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Don’t Let Social Distance Keep You from Building Your Practice – Episode 224


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Learn how to create opportunities for your practice during turbulent times

On this episode of the Dentist Money™ Show, Ryan interviews Dr. Brian Harris, the founder of Smile Virtual, a leader in virtual consultations. Have you considered that the mindset you take during this economic pause may result in how well your practice does when it’s back to business as usual? 

From the tricks he’s learned about video consults to tips on getting more involved in social media, Brian offers ways to still be productive during unusual times.


Podcast Transcript

Ryan Isaac:
Hey everybody. Welcome to another episode of the Dentist Money Show. Thanks for tuning in. Today on the show, I have Dr. Brian Harris. Right now we’re in the middle of March 2020, everyone’s kind of on shutdown and locked lockdown, waiting out this Coronavirus and waiting to see what happens with everyone’s businesses and lives, and trying to get back to normal as soon as possible. Today on the show, Brian is talking to us about things dentists can do in their practice now to improve their marketing, improve their sales skills, improve their communication with clients, and even come out of this in a more innovative and more efficient way than you were doing business before in the practice. I thought it was a really great interview. Thanks to Brian for taking time. He’s busy. Everyone’s feeling crazy right now, and everything feels kind of up in the air, and a lot of things we’re unsure about, a lot of unknowns, but really appreciate him for taking the time.

Ryan Isaac:
I think a lot of these tips will help some of us get focused and find some things to do, and kind of an opportunity right now to slow down and think about how to come out of this different and better in the future. So thanks to Brian. Thanks for tuning in everybody. If you have anymore questions for us, if you want to talk to one of our advisors or have questions about your personal financial situation, just go to the website, DentistAdvisors.com, click on the “book consultation” button, and schedule a call with one of our advisors. Or go post a question in our Facebook group. We’re always in there and active, and a lot of smart people pitching in and answering questions. That’s DentistAdvisors.com/group. Thanks for tuning in. Appreciate it everybody. Enjoy the show.

Announcer:
Consult an advisor or conduct your own due diligence when making financial decisions. General principles discussed during this program do not constitute personal advice. This program is furnished by dentist advisors or registered investment advisor. This is Dentist Money. Now here’s your host, Ryan Isaac.

Ryan Isaac:
Welcome to the Dentist Money show where we help dentists make smart financial decisions. I’m your host, Ryan Isaac, here today with a good friend and pal and expert today, Dr. Brian Harris. Brian, thanks for joining us today in such crazy times. How you doing man?

Dr. Brian Harris:
Of course, man. I’m doing really good.

Ryan Isaac:
For reference, if anyone’s listening to this years from now, we are in a what feels like 2025, but it’s only March of 2020. It’s been the longest month I think I’ve ever experienced. We’re in the middle of all the economic turmoil in the early stages of all the coronavirus stuff. Office is shut down. It’s kind of a lot of unknowns and a lot of worries and anxiety for everyone. So if you’re listening right now, this episode comes out pretty soon, then just best wishes, best vibes. Yeah, we’re just holding out hope for everyone to be okay and make it, all your staff and everyone and families.

Ryan Isaac:
Anyway, Brian, let’s get a little intro here. I guess for the audience, most people will know Brian Harris. If I say he’s the dentist on Instagram where all the famous people are always saying, “Here’s where I got my smile.” That’s Brian Harris. All the famous people are like, “I got my smile at Brian Harris.” You kind of pioneered a lot of stuff with social media marketing and a lot of virtual consults. That’s what we’re going to talk about today. The whole point of today is, what people can do for the next few weeks or maybe a couple months, work on their business, on their processes, systems marketing, all that kind of stuff, diagnosis. So for those who don’t know, can you give us a little background, tell us about yourself a little bit, man?

Dr. Brian Harris:
Yeah, so this will be good. This is like the pre-Corona intro. This is like pre-Corona background, and then you know, post.

Ryan Isaac:
Well I wonder dude, how many of us are going to be doing that now? Like before Corona, we were this and post Corona, we were that, you know? Anyway.

