Salary Negotiation and Career Advancement with Vanessa Gaboleiro

Failing to negotiate could cost you MILLIONS of dollars over the course of your lifetime. Click here to download this free salary negotiation guide.

Check out these free negotiation guides: 

– Conflict Resolution Guide

– Partnership Success Guide

– Car Negotiation Guide 

– Negotiation Style Guide

– List of Negotiable Business and Personal Expenses

– Salary Negotiation Guide

– Car Negotiation Guide

– How to Negotiate While Introverted

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Supplemental Resource: Top 10 Myths Related To Negotiation On Your First Salary


Listener shout outs:

Rusty from Chicago

Bree from Florida

Daphne from DC

Honorable mention to my wife Dr. Whitney Christian – She’s finishing up her residency if she just negotiated her salary and got a really good deal! she was able to get a signing bonus when it wasn’t even on the table, and she a great benefits package as well – so I am really proud of her, because medicine is one of those fields where there typically isn’t a lot of negotiation in entry level positions, but it just goes to show you never know what you can get until you ask!

Check out our free salary negotiation guide here!

And I really want to stress the importance of negotiating your salary because numerous studies have demonstrated that if you fail to negotiate your salary it could cost you millions over the course of your lifetime, easily. It’s just math – math shows that if you don’t do this it could cost you millions, so don’t leave that money on the table. After you listen to this episode, download that salary negotiation guide and go out there and get what you deserve!

I am really excited about this episode because I have my good friend Vanessa Gaboleiro on the show, and she’s going to talk to us about how to negotiate your salary and a lot more.

Vanessa is a talent acquisition manager, she has years of experience negotiating salary offers. She’s also building a side business where she helps women in their twenties and thirties find their voice after a divorce as they start to rebuild their lives and become not only financially independent, but most importantly emotionally powerful. So it’s a really unique business, and I encourage you to reach out to Vanessa if that speaks to you.

Here are a few things that I want you to focus on as we go through the interview. First we discuss the important differences between using a staffing agency and applying directly with the company, or trying to advance within the same company.

We’ll also talk about the major pitfalls to avoid when negotiating your salary. And on that topic we run through an incredibly hopeful scenario that will show you what not to do in a salary negotiation, which is just as important as knowing what to do in a negotiation.

And lastly, Vanessa answers questions from listeners like you. So if you have further questions on this issue on either specifically salary negotiation or how to advance within your company – write them down and send them my way because Vanessa said she’s willing to come back and do part two down the road!

So without further ado let’s jump into the interview.


Alright, I am here with my good friend Vanessa and we are excited to talk about employment negotiations – so thank you so much for joining us today Vanessa.


Thanks for having me!


Let’s get started with just the typical interview question – tell me about yourself?


Okay – so that’s a pretty loaded question, but let me then break it down for you! I was born and raised in Philadelphia, and I moved abroad when I was 18 to Lisbon, Portugal because my parents are Portuguese, well my family’s Portuguese. So I moved abroad for a few years where I got my undergrad in social and organizational psychology, and I lived there for about 7 years.

I started right after college working within talent acquisition, so recruiting, hiring, mostly in a staffing agency environment. And then after a few years of working overseas, I wanted to come back home for a lot of personal reasons. On top of going through a divorce when I was in my mid twenties, I just knew that it was time to go back home. So I moved back, and that’s when I started working within corporate talent acquisition.

And my first opportunity within the corporate was about 4 years ago with the company that I’m currently with, and it’s a Swedish hygiene paper company, and they’re based in Philadelphia, their US headquarters are here. Within the company I’ve been able to grow – I now manage a team of amazing men and women, and I lead the North American talent acquisition team for this hygiene company – so about 10 years of experience in recruiting.


Very nice! I’m assuming in that role you’ve had the opportunity to do a lot of negotiating?


Yes. So I have, let’s see – I’ve extended probably hundreds of offers at this point. Not only here, but throughout my career. And if I’ve learned anything about agency recruiting, it’s really aggressive. You almost have to fight for good candidates to get placements – so it’s an extremely competitive environment and I’ve extended hundreds of offers.

