Dr. Liu’s Secrets to 9 Successful Practice Locations

Successful Practice Locations

In this episode of Dental Marketing Secrets, we interviewed Dr. Noel Liu, Founder of Secure Dental. He reveals how he successfully expanded to 9 successful practice locations.

Here’s what we discussed:

  • How to treat your marketing as an investment
  • How long to give your marketing time to work
  • What marketing channels have been most effective for Dr. Liu
  • How to provide value WITHOUT discounting your services
  • How Dr. Liu successfully expanded to 9 locations

Listen to the Interview Here:

Join us for our interviews live in our private Facebook Group Dental Marketing Secrets right here: http://bit.ly/dentalmarketinggroup

Guest Expert on Dental Marketing Secrets: Dr. Noel Liu, Founder of Secure Dental

Dr. Noel Liu is an experienced dentist with a demonstrated history of working and operating in the Health Care industry. He founded Secure Dental in 2012. Since then he and his wife have developed, managed and grown the organization to 9 successful practice locations. As an Emerging DSO he has implemented many systems to remove redundant operations and make his system streamlined. His role is to provide clinical support to his doctors and operational support to his managers and team.

As a graduate of New York University College of Dentistry, he has been serving his community since 2012. He’s a member of the American Dental Association and the Academy of General Dentistry. Dr. Liu is a Diplomate of the International Dental Implant Association.

Learn more about Dr. Noel Liu here: secure-dental.com

Inexpensive, Internal Marketing Strategies with Dr. Leslie Pasco

Inexpensive internal marketing

In this episode of Dental Marketing Secrets, we had Dr. Leslie Pasco on the show. Leslie is well-known as “The Lifestyle Dentist.” We chatted about inexpensive, internal marketing strategies. They are super easy and fast to implement!

Here’s what we discussed:

  • Strategies for inexpensive, internal marketing
  • Why kindness is the most powerful marketing strategy
  • The various marketing methods Dr. Leslie Pasco has implemented
  • How to get more referrals, easily!

Listen to the Interview Here:

Join us for our interviews live in our private Facebook Group Dental Marketing Secrets right here: http://bit.ly/dentalmarketinggroup

Guest Expert on Dental Marketing Secrets: Dr. Leslie Pasco, The Lifestyle Dentist

Dr. Leslie Pasco graduated from the University of Pittsburgh School of Dental Medicine in 1998. She has been in private practice ever since and is changing the footprint of dentistry by establishing and maintaining the small, private practicing dentist.

Dr. Leslie and her team of dentists know that heart disease, diabetes, stroke, chronic fatigue and other body ailments are linked to gum disease and issues with the teeth. For that reason, at LiveWell Dentistry, the team of friendly dentists and staff treat you in a comfortable, state of the art environment with caring and compassion so you and your whole body can get better.

Dr. Leslie continues to help dentists improve their quality of life by adopting practices and teaching dentists improved patient care.

Learn more about Leslie here: https://livewelldentistry.net/

5 Steps to Increase Case Acceptance

Increase Case Acceptance

In this episode of Dental Marketing Secrets, guest Jeff Palmer, the CEO of Case Acceptance Academy shares 5 steps to increase case acceptance.

Here’s what we discussed:

  • What’s the best way to answer the “how much” question?
  • Why it’s more cost-effective to increase your case acceptance rate rather than invest more heavily into marketing
  • How to handle price objections and get paid upfront
  • The biggest mistake dentists make when presenting treatment and how to fix it

Listen to the Interview Here:

Join us for our interviews live in our private Facebook Group Dental Marketing Secrets right here: http://bit.ly/dentalmarketinggroup

Guest Expert on Dental Marketing Secrets: Jeff Palmer, Case Acceptance Academy

Jeff Palmer is the CEO and Founder of Case Acceptance Academy. He specializes in working with ambitious dentists to grow their practices. He trains dentists and their teams to implement a predictable system of case acceptance, increasing their production and profit effortlessly.

His mission is to dispel the mystery surrounding case acceptance and to teach dentists practical methods of closing treatment plans. This both increases practice profitability and ensures patients get the highest standard of care possible. Jeff uses a powerful training system and proven methods of increasing case acceptance rates, and his goal is to provide dental practice owners the tools they need to grow their practice and thrive financially.

Learn more about Jeff here: www.caseacceptanceacademy.com

How to Create The Ultimate Patient Experience with Dr. David Moffet

Ultimate Patient Experience

On this episode of Dental Marketing Secrets, Dr. David Moffet reveals how to create the ultimate patient experience. Here’s what we discussed:

  • How he scaled his practice from one staff member and one chair to two locations
  • The unique systems his practice (and those of his clients) have utilized for outstanding growth
  • What to focus on if you’re just starting off with your practice
  • What to make sure you have in place before you start marketing

Listen to the Interview Here:

Join us for our interviews live in our private Facebook Group Dental Marketing Secrets right here: http://bit.ly/dentalmarketinggroup

Guest Expert on Dental Marketing Secrets: Dr. David Moffet

Dr. David Moffet, BDS, FPFA, is a general dentist from Sydney and the author of the #1 Amazon Bestseller “How to Build the Dental Practice of Your Dreams (without killing yourself) in Less Than Sixty Days!”

He is the inventor of The Ultimate Patient Experience™, or UPE, a simple-to-implement patient retention system he used to build and subsequently sell (for several million dollars) his very successful dental practice (of 28 years) located in working-class western Sydney.

