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An Ethics Officer Negotiates a 45 Percent Salary Increase

A woman who was getting paid below market value recently hired Black Swan for customized negotiation coaching to help guide her through salary negotiations at her previous job.

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Most professionals aren’t huge fans of negotiating their salaries. In fact, a recent study by ZipRecruiter found that 64 percent of workers took the first salary they were offered when they took their current positions.

Many of us are hesitant to engage in salary negotiations because they can quickly become heated.

At the same time, rarely do we ever get what we don’t ask for.

Understanding this perfectly, a woman who was getting paid below market value recently hired Black Swan to help guide her through salary negotiations at her previous job.

The end result? She ended up with a whopping 45 percent bump in pay!

“I started by saying that I’m not asking for $1 million, just to put that figure in his mind,” she says. “Then I asked for a 75 percent increase—which just seems like you’re going to get people to laugh in your face. But we ultimately settled at 45 percent.”

Without the help of the Black Swan team, the woman wouldn’t have asked for so much. But after working with Derek Gaunt across 12 one- on-one coaching sessions, she decided to leave her fears at the door and trust the process—which unfolded over the course of several weeks.

“I don’t know if I would have made as aggressive of an ask for an increase in compensation at all if it had not been for that coaching.”

The first four coaching sessions focused exclusively on the looming salary negotiations. Using a combination of coaching and role-playing exercises, Derek helped the client navigate an emotionally draining process that can seem excruciating at times.

“He took my lead and followed it.”

But the training was well worth it.

“A 45 percent increase is pretty substantial.”

In addition to sessions that focused exclusively on salary negotiation, the duo also focused on improving family dialogue (e.g., How can I be a better daughter-in-law in these situations?) and other skills needed around the workplace.

The woman was drawn to the Black Swan Group after reading Chris Voss’ book, Never Split the Difference: Negotiating as If Your Life Depended on It©.

"I read a lot of business and professional development books, and I would say that Chris Voss’ book was the most transformative to me. It was one of the few books where I read it and tried the techniques and saw immediate and obvious results that were very clearly linked to the techniques he outlined."

Today, the woman leads the ethics department at a major defense contractor. There, she manages more than twice as many employees as she did in her last role. Not only did her salary increase transfer over to her new job, she’s also found that The Black Swan techniques have made it easier for her to adjust to her new role.

“I have a new staff that I didn’t hire—they’re trying to figure out if they can trust me and count on me,” she continues. “This is where techniques like mirroring™ help a lot.”

In addition to negotiating salary and managing new staffers, the professional has seen success by using other Black Swan techniques. For example, if someone isn’t responding to your emails, send them a quick message with the following subject line: Have you given up on X?

“Within five minutes, I got a response. Then I used mirrors and labeling™, and within a half-hour, I had a documented plan ahead with accountability built into it.”

Thanks to The Black Swan Group, the professional now understands that sometimes you need more than facts and logic to get your points across.

“I think the techniques can benefit anyone—from having productive family conversations, to work, to asking for salary increases—basically you can use it for everything,” she concludes.

Are You Ready to Sharpen Your Negotiation Skills?

Everything we’ve previously been taught about negotiation is wrong. No one is purely rational and nothing in life is fair. You may have the facts and logic on your side. But all too often, that’s not enough.

By understanding what makes people tick and working diligently to see things from their perspective during every conversation, all areas of your life will improve. In the business realm, you’ll find it easier to guide people toward the outcomes you’re aiming for—and have them say thank you when all is said and done.

Further your training by attending a live event, enrolling in online courses, hiring Black Swan for business training, or signing up for negotiation coaching.