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Would you be brave enough to ask for a 1/2 million dollar signing bonus?

I know someone who pulled off asking for a near half-million dollar bonus. How'd she do it?

Yes, someone I know did ask for half a million dollars (and got something very close to it). When she shared this news with me over lunch, I practically spat out my tea exclaiming “Shut up! You didn’t?!?” 

First I high fived her with great enthusiasm. Then I barraged my lunch companion with questions because all of us need to know how to negotiate a win-win with confidence. 

To keep things simple I’m going to rename my lunch date Lucy and share with you a bit of our conversation:

Jo: How’d you pull that off?

Lucy: I had permission to step outside of the compensation package they first presented. Without the explicit permission, I’m not sure I would’ve made such a bold ask. The hiring manager was clear that he wanted me on his team and that I offered value that he wanted. He didn’t want price, title or job description to get in the way. Again, having permission had a lot to do with the size of my ask.

Jo: Yes, and in that case shouldn’t we all ask for permission? Hiring managers are always looking for “good people” rather than people who fit specific roles. How’d you come up with the $500K figure?

Lucy: I ran the numbers and realized that $500K wasn’t outrageous. After understanding what the first compensation was going to be, I looked at all the factors and expenses I’d have to consider in taking the role.

Jo: Your situation may be unusual, but it’s true that nearly every job has hidden costs. Travel, attire, etc. that we need to look at in the process of negotiating. What else can you share about your negotiation success?

Lucy: I did an ROI on myself and presented myself almost like a product for purchase. Instead of saying “I’m good and you should pay me this much” I reiterated the value the organization would reap by in investing in me.

In hindsight, I can see that this approach helped the hiring manager partner with the recruiter. Together they “sold” the package throughout the various approval levels across the organization.

Ultimately this whole conversation came down to three fundamental concepts that lead to the “yes” for Lucy

She understood how to articulate her value.

She believed in her benefit.

She shared her value with others.

Now she has an exciting role that taps into her unique skills. She’s getting well paid to do it, too. All because she practiced three simple concepts before she got hired.

I’d call that a win-win formula. It’s simple and available for to everyone to use. 

Remember this next time you’re in a position to put a dollar figure to your worth (or you’re selling a potential new hire’s worth to others).

Congrats Lucy, you can buy me lunch again anytime.

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