I Need My Money! A Practical Guide to Getting Paid- Part 1!

I recognize that the best sales jobs are still hard to come by.  There are still sales professionals that are changing jobs, and make no doubt about it, they are having to negotiate their salary.  I think these tips will help you whether you new or a veteran.  Good proven techniques for you to benefit from!


The interview skills that you honed have been superb, and your ability to stay focused during the group interview was exemplary. The list of accomplishments on your resume gave you credibility, and your vision showed well.

Now, you have the pleasure of being selected for the job you coveted. Job one now is to make sure that you get a “deal” that you can live with. Too many sales professionals have avoided the discomfort of negotiating, which should be what you do best, and have settled for something that they later regret.

Salary- Know the Landscape

There is nothing more compelling for a sales professional than getting paid what they are worth. In order for this to happen for you, you need a brief education and awareness of the salary landscape. Getting what you deserve requires this understanding, as it is the basis for your ability to effectively negotiate. This requires some background, some homework, and a little bit of intuition.

The good part is that if you’re currently an employee of the desired company, you most likely have knowledge of their compensation. Also, the databank of information that you have accumulated during your business and sales career, no matter how long it has been, is useful.

One useful yet controversial “tool” that will help to define the landscape is called Glass Door. Many professionals from numerous occupations use this tool, and it is abused by just as many. One of the most common uses is to determine a baseline and as I explain further you will have better understanding of Glass Doors’ worth and veracity. I will provide a link to Glass Door’s site below, but first let me give you some caveats.

Glass Door depends on user/member reporting to build its database of information. Each participant must give up some information on himself or herself before having full access to the information provided by others in this database. It is extremely popular at this time, yet is probably to some degree a good place for “liars poker” as well. With that in mind, I suggest you take it with a “grain of salt.” It does not mean that you can’t use this in your quest for information, but you do need to do it with an understanding of the limitations of the tool.  You can get to Glass Door by using this link, or putting http://www.glassdoor.com in your browser.

Glass Door gives you salary information on a number of different positions, including those involving sales and service. Interestingly enough, that may include sales positions at your current employer, as well as sales positions at your prospective employer. It also factors in your geographic area as well.

This gives you a jumping off point, as you look to understand what sales professionals of like experience and position will make. Keep in mind the Glass Door is not limited to sales.  This tool gives you more information than salary, but…keep it in perspective.

Before we leave this brief discussion on salary expectations and requests we should also recognize that the salary probably should not be your driving issue. You’re driving issue probably should be total compensation, and that should will be driven by the strength or weakness of the sales compensation plan that you are on. You will need a solid review of the plan to get an idea of your earning potential.  You should ask questions liberally, and I would suggest that you see the mechanics of the plan using some real sales situations.

You should get this in the offer letter.

Lock in your “Conditions”

I will simplify this to avoid confusion. Your “conditions” would be anything that is not salary and not employee benefit driven. This will include the following items:

  • Territory
  • Goal Expectations
  • Expense allowance–per diem
  • Company Vehicle
  • Inherited business
  • Inherited prospects
  • Issues regarding assistance and support
  • Expectations on any legal costs and issues regarding any non-competes or contracts

These items are important as well, and need to be negotiated just like the salary. I call them conditions because they are a condition of the agreement that should be observed by either party.  These are part of the employment agreement and should be discussed and recorded.

Above all, get it in writing.

Lock-in your benefits

This is ultra important, not because it makes the job any less difficult, but because it makes the working conditions palatable.

I would include in that discussion the following items:

Personal days
Employee Benefit Issues

You may not be negotiating employee benefit issues as they should be going “by the book”, yet you should get definite clarification on these issues and have a meeting of the minds as you will feel abused if you lose a dispute about these in the future.

Above all, get it in writing as no one wants to hear what you understood to be the deal; they want to see the agreement.  Remember, as you have heard before, it is not what you know; it is what you can prove!

The Power of Commitment

I think that you know my sentiments reducing all agreements to writing.  It is best for both sides.  You should also be prepared to live with it.  You negotiate for a living, and this is the most important negotiation that you are going to be involved with for years to come.

Do your homework, and be knowledgeable.  Close the deal and get to the business of selling.  No one likes surprises!

Next Post will cover the actual salary negotiation.  Knowing the landscape definitely puts you in position.

Good luck and good selling.

We welcome your comments.  You can reach me at Michael.Parker@blacksalesjournal.com.

Getting the Salary You Deserve Part II – Do the Deal!

Dollar Sign

I think you deserve to get paid!  Read this post, as well as the post at the bottom of the page to find out how.  Don’t get a new job and be regretful about the major reason that you are there….your money!


On the last edition of Black Sales Journal we discussed “knowing the landscape” as you prepare to negotiate your salary for a new job (that post is at the bottom of this page).  The objective was to have all of the homework done so that a target can be achieved, and there is likelihood of success.

