I detected this weekend with Jonathan James, and he went four for one on permission. Yes, he got four different property permissions from asking one time. How? He caught a lady outside on her porch and asked, handled a tough objection, and got a “Yes”. We talked and joked with her while we hunted the front yard, and she ended up texting four different property owners across the street that she knew well. None of them were home, yet three of them said we could go ahead and hunt.
Everyone of us who regularly gets permission to detect has had a property owner hook us up with an adjacent property or property owner, and occasionally even ask for us. As hard as it is to make yourself stop and knock, or even get someone to come to a door, this is one of the best things that can happen to us while detecting. If we consciously attempt to make this happen, we can make permission getting much easier by doing what I like to call stacking and chaining permissions.
STACKING DETECTING PERMISSIONS
Stacking permissions is getting free additional permission from a property owner. In the instance above, Jonathan stacked permissions. The property owner just hooks us up, and we didn’t have to do anything. They asked for us, or maybe have the authority to give permission for a nearby property that they don’t own. Earlier this year I hunted a ladies yard, which was a good one. She texted her best friend on the next street over who said “come on over”, and that yard was even better.
If they don’t offer, ask! Many times it just doesn’t occur to them and they could have easily got you the house next door. Anytime a property owner is friendly, extremely talkative, and/or excited about me being there, and I don’t ask who they know, I am almost always giving up free permission. I hunted six properties this past Sunday afternoon, and I was dead tired. Met a super nice lady at the last house right before dark, and I left without asking for referrals. I beat myself up for it later, but I’ll go back and speak with her again. Often times the free permission is even better than the house next door. It may be in another part of town. Often these permissions are unbelievable sites that I might not have known about, or that were intimidating to approach directly.
CHAINING DETECTING PERMISSIONS
Chaining permissions is simply getting permission while detecting, and getting intel on the neighbors from a property owner that has granted you permission.
The easiest way to chain permission is to keep an eye out for neighbors while detecting. People walking their dogs. Neighbors in the adjacent yard. I always smile and wave and say something. “Nice weather isn’t it!” And most of the time they will pause and chat. I always have something ready to show them in my pouch whether I have found anything or not. With their permission, I might give a bullet to their kids that might be with them. Sometimes, if the weather is nice, I’ll re-hunt a yard just to do catch people to talk to. I always say something nice about the owner of the property I am standing in and hunting, so I am a bit less of a stranger in the neighborhood, and I get a lot of “chained” permission this way. I didn’t have to knock on a door, and have an elevated chance of getting a “Yes” versus knocking on the same people’s door.
Stacking permission is much rarer than chaining permission. Often the property owner isn’t going to call the neighbors himself, but will give you names and other important intel for the neighbors, especially who will likely let you hunt, and who is less likely to. “That’s mean old lady Smith on the corner. I wouldn’t ask if I were you.” That’s good information, but beware, I’ve found through much experience that these are guidelines. I’ve been told not to ask someone two houses down, and I’d previously gotten a “Yes” and hunted that yard. So I usually ask for a little more information about a potential “No” in a good area to help think of a good approach.
GET BUY-IN FROM PROPERTY OWNER
It is easy to knock on a door, get a “Yes”, hunt a yard, and leave. However, you can increase the likelihood of stacking permission by taking the time to develop a relationship with, and being honest with the property owner. If they aren’t talkative up front, but say “Yes”, many will come out and check on you and chat. If they don’t come out, I like to check in with them before I leave and show them some finds, which usually leads to a short conversation. I like to confide in them how difficult getting permission is, mostly because I feel a bit bad about interrupting people at home like a door-to-door salesperson does. More importantly, I like to get their buy in on what I am doing. Telling them the history of their property or area, and showing them some finds from their yard to back it up, even giving them some bullets or other finds are ways to accomplish this. Doing nice things like picking up trash by the street or sticks in the yard also helps. Property owners that are at ease and happy about you being there are most likely to confide in you with intel, or straight up get additional permission for you.
FIND THE GATEKEEPERS
The “holy grail” of detecting permissions to me is a gatekeeper. One of those people that just knows everyone. In a rural area, this could be someone that bushhogs and mows uninhabited plots of land for the owners, who might not even live in the area. “You can hunt that pasture, and if anyone says anything to you, just tell them to come talk to me.” Talk about music to my ears! A gatekeeper might just be the person on a given street that has been there the longest and just knows everyone, and that everyone likes. I used to stumble upon the gatekeepers, but now I actively seek them out. When I’m in a new area, I’ll ask who that person might be, and usually it is very easy to find out from another property owner. Locating and developing a good relationship with a gatekeeper almost always leads to beaucoup stacked and chained permissions. These gatekeepers are also usually the names you want to drop when asking for permission in the area.
I’m bad with names so I make sure I make detailed notes immediately including last names, addresses, and any intel I am provided by friendly property owners that can help me get permission. I use my smartphone to keep my notes for easy reference.
I like to track my stacking and chaining and try to get as many permissions together as possible. For example, I knock on a door, get a “yes” and hunt (1). I share history and show finds and the homeowner calls a friend on the next street and gets me permission (2). I hunt that yard. While I am in that yard I see two next door neighbors talking and strike up a conversation, and get permission to hunt both their yards (3) and (4). And I’m going to ask both of those homeowners for referrals, and going to be on the lookout for other homeowners walking the street or out in their yards to keep the stack/chain going. My primary goal is to keep hunting without having to knock on a door, and my secondary motivation is to get information that can help me when I have to.
I actively work to stack and chain permissions is to avoid going back to “square one” where I have to start over by blindly knocking on a door. Knocking is something I only want to do when I have no other resort, when I have no other entry into a specific target property, or when I am trying to get into a new area, town, or neighborhood. Stacking and Chaining also reduces the wasted time I spend trying to get people to come to the door, so I spend more time detecting and less time just driving around.
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