Howard: It is such a huge honor for me to podcast interviewing Dr. Leon Klempner all the way from New York. He and Amy Epstein MBA are co-founders of people in practice a marketing consultancy that grows general dental and especially practices in the US and Canada. Dr. Klempner CEO of people in practice is a board certified orthodontist who practiced orthodontics for over 38 years. He graduated from dental school from the University of Maryland which is the first dental school in the world isn’t it?
Dr. Klempner: That’s right.
Howard: Like 1840 was it? And received a certification in Orthodontics from Tufts University that’s in Boston right?
Dr. Klempner: Correct.
Howard: Dr. Klempner is on the teaching faculty of two dental schools and his work has been published in the Journal of Clinical Orthodontics and the American Journal of Orthodontics and Dental Facial Orthopedics among others. Klempner has lectured both nationally and internationally on the subject of digital marketing. His co-founder Amy Epstein is a director of client services at people in practice before launching the company she spent 15 years as Vice President and Managing Director of multinational marketing and branding firms. Epstein has an MBA in marketing from Baruch College and regularly lectures at the Zicklin school of business in Long Island University School of business on the subject of digital marketing entrepreneurship and social media.
My first question to you is, there’s a lot of orthodontist on Orthotown and a lot of orthodontist on Dentaltown, they talk to orthodontists when they just want to keep it between themselves because you can’t get on Orthotown unless you’re an orthodontist but a lot of them are claiming that it’s a lot more orthodontics for an orthodontists, that it’s a lot more competitive today than it was thirty years ago when I got out of school do you think that’s true?
Dr. Klempner: There’s no question about it i mean they you know the whole landscape of the not only the orthodontic profession but the whole dental profession has changed so rapidly and the competition is particularly for orthodontists has really ramped up. You know when I first started in practice my, I was a big early treatment guy okay so most of my competitors weren’t involved, didn’t have any interest in early treatment, they’d wait until all the teeth came in and then they would try to kind of fix things but I was always into early treatment and my primary referrers were pediatric dentists and we had tons them around and and and they kept me busy and then little by little by little by little you know the pedo guys brought orthodontist into their practice that began to dry up and then general dentists which are the mainstay of of orthodontic referrals began to lose some of their referring power you know patients became more empowered with the internet, insurance companies began to dictate where they could send people so it’s gotten a lot more competitive plus you know there’s tons of ortho guys coming out that are having a hard time finding jobs and have hundreds five, six sometimes seven hundred thousand dollars in debt.
Howard: That is just crazy. So you went up Maryland which was the first dental school so I just thought I would ask since you’re an orthodontist, it was Edward H. Angle who started the first school of orthodontics in 1901 and created a simple classification for crooked teeth in the late 1800s, his system is still in use today what are your thoughts on Edward Angle?
Dr. Klempner: You know, he, my thoughts of that you know the Angle classification is something that’s taught in every school, it has some relevance but you know that was in 1900 or whatever I mean a lot of things have changed and and you know facial aesthetics, early treatment, growth and development, there’s a lot of factors that have shifted from just looking at a molar relationship in terms of determining the quality of the orthodontic care to a much more global perspective at least for the forward minding orthodontist if that’s the case.
Howard: But it’s pretty profound that he started the first school of orthodontics, I mean he basically started the specialty didn’t he?
Dr. Klempner: It was and it was the first specialty, yeah yeah.
Howard: Oh orthodontics was the first specialty?
Dr. Klempner: Yeah Yeah very first yeah.
Howard: Ahh interesting.
Dr. Klempner: Yeah
Howard: So do you think that since you and I got out of school, the biggest brand in all the dentistry... when you and I got out of school you already had Colgate, Crest and Listerine on that but Invisalign is probably the biggest brand in our space created in our careers would you agree with that?
Dr. Klempner: Absolutely, absolutely.
Howard: And it seems like every orthodontist I talked to tells me that it’s about 20% of their practice. What what are your thoughts on this game changing technology.
Dr. Klempner: Well you know, I’m a early an adopter. I’m a techie an early adopter, I probably was one of the first in the country to go completely digital with my treatment notes in 1992 I think. So I was in the first Invisalign training program at the Marriott Hotel in New York City. It was specialists only.
Howard: What year was that?
Dr. Klempner: That was 99 maybe 98 but not quite sure.
Howard: Wow, and they started with just.. you had to be a specialist to go to their class in the beginning?
Dr. Klempner: Yeah absolutely.
Howard: Just like Branemark when he brought implants out he only would teach it to oral surgeons.
Dr. Klempner: Yeah, yeah, I mean you know I mean that who knows what the master plan was if there was one but certainly the market is greater than just orthodontists you know the business model is expanded but yeah we did a ton of invisalign I think invisalign saved the orthodontists over the years the the adult population you know how many heads, the back of heads I saw over the course of my career trying to talk adults into braces that came in wanting invisalign. If you don’t do invisalign as an orthodontist, it’s really really tough to to compete and 20% I say is a low figure I think it’s it’s closer to 30% and I think it’s growing invisalign team, I think it’s really the future. I wouldn’t want to be in the bracket business at this point.
Howard: Really? So have you met Joe Hogan? He’s the CEO of Invisalign.
Dr. Klempner: I, I’ve met him. I actually went to lunch with Joe Hogan when when he first took over the position he came he came to New York and the reps took him out to some of the elite providers of which I was one and a very very bright interesting guy.
Howard: What year was that?
Dr. Klempner: I don’t know 2, 3 years ago not that long.
Howard: 2 or 3 years ago?
Dr. Klempner: Yeah I’d say so yeah he hasn’t been the CEO that long.
Howard: So he’s, so now when you say when they started Invisalign they were only teaching orthodontist in 1999. Now it looks like people are trying to bypass orthodontists and do it mail order have you been aware of some of these companies?