David’s Ultimate Patient Experience™ dramatically increases the individual value of each one of your patients, doubles (at a minimum) new telephone patient inquiry conversion rates, increases repeat patient visits and increases your pricing structure, with no net patient loss. David also coaches private dental clients (in the US, Great Britain, Australia, and New Zealand) on how to improve their dental practices by focusing on customer service and patient retention.

Learn more about him here: www.theultimatepatientexperience.com

How Digital Smile Design Software Can Help Close More Cases

close more orthodontic cases

On this episode of Dental Marketing Secrets, we have Dr. Neeraj Rohida explaining how he uses Digital Design Software to close more orthodontic cases. What we discussed:

  • How he created his own smile design software
  • How it has helped him close more orthodontic cases
  • How using smile design software can keep you more competitive in a digital world

Listen to the Interview Here:

Join us for our interviews live in our private Facebook Group Dental Marketing Secrets right here: http://bit.ly/dentalmarketinggroup

Guest Expert on Dental Marketing Secrets: Dr. Neeraj Rohida

Dr. Neeraj S. Rohida is an Associate Professor in Orthodontics and a Clinical Researcher.

He has articles published in American Journal of Orthodontics and World Journal of Orthodontics and is a mentor to PhD students at IIT Bombay.

Dr. Neeraj was nominated for the “Best Orthodontist in Mumbai” at Famdent in 2017.

Since completing his Masters in Orthodontics from the esteemed Government Dental College, Mumbai, in 2009, Dr. Neeraj has been into exclusive Orthodontic practice at Trudentz Multispeciality Dental and Orthodontic Clinic, Chandivali, Powai, Mumbai, India.

Learn more about his software here on his website: https://www.dentaltreatmentsimulation.com/

How to Get Patients to Say YES to Those Big Treatment Plans

Dental Marketing Secrets Podcast

On this episode of Dental Marketing Secrets, we have Dr. John Minichetti talking about How to Get Patients to Say YES to those big treatment plans! What we discussed – a non “salesy” strategy that makes it easy for patients to say yes, ow to handle price-shoppers, making it easy to talk about money, and how to build rapport with patients.

Listen to the Interview Here:

Join us for our interviews live in our private Facebook Group Dental Marketing Secrets right here: http://bit.ly/dentalmarketinggroup

Guest Expert on Dental Marketing Secrets: Dr. John Minichetti

Dr. John Minichetti is a general dentist, who has been practicing implant dentistry for over 20 years. Dr. Minichetti is a fellow of the ICOI, IADFE, AGD, and the AAID. He is a Diplomate, of the American Board of Oral Implantology/ Implant Dentistry. Dr. Minichetti served as President of the NE District of the AAID, is a Trustee of the AAID and lectures worldwide on surgical and prosthetic related implant topics.

Learn more about Dr. John Minichetti on his website: https://www.englewooddental.com


Secrets to Dental Practice Success With Dr. Frank Caputo

Dental Marketing Secrets

On this episode of Dental Marketing Secrets, Dr. Frank Caputo, Director of The Milwaukee Implant Institute, reveals:

  • How this practice in Wisconsin has over 20,000 active patients
  • The importance of good mentorship
  • “The Golden Rule” for patient retention
  • Why everything is all about the human interaction

Watch the Interview Here:

Or, Read the Transcript:

Alyssa Ege:

Welcome to Dental Marketing Secrets. Thank you so much for joining us today, Dr. Caputo. So, you want to tell us a little bit about yourself, who you are and what you do?

Dr. Frank Caputo:

Absolutely. Well, my name’s Frank Caputo. I have a practice in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. We’re a group practice in kind of a unique setting, which we’ll talk about in a little bit. But my practice is mostly isolated to implantology and prosthetics. Maybe 80% of it is that and then the other 20% is kind of just bread and butter, general dentistry. But majority of what we do is implant based, whether it’s surgery or prosthetics that’s associated with it.

Alyssa Ege:

Awesome. And how did you get dentististry? How did you fall in love with dentistry?

Dr. Frank Caputo:

It was definitely not the, “I was seven years old and I’d had a …” It was nothing like that. It was, I knew I liked healthcare, I knew I loved science, but I also grew up loving working with my hands, doing whatever it could be. I mean, it was artistic. If I was painting or drawing or sketching and I knew I wanted to go into healthcare and something with an artistic spin to it. And then I fell in love with medicine, but I shadowed a lot of different physicians and it ended up … Nothing really clicked, except for cardiology. That was one pretty sweet field. But nothing really clicked that well. And then one of my mom’s best friends had said, “Why don’t you shadow the dentist that I work for? He’s a great guy.”

Dr. Frank Caputo:

And I did, and it was jaw-dropping. And then now that I’m in the dental world, this guy is, he’s still my mentor. He’s a super dentist. He’s still one of the most incredible dentists I’ve ever seen, like his hands, what he does. And he happened to do a lot of implants and prosthetics as well. He definitely ignited that fire. And so probably by the end of my freshman year of college is when I decided, I think this is definitely the career path I want to go.

Alyssa Ege:

That’s awesome. You’d mentioned mentorship, and I think that’s really important. So, how has mentorship changed your career?

Dr. Frank Caputo:

Oh, I mean it’s completely shaped it. What I’ve learned is it’s not like you can … You’re not isolated to having just one mentor. I have a multitude of mentors. I have one mentor that’s a little more business savvy. I’ve got one mentor that’s so clinically oriented with the details, like the 10 minute difference in performing a surgery that turns it from so-so to just incredible.

Dr. Frank Caputo:

And I’ve got many mentors that can help guide whether it’s a specific scenario. But it definitely has shaped so much about how I practice and how I approach my cases and in the day to day practice, but also those weird anomaly cases that come up too. But I’m always leaning on my mentors, which has inspired me to become more of a mentor for a lot of younger dentists or some dentists that are even older than me that they want me to mentor. It’s changed me, so my hope is that it can help change them.

