How to bridge the salary gap for women of color

Women of color earn a lot less than men and are more likely to be perceived as aggressive if they ask for what they deserve

Women of color earn substantially less than white men over the course of a 40-year career.  Based on today’s wage gapLatinas career losses mount to $1 million, and for Black women losses are $840,040.

And the situation is even worse for women of color living in certain states. Compared to the earnings of white, non-Hispanic men, the lifetime wage gap would amount to more than $1 million for Asian women in one state, for Black women in nine states, for Native women in eight states, and for Latinas in 22 states.

To make matters worse, women of color face challenges when/if they try to bridge that gap through salary negotiations.  Jacqueline Twillie says: “Cultural expressions of women of color in regards tone inflection can sometimes be perceived as aggressiveness,”.

Allow me to recap:

  • Women earn less than men
  • Women of color earn a lot less than men
  • Women of color are more likely to be perceived as aggressive if they ask for what they deserve

My opinion on how to bridge the salary gap, and in some cases reverse it

  1. Build your confidence. Do your homework.  You must know the salary range that your qualifications command.  Do not rely on a google search.  Talk to people in the industry to validate your estimated range.
  2. Focus on what you can influence. That’s my nice way to say: “haters are going to hate“.  There isn’t much you can do about it.  So go unapologetically into the salary discussion, give it your best and forget about any potential bias.
  3. Aim high and use “an iron fist in a velvet glove”.  This is a great [edited] script from Ramona Ortega:  “I’m really excited to work at X, and I know that I will bring a lot of value. I have reviewed the offer letter, however, I am shooting for X based on my five years of experience in X. Based on my conversations with peers in similar roles and market research, the salary range for this position is X. I have full confidence I will exceed expectations and look forward to discussing this further.”
  4. Practice with white men.  The challenge about culture, is that some of it is so deep in our personality that we are unaware of it.  You do not know what you do not know.  Someone with a different cultural background, preferably similar to the hiring manager.
  5. Use the situation to your advantage.  Equal pay is omnipresent in the news.  Most hiring managers have heard about it.  Some hiring managers do not want to be on the wrong side of this.  Ask for more, these hiring managers will probably accept to pay a premium.

Let’s be proactive to solve this issue.  Share your success stories or learnings from your failures in comments.  That alone will contribute to bridging the salary gap

How to bargain like a CIA hostage negotiator

Set your target price as a nonround number, then offer 65, 85, 95, 100 percent

This is my first “how to” post. I dislike the “7 way to [insert trendy term here]” type of post. They do not seem authentic. You see them everywhere and most feel like a trick to get clicks.

What makes this post authentic? After 16 years in negotiation, this is one of the rare moment I thought to myself:  “This detailed cookie cutting approach makes sense to me”.  The Ackerman Group came up with this approach and I heard through Chris Voss.  So here it is:


  1. Set your target price as a nonround number.
  2. Anchor your counterpart at 65% of your target price. Still, use a nonround number.
  3. Follow with another offer of 85% of your target price. Again, use the nonround number.
  4. Offer 95% of your target price. Remember, nonround number.
  5. Best and final offer of your target price.  This is the most important time to use a nonround number.
  6. Never go above your target price. But, throw some nonmonetary value at the end.

It may sound simple but there is a lot of science behind. Even better it forces you to prepare and gives you a script for it.  Let’s unpack it:

  • Nonround numbers.  A price of $4,659 tells your counterpart that you have detailed calculations to support this offer.
  • It starts low but yet is reasonable.  It means you won’t get shut down with your initial ask
  • The closer you get to the target price, the smaller the concession.  It sends a subconscious message.  I am offering less and less because I have less and less to give. We are getting close to by best offer.
  • Stick to your best offer.  Do not deviate. Offer things that have little value to you and may or not have value for your counterpart.  The point is to show you are still in the discussion. Keep the discussion going.  It can only create more opportunities
  • No need for “tit-for-tat”.  In that scenario, you do not have to wait for a counteroffer before making another offer.  You are in control, you lead the negotiation.
  • Use empathy in between offers.  You most likely have to send some tough messages. Soften them.  Avoid irritating him or her.  Use phrases like “I know I am asking for a lot”, “Sorry I do not know how I could do that”.

Try it and share your experience in the comments section.


Every additional dollar you ask for is 50 cents in your pocket!

So simple, yet so meaningful. Let’s break this down. There are two sides to this sentence: an ask side and a get side.

