Asking for a pay-bump or salary increase is the most daunting task any professional can go through. Moving forward, you need to justify, every day, that you’re worth the extra expenditure. With businesses seemingly less grateful for their employees than ever, you really need to have an FBI negotiating tactic.

In some cases, asking for a raise isn’t so bad. Especially if it’s clear to everyone you’re underpaid for what you do. You’re entitled to fair pay and your manager isn’t entitled to ignore employee requests.

Thrillest spoke to Chris Voss, an ex-FBI agent who worked as a lead international kidnapping negotiator for 24 years. He is now a lecturer at Harvard so you know he’s read up on teaching people to get what they want. Be it a pay-bump or their daughter back from a hostage situation.

This is what you can learn about negotiations from a FBI agent…

“Giving the other side the illusion of control”

Voss said: “the competing side always will be asking: ‘what’s in it for me?'” and you’ve got to know that going in. Don’t try and grapple control, let the boss think he or she is in total control and work with that position.

“Show a bright future” 

When asking for pay-bump, FBI tactics are to show that there can be a positive future for both parties. “Take the focus of the conversation off salary, and on to concrete terms that will make your boss want to pay you more.”

“Give specific instances of how you’ve earned a higher pay”

“Don’t script yourself into a corner”

“Ask ‘how’ and ‘why’ questions, don’t use salary as motivation, defer power, listen carefully to what the other side is saying, and use it against them — in other words, don’t go in there with a script, play off of the information you are given.”