Dr. Klempner: Are you kidding? Of course, I mean you know I’m in marketing I have a pulse on what’s going on and we’re here in New York we we have the company called Smile Direct club which is the company that Invisalign purchased I believe around 17% of, last year and are producing aligners for that company not only bypassing orthodontist, they’re by passing dentistry completely. You don’t need to have an exam, you don’t need anything, in fact in in Manhattan, here in New York we have two locations one in Brooklyn and one in New York that are are manned by technicians in white coats no dental training at all, where you could walk in off the street get scanned and fill out a credit card form and have your aligners if your quote unquote approved, which I think everybody gets approved, and you get your aligners and you’re off and running.
Howard: Well I mean you would think that would be channel conflict if you’re doing the majority of your sales through orthodontists, and then you bypass them, I mean in MBA school they would call that channel conflict- is he getting in a push back from doing that from his existing customer base?
Dr. Klempner: Oh Yeah oh yeah, you’re kidding me? Orthodontists were really upset about it, and you know, they were upset when Invisalign decided to move into the general dental space. Okay originally was just specialists and then moved into the general dental station which is a much greater market, and now moving into this space as well, yeah Orthodontists are real upset but you know what? Orthodontists are dependent on invisalign it’s not a lot and orthodontists can do about it, you know you can educate the public with regard to the ‘do it yourself’ type of companies like Smile Direct Club, but you know you really can’t do without invisalign these days in my opinion and have a vibrant growing practice.
Howard: So, what’s their competitor then? Clear Connect?
Dr. Klempner: A Clear Correct I think.
Howard: Clear Correct.
Dr. Klempner: Yeah, there are a few that have come and gone over the years you know patent fights and and legal battles and I’m not sure when the patent expires and but when it does there’ll be a lot more companies coming into the field, but it seems like plastic clear aligners are the growing area in orthodontics.
Howard: When we first started you talked about the the amazing amount of debt these kids are walking out of, and one of the stressful things young orthodontists are facing when they open up their Denovo office from scratch is, do you really need a CBCT? I mean can they get by on a 20 year old use panel [10:51 unlear] or do you think that the CBCT is a game changer and it’s standard to care and they need to go drop another hundred grand on that?
Dr. Klempner: You know if you get a hundred orthodontists you get a half and.. you get a hundred different opinions on that, I was never a big radiation fan you know I mean I I started my practice with the you know a cone beam and a full mouth series and it took me five years to be able to afford to buy a Pan, so I don’t know where it’s going, You know it seems like it’s becoming so costly, the overhead of getting going is it’s so costly that I don’t know where it’s going to come to an end and incidentally this is the the fuel for the growth of the DSOs in the corporate segment retail dentistry and retail orthodontics that’s growing so quickly across the country, there’s a surplus of of labor in the orthodontic market these days and that’s with high debt and there are great opportunities for young people to go into a different model than we did when we started our practice.
Howard: I want to... this is a discussion that you have to be our age to remember but it seems like, well the first major DSO was the denture clinic, but what’s the name of that denture clinic? Affordable Dentures. Affordable Dentures is a hundred year old deal and they kind of really went into the underserved areas that every dentist I know hates dentures and another one was Western Dental in California, but the only DSO that ever made it on the New York Stock Exchange was of course Orthodontic Centers of America and so many of these kids that are graduating from school today, they were in grammar school when that was going on they don’t remember any of that, and it started and look what was the guy’s name?
Dr. Klempner: Loo something, it went belly up.
Howard: It spectacularly exploded on the on the deal and then there was a dozen on NASDAQ and there was [13:20 unclear]of America and it all imploded, and then a decade goes by... what’s that? Yeah, Lazzara Gasper Lazzara good old boy from Louisiana but I think he moved out to Florida and and then they’re gone and now they’re back and they’ve gone from like zero to 12% but I noticed a couple earthquakes in that industry that no one’s really talking about, that is they only had really three major banks that were funding that and East West bank said no more they pulled out of funding DSOs and they have a list of DSOs that are causing financial problems and then when you go in the DSOs the dentist associate employee turnover is off the charts, I mean they consider that if a dentist stays with them two years that’s an A. If you go to any DSO convention that’s... I mean how are you going to build a dental office brand, how are you to keep the patients if you can’t even keep the dentists, and I’m wondering what was your take on why orthodontic centers of America imploded, because you lived through it you were New York or as publicly traded.
Dr. Klempner: I was and to be honest with you I don’t know that much about it and didn’t pay that much attention to it but I’m paying attention to the DSOs now and if you think these DSOs are going to implode I think that from what I’m reading, I don’t see that. I see that this is the fastest growing segment in dentistry right now, and growing in double digits and the model is changed and true they’re not they may not keep people long term keep their employees long term but they’re are a few that are offering some really sweet deals to stay on and there are a lot of young people that are looking at these opportunities of not having to be an IT guy not having to be you know an inventory manager not having to worry about staff, being able to leave at five o’clock and having vacation time and insurance paid for is not a bad deal and and I think that what’s happening now is we’re seeing a split to make money in dentistry, and it’s going to break it’s breaking down into two segments groups that are doing high volume, there’s certainly ways of making money doing high volume and low fees and they’ve been around a long time and that’s one model but there’s also opportunities here and those opportunities of those private practices that are able to communicate their value to their patients that they’re worth a little bit extra and they provide extra and if they could demonstrate that and that’s part of what we do in marketing, our practices, is we try to position our practices on value not on fees, because as you know what’s happening now is we’re having a commoditization of our services where we’re having insurance companies we’re having DSOs we’re having a plethora of messages that are being sent to our potential new patients that are telling them that a crown’s a crown’s a crown, an implant’s an implant’s and implant, braces are braces are braces, and it doesn’t matter where you go all that matters is how much it costs, and those practices that are able to provide extra- there is a good segment of the population that would look for that and willing to pay a little more if they knew they existed and there are a lot of great practices out there but if you’re not able to communicate it effectively and social media is a great way to do that, if you’re not able to do that then new prospective new patients have nothing to go on other than cost if they believe that your services are a commodity then they’re going on cost and we can’t- private practices traditional private practices, can’t compete at that level, so I’m seeing a shake up in terms of the dental industry right now and the concern of the people in the middle people that are charging more but aren’t demonstrating more value and they’re going to lose market share to the low end but the high end as long as they can demonstrate and communicate an enhanced level of value, people be willing to pay they always have been and they always will be to pay a little extra for that.
