior salary. It’s a parity offer. It is like they want to keep you in income equilibrium. You don’t want income parity as you get promoted. You want a nice big salary increase. It’s your job to focus the conversation on a new level of pay and explain why a new amount is needed.

Of course the Parity Offer is fine if you’re changing jobs under a hardship circumstance and all you’re hoping to do is keep your salary the same level as you go through the transition to a new job. But it’s not good if you’re looking for more money.

Reasons To Accept The Parity Offer        

There are some circumstances in which taking an offer on par with your prior salary is a wise move. Let’s review a few of those briefly,

  • Moving from one industry, like Human Resources, to another industry, like Sales. If the new industry you’re moving into has a much higher set of potential salary ranges and opportunities, then it’s wise to move into that new career field even if the first salary in it is on par with your prior salary. I did that once and it worked out great.
  • Moving into a role that has more benefits, perks, and rewards. If you can get a dream job, let’s say an assignment in Hawaii, then even if the offer is no higher than your last job, it is likely worth it.
  • Moving away from a toxic boss or team. If you are running from a mess then pay isn’t your top priority, your sanity is.
  • Moving into a department that offers faster promotions. Some departments in a company are just frozen with long-time employees that will never budge. Other departments have a steady flow of opportunities. All things being equal, you want to be in a department that has upward mobility.

The Step Up The Ladder Increase

It might sound obvious, but you don’t get ahead financially unless you move up the career ladder. Don’t apply for a job that is not clearly superior to your prior job. If you don’t know whether it is or not talk to a neutral third-party confidentially, like a nice and trustworthy HR recruiter. If you simply move laterally, from random job to random job, you’ll struggle for years to get ahead. If you apply for higher-level roles and get them the pay increases are almost automatic.

The First Person To State An Amount Wins

There is an old adage in negotiation that the first person to state an amount loses, but I’ve found that to be untrue in salary related matters. In fact, the exact opposite is true for salary negotiations in the hiring process. If the hiring manager has selected you as the finalist, and you know it, then they are going to want to state your salary requirement before they offer you an amount. You “claim” the amount you want and then the manager is forced to respond.

Your job is to know enough about the new position you’re applying for so that you can put a realistic, but large number in front of them in a gracious way.

Frequently job applications have a beautiful question, “salary requirements_____________”.

That is a fantastic tool in your tool belt. Don’t fear it. Use it to your advantage. Research enough to know a high, but not crazy number, and fill in that blank.

Why Stating A Number First Is Better

Let’s say your interviews are successful and the manager says, “let’s talk about the salary for the position, I noticed you indicated you need $117,000 on the application”, If they really like you for the job, and your stated salary is within reason for that position, the manager will naturally move toward your number as much as possible and then counter back with an amount that is within his/her budgetary limit.

If you put out a big first number, then their offer is frequently more than they might have planned to offer you. You don’t have to talk them into anything. Your opening amount causes them to react to you and when that happens you have the high ground in the negotiation. That’s a good thing at this point in the process.

If on the other hand the hiring manager puts a number in front of you first, and it is not a number you’re happy with, then you have to decide whether to give up on your dream of a higher salary and accept the offer, or counter-back with a higher amount. In that situation you are the one reacting and you’ll have to make a strong argument for why a higher salary is needed.

Additionally, if you counter back with a higher amount, but the manager holds firm and doesn’t budge, then you’re left in the awkward position of either accepting it or walking away. If you accept the lower offer, then as you start the job, the manager may feel like you’re unhappy with your new salary and not 100% on-board. Sadly, that might be true. It’s not a good way to start a new job.

How To Justify What You Need

If you put a high salary amount on the “salary requirement________” field in your application and at the end of the interview process the manager asks you about that amount, you need to justify it.

The manager will frequently “probe” to discover how committed you are to that number before offering you a specific amount. It is common for the application to ask for your prior salary as well. So if there is a difference between your last salary and your new “salary requirement” the manager is going to be skeptical.

There are a million things you can say to justify your amount. For example,

  • Your spouse has lost their job.
  • Your kids are about to enter college.
  • Your health-care costs are skyrocketing.
  • You are now caring for your aging parents.
  • You need to start saving for a home.
  • You never saved anything for retirement and you need to start saving aggressively.

