When you’re negotiating your salary, vague ideas like what you’re “worth” can seem overwhelming. This briefcase technique can help quantify your value and get a better salary. As personal finance advisor and author Ramit Sethi explains in the video above, the briefcase technique works like this: When a potential employer (or client, if you’re a freelancer) asks what you believe your salary or price should be, change gears. Say, “Before we get into that, I wanted to talk about this plan I have for your company.” Then, pull from your briefcase a written document detailing the things you believe you can bring to the company.
This technique is singularly unique for a few reasons. For starters, most other candidates probably aren’t going to put forth that much effort into solving a company’s problems before they even work there. Secondly, it demonstrates you understand the company’s needs already. Side note: you’ll need to do your homework to make sure you understand the company’s needs. This isn’t a quick trick to suddenly get a bigger salary. It requires effort.
Once you’ve put forth your plan, you’ve established tangible value that you can bring to the company. At this point, you’re in a much stronger negotiating position to name a price. You can name a price range to anchor yourself to if you’re confident enough, or you can allow your employer to make an offer. Either way, having the proof on hand makes your ability to negotiate much easier.