A seasoned motivator, public speaker, and acclaimed coach with over 30 years of business leadership in the healthcare community, Bernie Stoltz is the CEO of Fortune Management. As CEO of Fortune Management, the world’s largest executive coaching organization for Doctors, Bernie leads more than 80 coaches in over 60 cities throughout the United States and Canada. Bernie has conducted thousands of training programs across the country to help thousands of doctors become their personal and professional best. He has dedicated his life to achievement in areas of marketing, public relations, advertising, business management and principal-centered leadership.
VIDEO - DUwHF #974 - Bernie Stoltz
AUDIO - DUwHF #974 - Bernie Stoltz
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Howard: It is just a huge honor for me today to be podcast interviewing Bernie Stoltz, the CEO of Fortune Management. He was one of the first people I ever asked to come on the show, and a thousand episodes later, he's finally here. He's talking to us today from his headquarters in Santa Clara, California, the heart of Silicon Valley. He's a seasoned motivator, public speaker and acclaimed coach with over 30 years of business leadership in the healthcare community. Bernie Stoltz is the CEO of Fortune Management, the world's largest executive coaching organization for doctors. Bernie leads more than eighty coaches in over sixty cities throughout the United States and Canada. He has conducted thousands of training programs across the country to help thousands of doctors become their personal and professional best. He has dedicated his life to achievement in areas of marketing, public relations, advertising, business manageables and principle-centered leadership. Bernie, it's an honor to have you on the show today, buddy.
Bernie: It is a pleasure to be with you, Howard. It's been a long time
Howard: It's been a long time. You said we were last on the same program in 2005, where was it at?
Bernie: I think we were in San Francisco. We were doing one of Fortune's big personal power events, with Tony Robbins at the Palace Hotel and you did a great job for us.
Howard: I owe so much to Tony Robbins because he came out with his thirty day personal power when my kids were little. I never parked my car in the garage; it's always been a gym and we would work out to those thirty tapes and my four boys had so many one liners from that show: Your attitude determines your altitude. I mean they had so many one liners. So I love Tony Robbins for that. He did so much for my kids. So Bernie, I want to start with the macroeconomic question. So we're podcasting today and people our age don't know how to podcast. If I went out with my drinking buddy dentists in Phoenix and put a gun to their head and say, download a podcast on your iPhone, I'd have to shoot all my friends. So I always ask them, send me an email, email@example.com, tell me who you are, how old you are, what you think of the show, whatever. There are about 25% still in dental school, the rest are all under thirty. I only get one email a week that says, "Dude, I'm a grandpa too." But a lot of these kids come out of school and they say, “Bernie you don't get it. You and Howard have been in this thirty years. Thirty years ago was the golden years and it was great. Now we're coming out $300,000 in student loans, there's corporate dentistry, the insurance is now all PPO Howard graduated during the golden years and I think I might have made a big mistake going into dentistry in 2018.” What would you say to that little girl who just graduated from dental kindergarten school? She's twenty-five with $300,000 in debt. Are there still good days left in dentistry?
Bernie: Absolutely. If you graduated in the golden days, Howard, then these are the platinum days and I don't say that sarcastically. I think one quote that I'd give you right off the bat is that evolvement in anything, evolvement plus reflection, equals, well, problems plus reflection equal evolution. And I think you and I would probably both agree that dentistry today is changing massively and it's evolving. The need for dental care is never going to go away. How we deliver it is clearly going to change. In fact, let's go back to that golden age of dentistry and this is something that I lecture about all the time today and that is if we go back twenty-five, thirty years ago, I'll never forget, a classroom very close to where you're based right there in Phoenix, I was sitting in a room with Omar Reed, we all know Omar Reed, and in that classroom was a whole room full of younger, we'll call them at the time, thirty year old dentists. And Omar was talking about complete care dentistry and one of the students asks him, "You know Omar, how is it that you see all of these cases? I just don't see these cases in my practice? I don't see them coming through my doors. I loved what Omar said. He looked at him and he said, "No, no, no. You see them, you just don't see them.” The reason I tell that story is because one thing is never going to go out of date in dentistry and that is a need for a doctor to have great clinical skills. Because what we know, whether it was thirty years ago or whether it is today, a dentist will only diagnose to the level of their own clinical expertise so we know that doesn't change. But here's where the evolution comes in today, Howard. The evolution comes in, it is just as important. If we put a percentage on it and we say the doctor's clinical skill set is 50% of their success and I don't even know if it's that much anymore, but we'll err on that side, I will tell you that the other 50% is massively dependent on the environment that we place the dentist in. Now, let me define environment five ways. Number one is the facilities we put them in. Number two, it's the technology that we make available to them. Number three, it's the team we surround them with. Number four, it’s the systems that are being used in that environment. And number five, it's the culture. What that means today is that dentistry has got to evolve with them. There's a lot of ways we do that, but the other thing you do is you say, look, let's take a look at what the consumer wants today. The consumer wants what? They want better, they want faster, they want more affordable, and to a less degree, they want safer dentistry. So how do we take all of that, what the consumer needs, and also talk about how that overlays with an environment that we place a young dentist in and therein lies your answer.
Howard: What did you call those five things, environment, the five what of the environment? The five?
Bernie: Well, I'll just call them five things that make up the environment. One is the facility? So what I mean today is and match that to what the consumer wants. The consumer wants a really, really cool environment to get their dentistry done in, they want to see technology, they want to see really nice people that are good communicators. They want to see that there is a systemized process there, but not one that makes it impersonal, one that just makes the delivery of the care more efficient. And then the fifth thing has got to be the culture. All of those determine, I think, a successful dental environment today. Now I'll go one step further though. I will say that the days of the single practitioner working four days a week and rendering thirty-two hours of availability and doing it all on their own, that is what is going to. It won't completely go away, but it will not be mainstream dentistry in the 21st century. Here's what I would say. I would say that there's really three dimensions to dentistry. There's always going to be the boutique dentist. There's always going to be the boutique dentist who wants to not take any insurance and work four days a week and market the heck out of themselves through social media and everything else, and they'll always make a decent living, but it'll be harder and harder because what they're going to do with the rest of their careers, they're going to trade time for dollars and I would make an argument that as long as a dentist is working in a single practitioner environment, they have a good paying job, but they have not created an organization nor have they really built a company. They are a business operator, not a business owner. I would say. On the other end of that spectrum is corporate dentistry, which we noted today is 30% - 40% of the market.
