What would the Godfather do to improve Sales Productivity ?

Posted by Jack Derby, Head Coach on Thu, Jun 01, 2017

This post is adapted from the excellent perspectives of JP Nicols 5 Lesson Leadership Lessons From the Godfather. JP provides a very interesting hangout. Check him out.


This month Paramount and Cinemark are celebrating the 40th anniversary of the release of The Godfather. The movie is an all-time favorite for millions of us, so in honor of the anniversary, these three leadership lessons are offered from the film for you to think about as it relates to your work as being "a member of the family" of professional salespeople and managers.

You need a wartime Consigliere

sales boot campWhen Michael was plotting his revenge against the other families, he announced that he was replacing his own step-brother as trusted adviser: “Tom Hagen is no longer Consigliere. He’s going to be our lawyer in Vegas. That’s no reflection on Tom, it’s just the way I want it.” Then to Tom: “You’re not a wartime Consigliere, Tom. Things could get rough with the move we’re making.”

Loyalty, history and track record are important factors in keeping sales managers and salespeople on your team, but don’t confuse loyalty with having the right people with the right skills and experiences in the right positions at the right time. Success in sales management is all about creating a perfect blend of three absolute requirements that not only lead to dominance in the market, but bring honor to the family.


  1. Highly trained sales skills that lead to the certification of "Making your bones"
  2. Perfected use of specific sales weapons from years of actual experience "on the street" 
  3. A personality that matches the culture of "the family's values".

Bottom line- Don't settle for less than "A" performers who are highly skilled, trained and certified!

stick to what you know

godfather sales boot campWhen Don Corleone sits down with Sollozzo, who is seeking financing and political protection in order to expand his illegal drug business, Don Corleone tells him: “…I must say no to you and let me give you my reasons. It’s true I have a lot of friends in politics, but they wouldn’t be so friendly if they knew my business was drugs instead of gambling, which they consider a harmless vice. But drugs, that’s a dirty business.”

If you want more revenue, expand your offerings because it makes sense strategically, and because you understand the risks and have the skills and experience to execute. Don’t do it because it’s an appealing source of new revenue. In Sales, as in business, you first need to stick to the knitting and focus on what you know as your core.    There's always more of the market to take!

Godfather of salesMake them an offer they can’t refuse

When the singer Johnny Fontane comes to Don Corelone for help in getting a movie role he covets, he is worried that it is already too late since the movie starts shooting in a week. The Godfather confidently reassures him that he will be able to influence the film’s producer: “I’m gonna make him an offer he won’t refuse.”

The old horse’s head in the bed routine is typically not recommended in Sales, but you should understand that dealing in the currency that’s important to the other party is the key to influence. 

In order to completely understand that currency requires flawless execution on your Discovery Step , which is absolutely the most critical step in your six step sales process, and it is the #1 skill for your salespeople to master.  Mastering processes, using the right tools at the right time and being able to deliver the message perfectly are the most important weapons of any well trained soldier.

Otherwise, you may end up by needing to make your prospects an offer they can’t refuse, which typically means...reducing your price.  Totally opposite to that, our practice right now in these economic times, is to raise prices using new sales techniques, tech-driven tools and dynamically-shared best practices to sell to value and not to price and the pressures of the competition. 

If you're still selling the same way that you used to back-in-the-old-days ...like five years ago...then not only will the competition grind you up in the meat slicer, but more importantly, you will not be keeping pace with how your prospects and customers want to be sold.

A Derby Offer You shouldn't  Refuse...

Become The Godfather of Sales!  Attend our sales management Bootcamp !

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Tags: sales effectiveness, sales enablement, sales optomization, sales management boot camp, improving sales productivity