Whatever is actually true, and sounds compelling, use it. It can be personal information – that’s okay in this situation. The more compelling it is the better. Oddly enough, managers are frequently open to helping you solve personal challenges as an opening gesture as you start a new position. They do this because they want you to like them and are willing to offer you a premium to be seen as “cool”.

But six months later, they probably won’t be sympathetic to your personal needs. So be careful. This type of personal justification is only relevant and useful during the salary negotiation period for a new role. If you try to use these arguments to simply get a raise in your existing position, it will hardly ever work.

You Decide When It’s Over

The decision to stop the negotiation is truly yours before you start a job. There is a lot of power in that realization. You should realize that the hiring manager has invested a ton of time in the process. They’ve rejected all the other candidates, and it’s down to you. They want you – and they don’t want to start over at the beginning. So if you can frame your salary demand in a way that makes it appear to be a true need, then you’re in a good spot to continue the conversation.

A Practical Example

Let’s say you put your number on the table first, and you tell them you’ll need $90,000 in the new role. But they counter back with $82,000. You can do the following constructive things to improve your chances of getting the $90,000 you seek.

Ask “Why” – You might be surprised, but in the salary negotiation, if you can calmly and professionally discuss the topic of your salary with your prospective new boss, they’ll probably really applaud you for it. It’s not an easy thing to do.

One way you can extend the conversation is to ask the question “is there a budget constraint or HR policy that is limiting your ability to finalize things at $90,000?” That question will probably surprise them, but you might rattle a candid answer out of them in the heat of the moment. Just remember it must be done in a calm friendly tone. If it sounds like you’re arguing or defensive then the manager will clam up and shut down.

The manager might respond back with an actual reason, like, “well, the maximum of the salary range is $84,000 and HR won’t let us extend offers past that amount“. Boom. You’ve just discovered their maximum per policy. Or maybe the manager will say, “well, I’ve got several people on the team with more experience than you and they aren’t making that much“. Boom. You’ve just discovered the peer group constraint. 

Ask “When” – A great question to ask is something like, “if I could accept the offer at $82,000, how quickly do you think you’d be able to get me to the $90,000 level if I do a great job for you?” Maybe you’d get the manager to make you a promise to try to get you a raise sooner than normal. Or maybe they’ll find another creative way to finalize the deal.

Let Them Know You Need To Discuss It With Your Partner – Another great way to extend a negotiation is by bringing in an appropriate third party. Let the hiring manager know that you need to check with someone else, ideally your spouse. Then you can come back and say, “I know it sounds funny, but [insert spouses name] really reminded me last night that [insert the reason you need more money], so I’m really going to have a hard time accepting that offer – so I’m not sure what to do at this point – man I really want to join your team, but this is a tough situation.”

Key Phrases To Avoid

There are key phrase you definitely want to avoid in the process of negotiating your starting salary. Let’s review a few of them together. Don’t use,

No - For example, instead of saying, “I cannot accept that offer“, say, “That amount doesn’t meet our household budget needs, so I’m not sure what to do at this point”. The difference is that if you say you cannot accept the offer – then you do end up accepting the offer – you look like a liar. Or worse, if you say, “I cannot accept that offer” the manager might assume you are ending the conversation and that your final answer is “no”. They might move on to the next candidate.

I’m worth it - Saying you’re worth a certain amount is never a wise phrase. It comes off as arrogant, sets you up for future harsh judgments, and isn’t prove-able. Instead consider saying, “to meet my families financial needs, I really need X amount“.

X Amount Is Fair - The problem with using this phrase is you don’t know what your new coworkers are making, or what your new boss is making – the hiring manager does know those pieces of information, so they probably know what’s fair more than you do. So if you say, “$80,000 is fair” you run the risk of the hiring manager saying, “no – actually it’s not and here is why…

I Deserve It - This is probably the worst phrase you can possibly use. Why? You haven’t worked a single day for the new boss yet. You don’t deserve anything until you prove you are a valuable employee in their department.

Conclusion

If you get good at making career moves, then the opportunity to step up into a higher salary is fairly simple. And when you’re in the heat of the discussion over your new salary, be sure to take your time, be calm, and think clearly about each step in the dialogue. This is your best shot at getting a big raise.

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I hope you enjoyed that sample chapter! Don’t forget to pick up a copy of my new book, plus 19 more for free on Amazon, for just .99 cents. Hurry, this offer ends Sunday July 29th.

 

 

 

 

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