Howard: What do you call these, the three types of what?
Bernie: The three types of how dentistry is really being delivered in this country and will be delivered in the future even more so. So you got two ends of the spectrum, right? You get the single practitioner on one side, you've got the DSO's and MSO's on the other side, but here's where the future for private practitioners is, I believe, it's in the center of that. It's doing the same thing that private practitioner MD's had to do twenty-five, thirty years ago. They had to evolve. What that means is they're creating multiple providers under one roof so that three or four GP's can have access to a [inaudible 09:50] machine, and to cone beam technology, and they can all afford a state of the art facility and they can have one shared PNL, so that they can be massively profitable by taking advantage of something we teach today at Fortune called economy of scale. That is the way forward for most dentists in this country, is my belief.
Howard: When you talked about the five things that make up your environment, you said facilities, technology, team, systems, and culture. Most dental offices culture is: What does an office manager tell a dentist with two black eyes?
Bernie: What? You got me?
Howard: Nothing. She's already told him twice. Back to the five things that make up your environment, facilities, technology, a lot of these kids come out of school, and remember we're talking to mostly thirty and under. They say, "Bernie, I graduated with $300,000 in student loans. If I graduate and I buy a Syriac machine for one hundred and fifty, if I buy a CBCT, that's another one hundred and fifty. And if I buy a Millennium Laser that could cost me seventy thousand to one hundred and thirty thousand. I could make three purchases and double my student loan. So my question to you is, what technologies do you think have a return on investment?
Bernie: Well, I think the number one return on investment, I think in today's dental market, has got to be Syriac and cad cam technology, for a couple of reasons. First of all, it's a perfect example of a piece of equipment that can make the practice and dentist more profitable, while allowing them to render the care more affordably. But the reason why it's a sweet spot for me is because it also plays right into what the consumer wants. Consumer wants single visit dentistry. Consumer wants the convenience, and the quality does not have to decline by using cad cam technology today. So I think that's a great example right there.
Howard: Are there any other technologies you recommend?
Bernie: I think lasers are another thing that the consumer wants. I mean there's a new laser out on the market right now you've probably heard of it: Solea laser and whether it’s Solea or it's the Lightwalker, These are high power lasers that can eliminate shots and drills.
Howard: The Lightwalker from Solea?
Bernie: No, the Solea is a company on their own and that's number one; the one that we're endorsing today. For instance, if you're running a Pedo practice today and you can bring mom in and you can say, "Look, we can take care of all Johnny's little fillings right now in ten minutes with no shots and no drills and you don't have to come back for a second scary appointment," that's going to close the deal right there. But what it's doing also is it's compressing our provider's schedule in such a way so that the profitability is better as well. So I think lasers and things like Solea are great. Syriac is great. I think also you got to follow the trend. I think a CBT, cone-beam is absolutely.
Howard: Solea is the brand name of the laser but sold by Convergent Dental?
Bernie: Got it.
Howard: Sorry. Come on dude. I'm fifty-five, I got four grandchildren. You're giving me brain farts.
Bernie: Oh, come on, I'm a Grandpa too.
Howard: Are you a Grandpa? How many do you have?
Bernie: Just one man. I got a three and a half year old. Hey, aren't grandkids great? You can spoil them and then you can give them back. Right?
Howard: They're awesome. My homies are driving, so I was retweeted. By the way, thank you so much for following me @howardfarran, where we are at twenty-five thousand followers. I just retweeted convergent dental: @solea and their deal was: check out Dr Misner using the laser on his pediatric patient Matthew Novacane, pain free. That really is a no brainer for a pediatric office member. Do you remember Margolis?
Bernie: That doesn't ring a bell.
Howard: Fred Margolis. It made me sad when you say that because I already have three RIP podcasts that I've done. One is Carl Misch, who you knew well. He did a two and a half hour podcast before he died and the other was Bob Ibsen, founder of Denmat, the toothpaste Rembrandt. He was a real legend of mine, but the other one was Fred Margolis. He was a star wars of dentistry. He was the pediatric dentist who pioneered all of this pediatric laser stuff. I did a podcast with him before he passed away and he was saying the same thing. He goes, "Come on, they're kids, why are you giving him a shot? Plus you give him a shot, then you've got go and wait for it to soak in for five to ten minutes." He goes, "I don't give a shot. And I'm done with the whole damn filling in five or 10 minutes." And moms love it because it's star wars and that's what he called himself the star wars of dentistry. The guy just crushed it. So you were saying Solea lasers, which is made by Convergent and you were talking about, what was the other one? You said the Lightwalker?
Bernie: Well CEREC by Sirona, obviously we were a big advocate of Dentsply, Sirona and to them we are the digital dentistry practice management leader. So we take a big part with them, and really appreciate the National Alliance.
Howard: okay. But what was the other one you said? You said Lightwalker.
Bernie: Oh, the other. Yes. Fatona is the company.
Howard: Oh that's a neat word because it's a play on photon.
Bernie: From what I understand, and I'm not the expert on this, but I don't know that it can do everything that the Solea can do, but I know that there are a lot of them out there and I know that.