Alyssa Ege:

Yeah, I know I really love teaching other people things. It just brings me so much joy when I’m able to help somebody learn something.

Dr. Frank Caputo:


Alyssa Ege:

And I feel like you feel the same way.

Dr. Frank Caputo:


Alyssa Ege:

Yeah, it’s a lot of fun. That’s great. I think mentorship is so important no matter what industry you’re in. So tell me about your practice and what you do to market your practice. What does that look like?

Dr. Frank Caputo:

My practice is in a blue-collar town in Cudahy, Wisconsin. It’s kind of a factory town and it’s a little bit of an older town on the Southern portion of Milwaukee. And I love it. It’s definitely not the most fancy practice, but we are so busy, it’s unbelievable. We do have 20,000 active patients, which seems incredible, but it’s, we just recently did an analysis and found that out.

So there’s a group of seven dentists, there’s three of us that own the practice together and we have four associates. One of them is a pediatric dentist and the other three associates are generalists and sort of my other two partners as well. And throughout our building we do a lot of dentistry. So you asked about marketing though? We don’t really market, like we don’t do newspaper ads, we don’t have a commercial or a billboard or anything that’s external.

Alyssa Ege:


Dr. Frank Caputo:

We’ve typically been … We are an established practice now. There were a number of senior partners that spent their entire 40 year career at this office that have just recently retired over the last few years. And now we’re kind of the newer, younger crop that is kind of now driving the bus and we’re only busier. I think some of it, I mean there’s definitely a percentage of our practice that is considered in network or it takes insurance or PPOs, but I think being in metropolitan area, like Milwaukee or Madison, which is the neighboring larger city, it’s very common for practices like ours to be in-network provider for a handful of PPO insurance.

Dr. Frank Caputo:

So that helps too. That drives traffic, but marketing externally doesn’t really happen. Our marketing budgets like $200 for the year, that’s the annual budget.

Alyssa Ege:

So what do you attribute to the success? Like I know that you say that there were people that were there for 40 years working there and you’re taking PPOs, which is great, but is there anything you think specifically that’s really helped you guys have such a successful practice?

Dr. Frank Caputo:

Yeah, absolutely. So just to step back for a second, looking at these practices where you could definitely have volume, right? You can have a practice that’s based on tons of volume and you can get emergency patient after emergency patient and you could have a day full of people who broke a cusp and you could just do crowns all day long. That’s one way of generating a practice. But you also have to retain these patients and keep them and have them want to come back and have them not want to go anywhere else.

And so that’s been the key for us as far as creating, obviously, I mean you want to have a nice experience, but we’re creating a very nice, pleasant patient experience having your predictable clinical outcomes. But what we find the most is we kind of help control the way patients feel when we’re discussing things that make the tension go up.

Dr. Frank Caputo:

Whether there’s differences of opinion or there’s a conflict of how the patient sees something versus how we see something. We’re pretty careful in how we choose our language. I think we do it in a way that helps create a safe environment.

Alyssa Ege:

And that’s really important.

Dr. Frank Caputo:

I’ve learned over and over again of patients that have left our practice to go to a different private practice or maybe they went to a corporate entity or maybe they went to a big clinic, the conversations flow is different. And so I’m learning how important that aspect has been.

Alyssa Ege:

Yeah. So I mean when it comes to marketing, it’s all about communication, right? So that technically is a form of marketing because it’s how you communicate with your patients.

Dr. Frank Caputo:

It definitely is.

Alyssa Ege:

Oh yeah. So that’s something that you’ve obviously nailed down. And I know a lot of people struggle with that.

Dr. Frank Caputo:

Absolutely. And it’s just about how do you have this conversation and not have them panic, you know? And a lot of it is the golden rule. Treat others as you want to be treated. Right? I mean that plays a big role. But also shedding light on things without you looking like you’re either, dentists are always getting accused of, “You just want to make a payment,” it’s like the running joke on your boat or you want to go on another vacation and it’s like, obviously it’s not the case, but it’s still a business. And profit isn’t definitely not a dirty word in the dental community, but you still have to be able to run a business effectively if you want to keep the lights on and your staff paid. And what we figured out is I think communication, like you had said, is kind of the key to doing that.

Alyssa Ege:

Yep. And how do you think that communication plays an important part, like at your front desk as well? Because that always seems to me the first place that people will ever experience your practices at the front desk or a phone call that they answer.

Dr. Frank Caputo:

Sure. I mean that definitely sets the tone. I think the front desk is probably one of the most crucial if … We’ve always had if a front desk person has had a bad day, you’ve had people not scheduled because of the attitude of the front desk person. If the person at the front desk, or a treatment coordinator, someone that they had an interaction with was having a rough day and was kind of they sighed or they crossed her arms or they did something like that. It’s kind of game over. Like patients are turned off real fast because they have a lot of options. So I think the first person that they interact with is crucial.

Alyssa Ege:

Oh yeah. So how do you train them? Are you responsible for that and do you train them?

Dr. Frank Caputo:

So my partners and associates, we’re kind of all on the same page when it comes to how we want our patients to be treated and then because we have a team of 30 plus people, it’s important that each doctor plays a role in training their more immediate family or their immediate team. Yeah, and we definitely have, because we’re big, we’re also compartmentalized, so we have an insurance or a treatment coordinator team. We have our front desk team and we have kind of a lead team member to help manage that part. We also have a dental assistant team and a hygiene team who have leads and we have an overall office manager, but we all try to, we strive to be on the same page, which can be difficult in a big practice.

