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The Knack: How to get a pay-rise, by Richard Denny

When asking for a pay-rise, one has to accept that it is a sales process. You must persuade your employer that it is in their interest to pay you more. But you should be looking to see what you put into the organisation before you ask or more out of it. Ask yourself: do I do more than is expected? Am I reliable? Am I indispensable? If you're all of these, you're in a position of strength and getting a pay-rise will be easy.

Good employers will recognise these qualities and not put you in the position of having to ask. But if you have to, there are ways of doing so. Never threaten to leave. This puts your employer into a corner and they may react negatively. Definitely don't ask at a time when the company's under financial pressure or going through a down-turn, it will look as though you have no interest in its survival. The best time to ask is if it's doing well, or even better, when your boss has just had a pay-rise. Any discussion must be face-to-face. Fix up a time with your boss and say that you want to talk about money and the future. You can offer to put it in writing afterwards, giving the reasons why you deserve a pay-rise, and always ask for a decision date. The best approach is when the employee says to their employer: this is what I'm doing, this is my contribution, and I'm prepared to do more and more to make the company successful, and it seems fair that if the company does better, we should all do a little better, too.Fiona McClymont

Richard Denny is the author of "Selling To Win" and "Succeed For Yourself" and is the head of the Richard Denny business- training organisation (01608 651597)