Howard: Well I've got to tell you the other side of lasers. I have a friend of mine whose name I won't mention, because he can drive over to my house and beat the crap out of me. He's a podiatrist and he says when he's doing podiatry surgery, that he wants to take a fifteen blade, lay a flab, get out his, his electric handpiece with a big burn, grind everything off. And he says, "I do it in five minutes." But he said that's not what the damn market wants. So he says, I get this damn laser, which takes me twice as long, three times as long to make the incision. Because when I advertise and market that I'm a laser foot surgeon, it's just crazy marketing." So when other podiatrists from around the country say, "So you really recommend this laser?" He says, "I recommend it for marketing, marketing, marketing, and marketing." I mean, this guy has built his whole deal, just like Fred Margolis built his whole marketing in a very competitive town in Chicago, that he was a laser pediatric dentist who didn't give shots. Well man, that what just made his office standing room only. So do you think a laser is more for clinicians or more for marketing and public relations and social media?
Bernie: I think it's both. The Fotona laser is a huge branding tool, a marketing tool for endodontics. We rebranded a whole practice over in Honolulu a few years ago. It used to be Honolulu Endodontics, now it's Honolulu Laser Endodontics. So I think it's both. I think it's marketing for the patients, but I think it's also efficiency. Here's what I would say that is a little different from the podiatry, is that my hallucination is that dental patients want to be in and out quicker, not take longer. So I think technology can do that on all these things.
Howard: But you're not sure of the difference in the Fotona Lightwalker or the other one?
Bernie: I'm not sure they compete for the same market. I know that Solea is a really big hit with being able to prep the filling.
Howard: Wow, I have got to warn my users, do not go to the Fotana website.
Bernie: I would get Solea on for a podcast.
Howard: Oh I have got the owner on, but I went to the Fotana website and they also do gynecology, Ryan, and look at these pictures. I really recommend you do not go to the Fotana website because right after "D" for dentistry is "G" for gynecology and photonic gynecology lasers. Anyway. So what were we talking about? Who are you, again?
Bernie: I don't know, but Fortune doesn't coach gynecologists, so I think we're okay.
Howard: That was the other question I wanted to ask you so much because you're not just a legend in dentistry. You do medicine, you do optometry, you do veterinarian. So I want you to tell this little girl who's twenty-five years old who just graduated from AT Still University or Midwestern here in Phoenix. If she could go back and do it all. She's a dentist. But you worked with veterinarians, optometrists and medical. What was the best decision? Should she have been an optometrist, a veterinarian or a medical?
Bernie: I've been in different conversations. I think that first of all, we love plastic surgery. One of the reasons why we love plastic surgery is because people will spend as you know, Howard, ten times as much and ten times as fast, for what they want and what emotionally moves them versus needs base. And we see that in dentistry as well. So plastic surgery is just killing it in the economy today. And when I always challenge rooms full of dental audiences, I say, "So of all those large treatment plans that a plastic surgeon does, how much of that do you think was covered by the insurance?" That's a big center of a donut, right? Hardly anything. So we love that. Obviously it's a longer educational process. Veterinary medicine is great if you don't want to talk to people. I'm just joking. A lot of veterinarians will absolutely go into that trade because their social skills are not that good and they just feel more comfortable in that. I would say veterinary medicine is great because insurance is not involved with it. And I think it's emotional; people will spend more to keep their dog or cat alive than they will themselves. The one that I think is in for a tough road in the future is optometry. That has been most impacted by the big box stores and online and that's a tough road to hoe. As far as Fortune's concerned, our roots have always been in dentistry. We're twenty-nine years in dentistry that's always been our roots, always will be and we love dentistry. One of the things I tell people dentistry is, if you want to have a different type of practice, talk to your patients about the things that emotionally move them. What patients want to have a conversation with, if it's not going to be just needs based, insurance based dentistry is you want to have conversations with them about how can they live longer, how can they look better, how can they sleep better, how can they feel better? And with modern dentistry, you can do that today, Howard.
Howard: For my homies on twitter, you're @fortunemgmt, for Management Inc. Even though you don't follow me. My gosh, Ryan.
Bernie: Dot com. fortunemgmt.com.
Howard: I'm so upset. He doesn't follow me.
Bernie: And I do follow you. You're a legend.
Howard: No, no, my gosh, look. You're not following me on twitter, but anyway. No, I'm just teasing.
Bernie: I don't follow anybody on twitter,
Howard: I like that. I'm re-tweeting a couple of your quotes right now. To achieve a goal you have never achieved before, you must start doing things you've never done before. By Jim Stewart. Another one I just retweeted was, you can't run from who you are, but you can run towards who you want to become. That is so true. I want to tell you something about the veterinarian. Number one, it was one of the most traumatic things that ever happened to me in my entire life. I was about ten years old. My little dog Nippy, he went from about ten pounds to twenty-five pounds in about a week. And my dad had nine sonic drive-ins and he had five in Wichita, he had one in Childress, Texas, Abilene, Kansas, Kearney, Nebraska and Louisville, Kentucky. And he was gone. And I kept telling my mom some drama about my dog, and she said, "Well, your father is going to be home this weekend, wait until your father gets home." So my dad got home and I said, "Dad, dad, we've got to take Nippy to the vet. Something's wrong with him. He's doubled in size." So he said, "Alright." So we put them in his big old Lincoln town car and we drove to the vet and took him to the vet and the vet took him back and the vet came out and said, "Nippy's very, very sick and he's going to need an operation and it's going to be about $5,000. My dad, who had a Lincoln town car, nine sonic drive-ins, leans over and gives Nippy a kiss and says, "Nippy, you're going to see Jesus." And I said, "No, no Dad, no." I was crying and everything, and says, "Howard, you don't spend $5,000 on a dog." So I practiced thirty years in Ahwatukee, [inaudible 23:49], and across the street from me there's this vet's practice thirty years. My office is 4,000 square foot. His is 6,000. He has grossed more than a $1,000,000 a year than I do. And I can't tell you how often I would say to a patient that they'll need a root canal, and they kind of go, "Oh, I don't have any money. I just spent $5,000 across the street for chemotherapy on my cat." And I'm like, "A cat. A cat is dinner in most countries." You're true. Veterinarian and plastic surgery is so emotional. By the way, a lot of people think I've had a ton of plastic surgery and I have not. This is all natural.