There are definitely tricks to it, and I think where I’ve succeeded with salary negotiation with candidates is really that relationship. That’s what it comes down to, is the relationship that you build with the candidate and then trying to get them on board to work with the company that you’re representing. And that’s all it comes down to, that’s my experience with salary negotiation.


Can you tell us a little bit about the difference between agency recruiting and corporate recruiting?


I would say the main difference between agency recruiting and corporate recruiting is that you get a chance to build deeper relationships, and more meaningful relationships within corporate, because you’re representing one company, you’re bringing in top talent for the company that you’re with, right? That says everything about you, and you get the opportunity to see this top talent that you bring in grow within the organization. And that’s what makes my role so rewarding, is that I’ve been here for four years now, and I’ve seen people that I hired over three years ago get promoted, and I see them grow within the company.

You don’t get that advantage in the agency side, and so a lot of times with agency recruiting, you have to be mindful of the fact that only you know your worth, your value, and your career ambitions. And I think you have to be a little bit more assertive with agency recruiters because they’re not experts for the companies that they’re hiring for. A lot of them aren’t – just always be mindful of that.

They have a lot of different clients, and they probably don’t have as much detail or insight as to the companies that they’re talking about or trying to recruit you into. It should be a little different between agency staffing and corporate staffing or corporate recruiting.


That’s really interesting because for me, I never really thought about the differences but it seems significant. And when you said be more assertive and kind of standing up for what you want to do as far as your career path and your goals – how does that manifest itself in the process?


I think more so on the agency side, and this is just my experience – it’s a little bit more of that sales environment, where you want to close your deals at the end of the month, and this is the reality of it. I have very good friends in the agency world and I admire what they do, and I was such a huge part of it for so long. On the corporate side though it’s just different because you have different insight into the company when it comes to compensation, culture, values, our mission and you don’t have a quota to fill at the end of the month, you just need to get top talent into your company and it’s all about who you’re bringing in, and how much you’re giving back to the business that you’re a part of.

So it’s a little different in that sense when it comes to being aggressive. I know that agency recruiters, they have to be aggressive and that’s how the industry works, there’s a lot of competition. In corporate, you’re not competing with anyone, you’re on team and you’re competing with other companies for top talent. So it’s just a different mentality – still aggressive, but I think from a candidate’s standpoint, just being mindful of the relationship piece with both.


That’s fascinating, because it’s important for everybody in a negotiation to really understand the motives of everybody that’s involved – because most of time when you’re in a negotiation, you just see you and the person with whom you’re speaking, and those are the only parties. But when you do a thorough negotiation analysis you realize that there are more players involved and the motivations aren’t obvious all the time. So I’m really glad you said that.


I would completely agree. I’ve always said that my success in hiring talent is making them happy – meaning making candidates that I’m working with happy early on through transparency. So I always encourage candidates to be as open as possible with me early on as to what they’re looking for, why they’re looking – because that will make things so much easier for both of us – but most importantly for them.

I think it’s harder to see that when you’re not within the company, you’re trying to get in, and as an outsider and as a candidate; it’s harder to see certain things. But I’ve always said that negotiation when it comes to salary is just so much better and easier and rewarding when you’re just open and transparent early on.


So one of the best ways to learn how to do something is by getting examples of what not to do. So can you give us an example of something you shouldn’t do in a salary negotiation?


This is definitely a hypothetical situation, but I think it’s important to understand what you shouldn’t be doing in a negotiation – because negotiating poorly when it comes to salary can truly hurt you in getting what you want, or even in certain relationships that you’re trying to build.

Giving a specific scenario – when you’re going through a hiring process you usually have a phone interview, first initial phone interview with a recruiter or someone on the talent acquisition team; and they usually would cover compensation with you. A good recruiter or talent acquisition member wants to know a little bit more about your expectations, your salary expectations.

And so you usually cover that on the first call, and I’d hope you would. My advice would be to always share as the candidate, what you’re looking for in your next salary. The recruiter might probe a little bit more on what you’re making now, but I would openly share what you’re looking for.

So for example if you’re looking for 100k in your next salary, and that’s really what you want to make – that’s okay. You should say that, and not be afraid of saying that. In that role, you’ve done your research, you know what you’re making, you know what the position might offer based on the industry that it’s in, and you want that 100k. So I would encourage any candidate to just openly share that with the recruiter or with whomever they’re initially in contact with.

