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.
Jonathan Cook: So he comes into the practice, he posts on his story on Instagram, “I just moved from Ohio, I had to come see the best dentist in South Florida.” That’s all he did. He has, like I said, maybe 50,000 followers. One of his followers sees the post, calls our office, comes into the practice, it’s a $25,000 case. Done. So it is doable, you have to know, and we’re still working on it. We haven’t figured it all out, but you’ve gotta figure out what your market angle is. And everybody’s different, but Instagram can work, absolutely. Facebook can work, absolutely, and all in different ways. And that’s why I really love the fact that you’ve got these three different social media platforms that you’re really taking chunks of different markets from each. I mean, you said it yourself, Instagram can be a bunch of kids that are taking selfies and LinkedIn is a bunch of professionals.
Jonathan Cook: So we just started to get an influx of patients coming in from LinkedIn, as well, again from our marketing efforts. And we’re just starting. I mean, this is in a matter of two months. Instagram we’ve been doing for more a year or so, where we’ve really started to ramp things up.
Howard Farran: [crosstalk 00:56:04] Mark Zuckerberg’s dad is a dentist. He’s been on the show and Wall Street generally says that Mark Zuckerberg’s acquisition of Instagram for $1 billion was the best M&A activity forever. And the best one before that was going back in the day when [inaudible 00:56:24] Larry Page of Google bought YouTube for $1 billion. And that turned out to be awesome. And the immigration from telegraph, to telephone, to text, to email, to an image, to video. I mean, you just gotta make the jump to video. But our homies, they’re so introvert and it’s like, “She doesn’t want to be on a video [inaudible 00:56:50] but it’s really her and it’s so much more powerful. And you’re so more likely to connect, and make a relationship, and have the other monkeys secrete dopamine, and serotonin, and oxytocin, and bust a move, and come in.
Howard Farran: But they don’t want to be on a video. What do you say to them? Should they just start drinking and then …
Jonathan Cook: Hey, I mean, I’m one of those people. I hate it, I dislike it, but I force myself to do it. I force myself to do it because I know the power of it. It’s so powerful. And like you said, I don’t care if you’ve got a good personality, a shitty personality or what, if you’ve got a video, you tell me what’s more impactful. You walk up to somebody, you hand them their business card out at dinner they overhear the conversation that you’re a dentist. And they leave with this little piece of paper that says your name, and address, and phone number on it, or they get online, or they pick up their phone. These things are up people’s assess all day long. What’s more powerful? They get on their phone and instantly they have videos that they’re seeing you interacting either just with the camera, or with other patients, doing testimonials, it’s not even a comparison.
Howard Farran: Not only are they afraid, and I’ve been telling them forever. I wrote an article on it called … When people tell me, “That’s not really me.” Well, then explain Hollywood. I mean, they get these actors to play murderers and every despicable … And no one walks away and says, “God, I don’t like that guy anymore. He killed three people in that show.” I just tell them [crosstalk 00:58:29] Hollywood. And it’s the same thing with staff, they’re like, “Well, I’m not a good leader.” Well, okay, you’re not a good leader, but when you roll up to that office, before you get out of your car you put on your Hollywood act. And you’re going to walk in there and you’re trying out for some lead part. And today’s lead part means you gotta sit there and make a 60 second video why they should come into your office. I mean, today’s April Fools Day, how can you not?
Howard Farran: Why can you just sit there and say, “Hey, guess what? Did you know that you don’t have to brush and floss your teeth anymore? April Fools, come on down right now.”
Jonathan Cook: That’s perfect. What you just said is perfect. That’s incredible.
Howard Farran: And the other reason they won’t come on the podcast, or do a video, or give a lecture to their local study club is they’re so afraid that someone’s not going to like what they said. Fear of public speaking is because you’re a social animal. So if you’re a social animal, it’s so important that everybody likes you, and you dress the same, and follow … And when this dentist gets a negative online review, I swear to God, they’re out there, they’re standing on the ledge of their window ready to jump. Talk them down from the bridge with the negative online review. How do you handle that? Do you just thank therapy?
Jonathan Cook: First of all, you can’t please everybody, we all know that, but when these negative reviews do come, depending on the forum that they’re posting on, you can change it. I’m not saying that you pay the patient off, but pick up the phone, call the patient, get to the bottom of it. This has happened many, many times for us in the past. Very often we’ll call a patient and it was a simple misunderstanding. And now, all of sudden, two weeks ago we had a patient that wrote a one star review on us. My partner called him, he changed his one star review to a five star review. He said, “It’s just a misunderstanding.” I mean, you have to be able to grow in your practice is great. But if you’ve got just as many patients walking out the back door that are walking in the front door, then it’s a losing game. So you can’t afford to lose these patients.
Jonathan Cook: And if it’s just a difference of a phone call, or the next time they come in, you say, “Hey, I know you weren’t really pleased with your last appointment, but what is it that I can do better? How can we do better? How is it that you feel that you were done wrong?” And most often, now all of sudden you’ve turned that patient into a patient for life. So I wouldn’t just assume that the negative review that’s posted wherever it may be, Yelp, Google, Facebook, is there for good. You can make a difference. And if not, sometimes negative reviews come on and they’re not even real reviews. I mean, you can call Yelp, Google and explain to them why it is that you feel like it’s a fake review.
Jonathan Cook: And we’ve had those over the years, as well. So you just have to keep on top of it and you have to be aware of what’s … More than half the dentists out there don’t even know what reviews they have online. They don’t even know how many stars they have, or whatever. It’s crazy.
Howard Farran: I love that quote from Timothy Ferris of the four hour work week. He says a person’s success in life can easily be measured by the number of uncomfortable conversations he or she is willing to have. So you got a negative review, you picked up the phone. That’s how I’ve avoided so many lawsuits over 31 years. Some old man is telling me … I never even saw the patient, he just came in and he didn’t want X-rays. And then she looked around and told me he had gum disease. He just lost it. And the next thing you know … But it’s just a phone call. And then he said to me, he says, “I’d rather talk to you in person.” I said, “Well, it’s at the end of the day, I’m going home. I’m at 48th and Elliot, I live in the foothills. If I’m going by your house, is that on the way? I can stop my your house or you can come down here.”
Howard Farran: And he goes, “You want to come by my house?” He goes, “I only live a half mile from you.” I said, “Sure.” This is before cell phones and MapQuest. Went over to his house, my God, we sat on the porch. He gave me a beer.
Jonathan Cook: That’s awesome.
… Continued in Part 9 …