Bernie: Howard, I never made that accusation.
Howard: If some girl is appalled by my looks, what I do instead of having plastic surgery, I just turn the lights off and then give her alcohol and it works every time. It's far cheaper than plastic surgery. And Ryan can vouch for all that. What I'm proud that most of my dental homies, and like you say, medical, if they're doing cosmetic surgery, they're not dealing with insurance, they do great. Veterinaries doing great. When I'm in Ahwatukee here, the dentists and the vets, and the podiatrists, and the chiropractors and the plastic surgeons are star wars competitive in marketing advertising, location facilities. But if it's just your typical medical practice that takes medicare, medicaid, and your insurance, it's twenty years line. You go in there, they still have the glass deals and some lady slides open the glass deal and hand you a chart. Never makes eye contact. I mean, I'm proud of dentists. They're far more sophisticated than your average MD in every aspect of business.
Bernie: I agree.
Howard: You agree?
Bernie: Although medicine is evolving too, one of the things that you're going to see more and more of is concierge medicine today. I'm a member myself, my wife and I are members of a national organization called One Medical. It's amazing. I got an app on my phone, I can make an appointment, I can, I can talk to a doctor through my iPhone if I want. I walk in there and there's nobody in the waiting room. Everything's handled. So, I mean, they're evolving too. But I think that's where dentistry has got to lead the charge and it has.
Howard: So tell my homies exactly what you do. If they go to your website, fortunemgmt.com, and then they click dental. What do you exactly do? Because they're all driving to work right now, or they're on the stairmaster treadmill. What do you actually do for people? What are they going to find on your website? What programs, lectures, books, tapes, what are you doing for my homies?
Bernie: I'll give you just a quick overview and that is fortunate at this point. We're twenty-nine years in the making. We are the leading and the largest executive coaching and practice management company for dentists anywhere on planet earth. We just went over about a hundred advisors in about eighty markets in North America. At any given time, there's probably somewhere between a thousand to twelve hundred dental practices under management, probably about $2,000,000,000 a year under management just in our dental division. But what's more important to me is, we are the most total immersion post-graduate program that a dentist can be part of anywhere. And we wear three major hats. We are the executive coaches for our dentists and their teams both personally as well as professionally because last time I checked they got to take them with them when they go to the office every day. Second thing we are is, we are practice advisers. And third thing that we are that makes us very, very different, I think is Key Business strategists. So in the world of evolving dentistry where mergers and acquisitions and bringing on associates and really just helping them to evolve through the profession. We do all of that. If they go to the website, they'll see all kinds of different divisions to the company, whether it be hygiene mastery or accredited training universities or our executive coaching programs or online monitoring programs or our wealth mastery division, sequoia, private client group. You name it, we're in all those spaces. So we really want to be supportive to our clients. And one of the great testimonials is that most of our doctors stay with us for a long, long time. Typical dentist relationship with us can last seven to ten to twenty years. So I think it's not because we didn't get the job done, it's because we continue to raise their bar.
Howard: What does this cost?
Bernie: It depends on the scope of the work. But our typical engagement with a practitioner, single location, maybe two or three dentists, whatever it is, is typically about three thousand a month, which the way I look at it is, and hopefully the way our clients look at it is, is nothing compared to what they grow their business by. Our typical practitioner when we take them on, grows exponentially by about 30% - 72% a year. So when we talk about the costs of two or three crowns a month, it's a great investment. So I don't even talk about it as cost, they're talking about as an investment in their business, in their life and in their career.
Howard: So when they sign up, is there a contract, is there a period of [inaudible 30:03]. How does that work?
Bernie: Well, here's the nice thing about Fortune Management. It's maybe why we have grown and why we're the leader is, we will not allow any of our people to hide behind a contract. So when a doctor gets involved with Fortune, it's a really, really basic two page agreement and I'll tell you what it says, Howard. It says at any time if this relationship isn't working, you can fire us with thirty days’ notice. And the reason we do that is because we want to be totally transparent with every dentist. One of the big nightmares that you see in your profession is people signing doctors to one, two, three year contracts and then not letting them out of it. And I think it's a disservice to the profession, it gives everybody who does this kind of work, a bad name. Why we don't do it that way is because it would violate the number one principle of coaching, which is, you can't coach people that don't respect you, that like you, that trust you, that want to be with you. So what we're really doing for every one of our dentists when we engage with them that way is we're giving them 100% certainty that either we're going to get the job done and we're going to have a great relationship long-term or we're not. And you know, most dentists will look at me and they'll say, "Well, this is kind of a stupid business model. Why would you let anyone out in thirty days’ notice?" I go, "Well, because of all the reasons I just said we want to stand out on our morals and laurels. But also," I say, "but there's another little line in that two page agreement too. And it says we at Fortune can fire you any time we want. And it means that we both got to work together on this and you've got to do your part." The last thing I would want would be a dentist in America to screw our record of working with successful practices. But I also wouldn't want them coming on your show or tweeting in your chat rooms saying Fortune didn't work for them. So we want to really stay above the line on those conversations.
Howard: I think that's amazing, but I would take it a step further and having to have a contract is a red flag. So it still surprises me that people still get married to this day. I mean, just don't sign a contract with practice management. Don't sign a contract with your lover. Imagine if you went up to your friend and said, "Hey, are you my best friend?" And they said, "Yeah, we've been best friends forever." "okay, well if you break up with me, you're no longer my friend. I get your car." Nobody would sign that.
Bernie: I 100% agree brother. That's why we don't do it that way. And I think we're the only ones out there that kind of live by that credo to be honest with you.
Howard: So you have three courses starting March 1st. I see you have in March 1st, at Las Vegas, you have training university session one, foundations of practice mastery. On March 1st you're also at Middleburg Heights, Ohio, and you're also on March 1st at Elk Grove, California. Where is Elk Grove? Is that San Fran?
