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How to Avoid Becoming a “Drive-By” Dental Practice – Episode 150

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On this episode of Dentist Money™, Reese and Ryan discuss how dentists can successfully position practices to “know what they are not” – and how to avoid becoming a “drive-by” dental practice. Plus, they discuss ways to build a thriving team, celebrate success with patients – and why dentists could learn a thing or two from the Foo Fighters.  

Podcast Transcript

Reese Harper: Welcome to the Dentist Money™ Show, where we help dentists make smart financial decisions. I’m your host, Reese Harper, here in the studio with my trusty old co-host, Sir Ryan Isaac.

Ryan Isaac: Yeah! Okay.

Reese Harper: I’m wearing a studio jacket and a nice tie today, because I’ve been up since 4 AM.

Ryan Isaac: Nonverbal dominance in the room right now. “Look at me! I have a tie and a coat on, and it matches my pants.”

Reese Harper: If the office gets unruly, and people start misbehaving—

Ryan Isaac: You don’t say anything, you just passive-aggressively wear nicer and nicer clothes. More formal attire!

Reese Harper: And then people just start respecting the authority.

Ryan Isaac: As the schedules get worse and people are showing up at different times, then you’re just in a tophat, and a cane, and a monocle, and you’re just like swinging your pocket watch around. You’re like, “oooooh! He’s serious.”

Reese Harper: (laughs) it’s Mr. Business. He’s here.

Ryan Isaac: What’s that from?

Reese Harper: That’s Lord Business from The Lego Movie.

Ryan Isaac: Oh, President Business. Yeah. That’s what you are today.

Reese Harper: I think it’s Lord Business.

Ryan Isaac: No, it’s President Business.

Reese Harper: Are you sure? I’m pretty sure it’s— Jenni, do you know what it is?

Jenni Colborn:: I think it’s Mr. Business. But Mr. Business is also the cat in Bob’s Burgers, so…

Ryan Isaac: Really?!

Jenni Colborn:: (laughs) yeah, the name’s Mr. Business.

Ryan Isaac: I mean, I didn’t grow up on Bob’s Burgers.

Reese Harper: We need to introduce Jenni Colborn: to the studio. We don’t have a nickname yet.

Ryan Isaac: You can’t go like Jenni Colborn: from the block.

Jenni Colborn:: I don’t feel good about that. No.

Ryan Isaac: I don’t either. It just came to my head, and I was like, “that’s dumb.”

Jenni Colborn:: No. I can’t stand up to that (laughs).

Reese Harper: She’s uncomfortable, and I’m uncomfortable with nicknaming at this juncture.

Ryan Isaac: That’s fine. You can’t force it!

Reese Harper: Dr. Aloha is on break. He had to take a break, and Ryan and I do well if we have what we call the third wheel. The third wheel drives the conversation and keeps us on track. Like, once in a while when Ryan goes off on a tangent, there’s a little signal where they whip him, and kind of signal to him with a—

Ryan Isaac: I have like a shock collar apparatus around my rib cage.

Reese Harper: Or like a cat, a small red laser light, where he kind of chases it around.

Ryan Isaac: So, editing helps.

Jenni Colborn:: It is President Business.

Ryan Isaac: Okay, President Business. I like that. Well today, we’re going to talk about something that you gave a presentation on recently. Do you want to give a little shout out?

Reese Harper: Which presentation are you referring to?

Ryan Isaac: We were recently among our gracious hosts at the Bulletproof Summit in Atlanta, Georgia. Illustrious Atlanta, Georgia.

Reese Harper: Oh yeah. Peter Bolden, we had a nice meal together that you and I will never forget. Still full.

Ryan Isaac: Oh my gosh. Should we talk about that? We should give a shout out to the restaurant a little bit.

Reese Harper: Shout out to Mike at Atlas, who took care of us that evening.

Ryan Isaac: It was the best experience in an eating establishment that I’ve ever had. It was crazy good.

Reese Harper: Anyway. Thank you for indulging Ryan and I in our meeting.

Ryan Isaac: You gave a presentation at the Bulletproof Dental Summit, and it was kind of some high-level advice on running a business, running a practice, how to stand apart—

Reese Harper: Yeah, like we work with a lot of dentists all over the country, and this event, rather than focusing exclusively on financial planning, I wanted to make sure that I was able to share some of the common ground in business success that I see across different practices, and share how that also had influenced our financial planning business. So, what aspects of a dental practice, of a dental business, make dentists successful? What makes a dentist stand out? What actually has worked? And that was a fun take.

