No matter how much practice you’ve had negotiating a salary raise, doing so during the interview process or for the first time at a new company can still seem daunting. On the one hand, no one wants to come across as a money grabber. On the other hand, failing to speak up for yourself can make you seem expendable, especially if you settle for a lower-than-expected starting salary during contract negotiations.

As an Executive Senior Partner specializing in accounting and finance contract solutions, I have advised dozens of talented senior financial officials on salary negotiations. You don’t have to be in the C-suite to benefit from this advice, however; it’s applicable to everyone from first-time employees to seasoned executives. Follow these five tips when negotiating a raise:

Be prepared. What are people in your position paid at other companies? Visit industry trade websites or take a look at job posting boards. If your supervisor is reluctant to negotiate and you believe that your salary is lower than the industry average, be ready to back this claim up with data.

Quantify your value. What major projects did you champion? Did you come up with an innovative approach that cut costs or enhanced product quality? Have you taken on new responsibilities, such as mentoring new hires? Once you’ve established your current contributions and past performance, frame your ask around your future potential. Your company needs to know that paying you a higher salary is a smart investment.

Be aware of company finances. Common sense dictates that if your company is struggling, it’s not an appropriate time to ask for a raise. In fact, doing so would come across as not only selfish, but also out-of-touch. Additionally, don’t discuss changes to your own personal finances during salary negotiations. Maybe you’ve just bought a house, are planning to expand your family, or are putting the kids through college. These details just distract fro the core negotiation. Keep the conversation focused on future professional contributions – not personal issues.

Don’t be afraid to make the ask. If you are interviewing for a position, it is expected that you will negotiate your first salary offer. Most companies will make an initial salary offer that is lower than their top price point in order to leave a little wiggle room for negotiations. Failing to negotiate is equivalent to leaving a stack of money on the table.

Be prepared for a “no”. As long as you ask for a raise in a rational, non-confrontational manner, the worst possible response would be a “no.” And as frustrating as a “no” might be, a “no” is not forever. Ask your supervisor when it would be good to revisit the issue. You will have already laid the groundwork for a salary raise, and are more likely to have success negotiating a higher salary.

Do you have a go-to technique for successful raise negotiation? Share your approach below.