This show features Bethany Williams, executive, author, and mentor. She’s with us to talk about that uncomfortable conversation: asking for a raise. At one point Bethany found herself a single mom struggling to provide for her children. Slowly but surely, she’s built herself into a executive and part-owner of a business. She brought her own salary up to six figure and along the way developed a technique for improving your chances at getting a raise. She shares that with us today.
On YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=STqc-TzPSEw
John: This is The John and Jani Show; we are back with our third episode, thanks for being with us. I am your host John Khoury, founder of liquic.com, an online therapist directory and author of a new book Quanology: Evolution & You, hopefully coming out this fall. Okay, with me, as always, is Jani Moon.
Jani: Hello; hello it’s excited to be here as always John. I am a Media Coach here in New York City and making you a star in your life and in the media.
John: Yes, she is and thanks for being here Jani, so yes the show is all about cool people doing cool things , we are really excited each time so far to have some cool guests on air . We have done some interesting things and we are going to share it with you guys, how to do those interesting things and today’s’ guest is Bethany Williams.
Bethany is a business executive and author, straight-out of Houston Texas; she is here to tell us how to do that uncomfortable conversation that comes up ever so often, how to get a pay raise. Let’s take a look at her book; she has written couple books. CEO of YOU: Manage Your Career and Earnings for Guaranteed Success , I just bought that today
Jani: CEO of You, we have Brand YOU: The Art of Packaging and Marketing You or Your Business to the Market ,Live Your Dreams (Winning Strategies) ,all excellent; excellent book and I think she has another one coming out, we have to ask her about.
John: We will ask her about that but today specifically, we are going to ask her about getting a pay raise, from what
Jani: It’s awesome because we all need to be asking for more money; more money; more money, right?
John: Yes, I think that’s kind of like the general trend people are talking about, is that people aren’t getting paid enough and everybody’s is talking about minimum wages and how to raise that up and so the federal government comes in but if you are making decent salary, it will still feel like you need a little bit more and you see people around you getting more, how are going to take charge of that?
So, Bethany story sounds pretty good, she got divorced at some point and had to deal with the kids on her own and from what I understand, it was a very tough time for her but she managed to pull herself together, pull-up her own boot straps, shall we say and she is doing quite well for herself right now, an executive with a company in Texas and she is coaching people and mentoring people and how to really take charge of their careers, so let’s have her on, shall we?
John: Bethany, is that Jani doing that? Bethany welcome
Jani: We can’t hear you
John: Wait, why is she muted, do you hear us now?
Jani: She has her mute button on
John: Come on
Bethany: Can you hear me, I am so sorry
John: Now we can hear you
Bethany: Thanks for having me on your show.
John: Thanks for being here on the show, so Bethany takes us back to that, I guess we could start with that, when this all started for you because, I mean I have the experience and I think this is a big theme for a lot of people is that, real change happens when you are really in a lot of pain, when you are at the bottom and when you are having a tough time, that’s when thing really start to change in your life. When everything is coasting, it’s hard to change, right?
Bethany: Yes, why we get, most of us get comfortable and we don’t like to rock the boat and so most of us are sitting kind of complacent until we are forced to and actually ,yes my husband left me when I had a two year old and had children to, I had child to raise and was broke. I wasn’t making enough money
Jani: I have read some of the stories of poverty, what was some of the jokes around, tell us some of those stories.
Bethany: I had to live on $35 a week at one point for food and so I decided to tell my daughter when she was about 4 or 5. I told her we was a vegetarian because it was so much cheaper to buy pasta and she was a really; really smart kid and one time when we were out for dinner and someone else was paying the bill I ordered a giant steak and I was so ready for that like juicy steak and she leans over in front of the table, full of people at this dinner and said ‘Mom, I thought we were vegetarians’.
John: So, you joked about that but that must have been pretty tough, right?
Bethany: It was a painful time; it was a difficult time, a difficult one
John: I mean Bethany; you really did feel like something’s had to be different in your life, I mean did you see a way out of all this?
Bethany: At the time, I was so frustrated they were hiring new people at a rate higher than I was making and I didn’t really see a way out. I saw, felt more panic that I wasn’t going to be able to pay my rent and I could end up, you know out on the streets and so it was more out of fear because, you know women, we ask 4 times less than the men do. So just by nature, we are less likely to ask for a raise.
Jani: Why do you think that is?