Ryan Isaac: Yeah, it was cool. And the title or the subject of this thing was, know who you are not, right? Would that be a good way to put it?

Reese Harper: Well that was one of my main points of my first point.

Ryan Isaac: Oh, you called it the drive-by.

Reese Harper: Yeah. I said, “do you have a drive-by practice?” Because I shared a story of someone who drives an hour and a half each way to see their dentist and passes hundreds of practices in order to get there. I was trying to encourage the audience to understand which attributes made this practice successful, and what makes a successful practice.

Ryan Isaac: So, I was watching a documentary on the plane ride over to Atlanta on one of my favorite musicians and bands called the Foo Fighters. You’re a big Foo Fighters guy. I’ve never seen them live, but I’ve heard it may be one of the best live rock shows you could ever see.

Reese Harper: Dave Grohl is a real legend.

Ryan Isaac: Anyway. If you like music documentaries, or if you’re a fan of The Foo, as they call it. Like, if you’re a good fan, you call them The Foo. It’s on Netflix, you should really check it out. Super cool. But one of the things that stood out to me that was so interesting— so I watched this, and then I saw your presentation, and now I’ve been thinking about this. So in 1994, Dave Grohl was the drummer for Nirvana— which like, did you ever go through your grunge phase? Your Nirvana phase?

Reese Harper: I think everyone did in junior high.

Ryan Isaac: So, every day in high school— I was a little older than you— I had to wear like, baggy corduroy pants, and then like flannels with like a tee shirt over the long-sleeved flannel.

Reese Harper: That’s funny. Mine were green corduroy, baggy pants.

Ryan Isaac: Yeah, mine were grey. I think you had to have the long-sleeved flannel shirt with the tee shirt over it, like baggy. I think you had to grow long hair and part it down the middle like Kurt Cobain.

Reese Harper: Yeah. For some reason—

Jenni Colborn:: My face right now is really offended by this whole thing (laughs). It hurts!

Ryan Isaac: Any fashion sense in the room— not like we would be any experts on that. Clearly, from the restaurant experience.

Reese Harper: And if you were really grunge, somehow tie dye made it into that genre too. Like, the tie dye shirt over the flannel, with the grunge corduroys. And then in the summers, you’d cut the corduroys off and kind of like, let them run ragged. You wouldn’t trim them up.

Ryan Isaac: Well that kind of phased into the late 90s early 2000s punk phase. Like, long baggy shorts.

Jenni Colborn:: Oh the JNCOs.

Ryan Isaac: Well, that was a different class of people. Not to offend anybody, but the JNCO guys were a different sort.

Reese Harper: You’re saying, that wasn’t the Nirvana group.

Ryan Isaac: Anyway. So 1994, Dave Grohl was the drummer for Nirvana, you know. That’s like childhood love. Kurt Cobain kills himself, and then—

Reese Harper: Not to just skip over that little detail.

Ryan Isaac: No, it’s not— I remember where I was! I was standing outside by my basketball hoop, and I told my buddies that I used to skateboard with. I was like, “dude, Kurt Cobain just died.” We could not believe it. Our dream was to see them one day! Anyway. 1994, band breaks up, everyone kind of is like really depressed and couldn’t believe what happened, and Dave Grohl is in this depression, and he can’t snap out of it. One day he goes, “alright, I’m going to go back to Seattle, and I’m going to record a few songs I’ve been working on by myself.” So he goes into the studio—it’s like, pure therapeutic. It’s not to start a band, it’s just therapeutic for him. He’s just trying to work through some of this stuff. So he goes to his studio, records five songs I think on a tape, and he really dug them. People really liked them a lot. But he had no plans for anything else. At the same time, one of his all-time lifetime childhood heroes Tom Petty called him and said, “hey, we need a drummer for Saturday Night Live. Will you come drum for us?” So he goes and he drums for them, has the night of his life, and totally reignites this huge fire for his passion for music and drumming. And Tom Petty had just lost his original drummer, and so he’s like, “hey Dave, do you want to be the drummer for Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers?” And that was a lifetime dream. I don’t know what your lifetime dream band would be to play in? One of the Spice Girls. You wanted to be the sixth Spice Girl.

Reese Harper: I would be a backup to Ben Folds.

Ryan Isaac: Really? That would be really cool.

Reese Harper: Yeah, in his orchestra.

