The Godfather’s Guide To Doing Business Online

Arguably, the Godfather movies are the greatest films ever made, begetting some great “wise guy” proverbs. And since I’m one of those guys who could communicate entirely in movie quotes and being a “web-wise guy” to boot, I wondered how Don Corleone might run the online “family business.” Here’s some memorable Godfather wisdom – and nobody even has to get whacked!

“I’ll make him an offer he can’t refuse.” Studies show that it takes less than a second for visitors to pass judgment on you based on your website. Impress them immediately before the Back button becomes public enemy number one.

“It’s business, not personal.” If that’s your website’s vibe, remember: People make decisions intellectually, but they buy emotionally. It’s always personal; touch something sensitive.

“It’s a Sicilian message. It means Luca Brasi sleeps with the fishes.” Is your message confusing? Do website visitors know who you are, what you do, and who you serve? Does your site tell your story like you would tell it personally? Enhance your website with an overall message that people discern immediately.

“Leave the gun. Take the cannolis.” Focus on what’s important. Ask yourself what makes you better than your competitors. Then ask, “Who Cares?” Customers don’t care about you; they care about them! Your website should be all about them, not you.

“Some day, and that day may never come, I will call upon you to do a service for me.” Happy customers are your best referral source. Ask them! Would you want people to recommend your website? Are visitors encouraged to do that? Plug your site into Social Media and create some neat incentives for sharing it.

“What have I ever done to make you treat me so disrespectfully?” The only thing worse than an unhappy customer is not knowing how many you have. Take their temperature. Send out surveys; make calls; ask for feedback. Showcase raves on your website! Survey tools can encourage customers to post feedback online; then integrate that feedback into your website.

“Don’t ever take sides with anyone against the family…Ever.” A customer slammed you somewhere online. Don’t ever take sides against the customer. Instead, use the Web to handle it graciously. Be the bigger person… in front of everybody!

“Mr. Corleone is a man who insists on hearing bad news immediately.” Similar to the previous proverb, don’t avoid conflict. Deal with problems immediately. People are watching so handle negativity positively!

“Keep your friends close, but your enemies closer.” Know your competition. Gather lots of intel. Make their business your hobby. Remember: Your customer is their prospect.

“I don’t feel I have to wipe everybody out, Tom. Just my enemies.” Their customer is your prospect! Follow me?

“He’s thinking of going to the mattresses.” Go all the way! The Web is a huge advantage. Play with honor, but play to win. This is America; as Don Barzini said, “After all… we’re not communists.”

“Michael, we’re bigger than U.S. Steel.” Think big-picture. Establish big goals; they’ll sustain you on those in difficult days — or on days you just don’t feel like doing it.

Hopefully, myself and the Corleone family have given you some truths here. Don’t fugetaboutit!

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