Howard: To me that’s clear advantage of corporate is a fact that.. you know I’ve been a dentist for years it’s it’s harder than hell just to stay up on fillings and crowns and root canals and what have you but now with corporate you got to compete at their level on marketing, call centers, IT, HR, accounting and financing, buying clubs for lab and supplies. You’re a marketing expert, who do you think does a better job of marketing in general? Corporate dentistry or the solo practice?
Dr.Klempner: You know most solo practices don’t do any marketing at all or limited marketing the DSOs in corporate dentistry they’re masters in marketing, but what are they marketing? They’re marketing low affordable fees that’s what their marketing and people are attracted to that and people will gravitate to that if they believe that they’re going to get the same quality as they’re getting in your practice and that’s the challenge and for those private practices that are marketing effectively those practices are growing in double digits -it’s easier to stand out now than it was years ago, It’s easier now than it was years ago if you use the right tools to do so and communicate properly that’s the key.
Howard: Well, you know everybody that I know in dentistry for thirty years that studies marketing says that the United States dental market is about 50/50. 50 shop on price, 50 shop on value and if you look at all the DSOs you’re right they’re all marketing and taking a strategy of high volume low fees volume but you look at a healthcare like I’m not here in Phoenix and we have a branch of the Mayo Clinic and people come from all over the world to Mayo Clinic the Cleveland Clinic, Scripts out in San Diego the Houston Center you’re out there in New York the Sloan Kettering, it’s like I haven’t seen any DSO that’s taken the strategy ‘hey we’re the Mayo Clinic Cleveland Clinic we’re all about quality’ and half of the America does not want to pick a doctor off their list, half of America is very particular especially dentistry because it’s all surgery or it’s all the doctor is working with his hands in your mouth and it’s all like a physician where you know most times they’re just talking to you and writing prescriptions so if half of America is that value shopper how do you say it’s easier for that value orthodontist or dentist to stand out today than it was 30 years ago?
Dr. Klempner: Because we have great tools now that we didn’t have 30 years ago we have the ability now to utilize our own patients to do the advertising for you, that’s the focus of what we do- people in practice we use your patients to do the advertising for you. Years ago when one of your patients would recommend another one of your patients you’d get one patient for one. That was great that’s how we built our practices, You and I built our practices based on one family at a time one recommending to another. Now we have the opportunity by utilizing reviews by utilizing social engagement on Facebook by utilizing Facebook advertising we have the ability to have our patients now instead of referring one person to you, refer hundreds of people to you- get that message out in a viral way we didn’t have that before but we have that now and and those practices that are effectively using those tools are growing just because of what you just said half the population is looking for that. The problem is that most and I will tell you most dental practices do not use the tools and don’t communicate it and as a result patients are confused. They’re confused and they’re not sure they’re getting more where they are then would be at a low fee DSO and they’re losing market share, that’s the problem.
Howard: So, how do my homies listening to you right now okay so if they go to your website it is PPL Practice which stands for people and practice right?
Dr. Klempner: Yes.
Howard: PPL Practice people...pplpractice.com if they go to your website right now, what are they going to find and how do they learn how to leverage their clients for word of mouth referral?
Dr. Klempner: Easy, there are three primary strategies that an effective marketing campaign should have. Number one and most importantly you need Google public reviews not one not two- dozens we have our practices getting forty, fifty, sixty, positive five star Google reviews. Why public reviews? Because when somebody does a Google search on Google that’s what they see right next to your practice with those stars so it’s important to get those a lot of practices are getting reviews on a variety of their management page sites that are not public reviews. They’re reviews but they are housed on their website those are no good I mean they’re fine but nobody sees those. You need Google positive reviews so that’s the baseline..We have an iPad system and a variety of different ways that we can leverage current patients to to leave 5 star reviews while monitoring any negative comments at the same time, so online reputation is critical, it’s arguably your most significant asset is your reputation, you have to protect it and if you don’t have positive reviews you’re vulnerable to one or two people. You and I’ve been around long enough to know that there’s a certain percentage of patients that walk into our door that are going to be a little bit off center and if they decide that it’s their job to trash you online and they go public and you don’t have a lot of positive reviews a tremendous negative impact on your reputation when a prospective new patient looks and sees a negative review and no positive reviews- no good. So, reviews number one. Number two social engagement. Having a Facebook page it’s not enough, a business Facebook page is not enough, having a website is not enough. You need to engage your patients online, you need to walk them online, you need to incentivize them to share your practice brand on their Facebook page where they have two three four five hundred of their friends, prospective new patients there and third you need to reach people in your geographic location that don’t know you exist with some content to show that you’re an expert in something, You know in real estate we used to say location location location. In marketing what we say is differentiate differentiate differentiate.You have to stand out from the crowd and each of us has some unique qualities that we’re good at, some customer service some are clinical expertise, multidisciplinary care, Invisalign- there’s something that we’re really good at and we need to communicate that difference to the public so that’s what they’ll learn.
Howard: Now what percent of your clients are orthodontists versus general dentist?
Dr. Klempner: Majority are orthodontists and you know ….
Howard: Have you written an article for Orthotown on this?
Dr. Klempner: I have, yeah I have.
Howard: Orthotown magazine?
Dr Klempner: Yeah, I have.
Howard: I see, I own Orthotown but I’m not allowed to go on the site and because I’m not an orthodontist, I kid you not I...
Dr. Klempner: I will send you a copy.
