Permission: How to Handle Objections and Ask Conditionally

Permission: How to Handle Objections and Ask Conditionally

“An objection is not a rejection; it is simply a request for more information.”  – Bo Bennett

Believe it or not, when you ask permission from someone, you are selling. You are not asking for money. You are asking for permission. What is it you really are asking for? You are asking for the property owner’s interest in or at least their approval of what you are doing and, most importantly, you are asking for their trust.

Often, the person asking permission gives up way too easily when permission was probably within their grasp.  Either they were told “No”, or were met with passive resistance. Passive resistance is when the property owner cleverly says “no” without actually saying the word “no”.  “Come back another time.” and “I need to run it by so and so and will call you” are the two most common types of passive resistance encountered by permission seekers.  Be clear though, Passive resistance is equal to “NO”.

To maximize our chances of getting permission, we must sometimes ignore the word “no”, and/or press through any passive resistance.   We can either try to determine why the answer is no (what the objection is), or get a conditional “Yes” by asking again using a new, conditional question.   Some specific things you can do:

a) Ignore the “No” or passive resistance like you did not hear it, and just go back to the conversation.  Then ask again conditionally (see below).  Most “No’s” are kneejerk.  I find ignoring it and talking until they are comfortable works well over half of the time.

b) We can address the reason they said “No.”   If they said “No” but do not give a reason (an objection), nod your head thoughtfully and ask why not:  “I understand. Any particular reason?”

Flikr Red Dalia Some Rights Reserved

Because I Freakin’ Said So, That’s Why.

c) Once you understand the objection, now you can address it to try to turn the “No” into a “Yes”. Some common examples of objections and how you can generally handle them:

Objection: “I am just not comfortable with a stranger on my property.”

If you hear this, sorry to be the one to tell you, but it is likely you have not done a good job of presenting yourself and dropping names. Maybe you just unfortunately look like a serial killer, I don’t know.

Some possible answers:

Give them your card. “I work for (so and so). You’ve heard of us, right?”

“(Insert local well-known name/s) Mrs. Smith next door can vouch for me!

“I’ve never heard that before!” (frowning briefly then smiling) “I promise I’ll be respectful and brief.”; “Everybody knows me!”  “I have a great reputation in the neighborhood!”

Objection: “We spend a lot of time/money on our yard and cannot have it messed up”

Some possible Answers: “Most items are only 3-4 inches under the ground so I won’t be digging any holes in your yard. I use a special tool called a Lesche, I have worked hard on my technique. I am a professional – extremely careful with recovering stuff and you won’t even know I’ve been there.”


Objection: “I don’t have the authority to grant you permission. You’ll have to talk to my husband / my son / uncle john / etc.”

This is probably the worst possible objection. In sales they call this “talking to the wrong person.”  But you should never ask up front if they have the authority, just like you shouldn’t talk about how you recover objects or sharing finds unless they bring it  up because you do not want to create an objection that causes you to not get permission that you otherwise would have got.

Some possible answers: “If it is ok with him/her is it ok with you?”  followed by “Can we call him/her right now together?”

OBJECTION:  “It’s already been hunted to death”
In my experience, if you have good detecting skills, this is a sign that the yard is absolutely loaded.

Answer:  “Would you mind terribly if we gave it a try.  We’ve come a long way.” or “We’ve done all this research and we’d just like to give it a try!”

Many times the person you are talking to will call the landowner right then and there and ask for you.   This is ideal because they likely have a good relationship and/or the landowner does not want to offend the person leasing the property, for example.

If no call is possible, write down the information on the person to talk to and contact the correct person to get permission,

d) If permission is still not granted after continuing conversation or addressing the objection, then ask again.  But this time ask conditionally:

“How about just this afternoon?”  “Look, we’ll be only about an hour then we’ll get out of your hair.”

“How about just your back yard, since your front yard is so nice” (You can work on permission for the front yard again later).

“I’ve got an extra detector, why don’t you join me and we’ll do it together and see what we can find?”

e)  “Make ’em an offer they can’t refuse” as a final straw. Some ideas:Flikr Some rights reserved by TRF Mr. Hyde

“I will mow your yard for a month for free if you’ll let me detect it.”

“I will  buy anything I find from you just like you were selling it in a garage sale”

“I will pay you to hunt your property.”

Work on watching people while you are talking, before you ask.  If their body language and facial expressions look like a probably “No”, go ahead and ask like this: “Would you mind terribly if we spent an hour searching your yard?”  If they are friendly, they are going to let you hunt all you want anyway, but this increases your chances of getting a “Yes” exponentially if they were about to say “No”


Any time you get a “No” with a new objection you haven’t heard before, make a note of it, and think about how you might address it if it comes up again.  Keep trying and modifying your response each time the objection comes up, until you find something that seems to work.

DIG DEEPER:  For more ideas on increasing your chances of getting a “Yes” when you ask for permission, check out these articles:

Raising the Ante on Permission and

Five Ways to Strengthen your Position.


There are 2 comments for this article
  1. Jedburgh at 12:24 pm

    Haha! ABC! Always Be Closing~
    “No” is the start of the sale.
    Get them saying yes and they’ll likely continue saying yes. After doing your homework, ask if they are the homeowner or tenant. Go from there.
    Make a personal connection, you’re selling yourself to them.
    Take off your sun glasses.
    Shave your beard and mustache.

    • Clark D at 1:05 pm

      Thanks Jedburgh! You should write a book or article on the subject yourself! Sometimes for me it is just tough to get in front of someone on certain days when it seems no one will come to the door. So it is important for me to make it count when I finally get to ask. I get about 3 Yes’s to each “No” these days. I can handle most objections if the person I’m asking isn’t just an unpleasant person. Majority of my “No’s” these days are renters that are afraid of their landlords, or property reserved for someone else to detect.

Discuss This Article