I have a friend who runs a business that decorates special events. He deals a lot with customers who's budget is much less than his normal prices, but he normally just gives them huge discounts because he prefers to get little money than no money (he has a very high profit margin). Now, he wants offer actual offers customers wanting a discount, so that on one hand he doesn't seem shady, and actually gets something of value, along the lines of writing reviews (although that's not nearly close enough in value to the 100$-200$ discount he gives). I thought that if they get a friend to make a deposit before their job, or putting a link to us from their site might repay, but both of those (customers with friends are too rare to be consistent. We had some ideas about asking them to call talk shows and the like.
What can he get from customers more or less reliably that would cover discounts?
Our local newspapers have a section with "thank you" posts (for a small fee). If such a thing is available have them post one with their name (even if you need to cover the fee). "I want to publicly thank BlahBlah for helping me with "whatever" almost for free" (you get the idea).
If you feel it hard to get something from customers with providing discount, why not keep the price unchanged but offer something more as bonus to customers? By this way customer don't need to do anything and would still feel this is good deal, and you also make more money.
Customer reviews, website mentions, website links, Facebook mentions, Facebook likes, new customer referrals, allowing him to promote his business at the event (think a small sign, a business card holder with cards in it), willingness to act as a phone referee. There's a few.