How Long Do You Have to Make The Perfect Pitch? Try 15 Seconds

You’ve only got 15 seconds to make a first impression, and that’s why your elevator pitch needs to be even shorter than it already is. Here are five tips for writing the perfect 15-second elevator pitch.

You’ve undoubtedly heard the expression, “You only have one chance to make a great first impression.” But what you may not have heard is that the first impression happens in just seconds – 15 seconds in fact.

In any business or networking setting, you have to be able to answer the question, “What do you do?” quickly and effectively. And this answer shouldn’t take any more than 15 seconds.

Having the perfect 15-second pitch for yourself and your business isn’t impossible, if you plan ahead. Here are five things you shouldn’t do when preparing the perfect 15-second pitch.

5 tips for writing the perfect 15-second pitch:

1. Don’t “wing it.”

It’s better to have your pitch memorized ahead of time and then be a bit spontaneous with it once you know it by heart. There’s nothing worse than getting an opportunity with an amazing potential client and then stumbling over yours words. It’s better to sound a bit rehearsed than to flub your pitch altogether.

2. Don’t be vague.

How many financial advisors have you met who told you, “I help my clients sleep better at night.” How? Doing what? I’d rather have a financial advisor tell me, “I keep my clients up all night because they are planning a trip around the world with the money they’ve earned.” At least that is memorable!

Here is an example of an excellent pitch that tells customers exactly what the businessperson does: “Hello, I’m Amber Powers. My digital marketing firm has a passion for the hospitality industry. In a haystack of digital marketers, we’re the needle you’re looking for as we take ALL of the digital marketing work off of your hands.”

3. Don’t make your pitch too long.

Unless you are Tony Robbins and have the gift for keeping people on the edge of their seats, a 2-minute pitch can feel like an eternity for the listener. If you can’t explain who you are and what you do in just 15 seconds, you’ve probably lost their attention for good. 

4. Don’t forget to practice out loud in front of the mirror.

You can write a phenomenal pitch that looks great on paper, but if you can’t deliver it over the phone or face-to-face then you are lost. And remember that sometimes you may be talking to someone in a crowded room, so make sure your pitch can be easily understood and heard in a noisy space.

5. Don’t make it too complex for others to share.

Most people get referrals from people they know and trust. So make it easy for your trusted network to share what you do with people they know that may need your services. This is called a “third party pitch” and it is the most effective way to get more business.  

This pitch showcases the businessperson’s nickname – a technique that makes it very simple for someone to remember and share with their trusted network. “Hello, my name is Lou Bortone and my clients call me “The Video Godfather.” If you are serious about creating a video strategy for your brand that CONVERTS, give me a call. I’ve been working with entrepreneurs (Just like you!) since 2005 to help them create better videos that result in more sales for their businesses.”

When planning your 15-second pitch, take a moment to ask yourself this question: “What is one thing you do better than anyone in the world?” Now, ask yourself, “What is one thing I do better than anyone else in the world that I could actually get paid for?” Start thinking about what sets you apart and build your pitch around that.

Gabby Riberio found the perfect niche for her business and wrote a pitch that highlighted exactly what made her unique. “Hello, I’m Gabby Riberio. I’m the founder of I plan 48-hour adventures for busy women entrepreneurs. As a single mom, who is an avid traveler AND entrepreneur, I learned that you CAN have a “trip of a lifetime” in just 2 days!

RELATED: How to Write an Elevator Pitch

Laura Allen is a private consultant and coach and is the founder of the 15-Second Pitch and Laura helps people market themselves more effectively, by working with them to develop a clear message of what they offer – a message that can be delivered in 15 seconds.

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