Dr. Brian Harris:
I’ll get into that because honestly I think all the same concepts that I felt helped me see success before are the same ones that are going to win today. It’s just knowing how to look at them. So background for me, I grew up in a dental family. My dad’s a dentist. I have two brothers that are dentists. My father-in-law’s a dentist. I mean, it’s what I’ve always known. And I’ve been practicing 15 years. For the first 12 years of that, general practice with kind of a little niche within the cosmetic space. And then about three years ago that completely changed, and for the last three years just only smile design cases. All of my consults are done virtually and social media is a huge part of my practice.

Dr. Brian Harris:
Now post-Corona, I think it’s the same principles are going to apply. You know, there’s still people out there that have no idea who to trust. They have no idea what to do. They have no idea what things cost. And I think now more than ever that’s going to win in this market. Transparency, and trust, and serving people at the highest level. Just like it won before with my cosmetic patients and will continue with cosmetic patients. But for every dentist out there listening right now, the things that are going to win now are the things that sometimes we shy away from as dentists.

Ryan Isaac:
Okay. That’s really interesting man. What are some of the things you feel like typically, maybe industry-wide, people shy away from?

Dr. Brian Harris:
I would say most offices if you would call their office and ask how much a crown costs, almost every single office you call would not give you an answer over the phone. They tell you, “We don’t know what it costs. We need to see you in person before we can quote that for you.” And I think it’s just such an old way of doing things in a world where there’s transparency on everything. Just telling people what things cost when they ask is going to build trust. Now, I don’t believe in just telling them over the phone because now you’re just a voice on a phone telling another voice on a phone the cost of something.

Dr. Brian Harris:
At that point it’s purely a commodity, right? But if I can get in front of the patient and look at him face to face like this in a video and record it and send it to him and say, “Hey, listen, here’s who we are. Here’s we do. This is why we do things differently. Now this is the cost of our crowns, but it comes with this, this and this. I’d love to see you as a patient when you’re ready. If you need anything from me until then, please reach out.” So it’s that type of transparency and that type of trust that I think is going to win.

Ryan Isaac:
Yeah, that’s interesting man. I mean, I think it’s fairly true for how we all behave as consumers anyway. None of us go to a car dealership asking the person walking the lot for the information, we go there with it all sitting on our phones or printed out. Like we already know what that Honda Civic is supposed to cost, we don’t rely on that human standing there. So I think we’re kind of all being that way as consumers anyway. So maybe you wanted to get into this later, but since we’re on the subject, let’s just kind of dive into that. What are some things people could do? I mean if we’ve got a month to work on this kind of stuff, what are some systems or process… I imagine it’s a lot of training for staff and the doctors, probably a lot of personalities that don’t like to do that. You know, it feels uncomfortable. It’s hard to tell someone an expensive price without feeling like you have a chance to explain things. So how do you go about changing that old way of doing business?

Dr. Brian Harris:
Yeah, so let’s shift. I want to make this more applicable to the world we’re in now. And the idea of… I think right now the word “virtual consult” or the word “teledentistry”, honestly it’s just like the bright and shiny object that sounds really cool and fancy. But if you break it down in its simplest form, it’s somebody wants to know who you are, they want to know what things cost, or they want to know how to get out of pain. You just being able to get in front of them in video and share that with them is, essentially that is a virtual consult. So doctors can be doing that for free today.

Ryan Isaac:
Can I ask you a question while you’re saying this? You’ve already spent a long career sitting face to face with people physically. I’m just curious, what have you noticed are the nuance communication differences between someone sitting in your office across the table versus over video? Probably like some pros and cons. I’m just curious about that.

Dr. Brian Harris:
Yeah, pros and cons. Well, it depends. So there’s two ways to do video. There’s live video, and there’s something that’s awkward always about that because it’s two humans that don’t know each other coming together to ask questions about a sensitive subject like money, and that’s difficult. Or if it’s patients in pain, that’s different because you’re just there listening. I think that’s effective, but I think to be able to connect with patients, you have to be able to see them. Now the other way of doing video, recording and then sending, is amazing because you get to control the process. If you mess up, you record again and send it. You can record it during times when you have time. The patients watch when they have time. So there’s two types of virtual consults. One is a live consult, which is more cumbersome in my opinion. It still takes time. People still no show on you. There’s still technology issues. The most effective way to communicate virtually is, “Hey, let me know what it is that you’re needing, and then I will respond to you as a video telling you what I can do to help.”

