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Transcript of Interview:
Graig: Hey everyone thanks for joining me on this very special and very exclusive telephone conference case study where I actually am very excited to have a special guest with me on today – Dr. Brian Gilbert who is fairly new to our company in terms of not being a client. The reason I brought him on is because his success story and his challenges and how he has overcome them, it’s really something that I really think that the dental community would really lend an open ear. There is so much pessimism going on right now whether you’re on the dental forums or you’re just reading articles which are just really aren’t providing sort of the greener partners that I know is out there for everyone and I think at the end of learning a little bit about Brian here, is one thing that you’re going to learn about is that he actually acted like a CEO and took it upon himself and himself only to make his practice work and at the end of the day, his back was against the wall, he needed to do a couple of things and he’s done them.
And I think that having to take him and way and have him on this call right now is because he’s really acting like a business owner, he’s really acting like you know what, I’m going to make this thing go. It’s up to me make the machine run. So that being said, Brian thanks for joining me. It’s really great to finally catch up with you.
Brian: Sure. Thanks for taking the time to talk to me.
Graig: No problem. So for everyone listening right now, I want you to tell me – introduce yourself in terms of where you are, what type of practice you have. But then after that go right into sort of what happened to you in the last couple of years and the changes you’ve made really going to that place. I’m going to run a business, this is going to be mine and I have to this because I needed to survive. So tell that whole thing and I’m kind of going to be quiet. I really want everyone to hang on your words because you get it, right.
Brian: Well, I’d like to say I did it but I have a whole team here helping me. So it’s a team effort for sure. But I would say two to three years ago in our community which is Southern New Mexico, we had a dramatic influx of new dentists. I think the word got out we’re a good community, but also I don’t think they did their demographic studies to realize how many dentists were already here. So we’ve really, since I’ve been in practice here in Southern New Mexico, we’ve gone in that probably forty two dentists to probably over one hundred and twenty one dentists now in our town. So it’s a dramatic change in our demographics as far as providers to patients. We needed to become more aggressive and assertive with our marketing and reaching out because we certainly feel all of that accomplishment pulling away what we built up.
I began working actually in a different company to try to optimize my search engines, a couple different one. The first one was kind of disappointing, nothing seemed to occur. The second one I think we got some good results with and we saw our position moved up on the internet pretty well, but they weren’t doing the things appropriate for Google’s terms of engagement so to speak. About a year ago in May, when Google went to paying on 4.0 or whatever it was, we began to really just slide off the internet. We fell off page one; we were all the way back to page four. So we took a pretty hardy hit with that dramatically, cutting the busyness of our practice. That was a very challenging time because we had to kind of figure out what was happening.
Once we realized that, then to be honest with you we had to switch around for an alternative company to help us because we were pretty much stuck on fourth page which means basically not there. So, that’s when we got some information about your company local search and began to work with you. I’m trying to think probably September or October of this last year.
Graig: Yeah, I’m actually looking at your company and actually it was just before Halloween, I guess last year now. So it’s really not even a whole calendar year.
Brian: So anyways, we were at a pretty bad spot then and to be honest with you, after my other experiences with the other companies, I was a little burnt and…
Graig: Very common.
Brian: I put a lot of trust in them and I didn’t feel like they had given me the product that they had promised me. So to be honest with you, I was a little cautious with your company. I was a little skeptical at first. But we started following your advice on the Google reviews. That was the first thing we did.
Graig: Right, I actually think you weren’t even a client when you started using the tools that I actually gave out for free for everyone.
Brian: We did that before we even signed up with you. So we were in there – I think we had thirty six reviews, maybe and unfortunately some of those were the silly hanging on reviews from probably former employees, etc. they were way, way old and we tried right away to get people do it but, we kind of as a team that took them on and developed – using your tools were developed a way we could communicate that patients. So now as of today, we are over a hundred and thirty Google reviews. Most of them are five stars.
Graig: Yeah, actually in a very short period of time.
Brian: Yeah, we were over a hundred before Christmas I think and then we kept going past that. So I got two more people today to do reviews. Hopefully they’ll get them done this week. So we ask on a regular basis and we utilize your tools to do that and that’s been great.
