Negotiate an Offer

Whether you're trying to land a better salary, get a lower price on something, or work with your friends or family for a better outcome in a situation, negotiating can be difficult. No matter the situation, you need to remain calm. You also need to know what you're willing to compromise on and what you're not willing to give up.


Negotiating a Salary

  1. Be personable. The person interviewing you wants to connect with you. If you're too cold, it's a turn-off. Be polite and diplomatic, but don't be afraid to open up a little bit. If your interviewer connects with you, she'll be more willing to hire you and to consider what you want for a salary.[1]
    • As an example, if your employer comments on how hot it is, instead of saying, "Yes, it is." offer a more personable response, such as "I know! It's sweltering. Maybe we should try to fry an egg on the sidewalk."
  2. Sell yourself. Show why the company needs you by giving examples of how your skills match up with the company's needs. The more the company needs you, the more the employers will be willing to negotiate a better salary.[2]
    • For instance, if the company is looking for someone with good writing skills, say something like, "I have ample experience in written communication. I minored in English in college, which is why my last employer often turned to me when she needed something official written, such as a letter to our customers."
  3. Be available. Be clear that you want to work for the company, and they can get you for the right price.[3]
    • To clarify it for the interviewer, you could say, "I am excited about what your company is doing, and I feel like I could be an asset here, as soon as we work together to find the right financial balance both of us can agree on."
  4. Do your research. Find out about the company, but also find out about the person interviewing you, if possible. The more you know, the better you will be able to connect with him or her.[4]
    • If you know the person interviewing you loves camping, you could bring up your love of camping at the start of the meeting to help connect with him or her.
  5. Know your price tag. You can find average salaries on the internet, taking into account your education and experience level. Knowing the average salary will give you an idea of what you can ask for in a salary.[5]
  6. Wait to discuss the salary. The only time you should discuss salary is when you are sure they want to hire. You'll know they're ready because they say they want to make an offer to you.[6]
    • If you don't wait, you may estimate too high or too low. If you estimate too high, you'll be pushed out of the interview process, but you may estimate too low if you don't know exactly what the job entails.[7]
    • Let them make the first offer. It gives you a starting point, and you can negotiate from there.[8]
  7. Don't be angry. If the price tag is lower than you want, turn on the charm instead of getting angry. You may still be able to negotiate it higher, and anger will only cut off the negotiations.[9]
    • For example, if the company offers a salary that is too low, you could say, "I appreciate that offer, and I am definitely excited to work here. However, I do think we need to discuss the salary some more. What do you think of (insert counter offer)?"
  8. Be flexible. You may not get the salary you want, but you might be able to get other benefits, such as more vacation time or a flexible schedule. Your interviewer may have more authority to approve these types of benefits than to give you a salary above the price range she must work in.[10]
    • You can also negotiate for a one time sign-on bonus.[11]
    • To negotiate other options, you can say something like the following: "I understand you don't have much wiggle room on the salary, but do you think we could come up with some other kind of compensation? For instance, could I have extra vacation time instead?"

Negotiating a Better Price

  1. Do your research. Know what a fair price is for what you're buying. You can use comparison sites or simply look up prices on some of the major retail sites. For cars, you can find the approximate value on Kelley Blue Book.[12]
    • Check out the price of what you're buying at competing stores and dealerships.[13]
    • Think about profit margin. You're seller may be willing to mark the item down more if they have a high profit margin. For instance, you may be able to find out how much a dealership actually pays for a car, which gives you room for negotiation.[14]
  2. Don't be afraid to ask for a lower price. You may not feel like you can negotiate in a certain situation, but it never hurts to try. You may be able to get away with it in smaller, locally owned stores especially.[15]
    • For instance, at a local store you could say, "I really like this item, but I was wondering if you ever give discounts for items like this one?"
  3. Determine a target price. Know what you're willing to pay, and don't go above it. If the seller wants you to pay more, you can always walk away.[16]
  4. Talk to the right person. Make sure the person you are negotiating with has the authority to cut you a deal. If he or she doesn't, you may need to go higher.[17]
  5. Be open. You don't have to guard all your secrets. Opening up a bit will create trust and a rapport with the person. Essentially, you're creating a relationship, and that will benefit you, as it will make the person more likely to give into you.[18]
    • As an example, you could talk about why you're shopping for a new car. Maybe you just lost your old one, or you need to buy one for your mother.
  6. Don't accept the first offer. Negotiating means making counter offers, and both of you will be happier if you feel like you settled on a fair price. Don't be afraid to offer another price.[19]
    • For instance, you could say, "That's a good offer but not quite what I'm looking to pay. Would you take (insert offer)?"
  7. Take a moment of silence. That is, stop talking for a few minutes to consider the offer because silence makes people uncomfortable. The seller will try to fill the space and may talk him- or herself into accepting a lower price.[20]
  8. Accept other compensation. You may not get the exact price you want, but the seller may be willing to throw something else in, such as a free gift. If you're trying to buy a car, maybe you can negotiate free oil changes at the dealership.[21]
  9. Be persistent. Don't give up just because you're tired, and don't signal to the other side that you're ready to stop unless you have the deal you want. The seller will zero in on that weakness and try to get you to accept the deal as is.[22]

Negotiating with a Friend or Relative

  1. Pick a good time. Don't start in negotiating about where you're going on vacation if your spouse is trying to deal with cooking dinner or getting the kids ready for school. Choose a quiet time when you are both calm, and have time to talk it out.[23]
  2. Know what you really want. When it comes to negotiating with a family member, it will be necessary for you to make compromises to preserve the relationship. That means that you need to know where you will stand firm and what you're willing to give up.[24]
  3. Let yourself be vulnerable. When you're negotiating with someone you love, you have much more at stake than with a stranger. Don't be afraid to be open and honest with the person, as more communication will lead to you both understanding what the other person wants.[25]
  4. Be willing to listen as much as you talk. Really listen to what the other person has to say. Even if you can't give into everything he wants, you should let him know that you hear and understand what he's feeling.[26]
  5. Be specific about your problems if you're trying to negotiate a better relationship. That is, instead of blaming the other person, discuss your feelings, and be specific.[27]
    • For instance, instead of saying "You're so annoying sometimes." you could say, "When you play your music so loudly, I find it hard to concentrate."
  6. Don't be afraid to laugh. A little levity can lighten up the situation. However, don't take it too far, as your family member or friend may think you're not taking them seriously.[28]
  7. Work together. Take some time to think through the problem together. Maybe you can come up with a creative solution that makes both sides happy.[29]
    • Don't forget that in every relationship, you're on the same team. Try not to pit yourself against the other person.[30]


  • Dress for the occasion. If you look sharp, you may be able to get more out of the deal.