Alyssa Ege:

Yeah, so I can only imagine that you’re ridiculously busy. How do you stay on top of everything? You have a baby, right? How old is your kid?

Dr. Frank Caputo:

Yeah, I’ve got a 20 month old at home.

It’s so much fun. My wife and I both work full time. We both have careers and she’s in marketing as well for a big company and it is, it’s tough and you have to be able to carve out the time. I’m in the office most days throughout the week, like Monday through Friday, but I’m not clinical. All those times I kind of have time open, so I leave and when I get home, I’m home. But I still love learning and I’m still constantly learning. I mean over here I get the stack of textbooks that I just like to read through and I’m always on either podcasts or listening, I take in knowledge. So if we’re driving and I’m listening to a podcast whether it’s dental related or business related, I try to listen to an audio book every couple of weeks, whether it’s business related or dentistry. Sometimes there’s some audio books available. But for that I would probably choose a podcast. But I like taking in that knowledge and if I get one tidbit from something, it’s worth it.

Alyssa Ege:

So question for you. A lot of people are talking these days about how old school marketing tactics aren’t as successful I would say as new age, that everything’s shifting over to digital, everything’s on our phones, commercials aren’t working. What’s your theory on that?

Dr. Frank Caputo:

So I have my thoughts on this. I think that digital marketing is huge, especially with social media. I think that when someone spends the dollars on a gigantic commercial campaign for dental implants or something like that, it’s kind of an advertisement for dental implants in general not just that company is I think what the research is showing us. But I think that dentistry will always and continue to be a very human-based, interaction-based field. And so I still think that there’s no way of getting away from old school ways of marketing. If you’re trying to create relationships, guess what? You got to knock on doors and go meet people just like when you’re in the operatory. That’s my internal marketing. As far as people, I mean, if my target patient base for dental implants is between a 50 years old and 90 years old, people like receiving stuff in the mail, they don’t want that to go away.

Dr. Frank Caputo:

It’s part of who they grew up being. They’re not waiting to see what comes next on their Instagram feed. These patients are, even the ones, I mean, there are people who are in their 50s or certainly not old, but my elderly patients today, 70 plus and 80, they’re not on Snapchat they’re waiting for something to come in the mail. They’re looking through the local, not even the local newspaper, but these local, like a free, almost like mini papers that they get at the diner, like they’re looking through all that stuff. I think that it’s still all over the place.

Alyssa Ege:

At the same time though… My grandma uses Facebook more than anyone I know and she’s 86!

Dr. Frank Caputo:

Absolutely. That’s incredible. And I do agree. I mean most of … They’re the biggest growing population on Facebook right now is grandparents. And so I think Facebook is definitely … You cannot get away from having to be able to market on Facebook. I think it’s huge.

Alyssa Ege:

Yeah, definitely. And I think you’re really correct when you say that it depends on who your target market is. You know, like if you’re going after people who are in their 50s to 90s and sending them something in the mail might be the best avenue, but at the same time, those people are also on Facebook. You probably don’t want to go with Instagram or Snapchat because those people are not on there, you know?

Dr. Frank Caputo:

Right. And I guess it depends on who you’re trying to get to.

Alyssa Ege:

Yeah. Well, so do you have any advice for somebody who’s just starting off in the field? What would you tell them in order to get to a place of success like you’re in?

Dr. Frank Caputo:

Find a mentor. That’s number one. You’ve got to find a mentor and I would say one of the best pieces of advice that I could give if you’re starting out as an associate in a practice or you just bought a practice or you’re building one from scratch. I would say that think of things when you’re talking to your patients and managing those conversations. Think of things as a marathon and not a sprint. So one of the best pieces of advice I got that was from my friend Justin Moody who said, “When you first meet that patient for the first time, it’s been at your practice for the last 30 years or the last 20 years even. And you’re doing that exam, take it easy. You don’t want to walk in and immediately you kind of say, wow Mrs. Jones, you really need basically a full mouth rehab. I think that your smile is not great and I think that we need to do implants here, here, here and here. And that’s how you’ll be. Take it easy their very first time you meet them.”

Dr. Frank Caputo:

I mean provided that things are okay. I mean, we’re not … Obviously if there’s an infection or an abscess or something you need to address those things clearly. But if it’s yeah, a little wear and tear. Maybe there’s a couple of fillings that are starting to get a little bit questionable. Maybe that first visit you say, “Wow, Alyssa, you’ve had some fantastic dental work done over the last few years. I think this is all great. There’s a couple spots that I’m concerned about. There’s a couple things that I’m going to red flag and put in your chart that I’ll check from time to time. But if anything comes up in the short term, give me a call.”

Dr. Frank Caputo:

But then as time moves on, you can start to think about, oh hey, you know, you’ve got a couple of areas that this is, this filling is breaking down. But I think that that very first time is important to kind of put a stamp on all the good work that’s been done in the past and put that you approve and you’ve seen everything and it’s amazing work. Sure. I mean sometimes it’s a little bit of an embellishment and of course you’re not lying to the patient because this isn’t 100% of patients, it’s a good chunk. But always listen as well. I mean it seems like such a stupid silly thing like listen to your patient, but if their immediate concern is not cosmetics and it’s not their missing tooth, you can take it easy and you don’t have to be like you need that.

