How to negotiate your best rate.
5 top tips for increasing your earnings (part 2)
So you want to increase your rate, you feel you deserve it, but you’re not quite sure how to go about it successfully. It’s a common situation.
In the last article, we saw the importance of doing your research before any rate negotiations and we saw how starting those discussions with your Maximum Plausible Position improves your chances of getting a favourable end-result.
Now we will look at three more tips that will really boost your rates that bit further.
Tip 3. Increase your value
Naturally, the higher your value to the practice, the higher rate you can command.
So, do you have an MRCGP qualification? Do you have a GPSI, especially in an area where they are looking for expertise or hold a regular clinic?
Do you have an example of some really great feedback from a patient or another practice? A testimonial? These things will boost your bargaining power. It is worth considering yourself as a business and looking to get testimonials. Do you have a website, it doesn’t have to be anything amazing, or a Linkedin profile? Recruiters will use these to validate you and you will come across as a more substantial operator.
If you don’t have any of these, consider investing in them.
And make sure whenever you do work at a practice that you do a good job and you leave a good name. It will make the next negotiation so much easier. If you were friendly, did your job well, arrived early, kept your appointments to time, helped out more than expected and so on, they will be happy to pay you a little more the next time a job comes up on offer.
And reputation counts for more than just going back to the same practice. Most of your postings are likely to be in a particular catchment area and, be assured, the practice managers in that area talk! So your reputation can guarantee you work for life at top rates or it can mean you never work in town again.
Tip 4. Be creative
We are talking about rates but negotiations are never one-dimensional, there are always other factors that come into play.
For example, you might be willing to accept a lower rate if it is a longer term position, or if it is strategically interesting or if they will pay for training. Or if the sessions suit your lifestyle or enable you to do out of hours work on top.
Alternatively, if you worked there before and you were expected to work much longer than the normal session hours, you may want to charge extra. Or include penalty clauses if you often found yourself chasing up late payments.
Or maybe there is room for negotiation in your agent’s commission. If you have been a reliable source of income for him for a while, it may be time that he reduces his cut.
Negotiation is a highly creative process; successful negotiators always look for solutions beyond the obvious.
They look for win-win solutions. The practice has a problem that you can solve, you have a problem that they can solve, work together so everyone is happy.
And always, always, be gracious in your negotiation. This is not a battle, you will want to work with them again.
Tip 5. Get help
These tips should help a lot but negotiations are complicated things and no two situations are ever the same. There is so much more to the world of negotiation than can be covered fully by just these bullet points.
Now, if your patients are ill, they go to a doctor for expert advice. Similarly, with negotiations, it is worthwhile getting help from an expert.
If you are a highly skilled negotiator, that is fine. But most locum doctors focus more on their clinical practice, quite rightly, than the subsidiary skills such as negotiation. They will spend years training and developing their medical skills and knowledge, but they never receive training on negotiation and so, naturally, will not necessarily feel comfortable in such discussions.
So it can be worthwhile getting the help from someone who has spent years training in this area. And the maths can be quite simple. If that expert charges £250 for a consultation which results in you earning another £2k that year – it’s a no-brainer really.
So, to summarise:
- Tip 1. Do your research
- Tip 2. Ask high
- Tip 3. Increase your value
- Tip 4. Be creative
- Tip 5. Get help
I hope the tips in these two articles are of help to you. Wishing you the best of luck in your negotiations.
Simon Horton Bio
Simon Horton is a Negotiation Skills expert, having taught hostage negotiators, solicitors at some of the most prestigious law firms in the world and several FTSE 100 companies. He is a Visiting Lecturer at Imperial College, University of London, and has advised many SME’s and individual freelance professionals.