Most people don’t relish a salary negotiation. There are, of course, those few who get a thrill out of it, and love nothing more than a game of brinkmanship akin to a high-stakes game of poker that can see their career on the line, but the reality is most of us find no fun in it, and will even avoid it if at all possible.
Yet salary negotiation is a key part of securing a job, as well as climbing that all-important career ladder. But what kind of language can you rely upon to safely navigate the negotiation process? Are there magic words which you can call upon to make all your dreams come true? It may not quite be that simple, but here are seven expressions that will certainly ease the process along:
1) “I’m happy and excited to work with you”
Start positive. It’s really important that you get a good negotiation off to a good start, so by uttering this phrase, you have included a couple of very positive adjectives (happy and excited), you have revealed your high levels of motivation (always good for an organization to see) and you have also positively expressed that you see this as a team collaboration, which once again will impress upon management that you are a team player and will only bring benefits to the company.
2) “I have done some research and…”
Research. It’s a powerful word. Show that you have adequately prepared for this negotiation by using these sorts of powerful words which reveal your professionalism and knowledge of what you speak. It strengthens your position, and impresses those you are negotiating with. It may also lead managers to think twice about trying to pull the wool over your eyes, but don’t be cynical in thinking that this is what everyone is trying to do.
3) “Market”, “Value”, “Competitors” and “Worth”
Four words for the price of one this time as you utilize more expressions which reveal a high level of research and preparation. Remember this is not about what you believe you are worth (even though it may be the case that you do believe that, and if you don’t then no one will), but in terms of negotiation, it is what the market says you are worth (you have done your research, remember!)
Your negotiation will be that much stronger if you are able to justify why you believe you are worth what you quote. And why are you worth that? What is your value to your company? And what are the company’s competitors offering to employees of your ilk? If you go into a negotiation armed with this level of detail, and use these words to add gravitas, you are in a much stronger position.
4) “Are you flexible with that offer?”
So the number that you have been offered wasn’t exactly what you were looking for, or maybe it’s a case that you think you can eke out just a little more. Rejecting the offer flat is a battle cry, and that may create conflict. Softening your language by asking a question using a word such as flexibility is a great way to show your feelings without being overly aggressive or awkward. You are simply putting the ball back in their court. Well played!
5) “If you can do that, then I’m in”
And if you have a number that you are happy to settle with, then why not spell it out accompanied with a phrase such as this? Once again, you have put the ball firmly back in the court of the business, and now you just need to wait and see how they react.
6) “Can I take some time to think it over?”
You are perfectly within your rights to take a little time to mull over your decision (although not too long, of course). In fact, this way of playing it cool usually works in your favor as an employee, in that offers are hardly ever reduced or withdrawn in this period, and you may indeed see an increase in that offer.
But again, don’t think of this as a game, think of this as some valuable time to consider all of your options, because this is an important decision to make. But if you do want to make a counter-offer, you also have time to think about what a good counter-offer would be in the context of what was said in the original negotiation, as well as more time to conduct more valuable research which can back up your counter-offer should you wish to make one.
There is one more benefit of using this tactic too – you may choose to take the negotiation onto email, allowing you to articulately phrase your counter-offer, and why you think that is a fair reflection of your value to the company.
7) “Thank you”
Okay, so this one is simple, but never underestimate the necessity for good manners, even in a salary negation. No, especially in a salary negotiation.
There may be disagreements on figures, the value that you bring to the company, your worth, and even what the market price is for your position – you can expect that even – but it doesn’t take away from the fact that you should always be grateful for the opportunity to negotiate your salary, and grateful for the opportunity to continue to prove your value and worth.
This is not always about gamesmanship and getting the upper hand, but very often a polite and respectful conversation which can have an amicable and positive result for all parties: treat it is as such, and your chances of success will be much greater.