Ryan Isaac: In the orchestra? Okay. Anyway, this was like a lifetime opportunity for him, and Dave Grohl sat on this decision, and he thought about this opportunity and then the five songs he just recorded. He actually turned it down! He turned down Tom Petty to go back to this five-song tape that—and I mean, there was nothing with it, but those five songs were some of the original five songs that became the first album for Foo Fighters. Anyway, he tells this story in the documentary and in some interviews on how even though that was a dream of his to drum for Tom Petty and be in that band and tour with them, that wasn’t totally who he was. So, he was starting to develop this sense of like, “I’ve gotta figure out where I’m going, but to do that, instead of figuring out who I am, I’ve gotta figure out who I’m not. And even though I love Tom Petty and it’s a childhood dream of mine, I’m not Tom Petty’s drummer.” And then he went on to form the Foo Fighters, and the rest is history, as they say in the business.

Reese Harper: Yeah, and I think that’s a good lead-in the first point of this presentation, which is, know who you’re not. And I think that’s what made the example I gave of the person that was driving an hour and a half each way to go see their dentist—

Ryan Isaac: That’s such a long drive to see their dentist.

Reese Harper: I mean, it’s bad traffic. You’re passing hundreds of practices. The reason that this dental practice is successful is because they’re very very clear in their messaging about who they are, right? The type of dentistry they do, the tone, their voice in their copy, their content, their website, their social media. A lot of dentists assume—here’s the problem that I see. I feel like dentists assume—most GPs especially—that dentistry is generic. Like literally it’s a two-mile radius kind of an issue. Now, for the most part, that’s true. For the most part, most patients think that it’s a commodity too, and that’s why they drive to whoever is closest. Like, most patients think it’s a commodity—

Ryan Isaac: I don’t. Do you? Go to who is closest?

Reese Harper: No.

Ryan Isaac: Yeah, I don’t either.

Jenni Colborn:: I drove like 40 minutes yesterday (laughs).

Ryan Isaac: Really? And that’s probably a function of digital marketing now and the internet.

Reese Harper: I mean it’s changing, right? But at the event afterwards, I had half the audience come up to me and said, “I totally resonate with that.”

Ryan Isaac: That’s 50 people.

Reese Harper: Yeah. So there’s 100 people there, and 50 come up and say—we were there for three days, and I had conversations with almost every practice there. Ultimately, half of the crowd is saying, “I don’t really resonate with that. My practice is a local geography, and it’s too saturated, and so I’m not getting the demand I should,” and the other half is saying, “I totally resonate that message of know who you’re not. We’re embracing this message. This is how we’re differentiating, this is how we’re marketing, and this is how we’re standing out.” And I’m not going to tell you examples of how to stand out on this, because I think it will ruin your ability to—

Ryan Isaac: Well that doesn’t work anyway.

Reese Harper: You have to be authentically something that is unique. In our own practice, that was a big deal for us. When we got to a point where we finally said, “you know what? We’re okay if no one else besides a dentist works with us.” Like, that was a hard journey to get there!

Ryan Isaac: Well it was hard to slap the name on it, because we had been doing it for a few years, but—you know, kind of leaving that door open. Like, “well maybe—”

Reese Harper: I mean, financial planning is very very local.

Ryan Isaac: You mean in the industry.

Reese Harper: Yeah. I saw a survey yesterday of about 1,050 were surveyed, and the number one request for how they wanted to engage with their advisor, 70% of those people still said face-to-face meetings.

Ryan Isaac: What was the age range of that?

Reese Harper: it was 25 to 70-year-olds.

Ryan Isaac: Geez, I’m surprised, actually.

Reese Harper: It was still the number one. And our audience, obviously, is not that way. I mean, we have clients in every market, and it’s—

Ryan Isaac: Well I’m sure that there are a lot of dentists that don’t listen to this and would be in that survey.

Reese Harper: We know, though, who were not, and our website really dictates that and shows that. We’re a fee-only financial advisory firm for dentists, and consequently, we don’t get other people.

Ryan Isaac: What were you saying about the local study though, that made you think that—

Reese Harper: Well locally, I think, it was scary for us to go and position as a dental specific firm in a market where—you know, we live in a small market. Salt Lake City is one of the—maybe it’s the 20th largest metro area?

Ryan Isaac: Shout out to Salt Lake City, though!

