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Accommodation Negotiation – 3 Powerful Examples

Key takeaways

  • The accommodation negotiation objective is for the benefit of the other party.
  • Competitive negotiation is contrary to accommodation because it is about getting your benefit in the negotiation.
  • Accommodation negotiation can identify if you want to be a reasonable party during the discussion with the other party.

A question that is always asked here at Procurement Tactics is whether is there any type of negotiation style wherein you don’t have to play hardball negotiator.

Luckily, there is one such style.

Read on and find out more about the accommodation negotiation style.

The Accommodation Negotiation Style Debunked

Completely opposite from the usual “hardball” competitive negotiation style, the accommodation negotiation style is the mild or selfless version of all negotiation tactics.

Probably known as the “good guy” negotiation style, your aim or objective throughout the whole negotiation is for the benefit of the other party. You might get something out of it, but it is the other party who truly gains from this negotiation style.

Contrary, the competitive negotiation style is all about getting what you want. For this particular negotiation strategy, it’s time to be selfless and understanding for the sake of benefits that you can take advantage of in the future.

Below you’ll see the overview of where accommodation negotiation fits within the negotiation styles framework.

    Accommodation Negotiation Style – When Do the Pros Use It?

    There will be times that you, the negotiator, must think about the bigger picture in the potential future. You may gain smaller rewards today, but it does not always mean bigger opportunities later.

    Thus, there is always a reason why you must be patient and understanding when negotiating with people or with a company. When done right, you may even turn things around towards your benefit in the end!

    Here are some best examples as to when a negotiator or procurement manager can use the accommodation negotiation style:

    • When you find out that you are in the wrong.
    • When you want to be the reasonable party during the negotiation.
    • When you are looking to minimize your losses.
    • When you want to maintain amicable terms with the other party.
    • When you are trying to improve relations with the other party.

    The Advantages and Disadvantages of the Accommodation Negotiation Style

    The following are some of the most common advantages and disadvantages of accommodation style in negotiation:

    + Advantages
    1. When done properly, you will end up as the better person during and after the negotiation.
    2. You want to continue having good terms with the other party.
    3. You can control your losses to a minimum by agreeing to a compromise.
    4. The other party may have a better impression of you by agreeing to their terms.
    5. The other party may even agree to terms that may benefit you as a show of respect.
    – Disadvantages
    1. You’ll end up getting frustrated as you’re getting the short end of the straw.
    2. Your self-esteem is undermined.
    3. It may generate a lack of confidence among your peers.
    4. It gives the other party an opportunity to make more demands.
    5. You might not fully capitalize on potential gains, which could lead to suboptimal outcomes.
    Accomodation Negotiation Example Cartoon
    Editor's note:

    Our Negotiation Course For Procurement Professionals teaches you the skills needed to drive better, fact-based decisions that ultimately benefit both organizations and its employees. As a negotiation game changer, you will have a comprehensive analytics skill set that will enable you to achieve deals with results you have been dreaming of.

    Accommodation Negotiation Examples

    My Experience with Accommodation Negotiation

    Negotiation styles are a very important variable to master to achieve a great deal of results. Your ultimate deal will be determined by how skilled you are as a negotiator. The more skilled you are in using different styles, the more the other party will be drawn to settle close to your ideal outcome and closer to their limit.

    Your selection of negotiation style should depend on your personality and the results of your earlier research on the styles that will probably be used by your counterpart. Getting to recognize the different negotiation styles will help you to negotiate way more efficiently! It’s important to know how and when to use particular styles to get more of what you want from the negotiation.

    In my time as a Procurement Manager, I had to deal with 1500 different products delivered by 70 suppliers every year. Suppliers were traditionally better equipped; most account managers that I had been dealing with, only had to focus on one customer and thus the negotiator: me.

    This led to what I call, the knowledge gap. They had way more time to prepare for negotiations. Most of them kept detailed notes on my negotiation style, likes and dislikes, interests, family details, and so on.

    In general, they were in a better position to choose the most appropriate style to approach me in the upcoming negotiation.

    My advantage, on the other hand, was the fact that I was negotiating all day & year: that experience leveraged the knowledge gap mostly: I practiced a full year with changing styles & using tactics.

    This helped me to have one important skill in any negotiation: I was not predictable.

    Do you also want to learn to apply effective tactics yourself and become unpredictable? There are a large number of styles & tactics that you can use in negotiations! In our Certificate Program, we will teach you which styles to use and in what way you should use them to your advantage!

    Accommodation negotiation example – Dan

    • Dan is a 35-year-old marketing negotiation manager for a mobile phone company.
    • He is in charge of getting in touch with retail stores for marketing campaigns.

