“The problem is all inside your head she said to me
The answer is easy if you take it logically
I’d like to help you in your struggle to detect
There must be fifty ways to get permission.She said it’s really not my habit to intrude
Furthermore, I hope my meaning won’t be lost or misconstrued
But I’ll repeat myself at the risk of being crude
There must be fifty ways to get permission,
Fifty ways to get permission.” – Paul Simon-esque
Developing permission skills is an ongoing continuous improvement process. We are always trying new things, and sometimes when you get to the door, things don’t exactly work out like you plan. I feel like every single permission is a “Yes” if you just had the right approach, the right things to say, and/or the right answer to an objection. I’ve tried many things that sounded good but didn’t really work, and I’ve been surprised at some of the things that were unscripted and miraculously may have been the only thing that would have gotten a “yes” in that situation. Here are some nonconventional methods to get permission that often work:
How the heck do you get permission without asking? You simply keep talking, but don’t ask. Often, if I am speaking with a property owner that I think is going to tell me “NO”, either through his/or tone and body language, or because of previous intel, I will just keep talking and try to develop some kind of rapport or relationship with the person. You see, as apprehensive as we might be to knock on doors, assuming we are inconveniencing someone, I’ve found that MANY people, especially older people living alone, would love to have someone like you or I knock on their door and talk to them. Even people that might not let you detect.
I first realized this phenomena when I knocked on a door of a farmhouse, and the old gentleman would not let me detect, but would not let me leave. Over a few months this happened 3 or 4 times. I was like “great. I can’t detect but this guy is taking up my time.” Finally, on one such instance I was dejectedly taking the “walk of shame” back to my vehicle and the property owner stopped me and let me hunt. He had initially said “No”, but had become sympathetic and I guess decided he liked me during the subsequent 20 minute conversation.
So after some experimenting, in certain instances I just won’t ask. I’ll talk about history and metal detecting and such. The property owner isn’t stupid. Often he would have told me “No”, but giving he/she their own time to get comfortable with me very often works, and I get an invite without asking.
GIVING FINDS AWAY
I carry a ziplock bag with Civil War bullets, mercury dimes and such with me. I’ll give them to children I see on the street while detecting (with their parents permission of course), property owners, and anyone else I run into. I have tracked a notable improved chance of getting permission when I give something away. Perhaps subliminally, they see me as a giver and not a taker. Perhaps they feel saying “No” would be rude after such gifts. I’m not 100% sure, but it works.
INSULTING YOURSELF AND DETECTING
This is one of my favorite objection handlers, and it often turns a “No” into a “Yes”. Sometimes when I get a “No” that I can’t counter, I’ll just lay into myself and the hobby hard. “I understand. You know what? If I were you I wouldn’t let me hunt either!” or “This is the worst hobby ever and I don’t know why I do it.” Shaking my head in disgust.
Sometimes you will catch the property owner off-guard and they might realize they were being too harsh or maybe you caught them at a bad time. I actually had one say “Hey don’t be so hard on yourself.” and after a couple of minutes of counseling, they told me to go ahead and hunt, and they felt good about it.
CALLING OUT THE PROPERTY OWNER
An easy way to do this is by name dropping. “I’m friends with Mrs. So and So next door.” The implication here is that if they don’t let me detect, they aren’t being a good neighbor. And while they might like nothing more than to tell you to get lost, they don’t want to risk being seen as a prude and frowned on by the nice lady next door.
Another time I’ll call out the property owner is when I’m told by others that they will not let anyone hunt, so I have nothing to lose. Gloves off. I’ll straight up tell them almost word for word what I’ve been told about them, and tell them I just couldn’t believe it, and thought I’d come out here and see for myself. You want to talk about some funny conversations. And some “Yeses”.
GOOD COP BAD COP
Go to door together, and if you get a “No” try turning around and rudely saying “I told you they wouldn’t let us hunt.” and then apologize to the property owner. Or point at your vehicle with your partner in it, and tell the property owner how they never find anything, or are incompetent, and you felt sorry for them and were just trying to get them out somewhere they might find something. You’ll probably find you and the property owner nodding your heads together in disapproval at your partner.
ASKING STUPID “YES” QUESTIONS
Just get them saying “Yes” prior to asking to detect. Is that a Ford F-150? Is that a beagle? Are you Mr. Flatlinburger? Am I in Greenville? Is this Panty Acre Drive? Can I dig up your yard? Yes, Yes, Yes, Yes, Yes and Yes. They forgot to say “No.”
COMPLIMENTING SHOES, VEHICLE, PETS
People love their vehicles and their pets. I can’t tell you how many times I’m about to get tossed, and I start talking about their car, or their dog, sincerely fawning over them. More often than not, especially if their dog or car approves of you, you’ll get a “Yes”.
I’ve never turned a “No” into a “Yes” by offering someone cash. “What if I give you $100?” Has never worked. In fact, it usually offends them. But if I’ve been told a property owner is likely to say “No”, often a bottle of wine, scotch or bourbon is a slam dunk, and we get a “Yes” with a smile on the face. And if they are teetotalers, I probably wouldn’t have got a “Yes” anyway. The trick is figuring out which is their preferred beverage.