Reese Harper: I love where we live, but it’s not a densely-populated area. It’s not a Boston. It’s not an Atlanta. It’s not a Southern California, or Northern California, or a Seattle, you know? It’s not Texas, right? And so, we have a limited amount of people. We did not know that we would have a national market and a national audience when we made this decision.

Ryan Isaac: Because what you’re saying from that survey too is, most businesses in our industry just work in their local area, and they pull from their local—which in Utah total, there are like 1,300 or 1,400 hundred dentists? Maybe 1,500? And all of those probably aren’t even active.

Reese Harper: My point is, dentists can position their businesses much better than they do and will cause people to drive. Jenni Colborn: just said she is driving 40 minutes. I know my wife drives more than an hour. I’m driving 45 minutes, right? I mean—

Ryan Isaac: You skip around. You spread the load. “I’ll let you clean my teeth, and then I’ll let you clean my teeth, and then you can clean my teeth!”

Reese Harper: I just like visiting all my friends.

Ryan Isaac: Yeah, that’s fair.

Reese Harper: Wherever I’m traveling that week, that’s where I’ll go to the dentist. I’m getting like seven or eight cleanings a year (laughs). It’s great!

Ryan Isaac: You do have very clean teeth.

Reese Harper: So, I guess I think that’s the first point. If you have not figured out who you are as a dentist or as a specialist, if you have not figured out who you are and how you’re going to position, I really do thing it’s a big factor. And you have to be okay with saying no and saying, “I’m not that. I’m not doing that type of work,” or “I’m not doing this type of service. I’m not billing that way. I’m not taking insurance that way. I’m not marketing that way. This is not my patient. I’m not doing—” you know, there’s a lot of things you have to decide that you’re not going to do.

Ryan Isaac: Well there’s something—and you purposefully positioned that section of the presentation. Instead of like, know who you are, you said know who you are not. And I think there’s a different kind of emotional or psychological force behind that, you know? Definitively saying, “I’m not this person,” or “I’m not this business. I don’t do these things.” It feels more powerful, almost. Because it feels like, “good! Those are boundaries. Those are lines.” I was looking for some quotes about this. I was like, “I’m sure some people have talked about this in their other careers.” There was a quote from Matthew McConaughey voice. I would love for you to read this in a Matthew McConaughey voice if you could.

Reese Harper: I don’t know if I can, but I could try.

Ryan Isaac: Alright, in your head, you can picture him saying this in a slow drawl. He’s back sipping some bourbon or something, and he’s just talking to you. No, but he said, he was talking about taking on roles early in his career, and he said, “knowing who we are is hard. Give yourself a break. Eliminate who you are not first, and then you’ll find yourself where you need to be. And I don’t, as you were talking about that at the presentation, I just kind of resonated with that. Because if you’re a dentist and there is—you know how many things you could be doing.

Reese Harper: I mean, general dentistry is not a commodity, and there are a lot of ways to run your practice. There are also a lot of services to provide, but more importantly, there’s a type of patient to cater to. So, when we’re saying “know who you’re not,” I think probably the most important thing in order, we’re saying you really have to have a clear picture of who you’re speaking to in your marketing. You have to have a clear picture of who you’re speaking to. And the clearer you are about that, one or two or three people, the better you’re going to be at attracting new patients.

Ryan Isaac: Yeah, you know, and we live in a different time. We’re just in a different time for marketing and attracting customers and patients than dental practices were twenty years ago.

Reese Harper: And I’m saying, as the industry continues to consolidate, and price is going to be driven down to some level, you don’t have to be caught in that game of being commoditized and having your fee schedules pushed down, if you know who your customer is, and if you can add services and differentiate to that customer. For example, I was just telling someone yesterday, if I got an email today from a dentist in Salt Lake City, and it said—I’m giving you guys some ideas, if you want to get me to switch, okay? I’m ready to get a new dentist.

Ryan Isaac: If you would like the honor of cleaning Reese’s teeth…

Reese Harper: Because I do it eight times a year. If I got an email that said—if the branding was targeted to me, meaning it was like, Executive Dental, and I was like, “what’s that? Okay.” And it’s $600 to come do an in-office cleaning, okay? 600 bucks.

Ryan Isaac: Wait, they come here?

Reese Harper: They come to my office, alright? I don’t have to schedule.

Ryan Isaac: They’re like, “look. We know you don’t even have time to eat meals, let alone come to the dentist.”

