What's the best method?

I have a business card and have access to rural farm areas and of course the home. Hard to real reach out so been working on a form letter with card attached to leave in mailbox on the road. Seen any good ones out there? Have xhunt and know property owners name but phone call out of question and hell their working don't want to drive on the property and bother em especially when no one at the home and everybody out in the fields.
I've thought about a note in the mailbox of tempting old houses in the country. I have a lot of Indian head pennies and buffalo nickels found at seeded hunts that hold no real value to me.
Wondered about enclosing one of each with the note inviting them to keep these and that i would love to see if their yard holds any vintage coins or maybe a great grandmother's silver thimble.
So, thus far in my metal detecting career, I have yet to actually walk up to a complete strangers door and ask permission to hunt on their property. All my permissions have either been given by a friend (owner of the property I want to search), or one of my friends has mentioned me to one of their friends, who I have then contacted after the fact (they were actually waiting for me to talk to them after being told of my hobby). Now, however, I know of a piece of property that at one time had an old hotel setting on it (mid to late 1800s) and I'd love to give it a go. I should mention that this hotel was located along an old railway bed and I already have permission from the property owners on either side of this additional location. I have had some good luck on those properties, but the hotel sits right in the middle of them and I only recently found out who owns it.

So my question is this...what's the best way to approach them? Should I be dresed like I would if I were detecting? Should I mention that I have permission from the land owners on either side? What do "you" all do when approaching a stranger about wanting to search their property?
I usually introduce myself and just tell them don’t worry im not a sales man. I just say I just wanted to see if you would be willing to allow me to metal detect your yard. If it’s an older house I usually say their yard could have sone cool historical items that have been lost by the original owners. I let them know that I will respect their yard and not make a mess out of the lawn. I explain how I use my shovel to make a round plug to find the item and then put the plug right back in so you can’t tell it was dug. You wanna make it clear to them that you’re not gonna leave their grass a mess with a bunch of holes in it . Another thing that works too is I go on the local tow. Facebook pages and say if anyone had an old house or property that they would mind me metal detecting to contact me . I have gotten a few permissions from doing that. Good luck I would sit down and just write out what you would say kinda like a sales pitch. Just remember the worst that can happen is they say no.if you don’t feel ok with talking straight to the person I have heard of some guys making up flyers and dropping in the mail box. I haven’t done it that way so I can’t tell you how good it works but you will figure it out.
Has anyone ever been concerned about you getting hurt on their property and trying to sue them?
No, but one owner at a random door-knock asked to see my driver’s license and recorded my name and address. One time, a pastor at a church permission told me a couple guys showed up with liability release forms which spooked him enough to deny them permission. He let me hunt the grounds.
Has anyone ever been concerned about you getting hurt on their property and trying to sue them?
Yes...I was recently denied permission on a piece of property because the wife was concerned about liability. The husband showed great interest and was asking all sorts of questions, but his wife pretty much told him to tell me: "sorry, no", because apparently years ago they had once allowed a neighbor to drive his snowmobile across their property. At some point he hit a rock or something, was injured, and successfully sued them. I can sort of understand their concern, but he asked me to stop by another time and he'd tell me more stories about the area. He's probably in his 80s and has lived in the area his entire life...we sat on his front porch while he told me story after story after story about growing up in the area. So...next Spring I might stop by again to say "Hi".
I've gained permission several times by looking up the legal owner using the county property appraiser website online. I look for vacant or abandoned property then send a polite letter explaining my hobby and asking for permission. I always make a statement that if given permission I will hold harmless to any liability to the owner. I include my email and phone number and thank them for their time. So far, (knock on wood) I'm 4 for 4 on gaining permission. On one property I offered to cut the grass, the owner offered to pay me but I refused payment as a goodwill gesture.

Anyway, that's how I do it.
Recently moved into private land hunting via door knocking, lots of good advice here so far, I look for owners in the yard, but cold knock as well if I see cars and still honing my approach. Have a business card, research the property area for old homesteads, when approaching smile, back away from door, say I'm a local guy and have done many homesteads in the area, drop neighbors names you've done to ease their trepidation. within 10-15 seconds make a connection, first impression, be honest, upfront. Like the idea someone suggested here in "if you mind, I'd like to keep what I find", gonna use that...but if they want some items, negotiate. If they want to see what you find, show them, if they want to keep an item, up to you, but I give it, ended up giving an old matron largie to one farm owner since is great grand daddy settled the place, he really wanted it and it brought joy to his face when I handed it over...still have a great pic of that one! I want them feel the experience was a good one for them and I always ask them to for leads and recommending me to others...word of mouth helps. Don't over explain, but answer questions, a no is a no or like many of them, they want to "think it over", I leave my card and move on. My first year, about 2 dozen cold calls, got about 7 or 8 permissions, good finds though and love talking to interested owners about their properties and researching is my niche. Have fun!!
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