Bernie: Sacramento area, I believe.
Bernie: To just give you some feedback on that. I mean we run accredited training universities, they're CE accredited in about fifty major markets in the country. There's lots of going on at one time.
Howard: Yeah. So is that a one day class or is that the beginning of a year long program?
Bernie: The way our accredited training university works is those are all two day modular programs and there's five of them that usually will take a practice somewhere around twenty-four months to complete because we space them out.
Howard: So it's five, two day courses spaced out over two years?
Bernie: Yeah, about that.
Bernie: Reason is we want to be sympathetic to not be pulling teams out of practices and affect their production. The one good thing that I think is important with Fortune is we're not asking our clients to put their whole team on an airplane and fly them to Arizona or Atlanta or Maryland. We don't do that. What we do is we bring those accredited training universities to the major cities, so it's, I think, a much more cost effective way. We found out over the years that doctors and teams whenever possible like to sleep in their own beds at night and not get on airplanes. So that's one dimension of it. There are five different themes. One is obviously, session one is foundational, both on the being and the doing of what it takes to be great in a dental practice. Second one focuses on communication and relationships, because one thing I would say is that if there's any trend in dentistry, it's that the ones who communicate the best, seem to get the most success. So communication relationships. Third one's all about marketing, the emphasis on marketing. Fourth one is all about execution. The fifth one we dedicate to financial freedom.
Howard: okay, go through them again. Five is financial freedom. Go through one, one you said was foundations.
Bernie: One is foundational. That's setting up what I think is mission critical to any business and that's the culture, the structure and the strategy of that practice.
Bernie: Second one is communication and relationships, both in the practice but also how they communicate with their patients. There's a lot of functions of leadership in that one as well. Third one, all about marketing and five different dimensions to marketing and dental practice these days. I can spend a whole hour with you on that, but bottom line is its branding and identity, its social media, its external marketing, its internal marketing, and its case presentation, enrollment skills. So that's a wonderful two day process. Fourth one is what I call a deep dive into all five of the business engines of a practice that being the financial engine, the systems engine, the clinical and technology engine, the marketing engine and the people engine. Then the fifth one we've always been really committed to making sure that anyone, not just the doctors, but the people working in that office all have a chance and have the right to have financial freedom in their lives, by doing nothing more than making good financial decisions and adding value to the patients. Simple concept.
Howard: So that deep dive was, you said five things, financials, systems, technology, and people. And what was the other one, marketing?
Bernie: Marketing. Yeah. Which are the five engines that have to drive the vision of any dental practice.
Howard: So financial, my words of wisdom on financial is you can marry more money in a minute, then you can earn a lifetime. I see these hot, young dental grads out and I see all these eighty year old widows who have hundreds of millions of dollars. Do you know, if you say to someone who's worth $100,000,000, describe that person. They always say, “oh, it's some CEO of a Fortune 500 company.” No that guy died of a heart attack, his widow sold the company and he put it in tax-free bonds. Almost every hundred million year old is an 80 year old widow, that's what you should do. You should find that widow. The problem I see with financial is, I see it all the time. Dentists always live above their means. Like if you come out of school and you're an engineer, you'll buy a nice three bedroom, two bath house and you'll go get a job at Intel or Motorola. But if you're a dentist, physician or lawyer, you got to buy the McMansion. The engineer will buy a Honda Accord. The dentist has to get a BMW. They don't live moderately in any means. Like on vacation. Normal people go to the lake with a case of beer and a fishing pole. They have to fly to Hawaii. Normal people eat at a chain restaurant like Applebee's, they have to go to a five-star restaurant. Most dentist I say, “just name me one area of your life. It's not your watch, your watch Rolex, your car's over nice, your house is too big, and your vacations.” I mean they can't live below their means. Why is that with dentists and physicians?
Bernie: First of all, that's what we coach them not to do. I mean the number one rule of wealth is spend less than you earn and invest the difference. Listen, by the way, I'm big on them having huge goals. I want them to have the big mansion, the Mercedes Benz and the Rolex. Ah look at her.
Howard: My granddaughter is cuter than yours. I'll be done in a little bit.
Bernie: Good looking kid! But what I was going to say is, I want them to have that and I want them to have good goals, but I also make sure that we impress upon them that it's how you go about getting those goals and in what order. In other words, the greatest investment that a dentist's ever going to make, is in their practice, if they do it right. And that can be the goose that lays the golden eggs. If they do it right and we can get them dropping 20% EBIT at the bottom line and also practicing above the line, is a wet finger dentist either, either they want to or they don't want to, but show them how to build the machine. And if they do all those things, and they follow what we've taught for over a quarter century, they'll be able to drive the nice stuff. They could feed their egos. And that's really what it's about. Right? You asked why? It's ego driven.
Howard: It's ego driven. God, just get rid of that ego, man. Let the air out, my God. It's like the difference between my patients in Phoenix that drive a Cadillac or a Mercedes Benz, versus in Scottsdale. In Scottsdale, everyone that drives a Mercedes Benz is leasing it. And in Phoenix or Glendale or Chandler, if they are driving a Mercedes Benz, they bought in cash. When you go up to some areas like Beverly Hills, so many areas, it's all just fake it until you make it. I want to say what I think is one of the most fundamental problems in all of dentistry, and that is you can't get into dental school or med school or law school unless you make straight A's. So it's all these introvert geeks that lived in the library and in dental school, if you're well rounded, in a frat, had a girlfriend, was a moderate made B's and C's, you'd never be a dentist. So you got all these introvert scientists, mathematicians, and then when I asked them on dentaltown and I pull them, what stresses you out the most? It's the people, their staff drive them insane, and their patients drive them insane. And they're the happiest when they're sitting in the corner of a library reading a physics books. So how do you coach this person who goes into the room and does a root canal for an hour, and I've seen them a million times. What do they do when they're done? They leave the room, they go in their office and shut the door. It exhausts them and drains them. They're surgeons or micro surgeons who work with their hands, and now you're telling them they've got to be a leader and a CEO. How do you train this scientist, this mad scientist, to be a leader and to communicate with staff and case presentation and they also tell you, Bernie, they say, "I hate sales," and when you talk about case presentation, they say "I don't want to sell dentistry. Who is this Bernie Stoltz guy? I didn't go to school eight years to be a salesman and you're telling me to lead my staff and motivate and sell dentistry. That's not why I went to eight years of school and memorized geometry."