Reese Harper: And here’s the thing. I’m not saying I’m wealthy, here. I’m just saying, the pain in my life of going to the dentist and physically blocking out my schedule and making the time for it is very significant, and I don’t like it. And I know there are a lot of people like me, because I have a hundred friends that are in the same boat. You could lock an entirely new market here, okay? Now, I know I’d be willing to pay $600 or $700 dollars just for a cleaning if you’d show up here and do it.

Jenni Colborn:: Somebody is like, working on this business plan right now (laughs).

Reese Harper: Now, I’m not kidding. There’s probably a thousand-dollar price tag. If I knew that you solved my problem—like, if it really was convenient, and you called my office, and you scheduled it, and you found a way for it to be convenient, and not block it out, and you had a proactive treatment plan, and I knew I wasn’t neglecting my oral health—

Ryan Isaac: And you could literally like, sit there, and you’re emailing, and you’re on the phone, and you’re typing, and you don’t have to stop working.

Jenni Colborn:: You don’t even have to lay back.

Reese Harper: Now, if I have to get treatment, I get that I probably can’t do that here. But I’m not doing cleanings at the same pace as I would, because I see a lot of dentists.

Ryan Isaac: Like you said, we live in a smaller city compared to some. How many people are there just in this city that are thinking that same thing, like, “I don’t want to leave my office, but if you come here, I’ll pay you five times the amount of money.” Probably a lot of people.

Reese Harper: Yeah (laughs). There’s a ton! We’re in a corporate area that I know there are several thousand of those patients easily in one building, okay? And so, I’m saying, there are hundreds of these types of markets that you can attract. And sometimes, that market… it’s just a different message for each person.

Ryan Isaac: So you’re saying, that dentist would say, “who I am not is I am not the person who is going to sit back and wait for people to price shop me and come to my office. I’m just going to go find people who will pay me five times as much. I’m going to have less patients, but they’re going to pay me a lot more money in cash.”

Reese Harper: You could say “I’m the person that hires hygienists to do that supervised in a way that’s legal,” or “I’m going to show up and do my own hygiene.” There’s a lot of mobile dental care that’s being experimented with right now! And I hesitated to even give you an idea.

Jenni Colborn:: I found it. It’s here! It’s coming (laughs).

Reese Harper: I’ve seen four or five of them. What I’m telling you though is no one has marketed to me yet. No one has messaged me. I know you exist, but there’s a difference between, “I know you exist and I’m gonna come find you” and “you’re gonna tell me that you’re here, and you’re ready, and you ask me if I want to sign up for—”

Ryan Isaac: Yeah. And you can target this guy on Instagram, because you’ll have a post that will be like “I’m really tired. We’ve been traveling a lot.” And then they’ll be like, “targeted ad to that guy!”

Reese Harper: Anyway, I’m just saying, I think in today’s world, I don’t want everyone to narrow down and think of one solution to this problem. There are hundreds of ways to know what you’re not and to go target.

Ryan Isaac: While we’re on this subject, you remind me of a conversation we had with a dentist at the summit. A really really successful dentist who mentored a lot of people. He was telling this story of kind of his own clinical preferences. Out of all the different things he could do for people, for his patients, he prefers one type of procedure. One type of dentistry. But what I thought was interesting, he still understands the whole picture when his patients come to him. Like, he really understands how to get people organized and analyze their oral health, and help people make decisions on what they’re supposed to do, but the action part, he’s very specific about his actions. Like, he knows what he’s not, you know? You know who I’m talking about. And he prefers one thing that he does well, and then he makes sure that the patients can see the other people that can do the other things really well. I was reading this Harvard—the HBR website—this article on how you can be the expert in a broad sense like you’re saying without having to do all the jobs, and there were these consulting firms that were giving some advice on how to do this. And they said—and you talked about this in your presentation too—you can give a holistic approach to things without having to do everything in it by building a good team. You know, knowing the people to implement these other things. Don’t worry about doing all the work but help enable people around you to do the work.

Reese Harper: Well there are three more points.

Ryan Isaac: There are three more. We’re going to hit one more. We talked too much about restaurants and dress codes.

Reese Harper: Well, I can hit them briefly. They’re both critical.

