When you’re ready to book a celebrity for your concert or event, you’ll have to go through their representative to start the negotiation process. Sometimes, you’ll contact their manager, but more often it’s the celebrity’s agent who you’ll be dealing with for event booking. Of course, the agent wants to negotiate the highest price possible for their client, as they typically get a 10 percent commission on the deal. That gives them a personal incentive to negotiate a higher price. However, they are aware that the negotiations must provide value to event planners, concert promoters, and talent buyers, too. If bookings were not profitable for the people organizing the event, agents would have far fewer bookings for their clients. So, here is how you can negotiate a celebrity booking price like a pro and get the best deal.

 
 

1. Understand the stages of negotiating.

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You can’t just jump into a negotiation without a little planning. Negotiations follow specific steps, and the actual discussion of price is only one small part of your negotiations for booking a celebrity. The first stage is investigation. This is where you do some background research on the celebrity you’d like to book. Ask yourself:

  • * Where have they appeared before?
  • * What kinds of events do they typically agree to?
  • * Does your event help them break into a particular niche?
  • * Is your venue size a good fit for this celebrity?

Before you talk price, you have to know realistically whether a deal can be made that is beneficial to both parties. Determine whether you can plausibly come to an agreement with the celebrity you’ve chosen. To do this, you’ll also need to know your own budget before you start contacting representatives.
 
 

2. Ask yourself exactly what you are looking for before you reach out.

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You have many options when it comes to celebrity bookings. Would you like the celeb to perform in your venue? Sign autographs for a charity event? Host an after party? In this case, you may ask the celebrity to host, or simply to perform one song for the guests. Smaller events like these can save you money, since the cost of production, travel, and other expenses will be smaller. For instance, the concert venue will likely need to pay for airfare and travel between the venue and the artist’s accommodations, but the venue holding the after party may only need to pay for transportation to and from the event.
 
Once you know what you require from the individual, you can compile a list of representatives to contact. You may have a specific performer you’d like to sign a contract with, but you can’t pin everything on one choice. The negotiation may fall through, so you need to have backup choices. If you really can only get the results you want with one particular celebrity, you’d better be willing to take a less-than-favorable offer.
 
 

3. Find the right starting place for negotiations.

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Obviously, you don’t want to start with your best offer because the celebrity’s representative will typically ask for a higher price than your first offer. But, don’t start so low that the celebrity rep doesn’t take your offer seriously. You have to find a balance between getting the best deal for yourself and looking like a professional.
 
To do that, you need to do the necessary research to put in an educated offer. First of all, you must understand the price will include other costs in addition to simply paying the celebrity’s fee. So, you cannot offer your whole budget for the fee alone, or you will have no way to pay for the rider expenses, like technical equipment, props, technical personnel, sound and lighting engineers, security, food and accommodations for the celebrity and their entourage and family, and several other considerations. All of this will be part of the contract rider negotiations.
 
But, how do you know how big of a budget you will need before you enter negotiations? After all, every artist has a different price depending upon the event. One way to build a basic range for how much booking a particular celeb may cost is to look at another recent event where they performed. Multiply the ticket price by the capacity of the venue, and you will get a rough estimate of the expense, as the previous promoter hoped to at least break even after filling the venue. Then, make this calculation again for several other venues where the artist has appeared. You can build your range from there. Remember to only include events where the celebrity you are targeting was the sole performer. You don’t want to base your calculations on events with multiple performers, which typically cost more.
 
Of course, this method will not give you a perfect answer for where to start your offer. You’ll have to use common sense and consider the market you are working in. Some situations will call for higher prices than others.
 
The best method is to have an idea of how much the artist is going for before you try to make an offer. However, another option is to simply ask the agent what the celebrity’s booking price is.  The rep may assume that because you are asking for the price, you don’t have any idea what the artist is going for. So, they’ll give you a number, but it will likely be the highest rate paid for the artist. Don’t let that deter you. Just because they give you a price doesn’t mean they aren’t willing to negotiate. But, you should know that if you go this route and throw out a low number, the agent will probably assume that you can afford a higher price since they already gave you a “going rate” and you put in an offer anyway. This means you’ll need to be careful in your approach when using this method. If the agent doesn’t believe you are giving your best offer, they may be disinclined to budge from the higher price.
 
 

4. Set a firm deadline for coming to an agreement.

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Deadlines help everyone involved to carry out their end of negotiations in a reasonable amount of time. With no deadline, neither side feels pressure to act, and the negotiations could be carried out indefinitely as each side waits to see who has the upper hand. Because you are the one doing the booking, it is up to you to come up with a fair deadline and make sure the agent knows when that date is. Setting a date also helps the celeb rep to take your offer seriously because if they are even remotely interested, they don’t want to lose out on an opportunity.
 
 

5. Be willing to walk away.

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Appearing desperate never bodes well for your position in negotiations. You may really want a particular performer for the audience you are targeting, but the right artist at the wrong price is not the best business decision. If you and the rep simply can’t come to a mutually beneficial agreement, then its best to move on unless something changes. Know when a deal simply can’t work, and thank the rep for their time. Having a set deadline, as discussed above, can also help you know when it’s time to end negotiations before you agree to something unfavorable.
 
 

6. Don’t be afraid to counter their offer.

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Countering each other’s offers is the basis of negotiations. You don’t have to agree with their first suggestion, even if it is within your budget. As long as you provide a reasonable alternative to their suggestion, negotiations can continue until each side has reached the best possible agreement. For the purpose of negotiating, you may even want to set a budget that you refuse to go past, even if you have more money available. It pays to be confident and hold firm to your offer if you’ve done your due diligence and presented a fair price. If they counter, and you are willing to walk away (as discussed above), you may end up getting the deal you want because they were feeling out what your best offer was. Of course, it is also possible that the deal will fall through, but you have to understand that risk up front. Once you’ve said you’ll walk, you have to follow through, or they will never believe you the next time you negotiate.
 
Here are some additional tips when it comes to figuring out the price for booking an artist:

  1. * Agents always charge more for corporate or private events. These prices are much different from concerts that are open to the public.
  2. * College events typically go for cheaper, depending on the artist, because this is a market that a lot of artists like to target.
  3. * You can do an “all-in” offer or agree to a rider. Neither one is always the best choice. It depends on the situation. An all-in offer is when travel and accommodation is included in the price, and the buyer doesn’t have to take care of it. However, if you’re well connected and know how to get good deals on travel and hotels, it may be less expensive if you do take care of it on your own.

Keep these situations in mind when you are determining your price.
 
 

7. Get all the details written into the agreement.

 
Once you’ve reached an agreement for booking a celebrity at your event, make sure your contract covers everything that both sides agree to. Event promoting requires an eye for detail, and you want to cover yourself, as well as provide a good experience for the celebrity and their representative. That ensures that you build a positive reputation for promoting events and earn the opportunity to work with the artist again. When you’re ready to start negotiations, you can find reliable celebrity representative contact information here.

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