Dr. Frank Caputo:

Okay. We’ll get there. But it’s okay to be somewhere in the middle. Because in dental school we’re working up very, very complex, comprehensive cases constantly. And a small percent of them accept treatment. And I think that in private practice or in regular real world of dentistry, it’s okay to slow it down just a little bit. We don’t have to be cavalier with our treatment plans from day one. But we get there. Now it’s incredible how, I’m so surprised all the time that every month that goes by, we’ve got patients who are accepting, $30,000 to $50,000 treatment plans. I’m just, I’m blown away. I’m like, you mean you’re … And they come in waving their paper, I’m ready. You have this treatment plan from a couple of years ago. I think I’m ready to do what we had talked about. Great. But the main thing is that they’re coming to you. They’re not going to somebody else. They’re coming to you because you’ve established that human interaction, that relationship. So that’s the biggest advice.

Alyssa Ege:

Okay. I think in any business it’s about people want to work with people, you know? So a lot of times, I think today, these days, especially everybody’s trying to automate everything. Like, “Oh, you know, we’ll send a text message, we won’t actually call them,” but people want to talk to people and that’s how we build relationships.

Dr. Frank Caputo:


Alyssa Ege:

Yep. Awesome. Anything else you want to add?

Dr. Frank Caputo:

Hmm, nothing in particular. I guess in my interest of mentorship, one thing I do like to add is I am the Director of the Milwaukee Implant Institute and what we do is we mentor doctors who’ve kind of taken a ton of implant continuing education. Maybe they’ve taken a Maxi Course or something along those lines that actually has given them a huge foundational knowledge. Maybe they even bought a bunch of equipment to help get their implant practice going, but there’s still a little bit nervous. One thing that I do routinely is in office mentoring, where I travel, I come see you and maybe it’s as simple as we’re just talking about a case on FaceTime or something. But for a lot of people I come in and I assist the doctor, and we kind of make sure these cases go by in their own home court. So I think there’s something to be said for doing that. But that teaching is always going to be a good place in my heart for doing that. I love doing the teaching and mentorship. It’s a blast.

Alyssa Ege:

That’s awesome. I love that you’re doing that too. You’re really giving a lot more people the opportunity to enjoy placing implants.

Dr. Frank Caputo:


Alyssa Ege:

And that’s the goal, right?

Dr. Frank Caputo:

And doing it right.

Alyssa Ege:

Doing it right. That’s also important. Awesome. All right, well thank you so much, Dr. Caputo. I really appreciate all of your time.

Do you have marketing questions? Join our Free Facebook Group, Dental Marketing Secrets, a private community where you can ask for support, help or advice about all things marketing: http://bit.ly/dentalmarketinggroup

Guest Expert on Dental Marketing Secrets: Dr. Frank Caputo

Frank Caputo Dental Marketing Secrets

Dr. Frank A. Caputo, general dentist, board-certified oral implantologist, and partner of Cudahy Dental Associates, has many years of experience in implantology, reconstructive and cosmetic dentistry. He always places patient comfort first. He believes patients deserve all of the information they need to make educated choices about their oral health. His approach to dentistry is comprehensive and tailored for each patient. Dr. Caputo earned his Doctorate of Dental Surgery at Marquette University.

Following his passion for implant dentistry, Dr. Caputo has completed over 700 hours of continuing education dedicated to implant and restorative dentistry. He has successfully passed the rigorous examination process within the American Board of Oral Implantology and Implant Dentistry. In addition to practicing, Dr. Caputo dedicates a portion of his time educating aspiring implantologists across the country in a hands-on clinical environment.

When he’s not practicing dentistry or educating, Dr. Caputo is spending quality time with his wife and son. He is committed to his patients and making their experience at Cudahy Dental a positive one.

You can visit his website here: http://www.cudahydentalassociates.net


How to Scale Your Practice With Dr. Shankar Iyer

Scale Your Practice

Trying to scale your practice but feeling overwhelmed by all the “marketing gurus” telling you to implement Google ads, SEO, Facebook ads, email marketing, plus everything under the sun immediately? Take a deep breath! One thing at a time. It’s important to determine what is most effective for your practice.

In this episode of Dental Marketing Secrets, we’ll cover:

  • Dr. Shankar Iyer’s recommendations on how to successfully scale your practice
  • Why it’s important to focus on ONE marketing avenue at a time and succeed at that rather than taking on too much, too fast
  • An easy method to get Google reviews from patients
  • How to handle price shoppers
  • Why proper training should come before marketing

Today, I spoke with Dr. Shankar Iyer, internationally recognized prosthodontist and Past-President of the American Academy of Implant Dentistry. He emphasized the importance of tackling one marketing avenue at a time and really giving it time and dedication. Once you’ve mastered that, move to the next one.

Watch the Interview Here:

Read The Transcript of The Interview With Dr. Shankar Iyer:

Alyssa: Welcome to Dental Marketing Secrets! Today we have Dr. Shankar Iyer, who’s awesome! And just to introduce him – are you the current president-elect of the AAID? Or are you the past president?

Shankar: I’m the past president. I was the president last year.

Alyssa: Ok, so maybe I’ll just let you introduce yourself. I’m sure you’re going to do a better job than I will! So give them a little bit of background about yourself.

Shankar: All right. So I’m basically a full-time practitioner and I have a practice in Elizabeth, New Jersey. I also teach at Rutgers University in the Department of Periodontics and Prosthodontics. I’m a prosthodontist by training.

I also run several courses on dental implants around the world. I have four centers overseas, and I’m also co-directing the course with Dr. Minichetti in Las Vegas and Dr. Jack Piermonti at Rutgers University. So that’s basically my background.

Alyssa: Awesome! So very successful, right? And I was checking out your website. I saw that you guys recently did some rebranding. Your practice was Smile USA and now it’s Malo Smile USA?

Shankar: Yes. That’s right.