Bernie: Well I've answered a couple of ways out and you're spot on with that. First of all for us, we call it job security. But the reality of it is, first thing we do is we get clear that different dentists have different behavior patterns. Really what we explain to them is there are really three natures of a business person. One is that of an artist, skilled producer, and that's the dentist that you're talking about right there, the artist, skilled producer. Let me go do my art, let me go do my skilled labor in operatory number two. But what they also need to understand is that there also needs to be two other nature's involved in the success of their enterprise. One being the nature of the leader / manager, and the third one being that of the entrepreneur. And this is the norm, it's not always that way, but I'll tell you, if I had to give you the norm, most of them are very comfortable in that first nature ,as a skilled producer and most of them have some entrepreneurial blood in them or they wouldn't have gone into private practice in the first place. So I think we can get them there. And by the way, there are some who love to lead, love to communicate, love to manage. So we don't want to pigeon hole them, but what I would say is the coaching to the norm is to show them to fall in love with what they're not. And what I mean by that is if you're not going to be comfortable in that leadership management role, let's hire and get a strong practice administrator. Let's get someone else so that we have somebody to coach in that role. And the other thing is, as you know, there's disc profiles out there. We're going to coach a high D dentist, a hell of a lot different than a high I or an S or a C. And the ones that you're talking about right now are typically the SC, right? They don't want to lead and they're into the details and they want to do surgery. And so when we identify that, then we know how to coach that differently. Does that make sense?
Howard: Yeah. A little bit on systems. I love on your website, how you say Take charge of your practice. We hone your technical skills in dental school, but little did you know that in addition to your DDS or DMD, you need to fill the role of CEO, CFO, Director of HR, and Vice President of Marketing because today being a dentist also means being a small business owner. In addition to providing top-notch patient care, you have to worry about profitability, personnel issues, training your staff, insurance, taxes, marketing and more. Chances are all these extra responsibilities are eating your personal time, time that would be better spent with your family or pursuing other interests. That's where Fortune Management comes in. Here's another systemic problem which bothers me the most. I don't want to talk about too much because I'll have a stroke, a heart attack and I'll die right on my own podcast. And then I'll be the fourth person who died on Dentistry Uncensored.
Bernie: I'll write your obit for you, brother.
Howard: Say, I had the honor of actually watching him die right on Dentistry. In every dental office you have all your patient information, insurance and billing and your horrible Shine that owns Dentrix or Patterson that owns Eagle Soft. What was the one I was on for thirty years? Softdent. And then you have all your accounting over here on Quickbooks Pro or I used Peach Tree. And so none of the dentists know their financials. But my old man, when he owned Sonic Drive Ins, I swear to God, do you remember back in the day, do you remember the company National Cash Registers, they then got folded into IB.
Bernie: Yup, NCR.
Howard: NCR. My old man's cash register in Sonic Drive In when I was ten, had more practice management information. When they delivered meat you entered it in the cash register. That's where you did all your sales. My dad could pull the sheet at the end of the day and say, wow, this Sonic Drive In did $2,000, we had 31% food costs, we had blah, blah, blah, blah. And I can put $312.16 in income. It's schizophrenic. They have half of their viable information of accounting and it's not merging. So when I go to doctor then I ask him any of those numbers, what was your labor? "I don't know." If he tells me a number at all, he'll say, "Oh, it's 25%." I'll say, "Does that include fica matching, uniform, health insurance, and 401k?" He doesn't know. They'll come out of a hygiene check and I'll say, "You just did your one gazillionth hygiene check over the last twenty years. Your hygienists did the standard cleaning, examined, bite wings. She's with me for nine years. Did you make $7.18 cents after taxes or did you lose twelve bucks?" He doesn't know. So then I go look at his deals. He signed up for twelve different PPO's and I say, "okay, you do PPO fillings and an MOD on a molar, anywhere from $100 - $200. What does it cost you to do an MOD when you're in there, in that room for an hour?" Every other industry, I don't care if it's hotels, motels, every industry, accounting is part of their practice management information system. So I think it's a structural issue that they don't understand their finances because their software is so horrible and that's why I switched to Open Dental. Not that Open Dental does any of that. It's just that Open Dental; Nathan Sparks up in Oregon; he's the only Practice Management Software CEO who's at least listening. I mean, Dentrix and Eaglesoft, they don't give a shit anymore. They won't even come on the show. I flew to Provo, Utah to talk to Dentrix, going up, going all the way back into the eighties and nineties. I flew to Effingham, Illinois and talked to the Eaglesoft people. Do you know, where Effingham is?
Bernie: I do. Home of Heartland Dental.
Howard: Yeah. It's out in the middle of effing nowhere. And I flew to Melville, New York to talk to Stan Bergman. I flew to Minneapolis, St Paul to talk to Pete Frechette. No one cares. At least Open Dental knows this a nightmare. So my question to you is what practice management system, when you tell a twenty-seven year old woman dentist, she got out three years ago, she's been working at Heartland, she's going to open up her own office. What practice management software system would you recommend?