Howard: Yeah yeah yeah, email me a copy
Dr. Klempner: I’ll write another one. I’ll write another one.
Howard: Yeah, how long ago was was that?
Dr. Klempner: Probably a year ago maybe or maybe two years ago
Howard: So, I know we have a lot of orthodontists listening right now because these podcasts are listened to on Orthotown too. So, what are you doing for orthodontists?
Dr. Klempner: We’re doing just what I just described, I mean you could do all of this yourself but it’s beyond the scope of what you can do these days, years ago as an orthodontist I used to make my own retainers because I was sitting there doing nothing so why would I spend money on a lab to make my retainers they came a point where it was more productive to me for me to be at the chair and to send out to have retainers that’s where marketing is right now, and it’s become a our cottage industry has evolved now to the point where the do it yourself stuff is very difficult to do and time consuming to do and requires some expertise. Just Facebook advertising itself you know when we run a Facebook ad for an ortho practice or dental practice we’ll run four or five different ones, we’ll change the graphics on a couple we’ll change the words on otherS we’ll run them all simultaneously and we’ll A B test them all, see which one gets the traction then we’ll pull the budget from the ones that aren’t doing well and put the rest behind the other so we got the pay per click down. In Facebook advertising we can get the pay per click down to fifty cents or less for warm lead. You can’t do that with Google advertising. So, Facebook opens some great opportunities but it’s become big league now it’s not the way it used to be.
Howard: That is amazing I think what you said wass profound in the old day you’d make someone happy and they would tell their friend. But now I was on Facebook, the average American on Facebook has 350 Facebook friends. Younger users, okay so here’s what it says. It says the average Facebook user now has about 330 friends though the median number is quite a bit lower 200. This means that while half of all Facebook users have 200 or fewer friends, many of the Facebook users have quite a few more. The average American has 350 Facebook friends unsurprisingly younger users generally have more connections. Those aged between 18 to 24 are the friendliest group when it comes to Facebook with an average of 649 friends but my question to you is; when you’re running Facebook ads, who are you targeting? Are you targeting the moms bringing in 12 year old children or who are you targeting with Facebook I mean do little kids in high school go on Facebook and go home and tell their mom I want to go to doctor good?
Dr. Klempner: To a limited extent the target are the moms. Moms make the decisions that you know, the most of the kids are already off Facebook you know they were on Facebook before we got on Facebook and we’re on Facebook now they don’t want to be on Facebook they have their own different venues and they come and they go but the moms are on Facebook and that’s where your practice needs to be. You know if your practice is not active on Facebook you are missing the biggest opportunity there is. What you said it is right on.Three or four hundred people connected to each one of those moms for example but guess what, they’re not branding your practice on their page for nothing. They don’t just say ‘oh that’s a good idea I’m going share, I’m going to comment,’ they don’t do that. You need to hold out a carrot. You need to have some sort of incentive for them to do that. One of the key features that we do is we set up a sweepstakes on a practice and when a patient enters it on Facebook, they’re given three additional chances to win if they click that share button and that’s that share button is where the value is. It’s not preaching to the choir, this is another common mistake that dentist make is that they get a big group on Facebook and they’re promoting to them but they’re missing the biggest opportunity which are their friends and the exponential value of doing that, that’s where the new patients come from. That’s why a lot of dentists and orthodontists say this social media doesn’t work, we have a Facebook page and we have you know 2000, 3000 people but I’m not getting any new patients- duh that’s right, why would you? Unless you get them to like, share, comment. What’s missing on most dental Facebook pages are the social in the social media. Social is the key factor. You need to get likes, shares and comments and we find typically patients don’t do that automatically, they need to have a carrot, they need to have a prize, they need to have some chance to win something in order to give them the incentive in order to do so. So that’s what we do.
Howard: And what are the hottest prices?
Dr. Klempner: Oh man we have you know we have probably about 70 offices across the US and Canada that we represent and the prizes vary. Right now there’s one practice running a Disney cruise for the family, we have another one that did a Bermuda cruise, we have some that do local gateways for the weekend, family getaways so you know it needs to be significant. It can’t be you know the typical movie tickets or dinner for two. In my practice we ran a Broadway show.. two tickets to a Broadway show dinner for two, hotel overnight and a limo back and forth and you know what was the biggest draw out of that prize that people were most excited about?
Dr. Klempner: Broadway tickets do you think? No. Dinner for two? No. How about overnight stay in a nice hotel? No. The limo, they like the limo. They like getting picked up in a limo driven into Manhattan, not have to worry about that car and not have to worry about that traffic, things like that. Anyway, you put up a big prize like that, you get a lot of attention, you get it you get a big bang for your buck.
Howard: I have a dentist right out here in Phoenix and there’s it’s you can’t really park and some of these good restaurant areas in Scottsdale or Mill Avenue in Tempe and he driverless cars to the restaurant there’s no parking, so he has his driverless car drive around while he’s in there eating and then he comes back and gets a driverless ride home. I also see that phenomena in the the lottery like you know most all Americans a million dollars would be a game changer, but winning a million dollars doesn’t draw them out but once it gets over like a hundred million dollars, they all go crazy and it’s like I never understood that phenomena why...why..
Dr. Klempner: And you know you take you take a prize like a cruise, you know the Disney cruise for an ortho practice, that’s a great prize right? That’s something but we figured out the value of it and it’s around maybe $3,000 or so. And a lot of orthodontists and dentists would look at that and say “Hey, I can’t pay that. That’s so expensive.” And meanwhile, you run this contest over 6 months or 9 months, it’s tax deductible. If you get one new patient out of it, it pays for the whole thing but you know, a lot of my colleagues think small. And you know, when it comes to overhead, you know what the best way to lower your overhead is? Increase your production. Increase your production. It’s not getting cheaper gloves.
Dr. Leon: It’s increasing production. That’s the best way to lower your overhead.