Ryan Isaac:
Hey everybody. For Dentist Advisors, the foundation of a good financial plan is our Elements periodic table of financial indicators. On our webinar, we cover one element each month and the element we choose is the one that we’re working on and measuring for clients in that specific month. If you want to know more about the elements report you receive each month, or do you want to find out how dentist advisors is different and works with clients, just tune into the webinar. Go to DentistAdvisors.com/events and sign up for the next one.

Ryan Isaac:
Let’s just start from the beginning with someone who, if I’m a patient right now, assuming you’re going to do the prerecorded stuff, what’s the process from step one? I call your office and I’m like, “I think I want you to do something for me, but I don’t know.” [crosstalk 00:09:57]-

Dr. Brian Harris:
I would say at the very least, if there’s doctors listening that are just barely hanging on by a thread and they want to do this for free, the best thing is to get somebody on the phone. And when patients call in, instead of hanging out at your office all day hoping an emergency comes in, when patients call in, have that person schedule a Skype or a teleconference call and then you just get in front of them and talk to them. The reason is now you can charge for a consult, and there’s a lot of insurance that’ll pay for that. So at the very least, set up a Skype account, have somebody answering your phones, drive every phone call to a Skype call and connect that way.

Ryan Isaac:
Do you have any preferences on technology? I mean there’s a lot-

Dr. Brian Harris:
Skype and FaceTime are good. [inaudible 00:10:41] are kind of the best. Even Zoom works good. There’s so many different teleconference platforms. The issue in the past was that most of them are not HIPAA compliant, but the the government has lifted a lot of those regulations for the next three months while everybody’s going through this. So now’s the time if you ever wanted to do something that wasn’t HIPAA compliant, now’s the time to do it.

Ryan Isaac:
Okay, so tip number one. Office is closed for a month, but people will still be calling and that’d be the most basic thing to do for the next 30 days, just take some video calls with patients or prospective patients.

Dr. Brian Harris:
Absolutely. So then the next step then is the record and send option with video. The benefit of that is like I said, you almost control… Let’s call it what it is, it’s a sales process, right? If somebody [inaudible 00:11:33] buy something and you have something to sell, that’s a sales process. The nice thing about recording a video, the patient’s not in front of you so it’s not weird. You don’t see their facial expressions, you can just talk openly about who you are. You can sell yourself in a way that’s a lot more comfortable, and you can talk about the money without it being weird because you’re just talking to a computer screen.

Ryan Isaac:
Yeah. Okay. And so does that always start with a live discussion first? Like live video discussion first and then you’re like, “Okay, thanks for the info. I’m going to send you something in the next 24 hours. Watch it and then let’s talk again.”

Dr. Brian Harris:
Yeah, even better than that. Usually what we do is just set up a way on the website to capture the information, and then you pitch it on the website as, “Hey, we’re here to help with whatever you need. Upload a photo, show us your problem area, tell us what you want to fix, and we’ll get back to you within 24 hours.” So then what happens is it’s literally a minute of time on their side. So the whole idea is, you have to think about this in the form of barriers. Let’s say Skype. If we were to do a live call first, there’s all these barriers. Just like before you and I got on this. I’ve got to get the link, I’ve got to sign up. What if the internet is good? There’s all these things that can come up to become issues.

Dr. Brian Harris:
So taking that other way first is huge. They take a minute, they send it in, then you have time to sit, process your thoughts, and then come up with a plan and present it in a way that is very easy to understand and builds the value. So that’s how you can control the sale. And that’s why doing that type of consult first is great because they can’t talk back to you, and if they’re ready they’ll move forward. If they’re not, that’s okay, you still serve them. And then after that, usually I end every consult with, “Hey, if you still have questions or if you want to know more about financing options, my assistant Christina. Or if you still have questions for me, let’s hop on a live call,” at that point.

Ryan Isaac:
Cool. How long does it take you to do one of these presentations that you’re recording and sending?

Dr. Brian Harris:
Average is about 10 minutes. With the Smile Virtual platform, the software that I created, it simplifies it so you can get it down to about two minutes. But yeah, there’s ways to do it and have it be really simple. So you think of it now with all these emergencies, super helpful. But now fast forward three months, four months, five months, and you’re trying to get the practice up and going again, and you’re trying to do more elective procedures. It’s extremely helpful for that stuff.