In this edition of Black Sales Journal, we will spend a little time dealing with the actual negotiations themselves.  This includes receiving and responding to an offer(s).  This is far from a science, and is probably best classified as an art.  The art of how to get what you need in a dignified manner, while maintaining the deportment necessary to keep respect.

Remember, if you are sales professional, it is not unlikely that your prospective employer expects you to do some negotiation.  They won’t be offended by it, yet it should be done correctly.

The Golden Rule – The One With the Most Options has the Most Power!

Power is important in negotiations.  It does not need to be displayed; yet it defines the activities that either side employs.  Knowledge is important as well.  That is why we spent time last week on being firmly aware of “the landscape”.  You would feel totally different about your current or past salary numbers if you knew what all of your colleagues were being paid.  You might be satisfied, happy, or dismayed, but probably would feel totally different.

Options are important.  When I mention options, I speak of viable alternatives to an action.  If you have five job offers, and all are in the field you want and have robust salary offers, you have an amazing number of options. No matter what you ask for from any one of these potential employers, you can be steadfast in getting a good deal.  You have five viable options, and you have “the juice” (power).

However, if your prospective employer has 5 candidates, and although they are not identical (of course they could not be), they each are strong and would make solid sales professionals.  The prospective employer, in this case, has the power.  They have options and will use their “superior” position to their advantage.

There is nothing nefarious about any of this; it is the use of options resulting in the position of power in a negotiating relationship.

Power for the Black Sales Professional

This is a sensitive subject, yet relevant.  As a Black sales professional can you transform what has historically been to a disadvantage to an advantage?  Can you take advantage of the relatively low number of proven Black sales professionals in your quest for this next job?  The answer is solid “maybe.”

Most larger operations are looking for accomplished Black sales professionals.  The numbers are just not that large, and accomplished Black Sales professionals are still a small subset of all accomplished sales professionals.  You won’t know enough about the organization, or the candidates you compete against to be able to use any gambits to enhance your positioning.  I suggest that if you are the best candidate in the competition, and negotiate well, then you have done all you can do to get the job.

Remember, as I have mentioned in Black Sales Journal on several instances, you are being made an offer by an individual, not a corporation.  Realize the importance of that statement.  Someone (the hiring manager) will make the decision, with the guidance of Human Resources and company guidelines as to what the range is.  You are trying to get the most out of that salary range from the negotiating manager.

Some Useful Techniques

These are simple, and can be remembered.  Always try to negotiate salary by itself, apart from all other work benefits.  It may not be possible, yet it is advisable.   The natural progression of the process is as follows:

Step 1. Evaluate the offer

Step 2. Give a suitable response (note below)

Step 3. Deliver a counter offer or receive a counter offer

Step 4. Make a decision

Here are some things that remember.

  • Always remember what you stated as your salary expectation in your application process.  It can come back to haunt you.
  • Know the landscape before the application process.  Use the tools and your intuition before giving a salary expectation.
  • Give your salary expectation, as well as your discussions in the form of a range and use the term “…depending on the accompanying conditions and benefits.”  This allows you some flexibility.  Example: “I would expect between $60,000 and $75,000 depending on the nature of the bonus plan.”  The bonus plan represents a variable, and you don’t know enough about it, for the most part to be concrete.  This gives you the flexibility.
  • Know the number you want!  Use your tools and experience to have that number.  Have a solid idea, but stay flexible.
  • When the offer is made, always advise you will get back to them and mull it over.  This is an important decision.

As you evaluate the offer, and it comes up well short of your number, your response should be respectfully done.  I suggest: “I was hoping for a stronger salary number.” Or you could say, “This is a wonderful opportunity, yet the salary number is disappointing.” Now, here is where having options is important.  But, if you have no options, you should still say it.  If they don’t give up any of their negotiating room, you can still say, “I will take the job!”  Their answer would likely be either:

  • We will take a look at it.
  • This is the best we can do!
  • What are you thinking about? Be realistic in your expectation.

One way or another, their objective will be to keep salary parity with other sales professionals.  If they started low, estimating that you will “come back”, you will get their final offer.  If they won’t negotiate, and it is a good offer, then you should accept.

Negotiating the “Other” Things

These items are easier, and more palpable.  Know what you want and ask early.  Get them to thinking about your needs.  If you will lose a car from you other job, they should know coming in that you are expecting a company vehicle, or an allowance.  Human Resources can help you with some of these items early on.  Ask them about the transportation and the benefit issues, and ask the hiring manager about other important work issues.

Remember, if you don’t have agreement before you say “yes”, you will have little chance of getting it in the end.

Also remember, your salary is not as important as your total compensation package.  Believe in yourself!

We welcome your comments.  Write me at Michael.Parker@BlackSalesJournal.com.