If you want to get a job, persuade people with your ideas, you must know how to deliver a bullet-proof pitch. If you don't know how to do this in one minute, learn from Captain Quint how he does it in the movie "Jaws." With his pitch, he gets the job to kill the Great White Shark that has been terrorizing beachgoers in a fictional New England summer resort town called Amity Island.
Pitching is hard. You have to know a lot and synthesize it into something short, clear, and impactful so that it results in a win. Captain Quint's pitch is so good that I want you to watch this video clip before continuing with this post and see if you agree with my assessment. Now, this pitch is in a movie, so it has to be perfect. A movie has the luxury of having the best screenwriters, best directors, best actors, best editors, and multiple takes. We have to do all of this ourselves to deliver a great pitch, in one take.
What Does Captain Quint do so well in this one minute? A lot.
The one thing you probably want to avoid is the part where Captain Quint scratches the chalkboard with his nails to get attention. But everything after that is absolutely perfect on how to make your pitch in one minute. Note, there are no questions asked after he delivers his pitch since he addresses everything that matters.
1. Understand the problem and situation well before giving the pitch
Captain Quint is patiently sitting in a room full of scared and frustrated people in a town council's meeting. The council members are trying to figure out how to kill the shark that has killed a couple of people in their beachfront town.
Captain Quint is well prepared before he gets their attention. He knows that the town has a major problem; he knows there is an urgency; he knows they don't have much time; he knows they don't know who can get the job done; he knows there is confusion on what action to take. Once he senses that and validates it by attending the meeting, he shows up, seizes the moment, and secures an offer.
Takeaway: Don't act unless you have everything figured out. Don't ever "fly blind" when you are trying to win by pitching. Once you have all the facts, then show up, seize the moment and win.
2. Establish your credentials early
Once Captain Quint gets the council's attention, he tells the attendees that they already know him. He doesn't waste time going over his background. He is known. And he also knows that people tend to hire whom they know.
Takeaway: Similarly, when looking for a job, you should provide all the information to potential interviewers about yourself ahead of time. You want to keep the focus at the meeting on the job that has to be done. Also, no one cares how you get their attention if you can solve their main problem cheaper, better, faster, and smarter. Salespeople often waste a lot of time establishing their credentials. Don't do this. Make sure you are already credentialed before you show up.
3. Explain the problem as people see it
Captain Quint tells the people at the council meeting exactly what the problem is, i.e., there is a "bad fish" out there. He says he will catch this bird for them, but it isn't going to be a walk in the park based on what they are dealing with. He sets the proper expectations right up front; he does not try to oversell himself. He is persuading through logic.
Takeaway: Let the employer know the difficulty of the job and set the proper expectations. If it were easy, then they would have already found someone to do the job.
4. Get to the pain that people feel---losing money here
Captain Quint then proceeds to tell the town council that they better act quickly. Time is not on their side since if they don't act soon and get rid of this problem, they stand to lose the tourist's business, which would be disastrous.
Takeaway: Unless you know what the company stands to lose, they will have no urgency to hire you. You must put this in cold financial terms.
5. Instill confidence that you alone can get the job done
Captain Quint never mentions his competition but hints that the council is better off with a bird in the hand versus two in the bush. He is there in front of them, and others are not. So he has the advantage since time is on his side and the shark is still out there, causing havoc to the town's people and its economy. And we know this works since we know someone who did this in 2016.
Takeaway: Get the employer to make a decision quickly. Otherwise, the employer will be left with an alternative that may not get the job done as well as you can. You have to make the employer move to a decision.
6. Negotiate price once you have shown that you can solve the problem
Captain Quint first tells them how tough the job is and then informs the council that his price is $3,000 to find the shark and $10,000 to catch it and kill it.
Takeaway: Negotiate the price upfront and tell them what you are willing to do it for. In the end, this is still a business transaction.
7. Don't make people think too hard
Captain Quint then urges the council to not be cheap and make a decision real soon, and they better be smart and meet his demands. He is not letting the council overthink since he does not want any delays. Also, he knows it is in the council's interest to not delay awarding the contract to Captain Quint.
Takeaway: Don't let the company think too much since if they are thinking, you are losing.
8. Reinforce another pain---survival
Captain Quint does something interesting by telling them that besides money, their lives are at stake, and are they going to be cheap when it comes to saving lives?
Takeaway: Don't dilly dally about money when survival is at stake. How much is that worth to a company?
9. Set the terms for taking the job
Captain Quint then tells the council his terms. He will work by himself since that is the best way to deliver the result the council is looking for.
Takeaway: Tell the company how you like to do the job, which is your way of doing it to succeed.
10. Close the deal with a strong emotion
Captain Quint then goes for the kill for what the people want but are afraid to say it. He will deliver to them the "head, tail, and the whole damn thing." Nothing more needs to be said.
Takeaway: Tell them what outcome they really want but are afraid to say in simple language.
The mayor would give him the job right away, but protocol prevents him, so he sheepishly tells him, "We will take it under advisement." Captain Quint departs without saying anything more than paying his respect to the people in a polite manner.
He gets the job.
Jay Oza is an author, speaker, executive coach. He makes people thrive on high stakes stage whether it's for a job interview, a sales presentation or a high-stakes speech. He is the author of a practical book Winning Speech Moments: How to Achieve Your Objective with Anyone, Anytime, Anywhere. You can get this book on Amazon for $9.99. Please download the free speech checklist that you can use to help you create a winning speech for any situation.
Please contact him if you would like to have a two 75 minute coaching session on job interviewing or high-stakes speaking. If you are interested in inviting him to give a talk on job Interviewing or high-stakes speaking. You can reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org.