Graig: That’s really good to hear and I just want to kind of stress on a point that you just brought up which is, you understood that I was giving away tools to use and those tools needed to be used right away because you needed to step up on the review network portion of your business and that is what I see you do generally. Everybody just, whether you’re listening to us in your car or you’re listening on the website or whatever, the tools that Brian is talking about are things that I give away in my downloads, in my videos and what he’s talking about is something that I give away to everybody. Very few people take advantage of that and then you decided to join us, right? You stepped up the game; you talk a little bit about all that and actually kind of talk about – because I know this to be true. Talk about how you really had your back against the wall. I mean production was down, you had all your schedule, talk about how you sort of moved stress that and make that work.
Brian: Yeah, well needless to say not having very good internet presence from June all the way till October didn’t so us any favors. So I would say, our new patients were cut by more than fifty percent. I had a lot of holes in my schedule, a lot of down time for the first time to be honest with you in many, many years. I’ve been practicing for twenty five years. So we had to tighten our belt a little bit in a variety of ways, but we also had to get going. We signed up with you guys to do the local search where your group made sure all of my data on all different websites and all the different sites and search engines online was identical and accurate and I was very impressed with just how many different groups that you guys got me on, different lists, city search and all these kind of things which I think that began to move me up and we were on the fourth page and now to be honest with you, every category were on first page on Google which really makes me happy because now these people can find us. I had these patients today that found us through the internet. It looks like from the most recent count that we got last month, we had twenty one new patients coming from the internet.
Graig: And that’s from the retractable stuff.
Brian: Yeah that’s a retractable number that you guys had set up for us that is tracked and that’s the ones we can definitely confirm. So we know those people have come in from that. So to say we haven’t taken a big step forward; it’s really wonderful to see that. Now we’re back where we were, no to be honest with you, we’re not. I would say every month we’re inching upward. The signs are looking good if you know what I mean.
Graig: I do and just for everyone’s sake and even for our conversation, part of it, it didn’t dwindle down over night and certainly it’s not going to build up back overnight and so, you’ve understood that there is no magic bullet, there’s no silver bullet that you put in your gun and all of a sudden, I’m going to go ahead and level all my production and get all my production back to where it was. And I think one of the things that you probably have to give yourself credit for is that you really became the leader of your business. Yes it’s a team, in this case a team, always will. But a team always needs a leader and you became that leader and you said you know what, it’s not going to be just about getting some rankings or getting some reviews.
It’s not going to be about utilizing all the tools that you have including your team which is a tool to get a few versions of. Because here’s one of the biggest sort of like fallacies in all of dentistry, is that a lot of folks think that if you build it they will come and become sort of parallel where if they have a couple of key words that they rank for or they built a new website. Then all of a sudden, things that the doors are just going to explode, people are going to be trapped when they get in to see you.
The reality is that we focus on conversions which you’ve seen. It’s not about eyeballs or keywords, it’s about actually people picking up the phone because they trust and respect you as a dentist as part of picking up the phone and what does that is from what you referred to earlier is a marketing package which cleans up your Google violations, just like you said, going through the reviews, the videos really makes you prominent across all the surface in your practice, not just one or two little things. There isn’t enough volume there. So it’s really about making you the most profitable that you can be. It’s not about image and things like that.
Brian: You made a good point on that. I would just say this. You know when you’re, I don’t know how people do it but whenever I have a slow period in the last twenty five years, it gives me times to reflect on things. I can pursue better with my patients, with my skills, whatever it might be, but also what we could do better as a team. So we work very hard on our phone skills. Our most recent survey of our phones skills for February, we had a ninety five conversion rate of people who called. Now that doesn’t count people who called regarding Medicaid because we don’t take Medicaid. But for everyone who was non Medicaid we had a very good rate of getting people scheduled.
Also we have a very streamlined and positive new patient experience. That’s a system to be honest with you, everything we have in our office is a system and we work on that to be honest with you every day. I think if we don’t focus on that by generally bring up things during our morning huddle – I call it value leakage, little parts of it leak way. So we do that on a daily basis. You know all these things I think ultimately will add up to good things and it’s like we’re seeing results already.