And so they openly share that they want 100k as a candidate, great – we proceed in the hiring process, and we go through the interviews, on-site interviews, next rounds which don’t drag on too much (or at least they shouldn’t) – and then you get to that offer stage. And that 100k that you were looking for is realistic, and you got that input early on from the recruiter or from the talent acquisition member that you’re working with. You got that input – they wouldn’t have dragged you along, hopefully, if it wasn’t something that was obtainable for the company.

So you get to that offer stage, and they extend to you what you’re looking for. They extend you the 100k base salary plus whatever it may be, if there’s bonus opportunity, perks, and benefits – you get the 100k that you openly shared from early on. Great – you’re in a good spot. You go to your current employer, the one that you’re looking to leave, this is the scenario – and you tell them that you’re leaving and you want to hand in your notice because ultimately you got what you were looking for, you openly shared it early on and you’re excited about the new opportunity.

But your current employer doesn’t want to lose you, and they go back and say, “Well you know what? What was your offer? 100K? Fine – I’ll give you 110K, I’ll give you 115K. Whatever it takes so that you don’t leave.”

You go back to the recruiter at this new company that you’re looking forward to joining, and you say, “Thank you so much, I’m so excited about this opportunity, you gave me what I was looking for.” Everything aligned because you wanted that 100 and that’s what you got. But now your current employer is saying I’m going to give you even more. So you go back to this potential employer and say, “My current employer offered me 110 even the possibility to go up to 115 – is there any way that I can get more at this point?”

Now, mind you, rewind – you’ve accepted that 100k already, that’s the most important detail out of the story. You were so excited about the 100k, you accepted it. And you went to your employer literally to resign, to give in your notice – and then they came back and countered. You’ve already accepted the 100k and you’re going back to negotiate more. Big no-no. That’s what you shouldn’t do.

Now if you haven’t accepted the offer, there would have been an opportunity to negotiate maybe a little bit more, but because you were always set and transparent about the 100, you would be catching that potential employer off-guard in saying, “I know I’ve always said 100, but can I get 105? Or can I even get the 110 that my current employer is offering me?”

There’s always going to be a reason why you want to leave, right? And you want to build the right relationships early on with that potential new employer. So be very mindful that there’s a time to negotiate, and if you don’t do it early on, and then follow through with it, it might just come back to bite you. Because even if you’ve already accepted an offer – you can always turn it down – but what type of relationship is that going to leave with that company that you were interviewing with, even if you do decide to stay with your current employer for more money?

So that’s the scenario where in a perfect world, I would say follow through with that number you’re targeting early on, and if you change your mind throughout the process, also let the recruiter know. You can always communicate when you change your mind and if there’s something that you learned about the role that you didn’t know early on, you could always negotiate. But when you get to that end-part of the offer – you can only really negotiate once you receive the offer, you consider it, and then you come back that first time to counter. You get one counter, essentially. But make sure that you counter before you accept the offer. If you’ve accepted the offer, you really can’t negotiate more than that.


I love this hypothetical because it is so rich with detail and nuance. And I thank you for so much for sharing this – I have a few questions about it.

In that first initial phone conversation, when they ask for your expectation. What if you’re not quite sure what the salary range is? It’s always going to be the case where the other side knows more than you do in the negotiation, they know how much they can get, they know their budget.

So there’s a possibility you come in and you say, “I’d like 100.”

And they were thinking, we can give this person up to 120 – and then they just say, “Ok, here’s 100”. And you never know what you can get.

Do you think there’s any value in trying to dodge that question? As well as how much you were making before?


My advice to that is always do your research. Leverage, Glassdoor – there’s so much insightful salary information on Glassdoor. Definitely look into the industry, the role, and try to get as much insight as possible before even discussing compensation – that’s rule number one.

But the fact is if you’re at 80 and you’ve been underpaid and the role can go up to 120 but you’re targeting 100 – and you’d be okay with that? Do your research, don’t dodge the question – that’s my advice.

My advice is when the recruiter asks you what you’re looking for – say that you’re targeting 100, but you’ve done your research and you know this position can pay up to 110 or 120 – whatever it may be. But you’re being flexible.