The whole concept of rebranding came about because there was an increase in demand for immediate solutions for full launch restorations. And we did notice a lot of changes taking place especially when it comes to affordable solutions. In the past, we used to nurse the case along. We used to stage these cases and drag them on for about a year or a year and a half. We found that is sometimes met with a lot of resistance in the patient.

They’re looking for an immediate solution that will give them some kind of confidence. So we looked into some options. Dr. Malo approached me and asked if I would partner with them in the United States to rebrand my Smile USA into Malo Smile USA.

It’s going to be two years now. We started this at the beginning of 2017 and now the headquarters are going to be moved to Elizabeth, New Jersey. So that’s the reason behind rebranding our existing office structure.

Alyssa: Oh cool, yes, I saw that there were three locations right on your new website?

Shankar: That is correct: Rutherford, Elizabeth, and Jersey City.

Alyssa:  Awesome. So, is that a lot – scaling up to three locations?

Shankar: It isn’t because you know we do draw different patients from different parts of this region. For example, Jersey patients come from Brooklyn and the surrounding areas. Rutherford usually gets a draw from West Jersey and Jersey. Elizabeth usually picks up a lot from the South Jersey area. So we’re kind of strategically positioned to attract this clientele or those in need of some solution.

We have some basic marketing strategies that we’re employing to reach out to the target audience.

Alyssa:  OK. So tell me a little bit more about that. What are those strategies like? My goal for this is really to help new dentists or people still trying to figure out what the right marketing approach is for them.

Shankar:  So it’s a great concept to be able to share some of the success stories so we can help a lot more dentists achieve the outcomes that they’re looking for rather than investing into a coach or investing into somebody who would say that they want to transform their practice or double their practice. Everything comes at a price.

My practice is about 22 years old. It does take a while to attain some level of stability within your own practice. With advertising, you know you can get an immediate surge.

For example, once you stop advertising the flow will stop. Looking back into the days of the Yellow Pages people who ran full-page ads usually attracted a larger pool too. But then once you stopped advertising those Yellow Pages, your patient pool dropped as well.

You’re seeing that trend with pay-per-click. You’re seeing that trend with advertising on TV and radio. So, you get spikes with these advertisements. So more than advertisements we are focusing a lot more on long-term strategy. We want to have a robust site that is heavily integrated with SEO rather than doing pay-per-click. We are focusing more on trying to get our website set up thoroughly with a lot of backlinks and trying to figure out how we can establish a presence outside of the realm of social media.

One of the drawbacks of social media for us is it’s our friends that usually like our page. We want to be able to get patients to like us. And that has been a challenge. So, we are doing a lot of internal marketing to make sure that they go and like our page and give some reviews.

You need to have a very strong internal infrastructure to be able to meet the demands. You can advertise anything you want but if you’re not able to deliver these products in-house it will become very evident very quickly that you are not what you say who you are. And that may sometimes backfire.

So, you really need to have a lot of training in-house before you go out and make some noise. I strongly recommend those dentists who want to be involved with implants get some training with the American Academy of Implant industry. They are supporting a lot of the educational avenues and then you can work with your strategist to see how best you can position yourself in the marketplace.

Alyssa:  I think that’s great advice, and I really like that you’re focusing on SEO as well because it’s so important. I saw on your website you had three hundred and seventy-five reviews. Are you automating everything to get all of those reviews?

Shankar:  No we don’t automate it. Somebody actually sits with the patient. Most of our geriatric patients don’t have Google profiles. We have our staff actually create an account for patients or give them an account. This makes them want to write a review. Once you leave the office you forget about it. And then no matter what kind of promotions you offer, it’s simply not going to work.

So we have an in-house person that actually bonds with the patient. We gently ask patients who have completed the treatment or some phase of it. So we get a positive response and then they don’t hesitate. We don’t do it after surgery because the patients just want to get out of the office. These are patients that have finished a nice procedure like a basic cleaning or some of the basic dental procedures. That’s the best time to ask for a review. Asking for surgical cases sometimes could be challenging. We wait until we finish the entire implant procedure and then we ask the patients for their feedback.

Alyssa:  Yeah. I think that’s smart.

And I also really like what you’re talking about with focusing on internal marketing. You can do that stuff with social media. I’ve seen a lot of people do those things successfully. If you’re using an email marketing system you can upload your email addresses into Facebook. Then you can target those people with your ads to just like your page to make sure that you’re building a community out of it. Like hey, you have a cleaning coming up or something like that. That’s really powerful stuff.

Shankar:  Yeah – it’s a continuous process. I mean we cannot have all the answers. And if you want to go for every strategy you’ll go broke.

Alyssa:  Yeah, I think being really, really good at one thing and that being your thing is important.

Shankar: Yes it is.

Alyssa: I know some people I talk to are against old-school marketing like billboards, magazines, and sending out postcards. Or they are all for it and against the new age stuff. Do you have an opinion on that? Do you think that old school stuff doesn’t work or do you think that it does work? Especially for older patients?

Shankar: You have to be careful what you wish for.

If you know if you want to go after a household like that… For instance, there used to be target mailing lists for people who come in fresh into a neighborhood. So, you would get the database for that and then you can geo-target based on the demographics of a certain neighborhood. Let’s say income rates of $40,000 – $70,000.

So you could do a lot of this kind of database marketing. It’s a hit or miss.

I’ll give you an example. I sent out an email to the Hudson County area from the Jersey City office. It was about 40 dozen emails and the click rate was probably about 5 to 6 percent. People opened it but we got zero response at that time. So this could turn out to be a very expensive exercise without knowing who you’re trying to reach. So if you’re going to advertise implants there’s no point in going through the yuppie market because that’s not the market you should be going after.

