How to Negotiate and Communicate Your Worth

communicate your worth

Commercial real estate (CRE) professionals are in a highly competitive industry, and standing out from the crowd can be challenging. However, one effective way to differentiate yourself and increase earning potential is by negotiating your compensation package after job interviews and an offer and revisiting that package during performance reviews or company changes.

And you know what? It works.

According to research, those who negotiate and effectively communicate their worth on average see an increase in their salary by over 7%, which may not sound like much. But it could translate into thousands of dollars over the course of your career.

This article provides practical tips for CRE professionals to better communicate their worth in job interviews and salary negotiations, including when to negotiate, what to negotiate, and how to negotiate effectively.

When to Negotiate

Knowing when to negotiate is crucial to increasing earning potential. CRE professionals should wait until they receive a job offer before negotiating. During the interview process, if the hiring manager mentions a salary range, it’s best to acknowledge it and move on.

Once a job offer is received, candidates can start negotiating salary, bonus specifics, equity, time off, educational reimbursements, title, health benefits, and other incentives.

CRE professionals should also consider negotiating during promotion opportunities, annual reviews, and company events like mergers and acquisitions. Additionally, in times when salaries are rapidly climbing like now, you should consider negotiating a higher salary to remain competitive and not fall behind in your career.

What to Negotiate

CRE professionals have several options to negotiate beyond salary, including:

  • Bonus specifics
  • Equity
  • Time off
  • Educational and organizational reimbursements
  • Title/role
  • Health benefits
  • 401K contributions

Candidates should do their research to understand which of these options align with their goals and the company’s policies. Additionally, knowing the current market rates for different positions can help candidates understand what is reasonable to ask for.

How to Negotiate

Negotiating effectively can be challenging, especially for those who are not used to it. However, there are several strategies that CRE professionals can use to improve their negotiation skills and increase their earning potential.

1. Use Recruiters

Recruiters can provide valuable insights into market rates for different positions. It’s crucial to your ability to succeed that you understand how recruiters work and how they can help you in your career. While it’s not necessary to go through the full interview process for a job you’re not interested in, answering calls from recruiters can provide valuable information about the market and what other companies are offering. And during an interview process, they can help you negotiate the highest possible package.

2. Do Your Research

Before negotiating, it’s essential to evaluate your performance and responsibilities compared to the job description. Knowing specific responsibilities and quantifying contributions can be useful in demonstrating one’s value to the company. You’re probably doing more work than was initially covered in your JD, right? Also, understanding the company’s structure, dynamics, and growth objectives and how you align can help candidates/employees negotiate more effectively.

3. Leverage Your Strengths

Candidates can leverage their education, unique skills, years of experience, and other strengths to negotiate better. Social or interpersonal skills, leadership, team-building abilities, and efficiencies are also valuable assets that can help candidates negotiate a higher salary.

4. Set Your Target

Before negotiating, candidates should set a target amount to negotiate for. Don’t ask for a range (which side of that range do you think they’ll pick?). Having a clear and specific number that is a step or two higher than the target can provide wiggle room during negotiations.

5. Be Prepared to Address Concerns

Understanding the supervisor’s concerns and fears and addressing them preemptively can help build trust and increase the chances of a successful negotiation. Outline possible objections and the best way to communicate in response to them. Effective communication is important in all business aspects, and this is one area in which it could really make a difference.

6. Schedule That Meeting!

When asking for a negotiation conversation, CRE professionals should go to their direct boss first. They can say, “I’d love to set up a conversation to discuss my performance and growth in the company. I noticed you are open next Wednesday afternoon, can we block 30 minutes to meet?” After all your preparation, it’s time to step up and communicate your worth in clear and measurable terms. But the meeting won’t happen unless you take the initiative.

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