Ryan Isaac:
Yeah in the show notes and everything, we can link to some of these sites to give people more context information. What about during this time, not only emergency care during this time, but I feel like it’s a time you could do some marketing and build some bigger patient base, build more awareness for a practice. How would someone go about not only taking emergency calls but doing that as well?

Dr. Brian Harris:
I think a month ago most of us, when you think from a small business standpoint, were in growth mode, were in selling mode, but most of us were not in brand equity and nurturing relationships. As dentists, we have this disease where we just think more new patients equals more success. So most of us have been on that path for the last few years. As more new patients diagnose, some will, some won’t. So what? And then it’s just continuous. Now I think is the time to build brand equity. Now’s the time to stop the patients leaving out the back end, and the time to really build trust. I’m guessing most listening to this call probably haven’t even reached out to their own patient base letting them know what’s going on. Haven’t reached out with a personalized message saying, “Hey, we’re here for you. Is there anything we can do to help? Is anybody having any issues? If so, reach out, and when we come back we’ll still be there for you.” That’s the type of stuff that keeps people around.

Ryan Isaac:
Yeah, I was just thinking about that. I’m glad you brought that up. Is it totally appropriate to just start going, “Okay, I’ve got X number of patients in this practice and I’ve got time on my hands, so…” Can you reach out to all these people and just start saying like, “Hey, while we’re down, I’m still working. Let’s talk about what you have coming up, what issues you have, what kind of work you were thinking about getting done, what pain you might have. Here’s the way we’re going to do that while the office is closed.” Is that an appropriate, fine thing to do?

Dr. Brian Harris:
Yeah, but what I would do from a time standpoint is I would go and record one video. It is personalized. It would sound something like this. Like, “Hey, this is Dr. Harris reaching out. First and foremost, I hope you’re doing well. I hope you’re healthy. I know this is kind of a crazy time. My purpose for reaching out was just to let you know I’m here. If you need me, we’re here. But also, we want to know if there’s anything we can help you with. Please let us know.” So they’re watching it, it feels very personalized, you do it one time and then you send that link out to everybody. So then everybody feels like you’re there, you’re with them. And then the ones that reach back out, then you can help, and the ones that don’t, they at least know you care. That’s what I would [inaudible 00:16:47].

Ryan Isaac:
Yeah that’s really cool. I think I’ve seen it from a few offices, but you’re probably right. I think everyone’s kind of… All this stuff happened so fast. For context, if people listening in the future don’t remember, I mean this is literally a three week thing that went from everyone’s in growth mode, everything’s great, to it’s a grinding halt and now we’re all wondering who’s [crosstalk 00:00:17:09]-

Dr. Brian Harris:
Nobody’s around.

Ryan Isaac:
I know, and no one’s working. So yeah, this is all just so crazy, so fast. Like…

Dr. Brian Harris:
Hey can I speak to that point?

Ryan Isaac:
Yeah, please.

Dr. Brian Harris:
I think what doctors need to understand though is when you look at a lot of the big companies out there that had been super successful, they’ve all made moves. Not all of them, most of them have made moves during the times when things were rough.

Ryan Isaac:
Definitely.

Dr. Brian Harris:
And so right now you have most of the dentist population that are… And your clients are different, that’s why I can speak to this. Most are freaking out. They’re stressed. They’re, they’re in this mindset of scarcity. This mindset of, “What am I going to do? There’s no way I can succeed.” So if you have most of the dentists doing that, I always like to say, when others zig, I zag. What you need to be doing is double down on your brand now, and saying, “Hey, I’m here to help you. Here’s who I am and here’s what I do.”

Dr. Brian Harris:
Posting on social media, having friends like post about you, letting people know who you are, and look for ways to do things differently so that you can continue to be successful. So when things get somewhat back to normal, you’re going to get a place. That’s what we did in 2008 during that massive housing slump. You know, everybody was really stressed out and we just said, “Okay,” we put our heads together as a team and said, “What are ways that we can just get people in the door and let people know we’re here to serve them, and just do good honest dentistry?” And the team got together. It was fascinating, some of the ideas that the team members had that worked really well. So look to your teams, look for ways to make moves now. Not financial moves, but time and sweat equity moves.