Howard: And what do you think the average new patient is worth in an orthodontist office these days for your 70 clients spread out over America?
Dr. Leon: Well I mean it’s certainly worth, you know more than just one case so often times you know...
Howard: But what is the average fee for a records, models in an ortho?
Dr. Leon: You know it varies in different parts of the country but I’d say somewhere between maybe $5,000 and $6,000 probably the average.
Howard: Yeah it’s interesting because the orthodontist and the general dentist have the same value of a new patient but the orthodontist captures it in 24 months. I see it between $5,000 and $6,500 depending if you’re in Manhattan or Kansas. And the general dentist will do the same amount but captured over 60 months, 5 years. So when you look at the fact, if you did this and you got one new patient, that’s $5,000 to $6,000 off one a new patient.
Dr. Leon: And often times you get another family member, you get a friend or a neighbour, I mean that’s how we built our practices in the past. One at a time by, that’s the best referral there is when you have a patient branding your office for you. That’s a statement of validation, so that’s the key. The key is getting your patients to brand your practice for you through reviews, through posting on their Facebook page, that’s been the key in the past and that’s the key now. The only difference and you asked what’s different now, the technology is different. It’s a great time to be marketing right now.
Howard: And what do you think an orthodontist should be spending on marketing? What percent of revenue collected dollars you think should be spend on marketing?
Dr. Leon: Well I can tell you that you know, if you look at what the industry averages are in other industries, other than dentistry, it’s usually 4%-5% of their production which is a big number. In dentistry we don’t spend nearly enough on marketing our practices. But I would say that probably around $2,000 a month, you should be able to do everything that we’ve talked about including a healthy budget to Facebook for advertising.
Howard: So a lot of people confused the terms marketing, advertising. Advertising is just one component or sub set of marketing. Other forms of marketing, I mean marketing includes public relations, media planning, product pricing and distributions, sales strategy, customer support, market research, community involvement. Do you mostly in your business, are you mostly social media on Facebook or do you do other forms of marketing?
Dr. Leon: Well you know, we’re not, we’re a marketing consultancy. You know, we consult and we’d look at each individual practice to see what their needs are and where they need supplementation. Some of it we do ourselves, some of it we’ll refer out. So we wanna do is we wanna fill the holes and we wanna cover all of the bases, there are so many touch points that new patients come to new practices from, that we need to cover them all. So you need to have a good website, we don’t do websites but if a practice needs a website then we need to find somebody to replace their website. They need to show up on page 1 that’s called SEO as you know. If they don’t show up on page 1 and then we need to get some SEO money there. We don’t do SEO but we’ll work with you to find that somebody that does. So my job is to find out what the problem is, diagnose the problem, come up with a treatment plan. On some of the treatment plan we could provide, most of the time we can provide all of it but if we need supplementation then we need to reach out. But you know what, none of anything that you do from a marketing standpoint won’t be effective at all if you don’t provide high quality care and treat your patients well. You can’t keep people waiting 45 minutes or an hour or an hour and a half and then expect to get really good reviews and get people referring to your practice. So part of what we do is seeing what’s going on and cleaning up that, sometimes it’s a matter of how they’re scheduling. Other times it’s not a marketing issue at all when we find a practice that’s not growing. They’re getting plenty of new patients, they’re not converting them. Patients aren’t accepting their treatment plan. So what good is spending a lot of money bringing new patients to the door if they’re going out the other door? So we need to talk about affordability, we need to talk about communication, that’s all part of the consultancy that we do.
Howard: So everybody listening to you right now, probably 85% are commuting to work. They have an hour commute, that’s why the show’s an hour. So I can’t take notes so what I do is if they follow me on Twitter @HowardFarran I just retweeted probably your last tweet you’re @people_practice. @people_practice it’s got a link to this website pplpractice.com. What if an orthodontist is listening to this and just wants to talk to you? Because here’s the deal, I know my homies, they always have a unique situation. It’s like when you’re lecturing, is there any questions? No. And then you break and everybody runs up to you and asks you a question because they always think, they have a unique problem and it’s always the exact same problem as everybody else in the room. How, if they wouldn’t talk to you, what is it cost to talk to you or any of that stuff?
Dr. Leon: It doesn’t cost anything to talk to me. I’ll do an evaluation and diagnose and provide a treatment plan for them at no fee. They could call me 888-866-DOCS, that’s our phone number.
Dr. Leon: They could email me firstname.lastname@example.org. Either way…
Howard: So who is the most famous leon?
Dr. Leon: Who is the most famous leon?
Dr. Leon: Gee, that’s a good question. I don’t know, right now I’m on your show it’s Leon Klempner.
Howard: Because I’m trying, was there a famous Leon, was it a Disney character or something back in the day?
Dr. Leon: Could be. You know what, Leons are rare, you don’t find that many Leons around.
Howard: Have you ever thought to change your name to Lion?
Dr. Leon: When I go…
Howard: E to I.
Dr. Leon: You know I do a lot of volunteer work with Operation Smile and Smile Train, I’m a big Cleft Palate volunteer. And when I’m in South America, you know what my name is? Lion. They can’t say Leon.
Howard: Is that right?
Dr. Leon: Yeah, they have trouble saying Leon. So it comes out Lion and so I’m Lion.
Howard: So speaking of marketing and Lions, don’t you think the greatest marketing campaign ever done was when that Dr. Palmer, when he shot Cecil the lion, I mean.
Dr. Leon: What a boost to dentistry huh?
Howard: My God. I think he got more hits than any of your clients got on any of their websites. How many hits do you think he got on his website?
Dr. Leon: You know what I’m surprised he didn’t get any hits you know directly to him not on his website. It was really, that was like, that was one of the saddest moments to see that he was a dentist.
