Negotiation consultant, negotiation expert, negotiation advisor. The practice of having someone (other than a recruiter or lawyer) negotiate a job offer on your behalf or advising on best practices is a relatively new profession. And thus, the exact title of the position has yet to be resolved.
At 10x Ascend, our clients (primarily senior level tech talent) most frequently refer to us as negotiation experts. But we essentially do what any “negotiation consultant” or “advisor” does. We help you negotiate your job offer to ensure you’re maximizing your negotiation leverage and potential to secure an offer that most directly aligns with your professional goals.
We frequently write posts with advice about specific negotiation best practices. But in this post we want to explain why engaging with a negotiation consultant, or negotiation expert, can help you obtain the most value out of your next job offer negotiation.
Methods For Negotiation Consultation
As we mentioned above, the negotiation representation space is still new to most people, so we wanted to take a moment to clarify what it means to “consult” someone as they move through the negotiation process.
Our consultancy services take two distinct shapes: Negotiation advisory and negotiation representation. In the former, we coach the job candidate from behind the scenes, creating strategy, identifying leverage points, providing guidance, reviewing documents, ghost writing emails, and coaching on how to engage with the employer (in those instances where real time communication is required).
In the latter (representation), we advocate on the client’s behalf directly with the prospective employer (with our client’s expressed consent throughout).
Each client’s negotiation presents its own unique set of circumstances, and those circumstances will dictate which form of representation makes the most sense (either advisory or representation). But whatever form the negotiation process takes, the candidate benefits heavily from the third party effect.
What is the Third Party Effect?
The third party effect occurs when someone other than yourself vouches for you. If you’re letting someone else negotiate for you, or you’re able to refer back to the advice of your negotiation consultant or team, some important things happen.
First, you eliminate the chances of coming off as braggadocious. The third party can say as many great things about you as they want – and nothing is negatively reflected on you as the candidate.
And second, a third party can help you be more aggressive in your negotiation talks. When we negotiate for our clients, our priority is to make the client sound like the best candidate in the world, helping them secure enhanced salaries and benefits. When we advise from the sidelines, we provide industry insight gleaned from years of negotiating. We also use insider data related to compensation and packages that is not always available to everyone.
We’ve all seen the third party effect in action when a speaker or presenter is introduced by someone else who rattles off a long list of accolades. It’s the same idea, just in a negotiation. To learn more, we recently wrote a whole post on the third party effect.
Perspective Provided by a Negotiation Consultant
With just about any important project or decision in life or work, one thing remains consistent: We seek the feedback and perspective of others. You’ve heard it before, two heads are better than one. And sometimes others can see things that you cannot.
When it comes to negotiation, we often overlook the importance of outside feedback. We might discuss progress of an ongoing negotiation with a friend or family member. But unless there is a specific person in your life who is well versed in compensation negotiations, you’re likely caught in an echo chamber of ideas you probably would have landed on yourself.
Additionally, people are reluctant to give bold advice in this kind of a situation for fear of causing a negative reaction. As a related point, on a number of occasions we’ve recommended a client take a less favorable offer because the actual job and company fit better with their goals. Having somebody in your corner who understands your specific personal and professional goals can help give you that outside point of view at pivotal moments.
For top tech talent seeking high ranking positions, negotiations are never simple. The farther up the ladder you climb, the more negotiation opportunities open up to you. This is because the demand for your skills are higher, and there are more professional variables to be considered. Subsequently, you have more to leave on the table if you don’t know how to properly engage with the employer.
The nuances of equity agreements is a great example. Navigating these waters is not something most of us do frequently. Here it’s not just about understanding the language in your job offer. It’s about understanding the entire realm of what can (and should) be in your offer. For example, maybe your offer includes stocks options. Understanding the details of how those options work can mean the difference between your equity having value or not.
They say when you go to a grocery store, you’re not just making a decision to buy the things in your cart. You’re actually making thousands of decisions not to buy everything you leave on the shelves. Negotiating your job offer is similar. There might not be thousands of things you’re potentially leaving on the table, but we’ve counted at least 24.
Some of our clients are entirely capable of negotiating their own deals. But at the end of the day, by engaging in negotiation talks alone, they will inevitably miss something, and they won’t benefit from the third party effect. This is why they continue to come to us when seeking the best deal possible.
Peace of Mind Provided by a Negotiation Consultant
To wrap up, at a bare minimum, what a negotiation consultant provides is peace of mind. Your employment agreement is a big deal, as it likely dictates multiple aspects of your current and future lifestyle, and certainly how you will spend the majority of your working hours. Going into a negotiation with professional backup gives you the confidence to truly believe you will leave no stone unturned.
We have yet to conduct a negotiation where our client didn’t see a real progression from initial offer to a signed deal. That’s real peace of mind. We enjoy nothing more than seeing our clients maximize their lifestyles with favorable employment packages. If you’re at a point in your career where it’s time to make the leap to a thoroughly negotiation deal, we encourage you to get in touch and tell us a little about your situation.