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This is the third article of the Money Talks series. In the first article, we covered how to determine your value when you work in sports. The second article offers tips on how to maximize your earnings in your current role.

You’ve been successful in your job for a long time now. You hit your goals, help out whenever you have time, and get a lot of praise from both your leaders and your colleagues. You’re at the point now where you feel undervalued, and it might be time for find other work in sports.

Obviously, you don’t want to have to jump ship and start another search for sports jobs. You’re happy with your company. This means it’s time to face one of the most uncomfortable conversations you will ever have in your career — you need to ask for a raise.

Let’s take a look at how to overcome these fears and finally ask for a raise:

Understand Negotiation Etiquette

The main reason you’re scared to ask for a raise is because you don’t know what to expect or how to do it. When you put in the time to prepare, you’ll feel excited about the conversation.

Start by reviewing these unwritten rules of negotiation etiquette:

  • Don’t create pressure for your boss
  • Don’t propose an ultimatum
  • Don’t express resentment or anger
  • Don’t complain or say your current salary is a problem
  • Don’t do all the talking
  • Don’t spring it on your boss out of nowhere
  • Don’t compare yourself to co-workers
  • Don’t be cocky or greedy
  • Don’t feel entitled

As you can see, a major aspect to focus on is your mindset. If you’re angry or feel entitled, you’re coming from the wrong place — this is an emotional state.

Instead, focus on the facts. So when you feel an urge to storm into your boss’s office and demand a bump in pay, take a breath and calmly request a meeting to discuss your future with the company. It’s even better if you request a meeting after you achieve something big, like landing a new client or finishing a project.

Prepare Before Your Meeting

Those butterflies in your stomach will go away as you prepare for your upcoming meeting. There are several aspects to focus on during this stage.

Research Salaries

This is the best first step — start looking up salary information about others who work in sports. Use tools like Payscale’s Salary Survey or Glassdoor’s Know Your Worth to determine average pay in your region, role, and industry. Compile data from several resources, then write out a salary range you want.

Highlight Accomplishments

Prepare concrete examples of your achievements. For example, if you created a strong sales presentation that successfully converted new clients, bring that information to the meeting. Show how your performance brought in new business. Compile your list of successes in a document to share during your meeting.

Also, compare your original job description to what your current responsibilities are. If you took on additional work over time, show your boss that you’re doing more in your role.

Share Your Goals

Don’t focus too much on yourself. Instead, determine what your employer’s goals are for the company and find how you will contribute to achieving those goals.

Ramit Sethi, the creator of the popular personal finance website, I Will Teach You to Be Rich, suggests what he calls The Briefcase Technique. Your employer will ask questions about your future with the company, but at this point, you already did your homework.

Create a one-to-five page proposal document that breaks down specific areas in the company where you can add value. This document will include specific action plans you want to follow. Your boss will be thrilled to see that you’re aware of problems in the business and that you are the person who wants to spearhead solutions.

Be Confident and Open the Discussion

You’re fully prepared as you walk into the meeting. Those nerves have turned into excitement. Your research shows that you are doing more than your role requires, that your salary doesn’t align with your performance, and is less than the industry standard.

Confidence is key. It’s important to be engaged and proactive in your meeting, but don’t be the only one talking. You want to open the discussion up to give yourself the opportunity to share your ideas.

Ask about what problems your employer sees now and down the line. Some great questions to ask include: What’s something that you would like to improve within the company, and how can I help? How can I contribute to your most important goals this year? How do you plan on addressing these problems?

This is when you present your proposal document. As you share your ideas, transition into your current role. Explain your added responsibilities and how you are earning below what others who work in sports in your field make. Then, share the salary range that you want to be raised to and wait for the response.

Face the No

There are several possible outcomes here. Your boss might answer promptly. They might request some time to think it over. And worst case, they tell you no immediately.

Do not respond with a temper or show much emotion, even if they’re rude about it. Leave with a respectful, ambiguous response. For example, say, “I appreciate your feedback. Thank you for your time.” Then, review what you learned from the negotiation.

How did you think you presented your case? Do you feel respected and understood? What did you learn about your own performance and your boss’s perspective of you?

Write out your reflections and review them privately.

Another way to respond to a denial is simply asking for higher-level work or mention that you want a promotion to a role with more responsibility. No matter what they say, you want to agree on future goals for yourself and the company.

Those who work in sports have a lot of passion and enthusiasm for their job. You don’t want to forget that, but you also want to feel appropriately compensated. Overcome that fear and start the conversation. At least with a ‘no,’ you have more information that will influence your next career move.

How are you preparing to negotiate for a raise? Share in the comments!

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