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5 Tips for Negotiating Rent at Home Shows

Use these guidelines­—part sales and part psychology—to make sure you get the best deal when pricing a booth

August 06, 2018
you can get better rent at remodeling home shows

Home shows are a great source of business, but spending too much on booth rental will drive up your cost-per-lead. That’s why it’s worth taking the time get the best deal.

Home shows and events are an important source of leads for many remodelers and home improvement companies. But to get the highest possible ROI, it’s critical to negotiate a favorable price on booth rental. This is a back and forth game of chess that requires you to walk way a few times to get a better deal. In many ways, it’s like buying a car. Getting the best price doesn’t necessarily mean strong-arming the event vendor, but it does mean that you need to have patience and stick to your plan and budget. 

Here are five tips to ensure you get the best rate:

1] Stay Friendly

No matter where the negotiation goes, always remain pleasant and professional. If (or when) you don’t accept the event vendor’s offer, thank them for reaching out and let them know that you hope to attend next year. Getting the lowest cost requires that you master the delicate balance between pushing for a deeper discount while not offending the organizer by asking for unreasonable concessions. Along those same lines, do not allow yourself to become emotional. Many people will get offended if they believe someone else is being unreasonable, but taking umbrage accomplishes nothing and only serves to cloud your judgment. 

Offer 60% of the asking price to start–it might not be accepted, but you'll gaine leverage for later. 

2] Walk Away 

Start off by offering 60% of the asking price. It is unlikely that the event organizer will accept this, but if they counter, tell them that you don’t think that will work but you will check with management and call them back. When you reconnect, let them know that although the offer wasn’t accepted, you fought very hard to get it approved. Once again, let them know how much you’d like to be a part of this event next year. 

3] Stay Away

Now comes the hard part. You need to wait as long as possible to call the event organizer back to reopen the negotiations. It’s vital that you do your research and have a clear understanding of how much of the space has been booked. You don’t want to lose out on a good spot because you waited too long. As a rule of thumb, you should wait at least two days but no more than 14 days to get back to negotiations. Once you start a fresh conversation, it’s a good idea to increase your offer, but only by a small amount to get the talks going again. Think of the walking away partly as a show-of-strength negotiating tactic and partly as a fact-finding mission to help you determine the lowest rent. It’s also helpful while negotiating to treat the process as if you are spending your own money. This keeps the importance of getting the best deal front and center in your mind. 

4] Understand Who Has the Upper Hand

If the event is almost fully booked, then there will be less room for you to get a low price. But if it’s a month until the show and there are still a lot of empty booths, then you have the upper hand and can likely negotiate a great spot for a deep discount. And remember, if you don’t ask, you won’t get it, so ask for the deal you want. 

Do your research and keep an eye on the event’s progress. You don’t want to miss out on a good spot because you waited too long to renegotiate.

5] Understand the Other Side 

When talking about price, try to put yourself in the shoes of the event representative, and use those insights to your advantage. Ask yourself, “What kinds of pressures could he or she be facing?”

Maybe there’s a sales quota that they’re close to achieving, or maybe your booth is the last one that’s needed to earn a bonus for the team. If the show is underperforming, that could help whoever makes the sale look like a hero. 

In any case, look for ways to leverage that pressure in order to achieve a better result for yourself.


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