Ryan Isaac: The third one was, you talked about tracking and sharing your progress from a business—

Reese Harper: I think this is a big gap for businesses. Your customers need to know how you define success, and you have to track and show them that, that they are having success. You have to figure out in dentistry, how are you going to share success with your patients? I know that many of you are kind of like, “okay… I don’t know.” And that’s a problem! Like, dentistry, just right now, there are a lot of ways to be able to demonstrate success with your patients and demonstrate their comprehensive oral health that you are assisting them with. If you’re not treating that problem or that’s not the area that you’re focusing on, there’s a way to demonstrate success through your specialty or through your procedure. I just think you need to figure out, “how do I share success and celebrate that success with my patient?” And we have to have that in our own practice too. The way we do that is showing people that their net worth is moving in the right direction every three months with a real, robust progress report. And we try to share that victory and share those wins and explain to our clients that all the decisions that we’re making are leading to this one number moving in the right direction.

Ryan Isaac: Every three months. So are you saying—well, you called it track and share progress. Is that another way of saying accountability? You’re giving accountability to patients and customers?

Reese Harper: I don’t know. I think that’s a different topic. I think that’s important too, but I just think you want to celebrate. I just think you need to celebrate. It’s before and afters. In many cases, it’s “look at what we’ve done together.” I don’t want to limit people by saying what your interpretation needs to be, but if you’re not celebrating your service with your patients, they will not know if you’re doing a good job.

Ryan Isaac: So it’s like, where we’ve been, and where we’re going, and where we’re at now. Celebrate those things. I had a client tell me once—a really high-end cosmetic dentist—he’ll get a new patient come in, and they’ll have like all this work that has to get done. A lot of clinical stuff, you know, a lot of fixes, but the end result is this picture of their actual smile when it’s straight and while. It’s clean, it’s straight, and all of the cosmetic stuff has been done on it. He says that without fail, every time, if he focuses too much on like “we’ve gotta extract this and cap this and root canal here” that he loses them, unless he keeps pointing them back to like “but remember your picture! Check out your picture. This is you. This is your actual face. This is your white smile, and your straight teeth, and here’s the veneers,” or whatever you’re going to have. And he says that every time, that keeps people motivated to do all the little procedural things to fix it along the way to get to that point. That’s always stuck with me too. And so, I think that’s what you’re saying, is like, “where have we been, and where are you now, and why is that good? What progress have we made, and where are we headed?”

Reese Harper: Okay. I just think that whatever you decide how to interpret this, the principle is, your patients need to feel like you’re being successful with them, and you need to celebrate with them along the way. So, take that and apply it in whatever way you need to, but if your patients aren’t hearing from you around what you believe success looks like, then it’s just not going to have the same impact. It’s not going to be as shareable.

Ryan Isaac: Okay. You wanted to hit a few of these. The fourth one was build your team.

Reese Harper: Yes. The team is so critical.

Ryan Isaac: That’s like another podcast though.

Reese Harper: Well, we shared a couple tips that I think can really help. In our practice, we have a couple of tools that we use that help train and help bring our culture together. We use one app called VoxR, and it’s just like a walkie talkie system that connects our team together that is all on our phones.

Ryan Isaac: Well, for some context, we’re probably like a multi-location practice, because we have people in other places.

Reese Harper: Yeah. So, not all of our team is in one location. Some of our team is remote, and some of our team works different schedules and different hours, and this is the way that we can kind of get them all together. It’s just a feed. I think there are a lot of tools like this that you can use. I like mobile device tools as this connector kind of synergy item, right? I don’t think email or meetings is necessarily the right approach, just because it doesn’t feel the same. I mean, sharing things like birthday announcements and sharing things like celebrating victories.

Ryan Isaac: We had bosses’ day yesterday!

Reese Harper: I did some gifs yesterday for bosses’ day celebrating—

Ryan Isaac: Gifs and in G-I-F, not G-I-F-T-S, because you got no gifts.

Jenni Colborn:: I mean, a gif is a gift. Like, it’s a gift from the heart.

Ryan Isaac: You can’t spell gift without gif.

Reese Harper: I gave the gift of labor on bosses’ day to the team. So, I think that’s critical, but I also think training is critical, and I think when you’re doing training, don’t miss the opportunity to record and document your training. We use Zoom in our office to where even if there are like six or eight people in a meeting, sometimes we’ll put them all in front of computers or in the same room or in separate rooms and just at least record the training and the conversation and then—

Ryan Isaac: Because someone in that conversation is not going to be there later, and the smaller that group—especially if it’s one-on-one training, I mean, we hear this all the time from dentists. It’s a normal problem where they spend a lot of time training, and that person’s gone twelve months later. It’s like, “that was like a hundred hours of conversation!”