Ryan Isaac:
Yeah, like the early days of building a business where you’ve got all the time on your hands. So okay, I’m kind of curious about this too. This is kind of fly off top of your head, but what are some… I think a lot of people are going to feel like it’s very intimidating to think, “How am I going to change my business during this?” None of this stuff is great, when these things happen in the world and the economy, but our business is the same thing. We’re having meetings every day going, “All right, what did we learn from this? In the next 90 days, how are we going to be different? Because this just exposed some things that aren’t working anymore, that used to work when everything was great.” But that can be overwhelming for some people. What are some steps off the top of your head? Like, when you say building brands, start marketing better, creating new processes, what are some things that you can think of that would be just little steps people can implement or start with?

Dr. Brian Harris:
So I think number one on the simplest form, walk through the front door of your practice and look around and see what patients see. Most of the time, you’ll see dirty books or magazines. You’ll see things that need to be done differently. Just look, look around and see, “Is this a time where we can get a couple of team members in here and paint, and do a deep clean and get things looking good?” That’s on the very simple level. Then look at your schedule, for the doctors listening, and two weeks ago, ask yourself the question, did you love what you were doing? Did you feel like you were on a hamster wheel just kind of turning and burning, or did you love your schedule and love the type of dentistry you’re doing? Because if there’s a time to switch, now’s that time.

Ryan Isaac:
Ah that’s awesome. Yep.

Dr. Brian Harris:
Because as you come back… Most of the reason people don’t switch, or they don’t change their schedule, is because they’re so busy being busy that they never [crosstalk 00:00:20:51]-

Ryan Isaac:
Oh yeah, it’s hard, man.

Dr. Brian Harris:
… Change things. So now, the great thing is, it’s like you’ve got a clean slate. You can come back and say, “Okay, when we come back, every day I only want to schedule two profitable appointments or three really profitable appointments. The rest are going to be emergency exams and the rest are going to be simple appointments.” So [inaudible 00:21:12] all your busy work in the first two weeks that you come back to try to get production there, spread it out over three, four weeks and have your production. So try to meet production goal for three or four weeks, then fill in backfill with some of the other stuff. That’s how you get to be productive. And otherwise, what happens is you’re really productive for a few weeks, but because you were so busy being busy, you weren’t doing the things that matters. You weren’t taking time with patients in the chair, so then you have a dip and you have a lull. Where now you have a chance to hit reset and start fresh.

Ryan Isaac:
Yeah, that’s awesome man. Okay, so what about on the marketing social media side? I mean now is a weird time it feels like, because you got to… I mean everyone’s hurting and we don’t know what’s going to happen. A lot of things you want to be sensitive and have the right tone. But businesses will still be here and we got to move on as soon as we possibly can. So if someone’s approaching social media marketing for the first time now that they have time on their hands and they do want to do something different, what are some beginning steps where they’d want to kind of consider and think about?

Dr. Brian Harris:
Well, I think doctors need to… And I don’t want to be giving financial advice. That’s what you guys do. But what I’ve learned in the past is that most of us, the way we buy or the way we look at investments we make, is usually the vibe we put off on patients that are looking to buy from us. What I mean by that is, right now is the time to invest in yourself, invest in training, invest in making yourself better, and don’t be afraid to spend money on things that are important. Because if you’re in this mindset of scarcity and you feel like there’s not enough money to go around, when it comes time to have that conversation with the patient about an elective procedure, you’re going to come at it from a place of scarcity and it’s not going to be powerful.

Ryan Isaac:
Yeah your own tone is already shaped in a certain way from your own beliefs, right?

Dr. Brian Harris:
I mean there’s studies that show that. Those that tend to take more risks and bet on ourselves and spend more on certain things tend to get more people doing the same for them. So that’s kind of the mindset of how I’d approach sales, and don’t be afraid to talk to patients about elective procedures when it’s time to come back. I mean think about it. Right now is the time when we should be buying from each other, when we should be stimulating the economy. If everybody’s holding back and not buying, then it’s not going to get back up and running. On the social media side, I think doctors need to understand websites are dead. Websites are the Yellow Pages of the past. They are [crosstalk 00:23:49]-

Ryan Isaac:
Isn’t that crazy? It happened so fast.

