[revised Nov 2016]
Metal Detecting Permissions Guidelines
I have this habit of talking myself out of good things, including metal detecting permissions. I needed to learn these key points in asking for things from people who owed me nothing. I knew I’d shortly have much to offer them, but needed “in the door” first. So I went back to basics:
- Impress them.
- Shut up.
If yes: Hunt.
If no: Hunt Later.
- Connect with them.
- Try again Later.
- Go to #1
What makes this hard for me is that I’ve always worked too hard trying to imagine what another person is thinking. This is based on an alternative reality partially based on anxiety and partially on a genuine desire to be the best at what I do. Well, I’ve learned, 80% of the time, I’m wrong, and I undermine many of my efforts as a result. This is not empathy – it’s just plain anxiety.
Have Empathy for The Person Being Asked
You don’t know what kind of day the property owner has had. Perhaps they just got bad news or they worked double shifts and they’re tired. This may be the first weekend they’ve had off in months. Perhaps another person tore up their property a year ago. Perhaps they’re in physical pain or they have stress about money or marriage. So I keep things brief UNLESS they are the ones to extend the conversation. This pitch is the result:
The Metal Detecting Permissions Pitch:
<if safe to do so, leave your car running so they know this is not going to take long – it sets the tone that you’re not going to disrupt their day much>
<smile and wave>
<approach slowly with hands visible or, better yet, let them approach you or meet in the middle.>
<smile – small talk>
“Hi, I’m Scott Clark and my weekend hobby is metal detecting for wonderful old items  people lost in the past. I have researched your property  and came today to ask permission to metal detect here . Could I metal detect on your property? [do not wait for answer] I brought some things from homes like yours if you’re curious about what is probably here.”
<if interest: show a few artifacts to build rapport>
***** STOP TALKING *****
Of course answer, briefly, any questions they have, but don’t talk your way out of the metal detecting permission.
If they say “no” – remember this might just be a bad day but a month from now it might be better. Hook them for “drip” marketing and stay front-of-mind. Good salespeople never consider “no” the end. It may take 3-4 contacts before they grant permission – it’s just human nature.
“I understand, thank you for considering. I’d love to send you my little newsletter  every few months – It has fun, brief stories about my metal detecting finds and stories of when I return people’s lost heirlooms to them . Is this your address? Here’s the latest copy  along with my information card [9, 10]”
Strengths of this Pitch:
- Strong Early impression – Responsible person. In person is proven to be best.
-  It’s a hobby – you’re not selling anything – no money is involved.
-  Positivity – establish yourself as a history buff.
-  Investment of time in my property – build curiosity.
-  Ask directly for permissions – don’t dance about – but be ready with the “bridge builder.”
-  Bridge Builder – a distraction – show them the items they’ve been wanting to see all along with something unique
-  Tether – connect to them longer term. Don’t just point them to your website or social media account. Your next newsletter may arrive on a day they’re feeling better or more generous. Of course, your phone number must be prominent on the front of the newsletter.
-  Build curiosity (what IS in my ground? what is in that box?)
-  Connect permissions question with their curiosity about the artifacts.
-  Something physical to leave with them. Look, it’s a printed newsletter! Keep this simple and easy to make in the software you have – Microsoft Word makes great ones.
-  Responsible person, prepared
-  Kind person, generous volunteer.
Practice before you Pitch: Get someone to role play with you.
Have someone play the role of the confused property owner. The skeptic. The grump. The lonely person. The stingy one. Consider if you might use the local toastmasters to help you overcome shyness (if you have it.) TAKE NOTES. Fix any stumbles. Prepare yourself for the unexpected responses (let the person working with you be creative on their reasons for saying no, etc.)
Let me know how it goes!