Reese Harper: It’s just so much work wasted (laughs). I mean, everyone here is laughing and can relate to this probably. Like, “you know that employee that you hired and spent like two years training, and then they had to leave? And you’re like, what happened to everything I told them?”

Ryan Isaac: You just have to retell it to the new person now.

Reese Harper: I mean, it’s just a lot of work. Now, it doesn’t mean you’re going to have to avoid to retell it completely—

Ryan Isaac: But you record a lot of those conversations and then just have someone go watch it.

Reese Harper: For like your first three weeks, you just have to watch all these videos.

Ryan Isaac: You just have to watch me talking to another person that you just replaced (laughs).

Reese Harper: I think it’s really effective. I think people need to do that more often. The third point on team is just realize how important your team is at executing a plan. You have to empower people and you have to make sure that you’re allowing people the chance to take on responsibility, and you have to back up and allow that to happen in order to really grow a business. And I think whether it’s a single location– you’re the only producer in that location, you have no associates—to a really large organization, I think you just need to make sure that you’re giving up responsibility and trying not to take it all onto your plate. And just letting people fail, and not yelling at them and freaking out all the time, you know? Like, you have to let people make mistakes and get better and improve and not make people feel horrible because they’re falling short, because they’re just not going to do it perfectly the first time they have a shot at it. And so, I think just remembering that the more you can build up your team, the more secure your business is. I just think that’s really important.

Ryan Isaac: Okay, the last one you said was get the word out.

Reese Harper: Yeah. Well, it said you get the word out. What was I saying from? Let’s see if you remember. You weren’t paying attention! You were playing video games.

Ryan Isaac: I was playing—I was videoing you. I was taking pictures of you like a weirdo in the corner.

Reese Harper: (laughs) who’s that guy? We didn’t have our photographer crew, so you had to fill in for us. We appreciate that.

Ryan Isaac: Yeah, on my iPhone 7 that I really need to upgrade.

Reese Harper: I’m like, Ryan, what are you doing taking pictures of me, you weirdo!

Ryan Isaac: Weird! Who’s the guy in the corner?

Reese Harper: “Did you ask him to?” “No, I didn’t ask him to take pictures!”

Ryan Isaac: I was in the back telling the DJ to throw some stuff into his mix. I got him to put some good stuff in there!

Reese Harper: I heard some stuff (laughs).

Jenni Colborn:: Wait, were you really?

Ryan Isaac: Yeah, I was back with the DJ. I was like, “hey look, man. We’re in Atlanta, and one of my favorite right now is Run the Jewels.

Jenni Colborn:: Oh, they have a new song out!

Ryan Isaac: Yeah, this new one just came out last week. Killer Mike is from Atlanta, so he did it. It was cool.

Reese Harper: Killer Mike is the DJ, by the way (laughs).

Jenni Colborn:: Wait, you got a DJ at a dental convention to play Killer Mike?

Ryan Isaac: Yeah yeah, to play some Run the Jewels. I was like, “look. I don’t know how explicit this audience wants to listen to today.” And he was like, “naw, it’s good, man. I was just playing some Kanye and no one cared.” Alright. Anyway, yeah, you were saying you get the word out, and the whole point of it was that you have to communicate what the value is to the marketplace. What your value is to the marketplace. But it can’t be just someone else’s words! It’s can’t be someone else’s personality. It has to be you! Your personality.

Reese Harper: And why is this a problem? Because there’s a thousand social media companies you can hire, there’s a hundred marketing agents you can hire, and they already have templates ready to go for you!

Ryan Isaac: Well and implementing some of that stuff, you probably should hire people to do that.

Reese Harper: The problem is, people are hiring generic content distribution, and they’re not placing their own ideas into that distribution system and letting it go. They are literally just paying 200 a month or 400 a month or 800 a month, and they’re letting the same messages go out! Like, I’m getting Facebook messages that are the same from three practices. I’m getting Twitter campaigns, and I’m like, “why am I getting Twitter campaigns sent to me? You all know that no one’s on Twitter! You know no one’s on Twitter!”

Ryan Isaac: That’s just where I go to get mad about politics. That’s what Twitter’s for.

Reese Harper: And so, I just think it’s important that you have a unique message, Mr. podcast listener. Like, we said, you know what you’re not. You know your customer. You know your patient. You know the direction that you want to take your practice. Just share something! Here’s how simple it could be. Once a month, you’re just going to write down 250 words to 400 words—

Ryan Isaac: Not random ones. Like, in a sentence that tell a story.

