If you are dealing with a claims adjuster, whether to settle on the value of your car or the value of your injuries you are a negotiator. To get the best result you need to know some things about the science of negotiation. The first principle is "build rapport."

Recognize The Human Element

"Negotiators are people first," say Roger Fisher and William Ury of the Harvard Negotiating Project. "A basic fact about negotiations, easy to forget in corporate and international transactions, is that you are dealing...with human beings. They have emotions, deeply held values, and different backgrounds and viewpoints...."

Clarence Darrow was one of the most famous and successful trial lawyers of the 20th Century. What was the most important part of his job? "The main work of a trial attorney is to make a jury like his client," said Clarence.

What Darrow knew instinctively in the 1920s, persuasiveness expert Robert Cialdini has proven scientifically in the 21st Century. Cialdini, author of "Influence Science and Practice" says likability is one of the seven big factors in persuasion. "Few of us would be surprised to learn that, as a rule, we most prefer to say 'yes' to the requests of people we know and like," says Cialdini.

Make yourself likable by establishing similarity, by sincere compliments, by an attitude of cooperatively working together, by familiarity and by association with good things,

1. Similarity: Birds of a Feather Flock Together

Any type of similarity builds likability says Cialdini. This can include common background or interests, age, religion, politics, mood, verbal style, body posture, name or even cigarette smoking. Use casual friendly conversation to discover what you have in common with the claims adjuster. Chit chat. Get to know her a little bit. Build some rapport.

2. Compliments: You Catch More Flies With Honey Than With Vinegar

“...we tend, as a rule, to believe praise and to like those who provide it, often when it is probably untrue,” reports Cialdini. Ask yourself, “What do I genuinely admire about this claims adjuster?” Express your admiration in a sincere fashion.

3. Cooperation: We Are In This Together

Yes, it's true. You and the claims adjuster are working together to achieve an objective--settlement of your claim. Cooperatively working together with others increases liking, reports Cialdini. Or as Roger Dawson, world-renowned negotiation expert puts it, "avoid confrontational negotiation." You can get confrontational if you need to, later, as a last resort, but your first option is to approach this as a team effort. "What do we have to do to get this resolved?" is your basic approach. Use the term "we" as often as possible.

4. Familiarity: It Breeds...

Sure familiarity can breed contempt when it's friends or inlaws staying too long at your house but, as a general rule, when we get to know people we tend to like them. Build familiarity through casual friendly conversation. Time on the phone is time well invested by you and the adjuster.

5. Association: Don't Shoot The Messenger

Whenever possible associate your self with good things. If you have friends in common mention it. Talk about the pleasant aspects of the weather. Keep your conversation upbeat and cheerful. This is not the time to complain about your spouse or your deadbeat son-in-law.


When dealing with a claims adjuster start with the human element. A claims adjuster is a human being and we humanoids like to work with and are influenced by people we like. So, make yourself likable with similarity, compliments, an attitude of cooperatively working together, familiarity and association with good things.

In 25 years as an injury attorney Rex Bush has successfully handled over 1014 cases, his largest settlement to date is 3.25 million dollars. Visit his website: Utah Personal Injury Attorneys
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