    Dan is working on creating a big summer marketing campaign for his mobile phone company’s newest mobile phone. He signed up numerous retail stores for the campaign. Unfortunately, a problem with the delivery vans triggered a series of events that caused the new mobile phones to arrive late during the summer marketing campaign. 

    In order to alleviate the frustration coming from the retail store owners, Dan personally apologized to the owners and created a new follow-up marketing campaign where a limited number of the new mobile phones will be sold at a limited time only to the first few customers who went to the retail stores early during the summer marketing campaign.

    Not only did this ensure profit for the retail store owners, it also made them feel that Dan was really sorry for what happened. Thus improving Dan’s reputation among other mobile retail store owners.

    Accommodation negotiation example – Jacklyn

    • Jacklyn is given the task of procuring 1000 new desktop computers for the new workers in the IT company.

    Jacklyn calls HP – the company she has been doing business with for four years – to find a good deal. She starts the negotiation and HP directly tells Jacklyn that due to the shortage of chips, standard delivery times will not be met. The delivery of computers will be only possible in about 8 months, 6 months later versus the initial standard 2 months.

    Quickly thinking before things got heated, Jacklyn decided not to switch to another supplier to make sure to get faster delivery but asked HP how they proposed to compensate Jacklyn & her company for the late delivery. Without having one argument in the negotiation, HP offers Jacklyn a 10% discount on the total order.

    What we can learn from this, is that by giving away a variable that is not important to Jacklyn (time), she maintains a good relationship with her supplier HP and she gets a discount. Only winners, right?

    Accommodation NegotiationStrategies

    Contrary, the competitive negotiation style is all about getting what you want. For this particular negotiation strategy, it’s time to be selfless and understanding for the sake of benefits that you can take advantage of in the future.?

    There are a lot of strategies to take note of actually. However, we are going to list down some of the most important ones for you to take note of:

    • Because it is considered a “good guy” negotiation tactic, one should always only use this negotiation style during instances where you want to preserve a good relationship status between your party and the other.
    • When you do end up making a compromise, always make sure to deliver it. Nothing is more disastrous than making false promises!
    • When apologizing, you must sound like you really do mean it. Yes, it’s important.
    • When thinking about a good compromise, make sure that it won’t be a big loss for your company. Always remember, the aim here is to minimize your losses.
    • In essence, the accommodation negotiation style is only great and effective towards two parties that have a great working relationship toward each other.
    • It can also be used in the case where a negotiator or procurement manager wants to establish a relationship between the company he/she is representing and the other party or company.
    • This is a situational negotiation strategy where a keen and observant eye is also important. Always assess the situation before employing it.
    • If you feel that the other party is abusing the accommodation negotiation style by asking for ridiculous or underhanded requests, then stop negotiating and simply walk away.

    Procurement Expert’s Insights About the Accommodation Negotiation Style

    For this article, we asked an experienced procurement expert to share her insights when using the accommodation negotiation style in negotiation.

    Hilce Vallenilla
    Procurement Manager, Sanofi

    LinkedIn Profile:

    1. From your experience, what is the most important thing you learned about accommodation negotiation?

    You must ensure operational continuity and maintain the desired service level by refining your approach to accommodation negotiations.

    2. Can you give us examples of accommodation negotiation?

    Choosing to stick with your current supplier, despite the discovery of a more cost-effective option through the recent RFX, is a strategic choice. While the new supplier might offer immediate cost savings, the potential challenges associated with navigating the learning curve could outweigh the financial benefits in the long run.


      The accommodation negotiation style presents a unique and valuable approach to the art of negotiating, standing in stark contrast to the often aggressive tactics associated with competitive styles.

      Embodying a selfless and understanding demeanor, this “good guy” approach seeks to prioritize the interests of the other party, fostering amicable relations and long-term benefits.

      While there are certainly advantages, the disadvantages highlight potential frustrations and the risk of undermining one’s self-esteem.

      The key lies in strategic application. As negotiators navigate the intricate landscape of procurement, mastering diverse negotiation styles becomes pivotal for achieving optimal results and building enduring partnerships.

      Frequentlyasked questions

      What is Accommodation Negotiation?

      It is a negotiation style where a negotiator shows more concern for the results of the other party rather than his own.

      When to use Accommodation Negotiation?

      Oftentimes used as a way of apologizing over a mistake, the accommodation style is also used to get on the good side of the other party.

      Why would you use an Accommodation Negotiation Style?

      A negotiator may use the accommodation style to improve his/her relationship with the other party/negotiator.

      About the author

      My name is Marijn Overvest, I’m the founder of Procurement Tactics. I have a deep passion for procurement, and I’ve upskilled over 200 procurement teams from all over the world. When I’m not working, I love running and cycling.

      Marijn Overvest Procurement Tactics