Howard: Yeah, yeah. So you know, I still always say that I tell these young kids when they come out of school, I said you know if I had to bet on two doctors, the one I would bet on is always the one with the best chair side manner. I mean because you said it before, I mean these dentists they don’t realize that, you know they don’t know to conversion. They don’t realize that a lot of them, ten people have to visit your website before one calls. They don’t realize that three people have to call before one comes in, they don’t realize that three people need to have a cavity before you convert one to a filling. So if you work that funnel back up to have one filling, you need three patients. To get three patients you need nine people to call, to have nine people to call you need ninety people to hit the website. And then they say the problem is Trump and Putin and North Korea, the economy, and it’s like, really? Don’t you think the problem is the man in the mirror? And when you look at that converting of three calls to get one in, that’s having a receptionist who has the most amazing chemistry, karma, you know just an adorable person who has time instead of saying can you please hold. But you know I always see the, it’s funny how dentists and orthodontists call that lady at there front desk. They name her after a piece of furniture, but if you go into the SMP500, that’s incoming sales. It’s incoming marketing and those people have training and they have a leader that pumps everybody in the call center up and gets them fired up and when they convert someone to come in, will go over there and give them a flower or a cookie or a rose. And the dentist, the orthodontist, I mean my God, I mean no offense I know you’re an orthodontist but, they think it’s all about them. They walk on water and you build it they will come and they’re just all that and a bag of chips. They have no idea that their websites sucks that ten people go to it but only one calls. That your front desk lady is over burdened and half of these incoming calls are going to voicemail, or they’re told please hold. And man if they could just get an amazing chair side manner and fill that of as with people or just have outgoing amazing chemistry and karma, and then but I wanna start all the at the beginning. You know anytime a dentist emails me, you know like your email Leon, just thinking lion, I was trying to get an image so they’d remember when they’re driving. So you’re email@example.com. If you, when these dentists send me email like firstname.lastname@example.org, I just knock off the leon and go www ‘cause I wanna see who I am talking to. You know, you get these emails, I mean my God the average website looks like they went to the Chicago mid-Winter meeting 10 years ago and bought some website in a box that it’s a lot of them don’t even have that picture and then they have a stock photo. I mean, how butt ugly are you that you have a stock photo, and you don’t even know who the people are. I like your website because as the video, I mean I got to meet you, I got to feel you, your chemistry, your karma, I started liking you 20 seconds into that video. I mean you’re just, and so their website, I would just say the average dentist, well I’ll ask you what percent of orthodontist websites would you give an A or a B or a C or D or an F?
Dr. Leon: Well you know I have to say that orthodontists are stepping up and sites are getting better. But so you know, A B C I don’t know, they are getting better but what’s missing from the website is the relationship of the website to their message. What’s their distinctive message? What’s their differentiator? What are they really good at? What do they represent? And you know, and their website should be a visual representation of that not pretty colors. You know, pretty colors are better than what it used to be which were ugly colors but it’s still not where it should be. And just to kinda tie this back to the DSO discussion that we’re having before, those practices, those dental practices that aren’t paying attention to their image and have their treating people, are the ones that are going to lose to the DSOs. People aren’t gonna put up with paying extra money for that because they’re not gonna see any value in paying extra for that than they would going some place where they can get it cheaper. They know it’s a volume, they know all that stuff but if they see that the dental practice that they’re going to is plain vanilla, average, nothing special, then it’s a commodity.
Yeah, you’re probably a good dentist but they’re probably good dentists there too. They’re licensed, you’re licensed, what’s the difference? I might as well go with the cheaper one and that’s what’s starting to happen now. And that’s why I say we’re gonna divide up into two tiers, they’re gonna be the ones that are gonna prosper because there’s a big percentage of the population, you said 50, I’m not so sure but I’ll take it. If that’s the case that are looking for value and willing to pay a little extra for value but only if they can identify it. And how do they identify it? Go look at your website initially, right? What are the tools that they have to evaluate it? So it’s the website, it’s the personality, it’s who picks up the phone and how they respond. I’ve heard you and let me give you a compliment I was gonna tell you, I was gonna give you the compliment early on before we got on the phone okay?
Dr. Leon: Because you said…
Howard: I said if you’re gonna give me a compliment well you gotta give in on the air, let’s start taping.
Dr. Leon: Exactly. So I’m gonna give it to you know. I sat in on a staff lecture about, I don’t know it could’ve been 10 years ago for all I know, where you gave the lecture to the staff. And you said what’s your job when you answer the phone for a new patient? What is it? What’s most important? What is it? What do you have to do? What’s your job, what’s your job? Be nice, tell them about the practice, no! And you know, you’re not like you know, how would I say.. subtle? That wouldn’t be a way to describe you at least in the lecture room that I saw. You were like ripping into these people and you said, your job is to get the appointment, get the appointment, that’s your job.
Howard: I probably said, get their ass scheduled in a chair, I need butts in a seat.
Dr. Leon: Well that’s probably what you said. But there was a lot to it and that’s one thing I wanna compliment you on. And the other thing I wanna compliment you on is being a, I practiced solo for half my career and then I brought in an associate and then I had a partner, opened up another office. But half my career was by myself and when you’re by yourself in dentistry, you’re isolated. And it could be really tough, not only clinical decisions but staff decisions, whole host the things, you gotta figure out by yourself. What you’ve done probably more than anybody else is you’ve created communities that have allowed dentists to not be alone even if they practice alone. And I’ve been on the sites and I have posted on different cases that I see and I’d given my opinion etcetera. And you do that from home without traveling and I think that’s big and I don’t know if you get enough credit for that.
Howard: Thanks and yeah I was, that was cool. We started that in Facebook by 6 years and the whole deal was with Dentaltown, no dentist would ever have to practice solo again. And it meant a lot to me, I wanted it for myself so bad. I used to put the kids to bed -my four boys by 8:30 and I’d sit in that chair, and I’d just have knots in my stomach thinking about, did I mess up this root canal? Should I have done this? All I wanted to do is talk to another homie and say what do you think? To me it was priceless and but yeah. So I’m gonna ask just some mundane questions, when you go to Dentaltown, you go to one of the 50 categories. Marketing and then under marketing you go to social media, one of the questions they ask is on Facebook, if you make a post you can boost it or another way to do it is create an ad. Is that two roads going to the same place or is that two different things? What’s the difference between boosting a post and creating an ad?