And then the ones that you want to send an email to – many of those patients don’t have an email account. So you can do all the e-mail marketing you want to, but it’s not reaching the right target audience. So if you want to go into a high-end market then maybe the billboards could be one of the ways to attract attention. If you run an ad based on a particular type of service you’ll find that you’ll populate your practice with those kinds of patients.

Let’s say I have a before and after of a particular procedure. That would generally tend to attract patients who look like that. So you’ll find that if you advertise for Invisalign with a photo of crooked teeth, you’ll attract patients who will fit that profile. We don’t want to promote Invisalign to people who are healthy or are already in their 50s and 60s. It may not really work. So it’s a science.

It requires a lot of education. If you’re not involved in the process you can lose your shirt! The guy who was doing the marketing would not know what you want and they’ll say look at your visibility rate. So many people have opened up your emails and this is what has happened. It all sounds good, but doesn’t translate into patients walking into your practice.

That’s what I’ve seen and I’ve been doing this for about seven to eight years now. We’ve seen all kinds of responses. We kind of narrowed it down to organic search. That’s what we rely heavily on. Organic search seems to have a better retention rate than just pay-per-click.

The pay-per-click ads seem to attract the price shoppers. They look at it and you’re the first one to appear. It’s kind of cool. They want to go and see and then the next thing they would see would be your website.

And if the ad is not supported by proper documentation on your website, that can have a negative impact as well. So I would say you clean up your own website internally make sure it is sound and scientific. Make sure it has a lot of credentials, it’s really backed by some solid information, has a good site navigation, and so on. Then you know you can get into different types of marketing on the web.

Direct mail I think is pretty much done. I have not seen much success with it. I don’t really recommend anybody doing any kind of direct mailing unless you are deep into the parts of America where they love to open up their mail and see what comes into their mailbox. In my own household, I used to get about five pounds worth of mail almost every day and now it’s trickled down to four or five mailings a day. And that will soon disappear in my opinion. So I think the direct mail may be on the way out.

Alyssa: You can see that there is definitely a revolution with all that right.

Shankar: It’s a big sea of change in how patients are looking at their services. And we’re relying more on Internet marketing and direct referrals.

Alyssa: First thing that people do when they need something is they Google it, right? You don’t sign up right away. They are retargeted. So that’s how the process works. And you’ve got to keep up with it.

Nobody’s looking for services in their mailbox! It’s just not happening anymore.

Shankar: That is true. And also you know Dentists love to use scientific terms. In terms of search engines, they would go and hire somebody else to just get me “veneers” as a keyword and veneers is not a good search phrase.

And the normal average consumer is not searching for that. They’re searching for something like “affordable dentistry” or they’re looking at “how much does it cost.”

Or “what is the price of an implant” or something than that. Because Google tells you what’s the most searched keyword. And sometimes we spend a lot of money on keywords and they’re not giving us results.

Alyssa:  Yeah. So when you do get these people that are price shopping, how do you handle that?

Shankar: That’s a great question because you know once they come in this is a hot lead.

They have already been to a couple of offices. How do you set yourself apart?

It starts from the person who was greeting the patient the moment they walk into the office. They have to get that “welcome experience.” They’ve got to really be connected with the patient to show them that this office is about compassion and that they really care. Show them there is proper diligence, proper follow-up, and it’s an office that’s run very well, and we take care of the patients well.

So we really put up some of those patient testimonials right up front in my office. I have some accolades that we’ve received as well. We sometimes run promotional materials on TV. There are interviews that we play with no audio. So then they kind of figured out what is going on here. You know this looks like an office that is very popular. The patients are coming in. Everybody’s smiling. They’re treated well. And then they see the doctor that’s always very caring.

We do spend a lot of time in with every new patient. I mean these are normal things. You read them in the books. But when you go to your office it doesn’t get practiced well because your team is not in sync with the doctor. The doctor would just expect the staff to pretty much follow their lead. But unless it’s reinforced in the huddle it’s never going to happen. So we always find time to find who the new patient is on the schedule and we make sure that that patient is taken care of well, they are not waiting for too long, they are going to be seated properly, and then all of the records are taken. So, we can come up with some kind of a diagnosis at that first visit. So then you know you have your staff talk up the doctor.

Now there’s a lot of downtime between the patient visits so after the X-rays you know waiting for the doctor for the exam at that time the staff doesn’t leave the room. This staff is sitting there talking about how good the doctor is, and how happy the patients are. They usually check with the staff in their decision that they’re making is correct or not, what the reputation of the office is like, and how the general post-operative trauma would be. They’ll even ask what the post-operative care would be and so on. We usually have the staff well trained in terms of how to respond to some of these objections and rejections.

Alyssa: Right and that’s so important because a lot of times you know I hear from people that’s a big problem. You know people are just price shopping and it’s difficult for them to set themselves apart. That’s a huge part of marketing!

Shankar: Absolutely, and there’s no definite way to measure that. I mean you have to do the same song and dance for every patient. You cannot prejudge them. You know we don’t do a biopsy of the water before making a case presentation. You know we just do the same course with every patient for everybody whether they want to accept the treatment or not we still go through the process of the case presentation.

Alyssa:  So, do you guys ever offer anything like a discount or offer to get new patients in the door? Or you rely solely on organic search?

Shankar: Yeah because you know it’s very hard to track this.

This is my philosophy. If I offer a discount the other patients say I want to get into that program! So there’s always a two-level offering. You know, if it’s insurance that is one thing. If it’s a cash client it’s another thing.

