I love this billboard…

For three years, I never opened my mouth when I smiled. That was from 1978 through 1980.  

Those were the  Braces Years, the period when my mouth was full of metal hardware and my parents’ checking account was shrinking.  

It’s tough being a 13- to 16-year-old — especially when your pearly whites are covered with stainless steel.  

And it’s tough raising a 13- to 16-year-old who shows no gratitude for the orthodontic investment and who constantly tells you that “braces suck!”  

Ahhh…The good old days.  

It all came flooding back the other day when I saw a photo of this Texas billboard…

In case you’re not displaying images in your email, I’ll describe it.  

On the right: a photo of a young woman, wearing a mask. Her eyes are bright. You can tell she’s happy and smiling. But you can’t see that smile through the mask.  

On the top-left: The headline “Best Time Ever to Get Braces!” Below that: The logo for Smile at the World Orthodontics and the website address, SmileAtTheWorld.com. 

There are so many things to like about this ad. I’ll focus on one. 

Smart marketers keep track of prospects’ objections… 

…and devise creative ways to answer them.  

Prospective brace-ees have many objections. Number one on the list: Braces are ugly.  

How’s a humble orthodontist supposed to answer that objection. 

Sure, you can say, “It’s SO worth it. You’ll look great in three years…”  

But if you’ve ever been a teen — or if you’ve raised one — you know that delayed gratification doesn’t fire up the youngins.  

This ad acknowledges the objection. When you acknowledge an objection well, you bond with the prospect. You meet them where they are. You demonstrate empathy. This billboard says, in effect, “Lots of people worry how they look when they get braces.” And prospective brace-ees say, “Yeah, I can relate.”  

So far, so good.  

But answering objections can be a minefield. And many marketers blow it.  

They get preachy. They’re dismissive. They sound defensive. The answer is B.S. They make things worse.  

But this billboard avoids all of those mines. It has a sense of humor. It’s unique. It’s neither preachy, nor defensive. And it’s true: If you’re gonna get braces, it IS better to do it when you’re wearing a mask all the time.  

Bonus tip re: objections: Use testimonials to answer objections. Remember that happy customer who was hesitant to buy your products or services because of the price? Publish a testimonial in which that customer says, “At first, I was worried about the cost, but I’m thrilled with the investment. It’s worth every penny.” If YOU say something like that, you sound defensive. From a customers’ mouth, it sounds authentic.  

Bonus tip re: business names: Smile At the World Orthodontics is a GREAT name. Descriptive. Easy to remember. It evokes a journey from ugly, crooked teeth (hidden behind a tight-lipped smile) to beautiful, straight teeth revealed in a proud smile. And the URL is easy to remember and spell. 

p.s. Story Power Marketing has an app — chock full of great content… 

…and it’s free. It runs on iOS or Android, but you won’t find it if you search the app stores on your phone. 

Instead, you go to storypowermarketing.com/app, enter your email address, and follow the instructions.

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Tom Ruwitch

Tom Ruwitch is the founder and CEO of Story Power Marketing. For more than 30 years, he has helped businesses grow by delivering powerful stories using a variety of different media.