As hard as we’ve worked on continually improving our permission skills, I am always a bit apprehensive about rolling into a new town for the first time and asking permission. So it came as a surprise to me that we were perfect on permission yesterday during our first visit to a small town in Tennessee that had been the site of numerous Civil War camps.
WHY A TEAM FOR PERMISSION?
Many detectorists detect solo and get permission, so why is a team better? A well put-together team is superior because each team member has strengths and functions directly related to permission that accent the other team members. A team also reduces the fear of door knocking as we motivate and push each other and are able to collectively laugh off the occasional disaster such as knocking on the door of someone who is extremely unfriendly.
Permission is a continuous improvement process no matter how good you are. Team members improve each others individual skills. For example, yesterday, one of us noticed our team member was saying “Detecting is better than sitting at home watching TV” to a property owner that was probably sitting at home watching TV when we knocked on his door.
TEAM MEMBER STRENGTHS
Yesterday, our team was made up of three detectorists, all with good permission skills. The makeup of any team varies but yesterday our team looked like this:
POINT: This is the person with arguably the best permission skills, that can handle objections and turn “Nos” into “Yes’s”.
VETERAN: This is someone with tremendous knowledge of where to hunt, where things have been found, and what properties may have been overlooked or not hunted in past due to property owner not granting permission. We call this “knocking on better doors”. As a result, this person is invaluable to the team.
HISTORIAN: This person’s primary permission strength is wowing the property owners with detailed research and history. He is often the most well read member of the team. He has handouts, can answer specific questions, and can get buy-in from tough property owners.
All of us can knock on doors and get permission, but together we can improve our Yes/No percentage significantly.
So yesterday went like this:
Property One: Our veteran detectorist knew that this was an older woman who lived in a farmhouse out by herself. I decided to take this one solo to hopefully not frighten her. I knocked on her front door, and she must have seen us drive up, because she came out of side of house. We had a short friendly conversation, mostly about the butterfly that was oddly perched on her shoulder, before I explained why we were here, showed her my small relic case I carry, and asked her. She was very kind and this was an easy “Yes”.
Property Two: Again our veteran came in handy with intel that this yard had been hunted before and produced some good stuff. He thought it was easy permission. I was still sweaty from hunting in sun in last yard, so we decided to send the historian. His permission approach is completely different from mine and he is very effective. He presented himself as a local historian, provided the property owner with a handout with a map and other things, answered a couple of questions about the soldiers that had camped her, and came back to the truck with a “Yes” and big smile on his face.
Property Three: This is what I call a “Parlay”, getting permission from permission or while detecting, and avoiding having to knock on the next door. The neighbors to property two were hanging out under a shade tree near the property line, so we struck up a conversation with them. They seemed friendly, so I mentioned we’d like to hunt in the shade on their property. (Little or no shade on Property two). They said we could hunt wherever we like. Very cool.
Property Four: This was a very historic mansion that was there during the war. These are the doors that are very intimidating to knock on. The key here is that the other two team members all but dared me to knock on it. Without this goading, I admit I wouldn’t have knocked. I decided to take this one solo as I thought it might be a quick “No” but worth asking. I walked around to the back door and knocked. A lady in her early 40s answered. I politely apologized for the interruption, introduced myself, told her what we were doing, and that my friends and I had had a kind of rough day detecting, and would like to hunt their property in hopes of finding something historic. She objected by saying it had been hunted many times, and I countered and asked if it would be any trouble if we tried anyway. She seemed lukewarm and told me to hold on as she would have to ask her very elderly mother, who owned the property. Then she disappeared back into the house. I waited patiently but was still not very optimistic, as I’d had poor results in the past when someone has to ask someone else on my behalf. When she emerged, however, she was much more pleasant. Her mother must have been pleased with the request. She told us to go ahead and have fun.
Our goal is, of course, not to be perfect on permission. That is not possible as we run inevitably run into property owners that are going to say “No” matter what. Our goal is to simply to get on a good property with the potential to produce something incredible. Typically, in the heavily hunted areas we frequent, this means hitting 3 or 4 yards in a day to increase our likelihood of significant finds. So to get 3 or 4 yeses, we need to try to walk away from each property owner either with a “Yes”, feel that we gave it our absolutely best shot and tried to handle objection, or learned from the experience as a team.
So what does this mean for you? If you are just not a people person and/or struggle with permission, partner with team members and bring something to the table such as where to hunt, research, and motivation. And be ready to go to the door and back your team members up, and learn from them.
If your permission skills are good, partner with team members that can make you better and help you knock on better doors. Veterans, historians, and other detectorists with permission skills that augment yours.