If they try to probe a little bit more on what you’re currently making, just say that number that I just shared with you, 100 is what I’m targeting and it’s increase to what I’m making now. And if they want to keep probing, I would not provide where you’re currently at if they keep insisting, because that’s just unprofessional to be quite honest.

So if they ask you once, give them a little bit of information, because then they’ll probably think maybe this person’s at 90, or at 95? And if they ask you, just say I’m around that ballpark. You don’t ever have to give a number once they start probing a little more. But definitely provide a number that you would be happy with, knowing what the market pays, the industry, the role – after you’ve done your research. But make sure that you say you know this position pays more than what you’re targeting so that you openly say the 100, but when they come back and offer you 100 and you really know that the position can pay up to 120, you negotiate 110. And then you’ll probably get that, maybe even 105 – they’ll meet you halfway if they really want you. And then you just got an extra 5k out of it.

The truth is, even if the position can pay up to 120, it varies. It’s based on experience, knowledge, education – and you may not be eligible for the 120 according to the range that the company has. So be mindful of that and know what you’re worth, fight for what you’re worth, but I would encourage you to share a number that you are truly happy with and is comparable fairly early on so that you get what you want out of this.


Very nice. Now what if you’re applying online and they have that box… and that box has that red asterix of doom that requires you to say your current salary. How do you avoid that?


Yeah, that’s a tough one! Is there any way that they can just a little dash instead of a number? We don’t have that in our application process, so I would not add a number in my application if I was a candidate, I would not do it. I would find a way to just put something there, you can maybe add a few numbers like a dash, I don’t know – a plus sign? Something that’s gets by. And then they look at your resume, they see you didn’t add a number which means we might need to talk this through, which is fine. And then they’ll call you anyway. So in my application I would not add compensation.


And with the countering – do you have any rules of thumb when it comes to countering? How do you know how much to counter with?


In my personal experience, it’s always been about that conversation early on, which really manages expectations for both parties. So realistically, you would leave your current job with your current company if you were to make a significant jump. And when I say significant, it’s more than what you’d make in an increase at your current role. So I’m going to say you want to leave your company for at least 20%. And if you share that number early on with that 20% increase, then I think in terms of a counter, it should be an additional 5 or 10% beyond that.

If you’re thinking about leaving your current position for a 30% increase in base salary, that’s huge, right? So in numbers and in simplifying that – let’s go back to the 100k example. If you openly said that you were targeting 100k, that’s your expectation when it comes to salary increase. And you get 100k in your offer, I would negotiate for 108 if you can, if you have justification for it, if you’ve had those conversations early on, if you have that relationship with your recruiter, and if you’ve indicated that that’s something that would be very important to you. I would negotiate at the 107, 108, so you can probably get 105.


Now putting your recruiter hat on, let’s say you would have a conversation about expectations and the person says, “Well, I’d like to have an opportunity where I can make between 100 and 120.” And they put it as a range.

And then you come with a $100000 offer, and they counter at 117. How would you feel as a recruiter? If they were able to back it up with legitimate criteria. How would that make you feel in your position?


So I’ll put my recruiter hat on there. 100 and 120 is a very, very large range, so I would level set very early on. I would say, okay – what are we looking at realistically? 100 to 120, does it mean that you’re ok with 100? I would level set expectations and truly understand where they want to be, because if it’s that high of a range, then the 120 is probably where they would absolutely love to be at, but they don’t think it’s very realistic. Which is why they’re giving that large of a range, right?

So it’s really the psychology piece behind it. I would definitely probe a little bit more on that first conversation when they say 100 to 120. If we were to, at the end of this process, extend you 100k, how realistic is it that you would accept? I would really ask that question early on to understand if 100 is a respectable offer, because that’s what’s most important to me as a recruiter. Or is that at 110, 115 and they’re just trying to get a little bit more and say 120?

It comes back to expectations and early on having these conversations that are so important that and everyone is scared to have, but you just can’t. Because if you don’t, it will hurt you at the end as the candidate and it will not help the company. And hopefully the company is being as transparent as you are in the process.


