WHAT DO YOU HAVE TO LOSE?
We all know that if you want to detect an old house or parcel of land, you will need to get approval from the owner. So you knock on the door, it opens and someone says “Get outta here” (remember I am from New Jersey), and slams the door in your face!
Other than being put off and pissed off, what has just happened? To be honest, absolutely nothing. You couldn’t walk onto their property before you asked, and still can’t. Status quo. Nothing ventured, nothing gained. Move on to the next property and repeat.
Without question the problem most detectorists have with knocking on doors is one of being nervous, and having to sell yourself to a stranger. I understand all that, but you will never get good at it without doing it a few times and fine tuning your spiel. Not everyone is good at selling, but those that are have found that comfortable niche or approach through trial and error.
Confidence is not “will they like me”….confidence is “I’ll be fine if they don’t”
DRAWBACKS TO KNOCKING ON THE DOOR?
- Many people today won’t even open their door to a stranger. Just the way it is…
- Think how YOU would react to a stranger knocking on YOUR door, and asking permission to dig holes in YOUR lawn or property. We know we are experts at retrieving our finds, but that homeowner does not, and when he or she has to make a quick yes or no decision, they are most likely going to say no.
- You only get one chance to make a good first impression, and just maybe your long hair, your clothing, your beard, your voice, your inability to sell yourself, will turn the landowner off.
I haven’t knocked on many doors of late, but when I did I would guess I had success in maybe one out of every three or four attempts. After a year or two or three I found that sending a letter to the homeowner worked the best. In my letter I…..
- Told them my name, where I lived and for how long.
- Told them where I worked.
- Told them my marital status (married, single, how many children, etc.)
- Told them how long I had been detecting.
- Told them how I retrieved a target without doing damage.
- Told them about my working with local law officials.
- Told them I could provide personal and/or business references if needed.
- Told them I would not hold them liable.
- Told them to think over my request, and that I would call them in a few days.
I know this sounds like a lot of work, but it was effective, and putting something like this together today would be easy. You could make it generic in nature, and simply fill in the name and address.
NOW, IF YOU DO DECIDE TO KNOCK ON A DOOR & SELL YOURSELF…
- Do Leave your detector and digging tools at home or in the car.
- Do Dress decently – NO CAMO.
- Do have your spiel down and choose your words carefully. Avoid words like “dig”, “damage”, “depth” etc..
- Do remember they own the property, not you.
- Do emphasize that you will not hold them liable for any accidents, and maybe have a “hold harmless” form with you.
- Do give them a day or so to think it over if they seem reluctant. The fact that you are not in a hurry or pushy will go a long way.
No matter what method you decide to try, don’t be discouraged, and always remember that being turned down changes nothing. You couldn’t hunt that property before asking, and a “no” merely reinforces that. Nothing ventured, nothing gained.