Dr. Leon: Yeah they are two different things and depending on how you utilize them. Boosting a post is when you take something, a post that you have on your Facebook page and you put some money behind it so you could reach more people with that similar, with that same post. So a lot of your listeners may not be aware that the people that they have connected to them, their fans on Facebook.
Howard: Is that what they are called, fans?
Dr. Leon: Yeah, they are fans, they are followers. They, dentist accumulate a lot of followers on their Facebook page but only a fraction of them actually see their posts. See Facebook throttles down the number of people that see your given posts. Their claim it’s because they don’t wanna bombard people with too much information, the reality is they’re looking to monetize it. So now if me as an orthodontist wants to reach my $2,000, I gotta cough up some money otherwise every post I make is gonna reach maybe 5% of that 2,000. So boosting is one mechanism that I could reach all 2,000 or maybe even extend beyond the 2,000, beyond the people I could reach some of the friends of them by boosting but it’s just boosting that particular post. Facebook advertising is different, with Facebook advertising we can create an ad that when a prospective target clicks on it, we could take them directly to content on the dentist’s website itself. So we can bring them from Facebook to the website, that’s a big advantage. People that are looking for content are self-qualifying themselves when they click on it. An example would be you know, five ways to get your teeth straight quickly or how to get a beautiful smile in one visit , let’s say. And they would click on it and it would take them to content on the blog of the dentist’s site where he will have authored an article on laminates for example or invisalign thereby creating an expert perspective from the patient’s angle. So now the patients on the Facebook, on the website off of Facebook and when they’re on the website they’ll look at reviews, they’ll look at the doctor’s credentials, they’ll mosey around and you’re more likely to get the call. So there’s a difference between the two and you could the two in conjunction with one another but they’re not the same.
Howard: I have another technical question on a Facebook post, whenever you make a Facebook booster post or create ad, it always has a little check box, do you want this to go to Instagram too? Facebook bought Instagram for a billion bucks, first of all, what are your thoughts on Instagram are there are moms on Instagram, because you said you wanted to target the moms.
Dr. Leon: Yeah.
Howard: So tell me what your thoughts are on Instagram and if you’re creating an ad or boosting a post, should you check the box to include Instagram?
Dr. Leon: Yeah it all depends. To answer your question yes moms are on Instagram but they’re on Instagram looking at photos. Instagram is a visual medium, it’s photographs.
Howard: Kind of like Pinterest?
Dr. Leon: Kind of like Pinterest. It doesn’t translate well too much of the content that we’re looking to deliver. Every once in a while, for example we had a practice that was giving away tickets to a popular singer, Bruno Mars. Much in demand.
Howard: Who they say is the apparent Michael Jackson.
Dr. Leon: Well I mean he’s hot stuff.
Howard: There’s some serious music critics who say that’s the next Michael Jackson.
Dr. Leon: Okay, well you can imagine this type of prize has an appeal both to parents and to kids and that’s a good one to air on Instagram because there is a cross section of attention that could be brought to that. But generally speaking the leverage should be on Facebook itself that’s where you’ll get the most bang for your dollar.
Howard: Okay I think you’ve just answered my follow up question because a lot of people also ask on their social media, is Facebook 80 percent of it and do you really need to do the Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest, Google Plus and whatever the hell Snapchat is, by the way, what the hell is Snapchat and why did Facebook only have to pay a billion for Instagram but Snapchat did IPO for 27 billion? That almost makes me wanna log on to Snapchat to see what the hell it is, or you have you done that?
Dr. Leon: I have done that, I’m not a big fan of Snapchat. It’s like a visual, again it’s a photographic medium, we take a picture and then it disappears after a period of time. Again…
Howard: So you’re saying Anthony Weiner should’ve switched from Twitter to Snapchat?
Dr. Leon: Haha.
Howard: Was that your…
Dr. Leon: That might have been a smart move.
Howard: Anthony you need to get off Twitter. I think Trump and Anthony Weiner both need to get off Twitter and go to Snapchat.
Dr. Leon: To answer your question more fully, there’s an advantage of fully setting up all of those sites for your practice. Why? Because they show up in searches, they show up in searches, they are free websites, they are free websites. There’s no reason not to claim them and to populate them with your website, your telephone number, some photographs, some information about your practice, why not? They’re free and in a Google search they occasionally show up, not all the time but why not? Why not take advantage of what’s there.
Howard: I know, what you also do, we just put on the share buttons on Orthotown Magazine articles, Dentaltown Magazine articles. When you read the article, I always tell my homies I said, look these people all write their articles for free. A lot of these dentists, they spend months writing that little 1,600 word article on the charts and graphs. If you read it, the greatest compliment you can do is just reach up there and you can share it your social media. You share it to Facebook, LinkedIn Pinterest all that stuff, you should go on Orthotown since I can’t go to your article and share that to your social media and then I’ll retweet then I can share it to my Twitter followers and all that.
Dr. Leon: You know what, a lot of what we talked about, I’ll put that in an article and I’ll get a new article up there. A little bit more contemporary and then we could put it everywhere.
Howard: Right on. Well I just wanna say that, do you actually live...where do you live?
Dr. Leon: I live on Long Island.
Howard: It’s so funny because New York City doesn’t exist. If you go to New York City and no one says they live in New York City, they say I live in Manhattan, I live in the Bronx, I live in Brooklyn. And you live in Long Island?
Dr. Leon: On Long Island.
Howard: So that’s like a part of New York City is it?
Dr. Leon: It’s suburb of New York City.
Howard: Yes it’s not one of the 5 burrows?
Dr. Leon: Right, not one of the 5 burrows.