I love that question you came back with. How would you feel with 100? Because it it’s an expert level negotiation question, because you’re reality testing. The person is trying to sneak through saying a big old range so they can then kind of hold that over your head later on down the road when they get an offer. But it was an expert response – coming back with an open-ended question asking for elaboration on their perspective on their true outlook. I think that’s something that people need to keep in mind, you can’t just walk into these salary negotiations thinking ‘I got this’ – when you’re dealing with people like you who do this for a living!

So there’s really no opportunity unless you’re between the ages of 22 and whatever, you’ve gone through 100 jobs – there’s no way for them to be on your level when it comes to the salary negotiation.


Experience helps! I would agree, but it wouldn’t be fair to the candidate that just said they’re targeting 100 to 120, it wouldn’t be fair to them if I didn’t as a recruiter probe a little bit more. Because that would lead them on to later wanting an unrealistic number as a base salary, and possibly the company not even being able to offer it – and then we both walk away unhappy at the end of the process, and that’s the last thing I want.

So as a professional we should probe a little bit more when we face this type of situation.


That does make a lot of sense. Alright, so now we’re going to shift gears a little bit. We’re going to hit these next questions as Q and A style, because I got a lot of responses from people in our audience. And so we’re just going to read them verbatim, and then you just bless us with your wisdom!

So this question is from Shannon: I was just looking at the salary growth for creatives and it’s terrible, even when you get to a director level. How do you see your value from the company’s side instead of putting your own self-doubts into the equation?


That’s a question that just has so much to it. Remove the obstacles from your mindset – that’s the first thing. How do you see your value without self-doubt – look at it this way. How are you the go-to person within your company? Look at it that way. Start realizing what people come to you for, what they search for when they’re talking to you. What they want to collaborate with you on. Look at it from that standpoint of value, right?

I know companies a lot of times say, “That person’s replaceable.”

But you know what, you’re not. You are as valuable as you put yourself out there to be. So completely remove that self-doubt from the equation, because that voice that’s constantly saying ‘you didn’t do that right, so let’s do it over’. Completely remove that because only you can put yourself out there in your company so that they see your value. That’s all within your control – so don’t forget that.


I love that response, because a lot of times it’s hard when you’re that close to yourself – I mean there’s nobody physically closer to you than yourself – and sometimes you’re too close to see the value that you can bring. And your response – what makes you the go-to person?

And also one thing that I found is when I ask people – what do you think of me in X. Y. Z. situation – you’d be really surprised the insight you can get from some people who have a different perspective. And a lot of times you’ll be pleasantly surprised, so I really love that that advice.


Asking for that constructive feedback is so important, but I think that’s the toughest thing, what you just said. Asking for specific insight on how you are in certain situations. You’re so scared that you’re going to get a response that that you weren’t looking for or that you weren’t hoping for is what prevents you from asking it in the first place. Value does come from putting yourself out there, and that was a great example Kwame!


Well thank you! I want to give a quick shout out to my friends on the Paychecks and Balances podcast, because they have an episode called ‘Making Yourself Indispensable’. And I think that will help you all out when it comes to figuring out your value for the company, so check that out on the Paychecks and Balances podcast too.

Another question from Shannon: how do you ask for more when you’re still learning and working towards becoming an expert?


That’s a great question. So without realizing it, you’re probably already an expert in what you do. So really break it down. Remove industry, remove specific information to your role – look at what you do in your day to day. And look around you and see if there’s anyone else that does it as well as you do? Or that has the amount of potential that you do in what you’re doing – if that makes sense!

Look at yourself as an expert and remove anything else from the equation. But, I have to say that there certain industries that naturally pay more than others based on what they manufacture, based on what they sell – whether it’s a product, a service – for example pharmaceuticals. They make a lot of money because they sell their products in a very pricey fashion, let’s put it that way.

So they’re making a lot of money and they can probably pay you more because of that. So look at the industry that you’re in, evaluate whether it makes you happy, whether you’re learning where you are as quickly as you want to learn – because if you’re not, reevaluate what’s most important to you. Reevaluate who you’re working with, because that’s who you learn most with, is the people around you. Reevaluate what you’re accomplishing.

