11 Phrases That Will Help You Succeed in Your Salary Negotiations


It would be great if there was a magical word or phrase you could use that made people agree with you. “Abracadabra” – now your employer has agreed to give you the five grand pay rise you want!

Unfortunately, in the real world, we have to work a lot harder to win people round to our way of thinking. However, the good news is there are certain words and phrases you can use when negotiating a higher salary that do have a lot of persuasive power.

If you can be confident, pleasant and demonstrate your knowledge, you may well be able to talk your way to a higher salary. Here are some valuable phrases that will help you along.

1. “I am really looking forward to working together.”

It can be easy to fall into the trap of thinking a salary negotiation is a bit of a battle – you vs. your employer – who will win? However, thinking in this way can be counterproductive.

Negotiation should be a collaborative process and the outcome should be something that both parties are happy with. Instead of making demands and ultimatums, you should start your negotiations on a positive note.

2. “Based on my research…”

Obviously, we’d all like to have higher salaries, however, it’s unrealistic to negotiate a higher salary if what you are asking for is more than your skills are worth. This is why it’s important to do your research first and build a case as to why you deserve more.

3 Tools to Determine What You Should Be Getting Paid

Saying something like “Based on my research…” shows that you have done your homework and you know what you’re talking about when it comes to negotiating your salary.

3. “Similarly situated employees”

Talking about salaries with your co-workers can be awkward, but if you can find out what they’re on you’ll have more power when it comes to negotiating your own salary.

If others with the same job title as you and similar responsibilities are being paid more, then this is definitely something to explore.

Your colleagues may not wish to discuss their salaries, which is up to them, however, you can also use tools like Glassdoor to get an indication of what others are earning and whether your salary is fair.

4. “Market”

Have you had a look at similar roles in your area to see what salaries are on offer? If you’re being paid £30,000 at your company but can get the same job around the corner on £40,000 then the likelihood is that you’re being underpaid.

Companies don’t want to lose their best talent to their competitors, so if you can let them know what your market-value is they’ll want to be matching that.

5. “Value”

Employers need to have employees that add value to their business. That is every employee should either increase revenue or increase margin (or both). When it comes to negotiating your salary you should remind your employer of the value you bring and why that means you deserve a raise. Any clear examples or evidence of your successes will help your case here.

6. “Is that number flexible at all?”

If your employer makes you an offer and it is below what you are looking for, then this is the best way to push back tactfully. It lets them know that you are not completely satisfied and gives them an opportunity to offer you more or talk about other perks.

7. “I would be more comfortable if…”

When asking for a pay rise, it’s important to be tactful and to choose your words wisely. Saying “I need” or “I want” can be a big turn off for employers who will feel you are making demands rather than wanting to work with them.

8. “If you can do that, I’m on board.”

If you have a key figure in mind that is reasonable, then lay it on the table. Your employer or recruiter will be just an anxious as you to close negotiations and make a deal so let them know what you want. This also makes it clear that if they come back with the figure you have stated you will be happy with that and negotiations will be over – no more back and forth.

9. “I would prefer to stay.”

Let your employer know if you have other options but make it clear that you would rather work out a deal with them. This is a good defensive strategy and it will hopefully remind your employer that it will be far cheaper for them to give you a raise that it would be to recruit and train someone new.

Be cautious with this option though. If you don’t have another offer on the table and aren’t willing to leave if your salary doesn’t improve, then it’s a risky card to play.

10. “Do you mind if I take some time to consider your offer?”

This is a good way to play it cool when you’re negotiating your job offer. Using these phrases achieves a number of things:

  • It buys you time to consider your response or counter offer
  • It gives you time to work out what an appropriate counter offer would be
  • It enables you to move the negotiation to email if it is not there already
  • You can carefully compose your response in writing

11. “Thank you.”

Whichever way your negotiation is going, it’s good manners and good business to thank the person for their time. They are likely to be more accommodating if you are polite and professional.


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