2 years ago
September 29, 2022

When Is the Ideal Time to Negotiate Salary During A Sales Job Interview?

According to our sales headhunters, timing is very important in negotiating. There are bad times, good times, and even better times to make strategic moves. In sales, it’s very important…

Brandon Biafore Sales Recruiter
Brandon Biafore

According to our sales headhunters, timing is very important in negotiating. There are bad times, good times, and even better times to make strategic moves. In sales, it’s very important to read your clients and understand the optimal times to try to close a deal. The same is true when it comes to negotiating salary during a sales job interview. 

If you start talking about salary too early in the conversation, you could give the impression that money is your main motivation. If you wait too long, you could lose some leverage in the negotiation. So, our sales recruiters identify 3 ideal times to negotiate. 

1. Don’t ask too early in the process – hold off until the second sales job interview

Most of us already know not to mention salary during the first interaction, whether over the phone or via email. Our sales recruiters do not recommend for sales professionals to ask about compensation during the first interview. 

All sales recruiters will tell you the second interview is regarded as an acceptable time to talk about salary. By this time, you will have had the opportunity to communicate why you are a top candidate. There will also be interest from both parties. 

But, if the employer breaches the topic, then it’s safe to proceed. Ideally, the employer will talk about the salary range first, before you tell them what salary level you want. 

Regardless of when the salary negotiation process begins, you need to be prepared. This means doing your research, understanding the average ranges in the sales industry, and having a number in mind of what you want and a walkaway number. You never know, an employer could surprise you and start up the salary conversation at any time. So, be ready for it. 

2. Read the room – approach the salary question strategically

Even if you are in the second interview, you need to be strategic about when you start talking about money. It’s essential to get a sense of how the employer feels about you. Are they talking about “when” you will work for them instead of “if.” Do you think the company is a good fit for you and somewhere you want to work? Sales recruiters say if the time feels right, then you can bring up the topic. But, it’s still best for the employer to start the conversation. 

two people shaking hands

3. Should you negotiate a salary if you are happy with the offer?

We know there may be instances when a company makes you a great offer. They make an offer that is really close to what you want. So, should you still negotiate? It depends. If you are happy, why prolong the process? But on the other hand, are you leaving money on the table? Do you have leverage? It’s something all sales professionals need to think about. No two situations are the same. 

Having watched a lot of negotiations in our 25 years as a sales recruitment agency, we know salary negotiation can be a delicate dance. Do your best to keep your compensation requirements to yourself until the employer asks about it. If you plan to bring up the topic, wait until you’ve had a chance to feel out the situation and strike when the time is right. 

Get more tips from our sales recruiters

“What Are Your Salary Requirements?” What to Say When a Recruiter Asks This Question

Is Your Sales Commission No Longer Competitive? 5 Ways to Make It More Appealing

How to Get a Sales Job That Pays More – 4 Job Hunting Tips

SalesForce Search is a sales recruitment agency that specializes in hiring sales rockstars. Hiring top salespeople is tough. Only 55% meet their quota. Our proactive approach recruits talented salespeople before they hit the market. As North America’s leading sales headhunter we recruit salespeople in every sector of the economy including, software, manufacturing, financial services and medical devices. To find your next sales rockstar, start your search here.

Brandon Biafore Sales Recruiter

Brandon Biafore

With a background successfully leading sales teams (overseeing training & development, driving sales & revenue, and ensuring delivery of exceptional customer service while executing cost control), Brandon is a sales recruiter with a solid understanding of what it takes to succeed in sales leadership role, as well as the challenges faced by hiring managers in finding top sales talent.