While fashion icon Coco Chanel is remembered largely for being a style icon, she was also an incredibly savvy self-made business woman. She had an impoverished upbringing, yet she was clear about her unique creative gifts and the value she had to offer the world. She was willing to back herself in business which was particularly unusual in 1913 when she opened her first store with the financial backing of a made (is made correct?) admirer (she paid off the loan a few years later). She also was an innovator and took calculated risks, from establishing and growing high end fashion stores, to creating the perfume Chanel 5 in a time when perfume was not worn by most of the population. Chanel made many bold decisions over her career, which were largely the right one’s that led to this amazing lady creating one of the most renowned fashion houses in the word.
Chanel has many wonderful quotes that relate to fashion, business and life with one of my favourite quotes being, “Before you leave the house, look in the mirror and take one thing off”. It is one of the quotes which transcends fashion and is just a pertinent to how women should approach salary negotiation. Let me explain.
Just as Chanel is highlighting in her quote that sometimes women can overdo it when we dress up to go out by adding too much to our outfits – the same applies to when women enter into the salary negotiation. We can overdo it by having too many items we want to negotiate and being too verbose and over justifying why we deserve them in the salary negotiation process.
My advice is to approach the negotiation as the great Chanel would have done. She would go in confidently, clear of her agenda and business case and she would execute the negotiation with just the right amount of information. She would be sure of the value that she brings to her current or prospective employer and would be confident in asking to be paid her worth – because she would know exactly what it was.
As highlighted, being too verbose in salary package discussions is an approach that women sometimes use, but that is off-putting to decision makers. Having long lists of wishes and lengthy justifications for a pay increase can result in an immediate “No”. Consider your audience and their work style. If your boss is sharp and straight to the point, your salary negotiation pitch should also be sharp and to the point. Being clear and concise will more likely result in achieving the outcomes you want.
The three key things to remember when negotiating your salary package include;
- Confidence – even if you have to ‘Fake It Till You Make It’
- Business Case – research & prepare a compelling business case to justify the increase
- Keep It Simple – don’t over complicate it or over personalise it
The financial situation for women has advanced since Chanel opened her first store over a hundred years ago, however women still remain underpaid in contrast to their male contemporaries.
When negotiating think of Chanel. Don’t overdress and certainly don’t over justify and overdo the salary negotiation discussion.
Kelly is the Author of The Busy Women’s Guide to… Salary Negotiation which you can purchase on Amazon. Start being paid what your worth!