In such an increasingly competitive market, knowing your worth is having an edge. Part of surviving such a dog-eat-dog world is to learn how to negotiate — particularly for a higher pay.

Much to everyone’s surprise, an employer’s primary offer is never their best. So knowing how to negotiate a higher salary is actually a sign of a confident, empowered and skilled employee who embraces growth.

Like everything else in this world, there’s a certified way of approaching this and coming out successful. So if you want a fatter paycheck by the end of the month, better pay attention.

Do your research

No sir, you’re not going to barge into your boss’ office and pull off a Jerry Maguire. Before anything else, do your research. How much are you worth now? Your basic pay could be more than how much your job description was worth years ago. Collect your ammo before you start shooting numbers.

Come up with a precise number

A study recently conducted in Columbia Business School states that a precise number makes for a powerful negotiation. So if you’re going to talk numbers, really talk numbers. Try replacing a few zero and going from $50,000 to $53, 500.

When you give the other party an exact number, it gives him/her an impression that you did your research.

Be silent

Certain times, the other party does more of the talking. When s/he drops an offer, be silent. That moment of silence will likely come off to the other party as a sign of dissatisfaction. After that second of silence, repeat the offer and fall back into silence.

This Chapman method works because they come back with a higher offer in order to break that silence. If they don’t speak, counter them with another offer, one that you researched about. Like what’s mentioned above, give a precise number.

Send an email first

Studies have shown that salary negotiations impulsively done face-to-face usually ends with the more powerful person winning. Since you want to get the best price for your services, start by sending a very well-composed email.

This gives you the opportunity to thoroughly think about what you’re telling your superior. Plus, you don’t leave out anything essential. Just make sure you get straight to the point. Managers hate it when employees beat around the bush.

Make steady eye contact

If you do find yourself meeting the other party in person and discussing the subject, maintain steady eye contact. You have to show them that you are determined to walk out of this room with a higher salary, no more no less.

Don’t fidget. Allow your body language to back you up. You don’t want your employer to see that you are obviously anxious and nervous.

Sell yourself like you’re applying for a job

Your company already knows you’re an asset. Now that you’re asking for a higher price, you might want to try and remind them how much you’ve done for your company and what else you plan on doing for them.

Sure they have budget constraints and other things they need to invest their dollars on but tell them of the advantages the company will receive upon granting your desire for a higher pay.

Open up a bit

Share a few personal stories or details, perhaps tell him/her about how your father was laid off and you are now officially, the breadwinner of the family.

This is not to make them feel guilty. Opening up a bit to your employer shows that you are trustworthy and in turn, s/he would be more at ease and empathize with you as well.

Be flexible

Incentives go beyond having a higher salary. Often employees don’t get the exact amount of increase they wanted in the first place but that shouldn’t stop you from receiving extra credit.

Request for other things, like a four-day work week consisting of ten hours a day, an extra week of vacation leave, increased transit allowance, extra bonus or even your own personal office. Sure you might not have gotten the ideal higher pay you initially desired but hey, you’re bound to get more.