Bethany: I think that we get comfortable or a little more compassionate; I talk to a lot of women that say ‘you know, I don’t think that the companies has it and, you know I don’t want to put them out’ and then I talked to other people in similar roles that are going ‘the companies has to have it but I am working hard, I am making them money and they need to pay me’
So, it’s definitely a different pattern of thought and different people land even the men, some of them land that, I feel sorry for the company.
John: That’s true, so I think woman just of course or by nature more caring and more giving and I think when you are giving, you are trying to take care of somebody, trying to take care of your company, is it that your baby to take care of and the last thing you want to do is take from that. And there is definitely some overlap with men I know too, the last thing they would think of is to ask for a raise or something like that, so I think
Bethany: Right, it’s really not always gender basis, just this personality type that says you care more about the company and you are more concerned for them
John: Very loyal
Bethany: Yes, very loyal, very dedicated, they are usually the people that are getting their work done. They are not networking as much, they are not keeping track of their successes and they are not keeping their eyes on the market and what the markets paying and I fell right into that
John: And this is a big mistake, you are saying right?
Bethany: It can be a very big mistake because you do not want to be, way below your market value because companies consider what you are paid, what you are worth and so if you are not making much, they don’t think you are worth very much and so your next job, you will be paid less.
John: But how does your next job know how much you are making?
Bethany: They ask you
Jani: How much would you say?
John: And you tell them? It’s all right Jani
Jani: But geeks, John and I let’s talk to each other
John: But you tell them when somebody ask you, okay all much do you make in your last job, of course I am a freelancer so I go around from one place to another and they ask you what is your rate for your last job and of course I learned to say, you know none of your business or you just say, you know this is what I want, that’s that.
Bethany: I coach people to not say the numbers if they can help but I coach to them to say ‘I wouldn’t leave this job for less than X because you are 10 years worth something, the type of role you have, how confident you are where you are, the benefits and so I try to get them to get away from I don’t encourage lying and I try to get them away from talking those type of numbers, so what would it take for you to leave? And maybe it would take twice your salary because; you are so comfortable in the job you are at.
Bethany: What I found that when I was in the negotiating when I finally actually get the balls together to go negotiate was I realized my peers were making three times what I was making,
John: oh, my God
Bethany: And until I found that somebody actually left a paid stub out on the copier, they were making copies because they were getting a home loan and I found out this was years ago, I found out how much they were making, I went into the bathroom and cried I am sitting there going I can’t buy food and this asshole, who got hired last week, that doesn’t know much as I know is making three times more than what I am making and I got angry and then I used to that anger to, obviously I didn’t go to angry but I started negotiating from there. I started looking at the market, seeing what my skills were worth and realized how far I have falling below my market value.
John: This work for you then, so you went in there and you said this is what, so how did that conversation go?
Bethany: Well actually, it didn’t work the first time, I got a no and one of the things I find is people say no as a stop sign rather than as speed bum and so we stand out and see, oh we have tried it, uh didn’t work unfortunately, you know it takes sometimes more than one ask and it takes a commitment to getting yourself higher paid, so now I think I have to ask three times before I got the raise I needed.
Jani: And it worked well because you have gone from a, you know poorer mom living in poverty to making like 6 figures kicking ass, right so it’s like you found the right formula?
Bethany: I have found the right formula, I realized that my “loyal to a fault, I am never going to leave”, perspective was keeping me from being paid and we have to risk a little bit, we have to be willing to throw our hands into the air and apply for another role and maybe even take a job somewhere else and if it means, I mean, I really see a few people say all right “if you could be making twice as much money across town working for a different company, would you take it? And they go of course, I would but they are not going through the steps to try to get themselves there
John: So, okay what was the difference between the first, second, third talk with your boss?
Bethany: That’s a good question; that’s a good question, so the first one I wasn’t prepared, I had no background, no info. I just knew I was ticked off.
Bethany: so, it kind of went like this ‘hi thank you, I was wanting to talk to you about my pay and I would like a raise.’
John: You got it, they actually say they will give it to you but it didn’t work well? No
Bethany: My second one was a little, what?
Jani: Bethany is going to be our bosses, you are right
John: I would be out of business, ladies.
Bethany: My second one was a little more like, I have been here for five years, I have worked hard and I have been promoted four times and I love working here enjoying my job and unfortunately I have falling below my market value.
John: So, you added some ammunition there, you were really talking about what step you would take
Bethany: Yes, I had a little bit of ammunition
John: Steps you were taking, you didn’t have another job lined up or anything?
Bethany: No; no exit policy
Bethany: It was whipping them with a wet noodle, what the hell they were going to do, right thanks for playing.
Jani: But what was there, what was their combination that worked?