Dr. Brian Harris:
Like very quickly, right? And that’s hard for some of us to like accept. But the reason that happens is for somebody to find you on your website, they have to search for you, they have to sift through all the results, they have to then go onto your website. By the time they actually see you or see your work there, they’re six or seven clicks into the website.

Ryan Isaac:
Well and all we want as consumers is, we just want recent content. I do this all the time when I’m traveling and I’m trying to find a CrossFit gym. I don’t go to their websites if I want to see their schedule, I go to their social media to see, what does the gym look like? Have you added new equipment? How many people usually show up for a class? How do your trainers do their job? And you just want to see current content. What did you do yesterday? What did you do last week? Not, what did you put in a paragraph like five years ago?

Dr. Brian Harris:
Well, yeah, and I think that’s hard because social media is uncomfortable for a lot of people. [crosstalk 00:24:46] it’s like anything else. But you know, everybody knows you’re a dentist, but nobody really knows what you do. Let’s say you love sedation, and in your practice you do a ton of it, and you love it. I guarantee that most of your friends, most of your wife’s friends or husband’s friends, most of the people you go to church with, or their kids go to school with your kids, they don’t know that that’s really what you specialize in.

Dr. Brian Harris:
The only people that know are the ones that come in and see you. Social media is a great way to be able to say, “Hey, here’s who I am personally. Here’s my family, here’s what I enjoy doing. Oh, here’s also what I’m really good at professionally, and here’s proof of that, and here’s the patients that that can tell you that I’m really good at this thing professionally.” That’s when you’ll see things really take off.

Ryan Isaac:
Do you think that [crosstalk 00:25:35]-

Dr. Brian Harris:
One more thought on that. I think it’s key. Word of mouth referrals is the best source of referrals to any business. It’s usually a one-on-one conversation though. Somebody tells a friend about their dentist so then they go on and see the dentist. Social media is a way, when you can get people to start talking about you, it’s like one to 1,000 or one to 500 instead of one-to-one. That’s the fastest way to grow.

Ryan Isaac:
So two things on that I guess while we’re on the subject. If you’re going to do some reach out right now, like you said, record a video, send some things to your patients, that would probably be a good thing to include in there. Like, “Hey, if you have friends or family or neighbors that have dental questions during this time when everyone’s shut down, and they’re a little worried about their oral health or pain they’re having or what they’re going to do when this blows over, tell them to call me because here’s what I’m doing in the meantime. Office is closed but I’m doing these videos.” Right? I mean, is that a good approach for word of mouth too?

Dr. Brian Harris:
Yeah. If you are going to be reaching out to them via email, or everybody that calls in on the phone, just to have patients be aware of your social media presence. And don’t focus on numbers at first, just have a presence and be active so that people can find you and so that people can see the highlight reel of what it is that you do. I teach this concept of 60 Days to Expert where you can pick something you’re really good at, that you love doing in dentistry, and within 60 days be perceived as an expert in that topic on social media. Because you can actually just go and create it, where before it would take 15, 20 years to build a resume of that. Now as long as you can prove that you’re really good at it, it can literally be created in 60 days and your whole practice can change.

Ryan Isaac:
So part of the other question I was going to ask too, do you think a lot of people are intimidated with social media? Because you see the people that are really good and popular at it, and feel like, “Oh, I got to be like them. I have to have that personality in order to succeed at this,” instead of just feeling like, “I just be myself. Maybe I am quiet or maybe I am more introverted,” but you still have something to share. There’s still something to say. You still run a business that hundreds and hundreds of people are coming to you for a reason, right?

Dr. Brian Harris:
Yeah. Of course, and-

Ryan Isaac:
How to find your own voice on social media.

Dr. Brian Harris:
Well, and the reality, I may speak a certain way or do a certain thing on social media that could be a total turn off to some patients, where other doctors can go and do it and they could really connect with them because they seem more personable. Sometimes being really personable, or being really good at speaking on camera is a detriment. Because people can see it as sales tactics, where if you come at it just really humble and say, “Hey, honestly I hate being on video but I’m recording it-”

Ryan Isaac:
Truthful. It’s candid.

