I pull in millions in sales. How do I negotiate a raise?

Nine To Five: Special to The Globe and Mail, Published Sunday, June 16. 2013

The Question

I have been happily employed for more than 10 years as the only salesperson for a family-owned manufacturing business. I bring in about 20 per cent of the total annual sales volume and have brought in about $16-million in sales in 10 years.

First, I was on commission. But six years ago, out of my own initiative, my role expanded to include marketing and promotions. During this time, I successfully re-branded the company.

I made a proposal to be on salary because I needed the security of a fixed income.

I have a young family and am a single parent. They agreed, and at the time, this was a win-win for both myself and my employer.

The company doesn’t have a formal human resources department or policies regarding salary increases. In the past five years they laid off employees, cut costs and made changes to be more profitable. But now, business is good.

But I have not had a bonus, or salary or cost of living increase in the past six years. This is demoralizing and financially difficult.

My value to the company has been proven, I have been approached by competitors, but I do not want to leave. I work predominately from home, and I enjoy what I do. Any strategies to get a raise?

The Answer

The best way to get a raise if it is not offered is to ask for it. Always enter into negotiations knowing what you want and prepare, prepare, prepare. Research the industry standard for your position at your seniority level to ascertain how much you should be asking for.

Arrange a meeting with your boss to discus your pay increase. Tell your boss you are asking

for the raise because of the accomplishments and contributions you have made, and the additional responsibilities you have taken on.

Present a report documenting your goals and achievements over the past six years and how that’s helped the company. Document cost savings, customer relations, business development, days of absenteeism, and contributions you have made over and above your job description. Include all the results you have generated with dollar amounts, percentages and the unit amounts sold.

It is up to you to suggest a percentage or dollar increase. Start a bit high as you can be sure the company will counter with something lower.

Be prepared to negotiate. Consider asking for non-taxable benefits in place of a salary increase if they balk at a monetary increase. More vacation time, increase in mileage, time in lieu, educational support, and scholarships for your children are a few common negotiable items.

If you get turned down, ask your boss what you need to do to qualify for the highest possible pay raises and bonuses in the future. Ideally, revisit your request in three months.