Graig: And you know the benefit of what you’re saying is we’re a marketing agency. Our job is to get the phone to ring for folks just like yourself. Apart of our biggest challenge honestly is when we get the phone to build up, I can’t control what happens to in on the other end, which is whose answering it, what’s the survey experience and all those things. And I think that what you’re saying now is small injuries that run into bigger doors. Now, I’ve got my Google house in order and I already got the internet, things are really working for me. But it also took the time to make the backend work, which is part of the conversion. I would garner to say that because your appearance is a hundred and thirty plus five star Google reviews, it’s just amazing by the way. People are having more confidence in you and your staff when they even call. There you go; you’re rock stars because they don’t that many reviews by accident. So they are trusting you more, they’re probably accepting more dentistry which makes your team performs better, because let’s just say you’re getting happier people to call in.
Brian: I think we’re doing it. It seems like they, especially those that comes from the reviews, Graig they are what I say, it’s almost like they’ve received advice from a friend.
Graig: It’s really the referral probably, right?
Brian: Sure it is and some of mine, the reviews that I’ve written, I don’t tell people to write a lot. I will say write a sentence or too, that’s fine. Some people have written long reviews that they are so positive. I do think people read them. The other day this lady came and she said that she came in after she read twenty of the reviews, which I think is a lot and I said why so many and she said I was very nervous and I had to be convinced that you guys were very gentle. And after twenty she was convinced. So you know that’s a good thing.
Graig: Yeah and in one of the things in addition to having quantity of reviews, at least you have a hundred and thirty, you have high quality reviews, which means that we’re getting four to five star reviews consistently and the whole point of that is the quality of reviews because they are real. They come from real people; they’re real stories, which give that person that confidence. But there are also fresh reviews. That’s one of the things that I talk about in my lectures all the time is a lot of patients who comes to us and we want to help them and they have less than ten reviews and half of them are from three years ago and you might have single stars out there, but your conversions are going to stink because the reality is, the person is going to read that and think they’re just not busy and they have people who love them to that. Maybe two years ago there are people who love them, but not now.
Brian: We’re not quitting. My goals are a hundred and fifty so we’re trying to hinge up a hundred and fifty. So we’re working on that.
Graig: And I have a special gift for you and it’s going to come in your mail because you’re actually in my hundred review club. I have a little pack of people that have below one hundred reviews because it’s not easy to get there and there are very few in it. So getting the masters green jacket, right? It’s hard to get there, right? So one of the things that I think is pretty cool is I gave this advice away for free and I started to say I don’t want people to take advantage of it because it’s a little bit of work. Before you became a client is the fact that you actually went out and started to solicit reviews personally to the nation. Correct me if I’m wrong because some of the stuff I got from your intake form, which is you actually were handwriting notes to people. That’s what I suggest you were doing.
Brian: Yes and we’ve also developed an email that we sent that we use. So we took yours, we kind of took the link to our Google class and we kind of wrote a letter to somebody that sounds like us a little bit. You know what I’m saying, customized it. And we have copy of that and basically what I do now is like today I had two different patients and I just said when they made a positive comment, one said something positive about the office and one she said that her friends to come – that’s an invitation to ask. So I asked and said of course you know, would you do me a favor, would you write us a review and she said for sure. And I gave them a copy of the email that was sent on paper and I said this is what it’s going to be like, you’re going to click on this link. I kind of walk them through it and then we sent them the same email, so that they can follow that real quickly and even older patients, I don’t think meaning older in age patients they get on there and they get a Gmail accounts and make a Google review. That’s amazing – some of them make some of the longest, nicest ones.
Graig: Yeah it’s like a true old thank you note.
Brian: Yes, it really is. That’s what we do and we just keep doing it, I guess.
Graig: Let me ask you this, some of my guys doing this and some of them don’t. I kind of leave it up to them. I suggest that it’s up to them. I’ve had people who have had success in this. But are you advising your staff to actually get the review and then if they get compliance you actually give them a bonus?