Dr. Brian Harris:
Yeah. “But I’m recording this consult for you because I want you to see who I am and what we do, and I just want to share-”

Ryan Isaac:
It’s very human.

Dr. Brian Harris:
Yeah, it’s very human. The more human you can be. That’s why if you mess up when you’re recording, just keep recording. [inaudible 00:28:41] like if you burp in the middle of it, great. Keep going. Not on purpose obviously, but just roll with just being [inaudible 00:28:48] like a normal conversation. I think that’s what people don’t realize. And as far as the intimidation thing, that’s like saying, “Oh, these guys have a full page Yellow Page ad and I can’t afford to do a full one, so I’m just not going to do one at all.”

Ryan Isaac:
Not even going to try.

Dr. Brian Harris:
Yeah, no. Get the quarter page, or just get the one line, but do something because it’s going to give you visibility. Same thing with the website. “All these guys have this fancy, awesome, amazing site. I can’t afford that.” It doesn’t matter. Go pay and make your own, get it done for $1,000.

Ryan Isaac:
Just something.

Dr. Brian Harris:
You need to be visible.

Ryan Isaac:
Okay. Let’s end with two things. Any other parting words of advice, things off the top of your head you can think of that people can be doing, especially now during this downtime? And in the future if this episode gets played again, there’s going to be other downtimes for various reasons. So anything else you can think of that would be helpful to be working on in the business right now or as a professional on yourself? And then second, let’s hit where they can find some of the resources, Smile Virtual and that kind of stuff.

Dr. Brian Harris:
Yeah, I think the most success I’ve had in my life and in practice, and with all the businesses that I own and operate is find somebody that’s already doing it and just copy genius. It’s why I work with you guys on my financial stuff. Honestly, I don’t want to have to worry about it. I would rather just come to you guys and say, “Hey, listen, here’s where I’m at. These are the things I want to do. Help me make that happen.” Because the trust is there, I’m not worried about it. I know I’m in good hands. So I think that’s a good transition into on the Smile Virtual side, it’s a community now of 350 doctors that are all now using virtual consults to connect with patients. And that’s great. The virtual consults are great, but it’s such a small piece of the whole community.

Dr. Brian Harris:
The rest of it is we teach each other how to grow social media. We go in and comment on each other’s posts. So now you’re in a community when you go and you start using social media, instead of posting and getting no love, now part of the community is like, “No.” You see another small virtual member, go on comment and like. So it’s a way to speed up the growth process. Now whether that’s Smile Virtual, whether that’s another community that you choose, find a community, lock in tight with them and then follow. It’s like racing bikes. It’s a lot easier just to tuck in behind and let people ride the race. And you don’t have to be the one pushing. Otherwise, when you’re riding alone, it’s, it’s a lot harder to ride alone than it is in a group.

Ryan Isaac:
Yeah. Making me think of something too. Down the road when all this stuff kind of gets better and we get back to whatever the new normal is going to be, one of the complaints in dentistry is that it’s a physical job tied to putting in hours at a physical location. There’s a little bit of a lack of flexibility unless you’ve got a practice with a lot of associates or partners to help out and pitch in, or you just are willing to shut down and lose income, right? Is some of this virtual consult stuff something that can help produce revenue during times when you’re not physically in a practice? I mean, is this something that can build on itself or, I could go on vacation and still do some consults while the family’s in the pool for a minute, or everyone’s sleeping in the morning and I can just get up and knock out a few and I’m still being productive? Is that a component to the future of dentistry, do you think?

Dr. Brian Harris:
Oh, absolutely. I mean, it pisses off your spouse, but it’s like the… I mean, I’ve done virtual consults kite surfing in Mexico. I’ve done them from the southernmost tip of Argentina before we went off to Antarctica. That’s what doctors don’t realize, is you don’t have to be… Think of a consult, like we started off this conversation. All the people, they’re in that chair to meet with you. All they really want to know is what do I do? Can I trust you? What does it cost? You can have that conversation virtually. It’s not treatment planning. It’s not diagnosis. You don’t need to see in their mouth. You can let people know. Most Invisalign cases cost this much. Sometimes they’re this, sometimes they’re this. Most [inaudible 00:32:59] cases are $25 grand.

