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3 Numbers You Need to Have Ready When Negotiating

Walk into a negotiation feeling confident because you have your 3 numbers ready. These 3 numbers are the boundaries you stick to and guide your negotiation. Thorough research will help to inform these negotiation numbers.

3 Numbers to Have Ready:

1. Asking price
2. Desired price
3. Walk away price

3 numbers

1. Asking Price

The asking price is higher than the price you actually want. Aim high. Higher than you think. Ask for a higher price than you want so that within the negotiation process, when you are negotiated down, the amount is still within your sweet spot amount. You can receive your desired price or close to it, or even higher than it, by asking for more and aiming high. 

Ask for more than you think you should. It shows you’re confident in your skills and you’re worth it. Confidence is hard to turn down. 

3 numbers ready: asking price

Don’t Aim Too Low

Many aim too low when they really could ask for more. Keep in mind that “men are offered higher salaries than women *for the same job* 60% of the time” (Goyeneche, Forbes, 2020). Let this encourage you to ask for more than you think you should. 

Not only gender, but race impacts negotiation. One study shows that while Black and white men were equally probable to negotiate, Black men were penalized for negotiating (Harvard Law School, 2020). Race and gender impact negotiation. This relationship is complex, though working to ask for more may be an avenue to potentially minimize a portion of this gap. This may also be simplifying complicated factors at play. 

race and gender impact income

Ask for more than you think you should. Some are working to close many years’ worth of wage gaps. Know that you are worth your asking price and more. 

2. Desired Price

This is the price you want. You asked for a higher amount than you wanted, so if they negotiate your price down, you will still feel okay because you were expecting this and prepared for this process. 

3 numbers ready: desired price

How do you find your desired price? Research this thoroughly. Whatever you are negotiating, research this to find the range. If it is salary you are negotiating, use job websites to search up salary. Type in “top salary websites” in the search bar and you will be guided to some of the leading salary websites. Make sure to compare and make sure you know the range in your specific geographical region and organization size. 

Ask Around

Don’t forget to ask around, too. Asking real people can help to inform in a way that online research cannot. If you are negotiating within a job, ask colleagues. If it is a new job, do you have a previous workplace where you can call on those you worked with if they had a similar position? Some have even recommended a “cold” LinkedIn email to an acquaintance (or maybe even a stranger that has a similar position). Get real data. Remember that salary websites only offer a range and they are based off what people say they make. Are the top earners reporting their salary to salary websites? Who knows? So make sure to work to try to ask the highest earners how much they make. 

3. Walk Away Price

This is the price where if it is not met, you walk away. In a salary negotiation, this is your lowest accepted price. This is the price you will go down to if you really have to, depending on the situation. If this price is not met, you walk. 

As hard as it is, be ready to walk away. You will have an air of confidence that will show that you know your worth. 

3 walk away price

How Do You Walk Away?

Have other offers ready. These offers may help to further define your boundaries or even asking them to match or go beyond other offers. It can also be used to leverage your ask. 

It’s not always possible to have other offers ready, so if that is the case (in a salary negotiation) make sure to have your resume primed and potentially already sent out. Some even begin to make a “f*!% you” fund. In case their needs are not met, they have a financial cushion to last while they look elsewhere. 

walk away

In any situation, walking away puts you in a position of power. If you do have to walk away, sometimes they may come back with the offer you countered.

*This is a subjective situation and in a salary negotiation it’s necessary to read the room, the financial situation of the company, as well as your boss. Could they stand to lose you? If yes, these tips may not work. If no, that’s a good sign. 


Boundaries are necessary in a negotiation. These 3 numbers are your boundaries. Have your 3 numbers ready. If your boundaries are crossed money-wise (you don’t get at least your walk away price), this is where you pause and decide what you want your next move to be. It doesn’t have to be in that moment, you can take time on your own to figure it out and get back to your negotiation collaborator. Maybe your decision will be to negotiate another element of the situation. Take your time and stick to your boundaries. 

offer negotiation worth

Tough Time?

It may seem like a tough time to stick to boundaries. Keep in mind that even in difficult times, people do profit and people do ask and receive more. Make sure that person is you! 

Another option is to set a date to renegotiate in the future when things are more stable. Set a date on the calendar. Don’t wait too long, if your negotiation collaborator cannot deliver, this is a sign that you may need to look elsewhere so your worth is valued. 

You’ve got this. Have your 3 numbers ready and go into your negotiation feeling confident. 

3 numbers to have ready for negotiation

Looking for More on Negotiation?

If you are looking for more on negotiation, you may be interested in: 

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Negotiation motivation can help you feel confident for your next negotiation. If you want weekly motivation and negotiation tips, sign up for blog posts and for daily inspiration follow @negotiatethis on Instagram. You got this. All you need is a little negotiation inspiration!


*Article: “The Most Critical Reason You Need To Negotiate & How To Do It Effectively” @forbes (2020)
Author: Renee Goyeneche

*Article: “Counteracting Negotiation Biases Like Race and Gender in the Workplace” (2020)
Author: Pon Staff, Harvard Law School

I'm Worth It

Disclaimer: While the contents of this post and blog come from research and personal experience, each experience, situation and/or person has their own unique circumstances. This is not negotiation, financial or any other form of legitimate or official advice from an expert. Each individual should do their own independent, comprehensive research. Negotiation, career and all other decisions are the sole responsibility of each individual or party. Details found on the blog and in individual posts are opinions and should be treated as such for entertainment purposes only. Read further disclaimer information in the footer and on the Disclaimer page. 

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3 numbers you need to have ready