Charm Your Way into a Pop Up Location

Spotting a pop up space you like is easy enough, but finding out who owns the space and then winning them over to let you use it can be harder. The key to success is to start early and to network.

Networking isn’t something you do once a week at a breakfast meeting. It’s something you can do all the time.

Get a meeting with the pop up space owner

You’re asking the person who owns the property to do you a favour by giving you a short let (lease) probably at low cost. Would you ask a complete stranger for a favour? Probably not. Would you ask a friend or colleague? Of course you would! So the key to charming the keys out of people is to get to know them first and then ask for the favour later.

Find places where you can make friends with the people you need to meet. Your local Chamber of Commerce probably runs regular meetings, for example, and you should be able to attend once or twice as a guest before you have to sign up.

Most towns have a variety of business networking groups, and again, most let you attend once or twice as a guest to get a feel for the group.

Be prepared to attend with a short, clear and punchy explanation of what you do and have business cards or flyers to hand out with your contact details.

Pitch your pop up proposal

Staying lucid, vigorous and brief is especially important for pitching your pop up to other people. You need to be able to explain your idea easily and in simple terms – the ‘lucid’ bit. You need to do it with some energy – be ‘vigorous’. And as you’re dealing with busy people, the ‘brief’ bit explains itself.

Write down your pitch initially. Start by explaining your pop up. Say exactly what it is you do and don’t use any jargon that’s specific to your business sector. Add some sizzle and tell people why your project is special. Explain why it’s a pop up and not a normal shop.

When you’re writing your pitch, think carefully about why other people would want to help you. You need to find something in it for them, whether they’re a neighbouring shopkeeper, a local councillor or a letting agent. Think about including those benefits in tailored versions of your pitch.

Your pop up pitch needs to end with a call to action – a firm end that results in something happening. The easiest is ‘Can I have your email address and send you some details?’ but you can be more creative.

Use as few words as possible and try out your pitch on family and friends. You want to be able to say it naturally, without sounding forced and rehearsed, and with enough energy and excitement to get people interested.

Prepare for chance encounters

Of course, there’s really no such thing as a chance encounter – only putting yourself in the right place for the things that seem like chance to happen. Making sure that you’re in the right place and ready to take advantage of opportunities is a really good pop up skill.

While you’re planning your pop up, go to as many events where you might meet people as possible. Village fêtes, school fairs, charity fundraisers and civic functions are all places where you might meet somebody useful. Make sure that you have your pitch ready and can adapt the tone of it to different audiences. Carry business cards everywhere.

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