Dr. Brian Harris:
Now, yeah, if you want zirconia, it might be 27. Or if you need zygoma implants, it might be 30. But the reality is, we get scared and we don’t want to talk about fees. Just use that as a way to just help people understand what’s possible. Help answer people’s questions. When you can tear down all those barriers that we put up for patients and make it really, really easy, that’s where you’re going to win. Because now more than ever, we’re in competition for people’s time. What people don’t have enough of is time. Two hours to drive across town, to get babysitters, to take time off work to go get questions answered. Make it easy for people, and if you can do that, you’re going to win.

Ryan Isaac:
And that’s where we’re at with technology. I mean it’s quite amazing the amount of continuity, as much as everything’s pretty much halted right now, that is maintained through technology. It’s pretty crazy how I think a lot of people are figuring out they can work outside of an office and outside of office hours.

Dr. Brian Harris:
Well, yeah. And one of the things that’s happening right now is, you’d be surprised right now, amongst all this turmoil, the number of consults that continue to come in for people that want to spend money on elective procedures. Because now, when you communicate virtually, now there are no geographical boundaries. You know, you can connect with somebody two states away. As long as the trust is there, they’ll fly out to see you. So it just opens up so many more possibilities.

Ryan Isaac:
And that’s such a thing too, when you think about an office wanting to expand hours to accommodate people who have a hard time getting in during normal business hours, or like, “Yeah, I could spend two hours every other Saturday doing virtual stuff because I’m at home, and I can still now accommodate patients that normally just wouldn’t show up and wouldn’t do this because I’m not here on a weekend, and I don’t want to work on Saturday.” Man, thanks for being here. I know this is just crazy for everybody, and I just wish the best for you, and man, families and staff. It’s just, I don’t know. I hope to see us just pull through. Do you have any links or anything you want to send people to, if they want to check out Smile Virtual and some of the things you’ve been working on that would be helpful?

Dr. Brian Harris:
Yeah. So I’ll close with, because I thought you said something really important there; now more than ever, I think people need us, our teams need us, patients us to stand up and lead. Now I think what we lack right now is people that are really going to lead their teams through this, and I think that’s a crucial part of the success of all this. So yeah, if people want to reach out, I mean the easiest thing for details on Smile Virtual and becoming part of that community, it’s just SmileVirtual.com, and you’ll see a tab there for doctors. That’s the easiest way to find out more information about that. As far as connecting with me personally, just @DrBrianHarris. I mean on Instagram is probably the easiest way, or brian@drbrianharris.com for email. But yeah, here to serve where people need me, and I’m happy to help where I can.

Ryan Isaac:
Man it’s so awesome. All right. How about Brian Harris, the man? What are you doing to stay sane right now? You reading anything? Anything that you are doing now that you haven’t had the time to do, that you’re getting to? Like I cleaned the garage. Power washed it, sprayed the thing, I haven’t done that in a year and I’ve been meaning to. So anything that’s helping you relax or stay normal?

Dr. Brian Harris:
Yeah, I’m doing a lot of that type of stuff. You would think I’d be starting to work out again, but for some reason I have no desire. So now it’s more all those types of things now that I can slow down, choosing some good books to read. I’m reading Essentialism right now, which fantastic book for those listening. And yeah, I mean, use the time to work on the business.

Ryan Isaac:
Awesome, man. Thanks for joining us. Really appreciate your time and expertise. Everyone can go out and connect with those resources put in there. Brian, thanks for taking the time, man. Wish you all the best and we’ll talk to you soon man.

Dr. Brian Harris:
Absolutely. Thanks guys.

Ryan Isaac:
All right, everybody. Thanks to Brian Harris for spending the time today. It was a lot of great information, a lot of great tips. We’ll put those links in the show notes. And if you have any questions for us, go to the website, DentistAdvisors.com, schedule a time to talk to one of our advisors. If you have anything you’d like to chat with us about, we’re happy to help. Best wishes to everyone out there, and we’re just pulling for everyone during these tough times. Let us know if we can help at all. Thanks for tuning into another episode of the Dentist Money show. We’ll catch you next time. Thanks.

COVID-19, Practice Management

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