Brian: You know we tried it in a variety of ways. It’s interesting that you ask. We tried in many different ways and we put some of the top people on it. to be honest with you, the most effective person to ask for a review is me and I it’s because I think it’s a doctor patient relationship but I do, instead of advising my staff by making sure they are the ones that send out the email and they follow-up to make sure that the person gets it done. When I talk to a patient about doing a review, at the bottom of it I say, I begin to write a date and I say to them, I say like I’m saying to you Graig, if I sent this out today, when do you think you could get this back to me, today or next week? And so they’ll say oh I can get it back today. I’ll write today’s date on it and circle it. I do this in red ink and I hand it to them and that’s on the copy of the email. And I’ll say we’ll start looking for them, say today is Friday, I’ll start looking for them on Monday and that puts a little I’ll be honest with you psychological pressure from them to make sure they get the review done and then if we don’t see this in a few days, my staff member follows-up with them whoever is in the room with me after I send the email out. Sometimes we get it the second time around.
Graig: I want to talk about for a second because I’ve already hear the grumbling on the other end of the phone from other people. We know the industry is selling and sells the four letter word, right? So here’s the thing is and I want to talk to you about this. In my opinion everything is selling because I have nothing. In selling by the way just so that everyone knows this, it’s just insisting that someone makes a decision would normally not make on their own. It’s not manipulation, it’s not scrumming. It’s just helping them along their way accordingly. Most people are going to think, you’re just being passed. I don’t want to know any of my patients. I’m just thankful that they came in and that’s the other thing I don’t want to have my team calling and being annoying.
Now, that’s not going to happen, if you do it write it. If you put an untrained person on the phone or if you’re trained yourself as a dentist, you’re actually asking properly, you will definitely pas it to your people and you will definitely have people doing the right thing at the right time.
Brian: Yeah, I’ll be honest with you, that’s where my staff comes in quite a lot. I think I’m a relationship builder. I think that my staff members are all relationship builders, is just the way they are as individuals. I don’t think you can create that, it’s who we hired. They like people, their patients like them, they’re very loyal. We’ve not had any complaint about it at all. In fact what I’ve noticed is a couple of persons that we’ve asked to write reviews have given us reviews and then they’ve referred someone fairly shortly thereafter for the first time in a while. So to me that may mean that they’re feeling better about our office.
Graig: That’s a critical record, that’s a big deal by the way, right? So you just took someone who was just a single source of productivity for your business and redoubled it with a referral and you’re asking them to do something for you and you’re getting replies, right? This is not so turn-offish, right?
Brian: No, I would say that for every ten people I ask, six will definitely do it and if they don’t we won’t harass them. We would just send them one more email that says “I’m not sure you got that first email” and then we’ll leave it like that. We’ll try again, we don’t even bother them. And maybe twenty five percent of those who we send the second email to will get right back and they will say I didn’t see it and they will get back and write a nice review. So we get it but we don’t push it. And by the way my staff gets an advice; if they do all the emailing and do all that for me they get fifteen dollars if we get a review. If they could get a review on their own, if they could ask themselves and get a review they would get twenty five. We tried that and they got very few, they asked a lot, but they got very few reviews back. So I think that the doctor plays a role at least in our office they play a role because I think they certainly made valiant efforts they keep trying and they are very positive and warm.
Graig: Yeah I think that’s great and one of the other things that I really wanted to touch on too is, we’re talking a lot about reviews because you’ve done a good job at right now and we want to feature that. Like most things in all of life and especially in business is it’s never one thing. It dictates success. It’s always a combination of little things that really gets you into that hang game. So we talk about coming on and working with us, we’re not going to get into sort of what’s initially in the program because that’s not what this call is about, but there’s a lot in there. there’s a lot that’s done with the videos and the directory sites and the stone tracking and the Google review system and the video review system and things that really help get you conversions, right?. Because it’s not just about one keyword, it’s not about your website. It’s all of these things wrapped together into a campaign that pushes everything else up.
That’s why we don’t offer all of current services because certainly they just don’t work. Could I sell them to anyone? Sure, it’s not going to do you any good. That’s not we want right now, so, utilizing all of those things, there is no magic going on. It’s all of these things that we’re talking about that pushes things up to where you are. And one of the other things you said which I thought was pretty awesome and I fight this fight a lot is your older demographic patients complying and coming from the web. Because a lot of folks will think, well it’s not my area. I have a lot of boomers; I have a lot of baby boomers, it’s not going to work. But as you sound and as the research dictates that you have to practice and practice fast, is that the baby boomers right now I think it’s anyone fifty five to eighty and even upwards on that are the fastest growing demographics of people using Google, social media and the web.
Brian: I think so. To be honest with you, they are using it a lot and we get many, many of our older patients to come through from the internet sources.