Bethany: The combination that worked for me was I actually had to interview for some other jobs to find out what my market value was and the combination that worked for me was this, I have been here for several years, I loves this job as I said previous I am below my market value, I have a family to support and as much as I love working here I have to make what I can make with my skills, so as unfortunately I have received another offer and if you can’t change my salary I am going to have to take it, and I was perfectly ready to walk.
Jani: you made, that’s when you gave them the ultimatum, they give you a raise?
Bethany: they have, amazing
Jane: There is a way to do it without that ultimatum?
Bethany: If one and two works go for it, if it just works you out asking you will get it or you have done your research and you got that, I think that’s wonderful, it hasn’t always worked for the people I coached.
John: Well one thing I kind of realize in the corporate world is that their policies now in place, you would say talking about these other guys have three times your salary but isn’t that kind of like categorailly companies don’t do that anymore? They have salary scale all in place or that they are ready for it, when somebody comes in there that you can’t exceed a certain limit in order you can’t
Bethany: People like to think that, but we loved the secret
John: is that true; it’s not true
Jani: You are a man; you are living in a man’s world John Khoury.
John: Is this bullshit?
Bethany: Of course there is always these little lines that we believed, I was once hired in a role, I will give you an example. I was once hired in a role, very large company that have over 10,000 employees and four of us were hired at the same time, three of them were put into one job code and I was put in a different job code and I was put in the wrong salary and I wrote over 30 notes to Human Resources saying ‘I was paid at the wrong rate, this isn’t what I negotiated and I could not get in the right job code because they did not want to pay me that salary.
John: But they just wouldn’t switch the job code for you?
Bethany: They wouldn’t switch the job code, so the way they, when they are very structured, the way that they control your salary is through job classification, job codes.
Bethany: The minute they change you to a different job code, you have a different salary range, so the people they can hire new people in doing the same work you are doing and put them into a different job code.
Jani: I, ya, I, hey, so with practice, so John and I are going to ask you for a raise and you tell us
John: I hope not
Jani: You did a better job, John you go first
John: Cut! Jani we are not talking about this.
Jani: Yes we did only it is good coaching in action, come on okay you are our boss talking.
Bethany: Wait, I will give you your tips, you want to start with your history , okay start with quantifiable reason why it is justified, what have you been able to do for them, it’s not about your personal situation but one time I asked for a raise because my daughter needed braces, and that it didn’t work out.
John: Not like that.
Bethany: So, number one it’s about you, number two is about where are you in the market, are you right on target, are you a little below, where are you if you market and analyze your skills and then three you want to talk about any quantifiable benefits you have given the company and then ask
Bethany: Straight up ask and don’t be ambiguous, I want a raise, a given amount, I want a 20% raise , I want X amount , I am expecting Y.
Jani: Okay, I am nervous John, you get to go first.
John: Yes, it’s your fault; you did this, so I am; I will go first
Jani: You first, you are man, you lead.
John: I recently just had to do this, because I just, I am working with one company now and I got another offer from another company, so I am actually taking it and you have got to talk about rates, okay what you are going to charge and I worked in IT freelancing, so I’d be, I’ve got 15 years experience in all this. The market rate let’s say 85, I am going in lower than that and I have got great references, the last 15 years everybody has been totally happy, every time I come in for a job for a couple months but they keep me on for years, so let’s do this. So I am your man, this is the Ray, if I am going to ladies this has to be the way.
John: well is, at the time or is that?
Jani: You are such role-play with her
Bethany: I would say that is pretty good, I would say something like, I am John and I have been delivering amazing IT support for over 15 years, 100% of the customer that has dealt with me, want to continue doing business with me. Not only do I deliver amazing support and 100% customer retention but I do it at a market value, I am doing it below market value actually and so I need to be paid for my services.
You could pay a lesser amount to someone else or even a greater amount to someone else but you are not going to get the same service and the same dedication, and the same commitment. You are making a business case, you see what I mean?
John: Yes; yes
Bethany: And the confidence you have will come out, and so that’s the other thing I did wrong the first few times, is I kind of have this lack of confidence
John: Yes, I saw that
Bethany: You see the difference, I was saying
John: Yes, I saw you in that first and you personally and you explained it the first time but I can imagine that confidence built, you know after the third time you are in there that you get to feel a little more confident, right?
Bethany: I don’t think my confidence built until I interview with a few places, now like what, you do
Jani: Bethany I think we should let John do it again; do it again with more confidence.
