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Negotiating Your First Contract

Author: Michael Parshall, Michael J. Parshall Healthcare — Schwenksville, PA.

You have received an offer. It looks good but lacks a few features that you were expecting. You’re not sure what to do next. On the one hand, it’s a great group in an attractive location. But, some of the terms are less attractive than those in other employers’ offers, and there is no mention of partnership. What do you do?

The Keys to Success:

  • Communicate your enthusiasm for joining the practice. Reinforce the positive impression you’ve already made on the employer by continuing the actions that led to the offer (timely responses, clear communication, and understanding and responding to the practice’s needs and concerns).
  • Maintaining momentum is the key to successful negotiations. Try to wrap things up within a few weeks of receiving the offer.
  • When you receive an offer, call or email the practice representative (the person who sent you the offer), thank the sender for the offer, and set up a time to go over it, section by section. During this initial discussion, do not attempt to negotiate any terms.
  • Compare the offer to the list of needs you developed earlier, and note any deficiencies. Do the same with your “high-priority” wants.
  • Compromise your wants to obtain your needs, but never compromise your needs.
  • Contact the practice representative and set a time to discuss your response to the offer. Go over the offer section by section, as you did in your previous discussion, but this time include your counterproposal terms.
  • Once you have gone through the entire offer and completed your counterproposal, ask for the employer’s response.
  • If the employer accepts all of your terms, you are finished—no more requests, no creeping expectations, no attempt to squeeze an additional drop from the deal.
  • Both sides need to win.

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