Recently I was re-watching one of my favorite movies – The Godfather – and discovered a powerful persuasion lesson I want to share with you.
Yes, I’m speaking of the legendary family mafia drama by director Francis Ford Copula.
It features a fantastic script, mood enhancing soundtrack, and stars true Hollywood powerhouses like Marlon Brando, Dianne Keaton, and of course Al Pacino as Michael Corleone.
It seems every time I watch a “TRUE CLASSIC” like this, I find myself finding several copywriting and marketing lessons hidden just under the surface.
This was certainly the case here.
In fact, I’m going to probably write three or four articles with business-building gems I gleaned from this single film.
Hollywood Hoopla, Drama, and Jealousy
During the first act, we are introduced to a Frank Sinatra-type crooner at Vito Corleone’s daughter’s wedding.
He comes to his godfather with a problem.
His singing career may be at a crossroads due to problems with his voice and he feels if he doesn’t pivot to a big screen acting career that his time in the limelight could soon be coming to an end.
After a long day of granting wishes (tradition is that no Sicilian can deny a request on his daughter’s wedding day) “The Don” gets visibly frustrated with his godson’s whimpering and whining over being denied a part in an upcoming blockbuster movie.
He is convinced that this is the PERFECT role for him and it will be his big chance to become a box office megastar.
The problem is that the producer of the movie is determined to NOT give our aging heartthrob this opportunity. He has a personal grudge against him over a young starlet he believed was “ruined” for him.
After shaking out of his overly emotional state, the Godfather tells him to calm down, enjoy the wedding, and that he’ll make sure the part in the movie will be his. How? By…
Making The Director An Offer He Can’t Refuse
Soon the set changes to a Hollywood sound stage where Vito Corleone’s personal attorney Tom Higgins approaches the producer. He presents a proposition that the singer gets the role in the movie or there will not only be labor union issues but also a scandal involving a top actress exposed.
Mister “Hollywood Big Shot” kicks Tom off the set not realizing exactly who he is connected to.
Fast forward to later in the evening when Tom has been invited to the producer’s home for dinner. He offers an apology for not realizing who Tom represented, but he also unceremoniously says he will NEVER give in to the Godfather’s demands.
Tom excuses himself saying that his boss insists on getting bad news in person and right away.
An Extreme Example Of Power Persuasion
Have you ever been in a situation like this in your business? Maybe you were trying to negotiate a deal, sell a product or service to an incredibly hard-to-move prospect – even though buying would be in their best interest.
If that sounds familiar then what did you do?
Did you just give up OR did you find a way to get your prospect to take another look at your offer?
Here’s what Tom Higgins did at the orders of his boss – Vito Corleone.
He found out what was MOST IMPORTANT to the Hollywood producer and then used that as a secret weapon of mass persuasion.
Earlier in the evening before dinner, Tom was given a tour of the producer’s luxurious home. This included his horse stables where he showed with pride his thoroughbred horse he was going to use to breed future champions.
It was clear to Tom that this was the “KEY” to getting this man’s attention.
The following morning when the producer woke he screamed in horror as he found the severed head of his prized horse in bed with him.
Soon the singer was given the starring movie role he coveted so much.
What Does Your Prospect Care Most About?
Admittedly, this is an outrageous scenario and I am certainly not advocating for you ever doing something like this.
However, the lesson is VERY applicable to almost any business. Yes, even yours.
To persuade someone to do something or to buy what you are selling you first have to do some careful research into what is most important to them.
Once you know the most critical WANTS, NEEDS, DESIRES, or PROBLEMS your target market is most concerned with, then you will have the ammunition you need to persuade them to do almost anything.
If you can legitimately show them what you are offering will provide the benefits they seek.
Yes – even if they have stubbornly dug their heels into the ground with every intention of never giving in.
When you know what REALLY moves them – then the job of persuading them is half done.
Robert Sean Pascoe is a freelance direct response copywriter and marketing strategist who works with entrepreneurs worldwide to create advertising and marketing campaigns that maximize their profits.
With 16 years of copywriting experience and a lifetime in sales, Robert knows how to use the power of words to sell virtually anything to anyone, especially if the market has been properly defined.
Robert enjoys primarily working with small business owners to sell more of their products and services through the power of direct response advertising and marketing.
He has written sales copy for companies in such diverse niches as Weight Loss Supplements, Skin Care, Male Enhancement, Local Marketing Agencies, Live Event Seminars, Software Developers, Insurance Agencies, Real Estate Brokerages, Marketing Consultants, and many, many more.
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