There are certain industries that I know won’t be able to pay you as much. But get that insight from Glassdoor, use the tools, use the internet, use what’s out there to learn a little more about what you could accomplish if you were in a different setting. And then really evaluate if what you’re doing now and where you’re doing it is getting you closer to where you want to be.


Right – and then another thing too, speaking towards expertise – expertise is relative. You might feel like you don’t have much expertise compared to the CEO of the company, but relative to other people you are the expert.

You’re always going to be learning. In the question that was raised as ‘How do you ask for more when you’re still learning and working towards becoming an expert?’ – the only time you stop learning and honing your expertise is when you’re dead. And you know what they always say – dead people don’t get raises!


I love it! So let’s actually give Shannon a realistic answer. A realistic example of how she can go to her manager and ask for a raise regardless of expertise, because expertise, we just said it – is relative. So know your worth, know what you’re known for – who goes to you for what and when – know that, observe that, make a checklist if you have to. And it also depends on the relationship that you have with your manager and how comfortable you are with your manger – but regardless of that, ask to set up some time, and go into the conversation on a very positive note. And be prepared to talk to your manager about what you’ve accomplished, what you’ve gone above and beyond for and where you still want to grow, so that you allow your manager to see your full potential in how you see yourself, because only you can limit yourself.

Once you do that, have a specific increase in mind that you’re looking for, based on your research, based on what you know about your company – there are some advantages to being an internal employee. So think about that and go into it with a percentage that you’d target in terms of an increase – let’s say 10%. If your manager isn’t able to at least meet you halfway, then suggest the following:

Suggest a midyear increase. Ask for the 5% now that they’re willing to offer you because you’ve earned it, and set specific deliverables and objectives for what you want to cover in the next six months, and ask for the additional 5% increase at the end of those six months upon revision of those objectives and if they’ve been obtained – and see what they say. That’s my suggestion there.


I love that – and it’s essentially like a pre-negotiation. You make it almost like math, you agree on certain objectives and certain deliverables, and once they’re delivered – they deliver the salary increase. I love that!

So Shannon – you have some homework! And you know I’m going to check up on you, so get working on that. Remember to grab your freebie salary negotiation guide here.

So this question is from Fariha – she says some companies will ask you to do more and more and continue to pile more work onto your plate without reflecting the increased work with increased compensation. How would you suggest that we handle that?


The beauty of pushing back, I think that’s my initial thought there. And notice I didn’t say the word ‘no’, which is everyone’s fear, and I think that we allow the work to pile on.

This is about two things – it’s about your own growth and learning and how you continue to challenge yourself. So evaluate whether the work that’s being given to you is doable from a time standpoint, if you can actually tackle it. And what you’re going to learn from it. If it’s basic work that won’t allow you to keep growing and it’s just stuff noone else is willing to do – then that’s where I’m going to say push back a little bit.

Say, “Thank you for coming to me, and for asking me – but I can only do this out of what you’re asking me.”

Don’t say no, and don’t turn the person down completely, but set early on the expectation of “I want to do this for you, but I want to do it well – and to be able to do that, I can’t do it all. I can only do this much of it for you – is that ok? Do you have someone else who can help you with the other part?”

If you position it that way, they won’t see it as being turned down or as a receiving a no from you, you’re willing to help, right? But you’re giving yourself that respect – I’m going to push back and stand my ground, so that I respect myself, but most importantly that they see that – and they respect me.


Wow! I like to come up with follow up questions on that – but you pretty much handled everything – that was really good. I need to figure out how to tell my boss to stop giving me work, but that might be a bit problematic… since I work for myself.


Then use the same rationale. What is going to challenge you to keep growing and what can you maybe outsource somewhere, else or ask someone else to help you with? Use that same concept though – and I know it’s easier said than done.


No, you’re right – I think I’m at the point now where I need to seriously consider adding people to my team here. It’s always a scary step in business, but there’s no Fortune 1000 solo business out there, so I need to change my mentality!

But I know time is short, I want to finish up with one more question – and we actually just got this question today. This question is from Isaac. And he says, “Right now the biggest thing he wants out of his job is education, he needs to learn as much as he can. The reason I’ve pushed for a larger salary is so that I can afford more education, and I’ve talked with my boss before about seminars and such, but he pushes them off. earning more would enable me to book learning opportunities. Does that negotiation approach – increased salary to afford education – does that make sense or should I be doing something else?”


