Dentistry Uncensored with Howard Farran – Part 10

Dr. Howard Farran has been lecturing to international audiences on the business of dentistry. With his blunt, practical, and often times humorous insights into the industry’s most controversial subjects, he has been captivating audiences since 1990. He was then, and is still now, driven by a genuine passion for helping dentists provide faster, easier, lower cost dentistry of a higher quality to their patients.

Dr Farran is the owner and founder of the hit vlog series “Dentistry Uncensored with Howard Farran”, where he discusses these topics with some of the best Doctors, Dentists, and Dental Practitioners of today. Dr. Jonathan Cook was recently a guest on his show, and has allowed us to share with you their conversation.

Howard Farran:                 So who do you think should present the treatment? Do you think it should be the doctor? Do you think it should be a treatment plan presenter? Whose job is that?

Jonathan Cook:                 I think it’s whoever’s best at selling. I’ve had associates who were incredible at selling and they did it themselves. So I’m happy, by all means, you go ahead and sell the treatment. I’ve also had office managers who are incredible at selling. So I’m sure Arlin Dental has an answer for who it is that they have selling treatment and there’s a whole system there. Right now, we’re maybe a little bit too small. I’d rather just have the sales happen than assign somebody who may not be as good as someone else in the office. But every practice is different. I can say for us, I feel like the office manager closing the cases is the best if she’s incentivized correctly, and most importantly if she or he is good at closing the case.

Howard Farran:                 So you’re saying whosever best. If doc is miserable at it, then a treatment plan coordinator should. You could say the same thing about a marketing director. Some dentists have a natural flare for marketing and others just don’t get it and they need to hire a marketing director. What did you do? Did you hire a marketing director or is that one of the hats you wear?

Jonathan Cook:                 Good question. So yeah, I’ve got a sales and marketing director. Again, it all depends on the size of your practice. If we’re going to wear multiple hats as a dentist, don’t get burned out, man, because if you start wearing the marketing hat, and the sales hat, and the dentist hat, and the manager hat, and all these different hats, you can be good at all. You can’t be great at all and you’re not going to have a long life of happiness and good health if you’re going to try to run all those different aspects of the practice, of the business. So yeah, I’ve got a sales and marketing director. That was the first time I hired for that position was literally exactly a year ago today. So that was a huge move for us and it’s worked out great.

Jonathan Cook:                 And so he spearheads most of the marketing, but of course, we always have an open conversation. And a lot of the stuff I’m driving, if I come up with an idea, I say, “Hey.” I pitch it to him and he pitches me ideas, and we go back and forth that way. But it’s seemed to work so far.

Howard Farran:                 So you’re 38 years old. I mean, you’re a baby. I’m almost 57, I’m 20 years old. What is your five year plan or do you even have an exit strategy? You’ve got two big offices, are you thinking in five years I’m going to sell this to a DSO? Where do you want to be in five years and do you or do you not have an exit strategy?

Jonathan Cook:                 So I had an exit strategy when I was still in dental school, believe it or not.

Howard Farran:                 Nice.

Jonathan Cook:                 I was thinking about how I was going to live my best life as an owner dentist, and certainly, regardless of the number of locations, having as many associate dentists working for me as possible. Where I’ve always said it, where if I wake up in the morning and I say to myself, “I really want to do dentistry today,” I go on and do dentistry. And if I wake up in the morning and say, “I just don’t really feel like doing dentistry,” I don’t have to do dentistry. The business doesn’t rely on my two hands to produce that dentistry and that income. So that’s where I’ve started, I mean, literally from the time I was in dental school. And so to answer your question, I think that exit strategy, I’m going to be in this game for life. I’m not the type to retire. How will my roles change over the years? It’s tough to say, but I love what I do.

Jonathan Cook:                 And five years from now, that might change. I might really feel like my role has worked or morphed into something different. And five, 10, 20 years from now, 30, 40, 50 years from now, I don’t know. What will happen is I will have an exit strategy that allows me to do multiple different options. So whether it’s a big DSO that snatches us up, certainly that’s a possibility. And that looks like the direction that things are headed. There’s no dental associate that’s coming out of school, whether you’ve been out for a year, or five years, or 10 years, they’re saying, “I want that $5 million practice down the road.” So I think that DSO is probably the more likely direction, but maybe I have kids that want to take it on, or my partner has kids, or somebody else comes in and they want to buy a share of the business.

Jonathan Cook: So there’s a lot of different avenues that we can go, I just know that I do have options and I’m always going to have my options open. I can’t imagine a scenario where I’m one of the 65, 70, 75 year old dentists who are around the corner here who never thought of an exit strategy. They don’t even know what that is and they have no real direction or understanding for what they need to do to get themselves into a position to sell.


… Continued in Part 11 …