How to Negotiate Like Alan Sugar


Or maybe Karen Brady is a better role model.


Once you return from a career break, it is challenging to remember your worth.

Remember, that an employer is not doing a favour hiring you. Give it two months on the job and you will not feel like you should be working for free.

It is super important to go into any negotiation valuing yourself at 20 – 30% higher than you are comfortable going down to. It’s negotiating 101.. always go in LOOOOOOOONG. Put on your best Wolf of Wall Street. You get one chance at it and it will set the tone for the rest of your time in the business. This goes for the first time you engage a client or sell a freelance project as well.

Unless you have the world’s most generous employer/client you will only go up in small incremements, possibly inflationary – indexed, rather than big hikes ever again.

The only time I have ever had material chunks of money paid after I have joined has been because 

1) I’ve earned commission and it was absolutely due to me

2) I’ve had a job offer elsewhere

3) I was threatening to leave, AND WAS PREPARED TO DO SO.

When you go in to negotiate, you have to be prepared to lose it all, walk away from the table with your alternative option. Whether this is leaving your job, not taking the job or taking an alternative job offer.

Once you are prepared to take the alternative, anyone you are negotiating against has lost their power.

You are not emotionally engaged




Coming across as having nothing to lose is catnip to employers

As long as you don’t come across as an arrogant sod. If you do, you are giving your employer/prospective an idea of what you will be like under pressure i.e. not able to handle it.

A great tip is to try and inject some humour into it.
Go in with all the reasons why you will add / you have added unique value.
Be prepared to sell the benefits of paying Brand You the fair price.
Take time, breath a lot, pauses are excellent.
Buy yourself time (“that is a lot to digest”, “I hadn’t thought of it that way”, “thank you so much for considering me/having this  conversation”) then walk out, call your partner and rant.

Be nice. Be normal. No one will die.  A few feathers might be ruffled that’s it.

If you pull it off, you’ll feel empowered, valued and in charge.

If you don’t well, you have your Plan B or at least you know where you stand.

Look at the Dragons, it’s sport for them. Have a bit of fun with it. Don’t load it, just rehearse rehearse rehearse your argument and keep emotion out of it.



You’ll nail it.


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