“Every additional dollar you ask for is 50 cents in your pocket!”. A friend told me this was one of her favorite quotes related to negotiation. It was the first time I’d heard it, and I had to read it twice before it really hit me. So simple, yet so meaningful. Let’s break this down.  There are two sides to this sentence: an ask side and a get side.

Let’s break this down.  There are two sides to this sentence; an ask side and a get side Whatever you ask, it psychologically anchors other people.  There are techniques to reinforce the anchor, such as using precise numbers, but we’ll leave that for another post.

During my negotiation training, I would ask the participants to role play. 1 buyer and 1 seller.  The best predictor of the negotiation’s outcome was the first offer.  The more aggressive the first offer was, the better deal the buyer got.  You can make the explanation as complex as you want, but this is how it goes.

My simple way to look at it is that people are like sheep, we love to follow.  Therefore if a salesperson says a TV costs $2,000, chances are that you will ask to pay $1,900. What I am recommending is to ask for much more. You shouldn’t be embarrassed or scared to do it. Just know that the more you ask for the more you will get. And the worst case scenario is to hear “no”.

How to pay less on Airbnb?

I saved 50% on my family vacations in Hawaii. You can do too. This is how.

Let’s face it, Airbnb is not as cheap as it was used to be.  When I first booked an Airbnb it always felt like a great deal. Two bedrooms apartment in the West Village for a fraction of the price of a budget hotel.  But this is no longer the case.

So how to pay less on Airbnb? It is a simple, just ask the host to pay less.  I can imagine the look on your face. Claude, I am busy, stop playing games, I’ve got vacations to book on Airbnb.  Bear with me and let’s think about this:

Why would a host accept to lower their price? There are 3 reasons:

  • Most hosts on Airbnb are individuals looking to earn cash on the side.  Chances are they do not know how much their house is really worth.
  • You have a lot of options available.  The host knows that if they refuse your offer, you are almost guaranteed to find another place, however, the host may not.
  • Their Least Acceptable Agreement (LAA) is $0.  Meaning that even is you pay the host $1 he is making money.  This is an extreme example. But think about a house with a price tag of $6000 per night, if you pay $2000 it is better than $0.

How to ask?

  • A house is typically people’s most valuable possession. Make them feel like you will look after it like your own.  Contact the host and share about yourself.  Read the bio of the host. Get to know them, understand what make them tick.  Highlight what you have in common or anything else they may appreciate.
  • Your Airbnb profile needs to inspire trust.  Add a photo of you and your family, your mom, your dog.  Anything that tells your best story.  Describe yourself kindly, share something personal, give enough details to build rapport but not too much to creep people out.
  • Make a moonshot offer, to many hosts.  I am talking 50% off to every listing meeting your criteria.  Remember, at 50% discount many more listings are within your budget. Consider asking for even more when the situation is right, such as a high-end listing you are ready to book last minute.

This is how I saved $3000 on our next vacations in Hawaii.

Do you want to see the difference between a good and a bad negotiator?

We say that a picture is worth a thousand words. How much is worth a 2 minute video clip?

We say that a picture is worth a thousand words.  How much is worth a 2 minute video clip?  This short extract from the movie “The Negotiator” with Samuel L. Jackson will show you the difference between the behavior of an expert negotiator and someone who does not know what he is doing.

Pay close attention to the use of emotions, the importance of people surrounding the negotiators, and the impact of being well prepared.  Let me know what you think and I will post the interpretation of every 7 days.



Leave your comments!

Game Theory, a practical example

Bruce Bueno de Mesquita talks about the 4 points to predict people’s behaviors.

I came across this video on Ted a couple of days ago.  The presenter, Bruce Bueno de Mesquita’s, explains in a very simple way what is Game theory and why it is applicable to even the most complex negotiation situations.  Although I do not want to want to discuss political topics on this blog (as I have no credibility in that area), I think that you will enjoy this video if you are interested in predicting what people might do.

If you do not have enough time to watch the entire video, jump to 8 minutes.  Bruce talks about the 4 points to understand how to predict people’s behaviors:

1/ Who has a stake in the decision?

2/ What do they say they want?

3/ How focused are they on one issue compared to the other issues?

4/ How much persuasive influence could they exert?

Do you see how this could work in some of your complex situations? Do you believe this is impossible?  Post a comment to get the discussion started!