Graig: I mean I was at the dentist the other day with my wife and I went to sit down in the booth and I looked over in the booth next to me and there are two grandparents with their grandkids and both grandparents are on their own individual iPhone5 on Facebook. And one of them actually showed me their Apple because I could see over the table. I was just thinking to myself that this was so great. They were on Google map trying to figure out where they were to go next. And that’s like there was grandparents just doing this. So, that whole adage was like it doesn’t work in my community, my patients are older. It’s like just garage and you’re living proof of it. It’s like hopefully some people are listening to me just now. Because what eventually is going to happen and the sad part about it and I get a few phone calls is that eventually, if you ignore the web, the data and the stats that show that even older generations are flocking to smart phones and mobile phones, is eventually you’re going to be so far behind that you won’t be able to make up the ground, unless you really want to write a really big check.
And that’s a big deal because that impacts production, that impacts care for your patients, your staffing and your retirement and all those things that matter – cash flow, everything. Eventually the chickens are going to come home to roost and I just urge everyone that’s listening to Brian, it’s not just not me on a ranch. Even the old demographics aren’t using or printing yellow pages anymore.
Brian: Not as they used to, I’ll tell you. That has dropped off dramatically.
Graig: And if they do they’re Googling you before they call you after they had it.
Brian: And also think they do and I also agree as you said earlier if it’s not one thing it’s everything and you have to – we’ve assessed every part of our practice and every type of marketing that you do, which are the things that we’re looking at with much more let’s sat a critical eye to see what consumers are looking for. We’re aggressively approaching this because I’d like to practice for a few more years for sure and I certainly want to when I’m finished practicing one day to have a business that’s worth someone’s buying from me as a glowing entity and so I want to make it the best model, the best it has ever been on a day that I leave, whenever that is. I got my work cut out for me, so you know I have some goals so I can do it.
Graig: Yeah and you’ve come this far actually under a year so you should be proud of yourself. It’s not just really for a minute that you should be satisfied with what you’re doing. You know these are things that you say which I think is very important, is, I’ve been through a few mergers and acquisitions and practices over the years here in getting clients, getting involved and things like that. And I always tell everyone if your end game is to retire and to sell the franchise to a larger entity or not, whatever that looks like, it doesn’t matter right now. The ones that have their Google house in an internet situation is taken care of and looks like they are just choice always sell for more, because there is so much inherent value. Let’s just be frank. I don’t want to acquire you. Say I’m a corporate dental person and I come and I’m going to say, you know what I’m going to take over this guy. I’m going offer Brian to take over his business practice and you have a hundred and thirty five starters in place. That’s a huge gap they can leverage.
Brian: Yeah it’s definitely a plus. We’ll target it to a hundred and fifty if you really want to buy it.
Graig: Yeah and you’re everywhere and you got the videos and your patients love you and you’re branded properly and organized and it just looks like yourself, they will offer you more. In most cases the company buying whether it’s sold or done through a corporate one, they often keep us because they just basically pay a little bit more for practice than they keep us and they always pay more. So whatever they begin to sell and right off into the sunset, now’s the time to start building that aspect.
Brian: Right, oh absolutely, they need to start on the first date to be honest with you.
Graig: And you do all the right things, you’re holding your staff accountable and you’re leading the way by example. You have to. So this has been great I think this is something that everyone would kind of love to wrap their heads around and if anyone listening is interested in learning more about what we do in that sort of program that Brian has, you go to www.localsearchfordentists.com/webinar. it’s a free education webinar you can sign up for. That’s how Brian learnt about us and we’ll connect and you will learn a little bit about what we do and how we do it and all that fun stuff. So, Brian… it’s been great meeting you.
Brian: Thanks for telling me.
Graig: I will put your green jacket in the mail for being in the 100 Review Club.
Brian: Okay I’ll take it. When I get to 150, I want another jacket, okay.
Graig: Yeah. I guess I’ve got to come up with like the green, the gold, we’ll make it work so I think you will be number one if you get to one fifty so you can at least send me a note.
Brian: Okay I’ll try it, sounds good.
Graig: Well you have a good evening; this has been great and let us know if you need any help if anything.
Brian: Thanks again. I appreciate this, Graig. Take care.