So my philosophy is if I’m willing to take coverage for insurance, and let’s say an implant costs for my practice is that say $1800 dollars for the implant body and you’ve contracted with the insurance that is now going to allow be $1450. Now there’s a dilemma. There’s $1450. For the patients being insurance and there’s $1800 for somebody who doesn’t have coverage. You know you should be feeling good about the fact that you’re willing to accept the lowest possible fee from the insurance and still do a good job.

And then I would use that as a yardstick. And we don’t necessarily itemize or piecemeal the work. We say this is what that you need. This is what it is going to cost. And I kind of package that as an option to the patient rather than itemizing it because some of these treatment plans could run six or seven pages if you don’t itemize every single procedure we do. So if the patient wants it we will still break it down. But I believe that you know we shouldn’t be selling crowns or implants we should be selling a service. So it is a matter of function. And that’s the aesthetics. So we can always play with the numbers. You know in your mind what your overhead is. So if I can calculate all of this, and if I know what my production and overhead is, I do this math in my mind and say this is what it’s going to be to do this procedure. So that’s the kind of case presentation that I normally offer to my patients.

Alyssa: So you know while we kind of wrap this up, if there was any advice you could give somebody who is maybe just starting off or somebody who is struggling and really trying to figure out the whole marketing world, what advice would you give them?

Shankar: Well you know if somebody is just starting off I would say you should equip yourselves with a lot of knowledge. Do your CE courses on a routine basis. So you will see that your ability to expand the scope of your practice will immensely increase.

The eyes don’t see what the mind doesn’t know. So the more you are able to provide for a comprehensive diagnosis the more successful you would be in your practice. When you are starting off we all want to be having instant success. Success is not a goal. Success is constant and a never-ending improvement, as Tony Robbins says. You want to be able to have a very thorough understanding of the entire field, but you want to be recognized as a professional.

Do you want to call yourself a cosmetic dentist? Implant dentist? Are you a general dentist? Or are you a specialist? So we define our own role, and we need to follow that principle and philosophy throughout our case presentation. The concept of marketing and advertising is a good adjunct to your overall abilities to present yourself in the marketplace. So they both go hand in hand.

You can have all the skills in this world but nobody is going to come to you because you have golden hands. You cannot have your own trumpet and blow your horn. Nobody’s going to come to you. We’re in an age with a lot of competition in the area. We have more than 2,000 dentists graduating every year. So it’s only going to increase in terms of competition. To set yourself apart get as much education as possible and align yourself with a good marketing strategist who can help you with this entire process in terms of their understanding of what you wish to accomplish. And then to come up with a game plan.

And have performance markers along the way so you can assess if your marketing strategy is going to work or not. And as they say, “Rome was not built in a day.” You should expect to stay with the marketing strategy at least for a couple of years before you start to see the results. So it’s not a touch and go situation where you advertise for two months and expect see a result. So if you’re just getting into the Internet stay with the course for at least two years. You’ll find that you will become more popular on the Web. And it’s only going to help your practice. Also, have a very strong team that you build in-house so that can complement your skills and they are ready to receive clients from all the marketing efforts.

Alyssa: So many golden nuggets there. That was amazing. I love what you said about success. I love what you said about how it takes time. And yes, Rome wasn’t built in a day. It’s so true. You’ve got to stick with it. That was great!

Shankar: And then we can get frustrated because you know you can do it. But you don’t know the right strategy and what will work for one practitioner may not necessarily be reproducible. These are all customized solutions. Somebody has to sit down with you and work. And we need to have the ability to spend the time, it doesn’t get done by just giving somebody money. If you can sit down with a person, analyze the strategy, and partner with them, then they can help you with your goals.

Alyssa: Right. And tracking results! That’s so important. A lot of times people will just say “oh I don’t even know if it’s working.” You know it’s so important to really look at it and say is this working? How many new patients am I getting from this? Where’s the source? What are the numbers? Looking at the numbers and facts and saying this is working. This isn’t working.

Shankar:  So, it’s all about the metrics you need to have numbers. So you know if they do well or not.

Alyssa: Right. Anything else you want to add?

Shankar: Well you know I think the whole purpose of the webinar was to kind of have an overview of some of the strategies, but I think the short way to make all this work is that we need to have a global plan and that doesn’t happen with just one strategy alone. Somebody like you, Alyssa, I know you have very well-thought-out plans that you do for dentists. I really commend you for what you do and how you’re doing it. I love what you do for many of your dad’s posts in terms of the marketing for the courses. I just love the way you position it in the marketplace. I think it gets noticed and we can see the success. So I want to commend you for everything that you do for dentists in terms of enhancing their practices.

Alyssa: Oh, thank you so much!

Shankar:  Very nice. Good and thank you for having me on this webinar. I hope I was able to provide some advice and some perks for dentists to think about.

Alyssa:  Yeah, I think that people will definitely get a lot of value out of this. I certainly did and I thought it was fabulous.

Shankar: Keep up the good work. And thanks again for having me on this webinar. I appreciate it.

Alyssa:  All right. We’ll talk soon. Thank you so much!

Guest Expert on Dental Marketing Secrets: Dr. Shankar Iyer

Scale Your PracticeDr. Shankar Iyer is Dr. Iyer is a Diplomate of the American Board of Oral Implantology/Implant Dentistry and a Fellow of the American Academy of Implant Dentistry. He has lectured in over 30 countries and presented at over 100 symposia in Implant Dentistry and Prosthodontics.

His patients come from all over the world and he has maintained his patient base for over 20 years. Besides teaching and treating dentists in the United States, Dr. Iyer has taught and trained over 3000 dentists from around the world.

You can visit his website here: https://malosmileusaelizabeth.com