That’s such an excellent question. Most companies, or a lot of companies have tuition reimbursement programs which allow you to get your undergrad, or get to grad school, go and get your Masters, your MBA. They allow you to invest in higher education, but if your company doesn’t have that or if that’s not what you’re going for, you want to go to more seminars, you want to go to more conferences, and come back with that learning – then I think it will help if you just sit down with your manager and literally tell them what’s the ROI? What’s the return on investment – what’s in it for them? Align the learning from that seminar or that conference to your team’s objectives, to the business objectives. It will help if you allow your manager to understand what’s in it for them – that’s really what it comes down to. Money = value, right? So it’s great that you want to invest in your education, but you need to link it back to the business if you want them to pay for it. That’s what it comes down to. So if you commit to going to this seminar or this conference and you come back with specific deliverables that you’re looking to learn and then bring back and implement – that will allow your manager to understand the value of the education and would help you invest in that.

I don’t believe that companies increase your salary because you want to purse education; it’s always something separate, whether it’s through a tuition reimbursement program in the company or it’s on the side investment of your own growth and learning through seminars and conferences, but they need to be linked back to the growth of the company.


I think that’s a great response. And what would he say to Isaac when it comes to really framing that conversation in that in a way that doesn’t scare the manager up front? Because I’m sure if Isaac comes in and says, “I want more money!” the person’s kind of going to get on-guard!

That initial ask – how does he approach his manager?


I would not approach that conversation going into it from an education standpoint if you’re just looking to increase your base salary. So know that those things usually aren’t connected. Go into it thinking it’s a salary increase – given your worth, your accomplishments, your value – that’s one thing. If you just want to go in there and give your manager the ROI behind what you want to do with your education in these seminars and conferences, align back to what might be on a performance review. What might be your own goals for the year objectives, what your team goals may be, what the business objectives are. Go back to that and prepare for that conversation so that disarm your manager with any other follow-up questions that he or she might have that might decrease your chances in getting that buy-in.

So go in, thank them for their time, and say, “I value what I do here, I want to continue growing, and this seminar or this conference would mean a lot to me.” Definitely add the emotional piece in there, because if you have a good relationship with your manager than they’ll care that it means something to you. And then go into the specific, tactical ROI input – these are our team goals, this is what the business wants to get out of this year, I would like to contribute to this through my own personal objectives and professional objectives. And go to the seminar to come back with this, and be able to implement it. What do you think?

Always ask them at the end of the conversation, after you completely bombard them with all of the facts – ask them what they think – because that will get their buy-in. That will get their input, that is what will allow them to say, “I never thought about it that way. I’d be open to you going (and this is where they might negotiate a little bit with you) I know you want to go to this seminar or this conference, but why don’t you try going to just one or two days out of that entire conference? From a financial standpoint I think it will be better for us – is that still within the ROI that you just presented to me?”

Be prepared, have that conversation fully thought out to get what you want to continue learning. I don’t know if that answers the question.


Uh, yeah! It does! This is great.

One of the things that you said that I really want to key in on here – and this is really an expert level strategy when it comes to figuring out really what the manager or your boss cares about. Looking at the goals and objectives that he or she set for you. Those are the things that are most important, and so that gives you the opportunity, that insight gives you the opportunity to frame the whole discussion from their perspective. So you’re speaking their language from the beginning. Go back to old emails, what is it that they care about? What are the things that they say repeatedly? Use those words and phrases to speak their language, because like I said one of the other podcasts people have a self-serving bias, they feel like they are really smart.

If you say things that sound like them – they’ll think you’re really smart too!

So that would be a really strong way for you to increase your persuasion just be essentially mirroring what they’ve said in the past.


I completely agree. That’s awesome. Nothing more to add to that, Kwame – that was beautiful.


Thank you! This was so much fun, thank you so much for joining us. And thank you all the listeners for your questions.



Kwame Christian, Esq., M.A. Negotiation Consultant and Negotiation/Persuasion Coach

Keep listening to the podcast to learn the keys to confident communication, “compassionate curiosity”, conflict resolution, conflict management, negotiation, influence, and persuasion.

American Negotiation Institute

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