Howard: So if New York City is basically a conspiracy that doesn’t exist, they say it’s the largest city in America but it doesn’t exist, but I just wanna say that, my first lecture I ever gave in my life was August 4th, 1990 in New York City and I was little nervous so I called my classmate Craig Styke who I went to UMPC when I was in Phoenix he’s in Albuquerque. We flew down there together, we’re talking, you know I’m sitting on the window seat, we’re talking and all of the sudden I glanced out and I saw that skyline. I’ll never forget it all my life, it was like seeing a UFO. I grew up in Kansas where the tallest thing is a grain silo and I’d swear to God, I think that is the coolest city in the world. The most bizarre statistic I ever read in my life was that if all 7 and half billion humans lived at the density of Manhattan, we’d all fit on New Zealand.
Dr. Leon: Wow.
Howard: But I just, I swear to God. So now I just have one…
Dr. Leon: I’d love to take you out to dinner and you spend some time in New York, I’d love to show you around.
Howard: What I want you to hook me up with is, I don’t need a drug dealer or anything I had but I need some illegal guy that can give you a Broadway ticket. Every time I go to Broadway, every time I wanna go to the show I want- the ladies look at me like where were you from? Kansas? That show is sold out for 6 months. And then when I tried is, it seems like every show I wanna see there’s no way to get a ticket. I’m like okay, they are selling drugs on the streets, there’s gotta be some guy selling Broadway tickets next to the broadway stand.
Dr. Leon: You know what, you send me a few of the Broadway shows that you wanna see that are tough to get tickets and I’ll get you tickets.
Howard: That’s just, I think it’s the most amazing place in the world. I don’t know if I wanna live there in February, I kinda like Phoenix more in February. By the way, here’s another bizarre thing about New York I don’t understand, when they move to Phoenix from all around the country, they go to Phoenix and Glendale and Chandler and Mesa and all that stuff. But the New Yorkers only go to Scottsdale and I don’t know what it is, I mean ‘cause Scottsdale doesn’t look anything like Manhattan but a New Yorker, when they come to the valley, they’re only gonna go to Scottsdale, they’ll only gonna stay in Scottsdale, if they buy a house, it’ll only be in Scottsdale. And they could get the same house for half the price in Chandler or Glendale, they won’t even consider. So what is the New York hang up with Scottsdale?
Dr. Leon: We don’t know any better, that’s all. We’re ignorant, that’s the bottom line. We don’t know what we’re doing.
Howard: All right, well it’s Leon Klempner 888-866 DOCS, love the phone number that’s so cool that you got docs, DOCS. Then I’m gonna dial my area code in prefix of docs see who answers the phone. 888-866 DOCS. You could email him email@example.com and then we’re gonna show you the video that I watched on your website which made me reach out to call you to get you on the show and the only last thing I’m gonna say is my God, when you get to work please remember that more traffic is on the smartphone than the computer now. Open up your website on your smartphone. A lot of you guys don’t even do the basics where, what’s that technology called where they right size the website to your smartphones?
Dr. Leon: Responsive, responsive.
Howard: Yeah I mean 90% of the dentist I go to on there, they don’t even have a responsive site like you’re sitting there with your fingers and thumbs trying to pull their website in. And then their picture looks like it was a mug shot for being arrested for a DUI, I don’t. And some of these guys are my friends that I know, they are lovable, adoring people but the mug shot looks like they’re watching you know their mother get mauled by a hyena, where if it was a Youtube video, their energy and karma would come through and they should film it when they have their loved ones on the other...you know, how you try to get a baby just to look for the picture, You need to be in a room where whoever loves you is giving, pulling the best out of you in energy.
Look at your website because I’ll tell you what, forget marketing, I mean if 10 people go to your site and only one converts to call, I mean fix that problem first and I know it’s tough because I’m a dentist. I mean if I had to pick between taking a social media class or doing a greater root canal, I mean root canals are more fun than golf, I mean who wants to learn accounting and finance and SEO and website. You didn’t go to school 8 years ‘cause you wanna be a social media expert, you went to school 8 years ‘cause you want the worst toothache in the world to walk in your office and you wanna fix it like a fireman. I mean a fireman only wants a five alarm fire, he doesn’t want some smouldering trailer, he wants a fire. And I want toothache, that’s why I named my dental office Today’s Dental, I wanna see it today, right now. You got a toothache, walk in or emergency room, we’re ready for you. So if that’s not your passion, you’re never gonna get good at, dentists only get good at what they are interested in, what their passion about. So if marketing and advertising and SEO and website responsiveness and all these stuff, if that’s not your passion, you’re never gonna be good at it. So that’s why there’s guys like Leon Klempner who’ll do it for you. Leon, thank you so much for coming on my show today.
Dr. Leon: Thank you for having me, appreciate it. I enjoyed it.
Howard: All right, buddy. And next time I’ll see you I hope we’re going to dinner in Manhattan on a way to a Broadway play.
Dr. Leon: Sounds good to me.
Howard: All right buddy, have a rocking hot day..
Dr. Leon: By far, the fastest growing segment in dentistry is large group corporate practices. They’re really very profitable, they’re fuelled by deep pocket venture capital dollars and unfortunately, they have very low fees and their coming your way. What’s their marketing strategy? Very simple, they wanna educate people in your community to believe that every procedure that you do is a commodity. They’re spending millions of dollars sending the message to your prospective and your current patients that braces are braces or an implant is an implant. If they’re successful, your potential patients will come to believe that the only difference between your practice and their practice are cost and convenience. And I could tell you that is an unwinnable position for you. If you believe that low cost alternatives will continue to increase and you’ll continue to face downward pressure on your fees, then one, you need to take some action now so that we could begin educating your potential patients that there is a difference. Or two, your practice will continue to lose market share. I’ve embedded a link to my personal calendar below, click on it, let’s find a time for us to talk. I believe I can help you.