Bernie: Well, first of all, what I would say, and this is really, really important, it's a motto we have in our company, and that is: the more you measure something, the better it gets. There's no way that these folks can make informed, what I call, weight ability or believability weighted decisions in their business without having key measurable statistics. Now what I feel is, and by the way, there's a reason why most of these softwares traditionally have not put the P and L's and the financials of the accounting tied into a Dentrix and Eaglesoft, and that is because there's been a s a weird belief about not having open book management and not sharing financials. Now we don't agree with that. What we teach is open book management. So it's a non-factor. I think in the future it will all be tied together. I think what you're also going to see in the future is you're going to see decision making software and apps, whereas based on the statistics coming out of the practice, we're actually going to be able to tell that practice, what are the four or five moves they've got to make to correct it. First of all, Dentrix, Eaglesoft, I think they're all fine. What I like though is what we put on top of that, we put a monitoring system on top which is cloud based. It's called Square Practice and basically we can put that on top of any of the leading softwares that are out there, practice management softwares, so that there we can merge in the Quickbooks data along with the practice statistics. So we're kind of going in that direction because if we can't measure it, we can't teach it or coach it.
Howard: Where is that on your website? I don't find it.
Bernie: Square Practice. We call it Fortune Performance, it's one of the categories, and it’s there. Basically, it's powered by an outside company called Square Practice.
Howard: Ha. And where's Square Practice located out of?
Bernie: They're based out of, uh, out of Sacramento, California. But also, I believe they have some roots in Salt Lake City as well.
Howard: Well, why don't you put the CEO on that? Talk about that more. Would you want to do that?
Bernie: Yeah, you know what? Let's have my people get Ryan some info. I'd love to come on.
Howard: We'll have your people call my people. My people is three cats and Ryan.
Bernie: Ryan is doing a hell of a job.
Howard: I know. Poor guy has to work with his dad. I can't tell you how dead inside he is.
Bernie: Well, I got two kids working with me to. It's actually a great compliment.
Howard: People tell me, they say, "Oh, I love Dentrix." I'll say, "okay, so after a root canal, did you make $12 or lose $12?" "Oh, I don't know, but I love Dentrix." "okay, you have a head injury; your mother dropped you. And when they say, "ell what do you recommend Dentrix or Eaglesoft? I say, "Well, would you like to amputate your leg above or below the knee? Would you prefer to die of a heart attack or a cancer?" I really want to hear about this Square Practice.
Bernie: I want you to take a look at that, or certainly have them on.
Howard: By the way. You know, Gary McCloud on your team?
Bernie: He's one of the original founding partners who lives not too far away from you down in Tucson.
Howard: He lives in Tucson. When I started dental school in 1980.
Bernie: Quest Ventures.
Howard: Quest. Was that historically the first practice management?
Bernie: That is our DNA of Fortune today. There were two guys.
Howard: You tell him he's got to drive. I can do it over Skype, but he's only an hour and a half away. I've got a home studio. I mean I saw that guy in '87. When did Quest go away?
Bernie: What we did in in 1989 - 1990 is when Quest merged with, at the time, Tony Robbins was just a young kid at the time doing firewalks, and we brought Tony Robbins' Personal Development Technology along with Quest together, and we blew it all up and call it Fortune. So 1990 was when Fortune really started, so we're in our twenty-eighth year, but our DNA on the practice management side was Quest. And of course Gary McCloud, Dr. McCloud was really, in my eyes, the father of dental coaching and is still doing great today. I just played golf with him in Scottsdale, as a matter of fact. We just had our annual meetings.
Howard: Oh my God, you guys should have both come here. We should've done this podcast in our dining room.
Bernie: We should have.
Howard: When are you going to be Scottsdale again?
Bernie: Whenever you want, man, we broke the ice, so, happy to be a regular contributor.
Howard: Well, I'll tell you what I'm trying to do big time and that is this. I know my homies, I'm a dentist. I'd rather pull four wisdom teeth than golf any day of the week. I don't want to do a root canal on number eight. I don't even want to do one on a molar. I want to do a retreat with a broken file. I mean, I get it. The coolest thing when someone comes in and they're in pain and they can't sleep and they're scared and I can fix that and I mean I love it, but they always don't want to do the business. So my job is like, I don't have to encourage them to learn about implants and bone grafting, hell they do that on their vacations. I know many times I run into dentists and they're down here on a vacation, I say, "Oh, what are you doing on vacation?" And the wife rolls her eyes. "Well, my husband's going to three dental courses at Spear in Scottsdale and so I'm just sitting by the swimming pool drinking." I don't have to motivate someone to learn about Invisalign. They love that shit. But you don't know any of their financials. So any of your leaders. I mean, you got so many guys, I mean you got Paul Bash, you got René Schubert, Laura Boone, Reagan Hartman, Deborah. You got so many legends in your field, any of them you want to send on, come, and I’ll have them. And I'd like to do that guy from Square Practice because what I believe in my thirty year success is what made the ones float to the top. I only saw one thing in common and some did implants, cosmetic dentistry, some had medicaid denture practices, but what they all had in common is they all took at least a hundred hours of continuing education every single year. They were CE junkies. So they got an hour commute to. So my only core competency to this podcast is I can get on studs like you and Carl Misch and Gordon Christian, John Kois. And so they're driving to work and they don't even want to listen to this show. They just don't want to listen to Benghazi and Trump and all this political toxic stuff. So I'm trying to put a lot of great ideas in their head and I like to put as much practice management stuff in their head because like I say, I don't have to motivate them to learn how to do Invisalign. They were born to be surgeons working with their hands. But I would like to get Gary up here because he's only ninety minutes away and he was a legend for me, when I was in school. Did I ever tell you my Omar Reed story?