John: Alright, here we go, alright so I put myself on, now I put myself on
Jani: You got to say after me, you got to say
John: Here, we go
John: Oh, Bethany
Jani: she is a
John: Seriously Bethany, I will definitely take this job but I am going to need 80 Euros an hour to do this, I am in Europe by the way; I am going to need 80euros by the way to do this, you know every other place is going to ask you for 85 but I have been doing this for 15 years now.
Everybody I have ever been with is tremendously satisfied with my work, so I got a good job going right now, if you want me you have to pay that rate to get me in there. I am afraid, except I am afraid I shouldn’t said that.
Bethany: Yes, I like it but I would end with something like and I would be excited to be a part, you know identify something very positive. I like it.
John: As long as you mentioned something that you said that I loved working for this company, it’s not like this is a rat-hole or whatever, it is a shelved company and you guys are too lucky to have me, you will explain how much you like working there, I am sure they want to hear that too.
Jani: Yes, I thinks its balance between confidence and like your excitement to work for this place.
Bethany: Companies want people that are not only dedicated but they are a part of a team.
Bethany: That are going to go, you know they feel a bond, a connection to you.
John: Right, okay Jani you are up
Bethany: I think that’s good, I think they would think that, I still don’t understand why if the markets paying 85 years old, why you wouldn’t ask for 85.
John: You know that is a great question; you know that it is absolutely a great question. I just wanted to see, oh I just screwed up, and oh I just want
Bethany: Oh, you start there; you start because I immediately think why would you worth less than the market, its okay if you take less than the market.
Bethany: I would expect you to ask, what the market is
John: Yes because you also want to show that you are worth it, you know
Bethany: Yes I would show that I
John: But I do have a history, that’s kind of a problem
Bethany: Then I would say maybe for a guaranteed number of hours ,then maybe you would go down ; maybe you are looking for certain commitments, so and if you do X numbers of hours for you I would offer you $80 an hour because it’s an guaranteed hour. I mean I don’t know, I would start with the market value.
John: Yes, unfortunately I have a
Bethany: What you have to lose?
John: I got a history unfortunately I started way lower than that and I have worked my way up over the years with this one same company. So, I can’t go in and not and talk numbers because they know exactly what they paid me before but you are right, you can be excused
Bethany: You can talk numbers; most people won’t just say no, they will negotiate you down
Jani: So I might as well talk to you
John: Don’t tape that on camera
Bethany: Yes don’t put that on the camera
John: Okay Jani, you are up next
Jani: I got to start it, okay
John: Now I am putting you on there, go
Jani: This is hard, but all right Bethany hi, so listen I have been working for this company for the last 10 years, you know the value I bring. I have 100% client retention, I bought clients in; clients in, as our clients because of me, they specifically ask for me. I feel really proud that I’ve been able to offer, you know this to the company. I love this company, you know how much I love this company but I am way under market value, I am 40% under market value and that is not okay, not anymore.
I am, something has to happen, I have wait too long and I have done too much for you guys that, you know I need to be getting paid what my market value is and what I have been offering this company because I want to stay here, I love it.
John: Bethany back to you
Bethany: And so, I am requesting a, what are you asking for, what you ask?
Jani: $1 million
Bethany: Pretend you are a teenager, right you are going to ask for money and you are going to get less than you asked for, so oh look she turns beet red
Jani: I know
John: We will put that; we will put that in for you
Jani: I don’t know what, so I would like a 30% increase; I would love a 30% increase, is that doable?
John: Are you asking her if that is doable or you are asking her as a role player?
Bethany: I think that’s perfect; I think that’s perfect then pause because what we do wrong is keep talking.
John: Yes; yes
Bethany: And we almost talked them out of it, when they don’t say anything we say, oh okay you probably can’t do it, like we answer for them don’t do that, let them answer.
Jani: That is great
John: Is it better to put people on the spot or are we using price attack, what about an e-mail to want them up?
Bethany: I like to have a face-to-face conversation and if they have to get back to you it’s fine. I’d like to have a face-to-face conversation, I like to see what they are looking like, I love to read their facial expressions.
John: How much have you done this Bethany?
Bethany: I have done it a lot; I have been in business for 27 years.
John: Because I see it’s time to look like, you know, so you have a very confident look there, it itself might be an asset.
Bethany: you have to be, if you don’t feel confident you’ve got to fake it until you feel confident, you know what I find that really helps that we don’t do John is I bet you have a bunch of successful things that you have done, and I bet if you printed some of those out and put it in a folder and look through it right before you have this discussion, all of those examples of the amazing things that you have done that you have done in your head.