Reese Harper: And you’re going to say, “hey. This is what I learned this month at our practice that was really a big deal. We learned this, and we think we’re actually going to be better now because we learned this, and this is what we learned.” It could be a procedure. It could be something like new technology. It could be anything. A new team member—

Ryan Isaac: How to make a kid more comfortable as they sit in the chair…

Reese Harper: Yeah. Patient interaction, communication skills, marketing issues… scratch that last one. Marketing issues is a bad example. You don’t tell your patients about that (laughs). You can share a win and anything that’s beneficial to them. Anything that they would look at and go, “oh! My dentist is on top of the industry.” The way my wife gets her information is often through a network of other people! So like, physicians. There’s a lot of physicians that talk about dentistry, and that’s how she gets her information, from other specialists in the medical field or the dental field.

Ryan Isaac: Because her dentist is sharing content with other medical specialists in the medical field.

Reese Harper: yeah, her dentist is sharing her views with these other MDs, and those MDs are passing dental information along to their patients, and—

Ryan Isaac: Now your wife’s driving.
Reese Harper: Now she’s driving. So, I just like that direction, that general—

Ryan Isaac: Well yeah, I think it’s really important, because I think a lot of people would hear this, like, “share your message.” There’s a lot of people out there that are like, “look. I’m not the boisterous marketing personality,” you know? “I’m an introvert, I’m kind of quiet. I just like my clinical, and I’m not like the marketing guy.” But I don’t think that matters anymore, because there are still like 1000+ people that are coming to see you for a reason. Some might be because they live really close.

Reese Harper: Most of them want to hear from you.

Ryan Isaac: But they know you! I mean, you know their families, and their stories, and they do want to hear from you. They know your personality! They know you’re not the other person you’re comparing yourself to. They know who you are, so just tell them something that’s unique to you, that’s authentic, and people resonate with that for sure.

Reese Harper: Carry on, I like it! Those are the simple messages from the conference that we liked.

Ryan Isaac: Let’s close with a quote, then, from a philosopher. He’s not like an old philosopher, he’s kind of a recent one, but because it’s October, this is appropriate. OVO’s Drake, also known as Aubrey, or champagnepapi. He said, “know yourself, know your worth.” And we’re going to end with that, okay? Know yourself, know your worth. Know who you are not. If you want to schedule a consultation, you want to talk to one of our advisors and see if you have any questions, you want to go over like this big picture Reese is talking about, if you want to talk about how to be more organized, how to make better decisions, how to analyze your data better, then you can go to our website and book a free consultation. Just go to, click the big button that says “Book Free Consultation”, pretty self-explanatory. You can call us or text us at 833-DDSPLAN. We were just fielding a text on Friday night at like 12:30 in the morning (laughs).

Reese Harper: People are texting in questions! This is cool.

Ryan Isaac: Yeah. It was like 12:30 in the morning, and then we were fielding a text question! It just happened to hit your phone for some reason. So, it was really cool.

Reese Harper: Well, also join our Facebook group, Join for free. And make sure to follow us on our social feeds. We want to get more of you to join us on the conversation at our Instagram feed. You can follow us @dentistadvisors. on twitter @dentistadvisors, and then on Facebook, you can follow the Dentist Advisor’s page.

Ryan Isaac: I was on a two-year Instagram hiatus, and you brought me back. Follow me @sirryanisaac (laughs).

Jenni Colborn:: There’s a picture of a mountain bike on there I think?
Reese Harper: Look, don’t judge him. He’s only been on there a few days, people!

Ryan Isaac: I was taking a social stand against it and then I finally broke. Honestly, if you follow me on Instagram, I’ll probably be posting more about my dog than almost anything else. Maybe donuts and tacos.

Reese Harper: No. We won’t allow dog pictures to go more than like once a week, okay? You have to limit that. You can set up your own group called dog pics.

Ryan Isaac: Look, you talk about know who you’re not and finding a niche. I’m going to be a financial advisor for dentists who CrossFit and have dogs. Three people. Shout out to everyone.

Reese Harper: You’re going to be a great breeder.

Jenni Colborn:: A great Instagram influencer.

Ryan Isaac: Yeah, that’s all, it’s just going to be influencer; that’s who I am. That’s my new title. Alright, thanks everyone for listening.

Reese Harper: Carry on!

Practice Management

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