A 2013 study from the Columbia Business School found that the best way to ask for a salary raise is by using an exact number — also called an anchor — rather than a round number (e.g., asking for $40,550 instead of $40,000). Employees who use a precise amount look like they have done more research into their market value, according to the paper’s lead author Malia Mason.
One experiment had 130 participants negotiate the price of a used car. The participants who used round anchors paid an average of $2,963 more than their initial offer, compared to those who used a precise anchor, who spent an average of only $2,256 more.
Mason says that employees should start negotiating with a high number that is not round. Someone who asks for $55,650 might get $55,000, whereas a request for $56,000 is more likely to get talked down to $50,000.
“We often think a higher anchor is the way to go,” she said. “But you risk upsetting people if you’re too extreme. We found that you could be less extreme if you were precise and still do better in the end.”
Another reason this trick might work is that people inherently like round numbers. They will probably round down to the nearest even number. Just adding a few extra digits at the end of your offer can put an extra hundred or even thousands of bucks in your pocket.
Negotiating your salary is something you should always do when getting a new job. It doesn’t matter if you’re fresh out of college and just started a role as a barista. It’s an important skill to master, and it all starts with just trying. Remember that the worst thing you can hear is “no.”
Feel free to try any other tricks that may work for you. Also, remember to practice. If it took you two hours to practice a salary negotiation and you gained an extra $2,000 from it, you effectively earned $1,000 an hour! It’s always worth it to practice and ask.