Godfather of Persuasion
I was watching "The Godfather" recently.
For the uninitiated, "The Godfather" is the classic oscar-winning show about the Italian Mafia (or the "Mob").
The opening scene left a very deep impression on me.
It’s the scene of Amerigo Bonasera, an owner of a funeral parlour who went to Don Corleone to ask for a favour, which was on the day of Don Corleone’s daughter wedding.
His daughter has just been raped by 2 men. But due to the failure of the justice system then, the 2 men got away scot free.
Bonasera swore revenge. But the only one who can help him deliver justice is Don Vito Corleone, the head of the Corleone mafia family in New York.
Don Corleone agreed to "settle" the 2 men.
But the scene that particularly struck me was how he made Bonasera acknowledged him as his "Godfather" and promised to return the favor if he ever needs it in future.
In Don Corleone’s words…he said to Bonasera, "Some day, and that day may never come, I will call upon you to do a service for me. But uh, until that day, accept this justice as a gift on my daughter’s wedding day."
Later in the show, Don Corleone’s eldest son, Sonny, was brutally assassinated by a rival mob.
And Bonasera returned the favor to Don Corleone by helping to patch up Sonny’s body nicely, so that his mother will not have to go through the agony of seeing Sonny’s disfigured bullet-riddled body.
Later, the movie also showed how Don Vito helped his godson, Johnny Fontane further his showbiz career.
And he too, would later repay Don Vito’s favor.
Can you see the persuasion strategy here?
Don Vito is using one of the classic "weapon of influence" which Dr Robert Cialdini (author of "Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion") termed as the "Principle of Reciprocity".
Don Vito will get people in his debt. So that if he ever needs to get something done, he will be able to easily persuade his "debtor" to reciprocate.
It’s a very powerful persuasion technique.
That’s why you hear Zig Ziglar, one of the world’s greatest salesman, saying, “You can get everything you want in life, if you help others get what they want."
When you help others, they are more inclined to hear you back.
It appeals to human’s nature of fairness.
And it’s a powerful weapon of influence you can use in all areas of your life, be at work or relationships.
Try it. And you will know what I mean.
To end off, let me leave you with video of the opening scene.
Enjoy the dialogue. And of course, Marlon Brando’s powerful portrayal of Don Vito Corleone.
Goddamn, I love this show!