Bethany: Because you are talented, you discredit the things that are amazing. I just hired an IT guy in Connecticut to consult for our company and it is really young, is just like out of school I mean he is young but he is good at what he does and it doesn’t matter to me, how much we pay him because he can get it done so fast and he can solve customer problems like that, so think talent, not years.
So think talent and skills, do you think the guy from Apple, you think the guy that started Apple, do you think he was worth the same as one of the engineers?
John: No, so you did say that talent is something more important than years, is that what you bring in is that what you are explaining to us right now?
Bethany: I think talent is a consideration, I believe that everybody from the day they were born, born with some skill sets that makes you completely unique and in that skill set, you can outperform your peers way out perform, and it would if you believed, I have worked for Ross Peru , and if you believe what Ross Peru says, that this skill would have shown up in elementary school, so tell me something from your elementary school days that you knew, you were going to be a technology genius?
John: I am in the wrong line of work, making it as an IT guy, I came in, no I am not joking. I get paid well which is like a graceful faith for me, I am proud of that and I definitely agree about what you said, about like I don’t want to put on myself, about your, first of all building up that confidence, which is like list of accomplishment because I also think that they are stupid in some ways but a lot of them are really nice and impressive but I actually have worked my way up to a very decent salary level, top salary level out of my peer group, just by a lot of these conversation and now I can even do them better but my real talent probably why everyone else but it is not rocket science and so I’d probably done , I’ve done okay
John: What’s that?
Jani: Bethany we have to go but can you give us any last parting words or wisdom to get the money, more money that we deserve?
Bethany: Absolutely they are not going to bring it to you, you have to ask, as uncomfortable as it is, if you practise in the mirror or practise aloud while Jani or John talking it’s going to be a lot easier, you just have to ask you; you will be surprised what happens.
Jani: Yeah, Bethany Williams go get her books.
John: Yes check out her books, thanks Bethany for being on the show, we have learned a lot today, I have learned a little bit and I did not want to stop but thanks for being with us, you are a busy lady we will catch you next time.
Jani: How can people get in touch with you?
John: And pick up her books on Amazon she is on that too.
Jani: Yeah, thank you so much.
John: Thanks a lot, take care and we are back Jani and are you ready for your conversation, you hoping your boss is not watching this right.
Jani: I deserve a raise
John: It really good to surprise
Jani: I loved her tips, they were clear, like nuts and bolts, really clear tips and I thought it was funny how I can kind of fake it until the end, when I am asking for that dollar amount.
John: There is something, you are a Media Coach right, so you have done this with other people where you have to get in there to just rehearse this stupid itch, you have a pitch that you have to rehearse it and the first time it sucks and it gets better as it go along, right?
Jani: Yes practise makes perfect and its like she said, you got to know your worth and that’s the bigger issue here, is know that your worth, you know what your salary is giving back to you, so.
John: And the one big thing though that she said and I really saw and I could feel the change in kind of, is like energy of it all, is that third conversation she had, she already had some job offers lined up, she already talked to other people, so she was ready to roll but when push comes to shove and they don’t.
Jani: Yes, that’s a good enough point because they weren’t attached it was kind of like give it to me, I am going somewhere else.
Jani: So it was kind of desperate, she doesn’t have that desperate energy, so she is going to be way more confident, that’s a really good point. The big take away is practise, have other jobs lined up just in case.
Jani: Have a plan I guess, right
Jani: Right, know your worth, what is your big thing, your take away?
John: Crap, what was my take away, you just said that
John: The big thing for me is the numbers; it just really hit me, why did I ask for a lower number? Like I am also not trying to like rock the boat, you know and your dog has taught us a good lesson here, he threw up in the middle of this show…
Jani: I know
John: It shows us it’s uncomfortable but he feels better now.
Jani: I hope so
John: So you have to go through that uncomfortable bit, right?
Jani: You kidding me
John: Today is uncomfortable but, you know you going to enjoy. I have always hate it when I get on the phone and I have to ask for these raise or whatever and it sucks for that 20 minutes, half hour even a whole day maybe but then after that you made more money , you feel good about yourself.
Hani: Everybody deserves more money, hopefully you are out there listening and you are going to ask for that raise too.
Jani: Always a pleasure John
John: Jani thanks for being here, thanks for helping out, thanks for running this and listen, you want to put the music on or what?
John: We are not going to show your face bobbing anymore, okay that was it, thanks for the show, seeing I am taking the cover for you. Bye everybody, we are off, it stopping, I think we are off, it just stopping. Wait don’t say oh my god yet, it could be its still on, it says stopping.
Jani: Oh, it’s still on