Know What Benchmarking Is
You should understand how employers decide their salary levels and use that information to guide your salary negotiations. Companies don't just use arbitrary salary ranges for employees, they use a variety of benchmarking tools for this. They typically compare pay rates with the average pay of other companies in their industry, average pay of professionals with your level of experience and education, and the average pay of professionals in your field in their area of the country. You should try as much as possible to know the 'salary norm' in the industry of your job search and negotiate effectively within that range.
Do Your Research
To successfully negotiate your salary, you need to have some basic and very necessary knowledge to guide your negotiations. Research is the most important way, if not the only way, to get this knowledge. Asking questions, talking to recruiters, people you know and professionals in your field and on your professional level, can you help you get the needed information for salary negotiations. Even if you don't get an exact figure, you will at least get a range.
Pick The Top Range
After doing your research well, you would most likely get a range of what an employee in your industry and at your professional level should be earning. It might be tempting to start your negotiations at the middle of the range (to appear modest) but don't. It's better to start from the top of the range because firstly, you should believe you deserve top pay, and secondly, the employer will almost certainly negotiate down. So, starting your negotiations from the top of the range will give you some breathing room and a better chance to end up with a salary you will be satisfied with.
Practice For It
Practicing for a prospective salary negotiation scenario is one of the best ways to prepare for it and to eventually get the results you desire. A career coach can help with this. However, if you are unable to find one, you can ask a friend or relative with experience in salary negotiations for help. Practicing for salary negotiations helps you to develop the confidence to negotiate and talk about money without being so scared of making a mistake and messing it all up.