I’ve written several articles addressing great tactics when negotiating salary. In all, I’ve stressed there is a single factor that supersedes the rest, including six most important words when negotiating your job offer.

It actually makes no difference what you’re negotiating. That factor remains the same assuming you want whatever’s being negotiated to actually benefit both parties. Anything that doesn’t benefit both parties isn’t even worth negotiating, so we’ll leave the take-it-or-leave-it mentality for another post.

Before we get to those six words, I’d like to address that single factor—which is technically a mindset—so you’re mentally prepared to succeed.

One critical assumption in this entire story is you want the job being offered. If you don’t truly want it, feel free to stop reading.

If my assumption is true and the prospective employer was kind enough to prepare a job offer for you, it’s safe to say you’d both like to make the employment arrangement work.

Once you reach that stage, realize you instantaneously become teammates—not adversaries—in the negotiation!

What do teammates do? They work together to accomplish a common goal.

Working together in this case means communicating with each other to express your needs, areas that are important to you, where you can be flexible, and your rationale for wanting certain components in your overall compensation package.

To significantly increase the probability of making this arrangement work, open your negotiation with these six words:

“I want to make this work.”

Once the other party hears the sweet sound of those six words, he, she, or they will immediately relax and start focusing on how to make it work!

People are much more inclined to work together when they know the desired goal is the same. They won’t dig in their heels and brace for war. Instead, they’ll get on the balls of their feet and start running toward the solution.

To be fair to the employer, you need to let them know what’s important to you and why it’s important. Simply sharing that insight allows them to think creatively regarding how to accommodate your needs in ways you might not have originally thought.

While this is more important for compensation packages that have a number of variable components, it also works in the simplest of structures.

For much more on the specific end-to-end tactics of negotiating see Negotiate Your Job Offer Like a Pro.

You might also be very interested in downloading Assess Your Current Professional Financial Worth, which is a handy checklist to capture your complete compensation package. It’s important to truly understand you entire picture before negotiating. I offer it free. Of course.

Assess Your Current Professional Financial Worth