Howard: He was on the show, me and Ryan went to his house. He lives in [inaudible 57:11], we went to his house and did a great show. I just got out of school. I was $87,000 student loans. I just borrowed a hundred grand to start my practice, I didn't have a dime. I didn't have a pot to piss in. And he had this big old course at his office. It was several thousand dollars. And I thought to myself, well, I'm a poor twenty-four year old dumb ass kid. I'm just going to drive over there and I'm going to walk in there and tell him that someday I'm going to make enough money to be able to afford to go to his course and I have a feeling he'll say, "shut the fuck up and sit down and take the course" So I got there, I was [inaudible 57:41]. He pulled up and I said, "Omar, I just want to shake your hand. I don't have enough money for a course, but someday I'm going to be successful enough and I'm to be able to afford to take your course." And he just smiled real big and he goes, "It's on the house, come in." And it was just the most amazing thing. He took me under his wing for a two day course and at that time, the other legend was Gary, and do you remember Avram King?
Bernie: Yes, yes.
Howard: Who passed away?
Bernie: Oh did he?
Howard: Yeah, he did, he passed away.
Bernie: Well Gary is still a wealth of wisdom. I think it'd be great to get them on, and any of our other people. And overall, I agree with you, there's not a shortage of clinical CE out here in the profession. I think if anything there's maybe an overabundance of it, but I think really showing them to fall in love with what they're not, is really what we love to do and running the business. Here's the painful conversation you have to have with dentists, whether they're young or old, and that is: the average GP in this country, the average general practice collects about eight hundred grand a year top line and the average below the line is about 28% pre-tax earnings. So what does that mean? That means that the typical dentist, if there is a typical out there, is maybe making $200,000 - $225,000 a year and that's before they pay their taxes. To me that's not fair, it’s pathetic. And one of the things that I tell them first off is, look let's get clear about something. If you didn't go out and invest all the money, if you didn't sign off on the lease and the loans and have your overhead, you know, Harlan Dental or Aspen or anybody else out there would still pay you 30% of your collectible production and you could go home and not worry about anything and you're going to have nothing invested. So if that is not the choice you made and the choice was own your own business, then here's the question I have. Shouldn't you not only get paid as a wet finger dentist, but shouldn't you also get paid for being the CEO and the investor of your own company? One of the things that I want to see is, I want them just getting back to Quick and Quickbooks. I want them to set their P and L's up, so that they are associates of their own company where they take 30% of their restorative work, but also let's focus on if we can get them ten to twenty points to the bottom line and EBITDA, that would make for a happier profession overall.
Howard: Yeah, and they memorize geometry, trig, calculus, and they don't even know what EBITDA stands for. Earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation, amortization. One last final thing, I can't believe we're over an hour. Hell we're ten minutes over an hour. And one last thing is this, you give these five courses. We started online CE, because I mean here at university of Phoenix so I saw that going up. So I stole that idea from them and and we put up four hundred and eleven courses are coming up on a million views. It would just be legendary for you to create an online CE course for us one day to give them this. And the other thing is we make all those courses free for all dental students so you can start planting seeds in the dental students’ heads. They're big users of those courses. Again, thank you so much for all that you've done for dentistry for thirty years. Like I say you were one of the first, I think three people I ever emailed to come on the show. I'm glad one thousand days later you finally came on the show and my God, thank you so much for all that you do for dentistry. I just cannot say enough good things about you, again, thank you so much and I hope you have a rocking hot day.
Bernie: Well, Howard, back at you brother and this will be the first of many times and appreciate everything that we're going to do together and we're going to get you on one of our live big shows one of these days. Maybe Syra World in Florida in September or something.
Howard: Absolutely, I'd love it.
Bernie: Because I could see you in front of seven or eight thousand people, right?
Howard: Yeah. Oh man, I love it. I absolutely love it. You want me to speak at Syra World? Absolutely. That would just be a blast.
Bernie: We're happy to do an online course. But listen, thank you so much. It's been a pleasure and let's stay connected and we'll keep this up.
Howard: Okay buddy. And thank you Ryan.
Bernie: My story starts back in San Francisco, where I was born to two nineteen year old kids who really raised me to believe that if I had all the things I really wanted to accomplish with my life in maybe a financial and materialistic way, that I'd be able to go out and do the things I wanted to do with my life and ultimately that would lead to being happy. And so I'd have been thirty years old, I had already founded and created five different companies. And most people looking back at me now saw a thirty year old guy who was living the American dream with multiple homes and a beautiful family and an incredible career. But what I tell people today is, what if I told you if that was maybe one of the most scary times ever in my life? I had to face the reality that, is this all there was and what are you? Most people understand that concept. Everyone has fought for the goals and what they thought was going to make them happy in their life. And when they got it didn't necessarily make them happy. Really I made two distinctions in my early thirties. One was that it was not about having what I needed to have to do the things I wanted to be happy. It was really about changing my whole focus to personal development. Up until thirty years old, it was all about personal achievement. What now has become my mantra for living is really being first, then getting to do and then having all that you want in your life and also all that you want in everyone else's life. And I think that's really what has led over into Fortune Management. I know that every practice that we coach and help to get what they want today, we always make sure that they understand that it's about them being first, being an organization, being a healthcare provider, so that we can help them to ultimately turn their dreams into their realities. I think if there's one word that that spells it all out, which is an emotional state that I come from every single day, is gratitude, because gratitude will help you to be happier. Gratitude will help you to be kinder. Gratitude will help you to live in infinite abundance, and so one of the focal messages that we give to every person that comes through Fortune's organization is get grateful. Get grateful for all you have and for the profession that is all about serving and dentistry is that.
Narrator: Bernie Stoltz is one of the nation's most recognized and sought after authorities on practice management. For over two decades, Bernie has been transforming the business of healthcare. He enables doctors and practice owners to learn how to effect positive change with their businesses and ultimately their lives. As CEO, Bernie has lead the growth of Fortune Management into the largest and leading post-graduate full immersion program for doctors and their teams. He leads more than seventy coaches in over fifty cities throughout the United States and Canada. Bernie presents over one hundred seminars each year, offering entertaining and educational programs packed with twenty-five years of proven practice management systems. He delivers a level of passion, power, and playfulness to the healthcare community that inspires action and transformation. Please welcome your speaker and coach Mr. Bernie Stoltz.