Why do you get the smaller office or pay more for certain things—cars are the most prominent example—than do those on the planet with a little more testosterone? You may earn less than the men in your office who do similar work because the women who came before you earned less. You may pay more on a new car than a man pays because the woman who came before you paid more. Biases like these can be fought. But you have to be willing to fight them.
Know What You Are Contributing to the Bottom Line
If you're asking for money, point out to the boss how you've made money for the company, saved money for the company, or contributed something that has led to the advancement of everybody around you. If you're buying something, point out to the salesman how much of a profit he stands to make on this car or this house. And do both without one drop of apology in your voice. Do not start with, "I know the company has had a tough year," or "You may not be able to do this, but I thought I'd ask." That's not how men do it. They believe they deserve more money (or a better deal), so they walk in the door assuming they'll get what they're asking for. Not surprisingly, they often do.
Give a Little to Get a Little
I have received the best deals—on both purchases and salaries—when I stopped behaving like a bulldog and started listening to what the person on the other side of the transaction needed to make a deal happen for me. In the case of the car, I had a number in my head—a monthly payment—I wanted to hit. The salesman couldn't do it on a new car coming off the lot. He tried. We ran the numbers several different ways, with his financing choices and the financing I brought in my back pocket. Finally, I just opened the window and asked: Is there any way you could make this work? He left the room. He came back. And when he did he said, "How about a demo? I have a six-month-old demo. I can give you the full warranty, and I can come in below your number." I took a look. It had 6,000 miles on it and was in perfect condition. Done deal. Likewise, in previous job negotiations, I've promised employers things I knew they could take to the bank in exchange for a greater salary up front or for other things I valued, such as an options package and more flexibility to work from home.
Be Willing To Do Things Others Are Not
Take traveling for business as an example. It's a considerable strain so it's not something that everyone is willing to do. But it is something that can get you paid more handsomely. The same is true of working evenings, weekends, early mornings, or at far-flung locales. And the same is true of buying a car in a particular color that isn't moving quickly off the lot or with a package of options that hasn't proven to be especially popular.
Stop Making Lateral Moves
Lastly, and this has everything to do with job choice and selection rather than negotiation, if you want to be paid more, it's time to stop making lateral moves. You may be unhappy for a whole host of reasons, but you have to understand that men don't leave a job simply to get out, as women tend to do. When men get out, they move up. You need to do the same.
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