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A common goal is just the beginning. An effective team has to not only agree on the end, but also the means to that end.
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AUDIO - Linda Miles - HSP #118
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VIDEO - Linda Miles - HSP #118
"The clinical aspect is only one part. The people skills, the communication skills, and the business skills are some of the most important parts of running a practice."
Linda Miles, CSP, CMC, Virginia Beach, VA, is an internationally recognized consultant, speaker and author on dental practice and staff development. Linda is a successful businesswoman who not only founded LLM&A, a leading INC 500 dental management consulting firm in 1978; but also founded the Speaking Consulting Network in 1997. She sold those two businesses in 2007 and 2010 to devote more time to Co-founding the Oral Cancer Cause (OCC) in 2013. Linda has spoken in all 50 states and on four continents authored three books and mentored many other dental consultants.
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Howard: It is a huge honor to be interviewing the Linda Miles today. Linda, you are just a household name. I can't think of ... When you think of practice management, when you think of staff leadership, when you think of dental office consulting, you're the first name that comes to everyone's mind. You're the first person I saw or heard right out of dental school in 1987. You are just a legend, and it is an honor to be with you today. How are you doing in Virginia Beach?
Linda: I am doing great, Howard, and I hope you are in Arizona.
Howard: We're doing good, but we're finally ... It's June 17th here, so we're now over 110 degrees for the next four months.
Linda: Oh, my.
Howard: It's going to be 115 tomorrow.
Linda: That's terrible.
Howard: What's the temperature there?
Linda: It was really 97 yesterday, and it set a new record, and today it's only 84, so much better today.
Howard: 84. That's 30 degrees cooler than where I'm at! Linda, the first question I want to ask you is, two weeks ago, I went to the dental school graduation here at the dental school up the street in Mesa, AT Still, and the United States has 56 dental schools. They just dumped out 5,000 kids, and I believe that ... When I was in middle school, you were led to believe that if you could get A's in calculus and physics and geometry and memorize the Krebs cycle and all that stuff, that you would just be super successful, but do you think ... I think when they graduate from dental school, they know what they know, but they don't know what they don't know.
Linda: They really don't, and ...
Howard: What is it they don't know?
Linda: I have spoken for several dental schools to the D3 and the D4 students, and they are so hungry to know all the parts of running a practice, and the clinical aspect is only one part. The people skills, the communication skills, and the business skills. Of course, if we were to suggest that they teach business, even basic business, until you're out and have these problems on a day-to-day basis, they wouldn't be interested in, probably, how to reduce broken appointments or reduce your accounts receivable, because until it's a problem, it's not an interest.
Howard: Linda, I look at the people who don't have eight years of college and who aren't doctors who buy just a simple franchise. I don't care if it's a McDonald's, a Long John Silver's. It doesn't matter what it is. Their management information system is connected to payroll, and they know their cost at the end of every day. What do you think of the fact that, in dentistry, the leading software systems ... Dentrix makes ['mai-shine' 00:02:50], Patterson has Eaglesoft, Carestream has [Softnet 00:02:53] and [Dentalworks 00:02:53], and it's not hooked up to Quicken or accounting. Their staff don't clock in and out on the payroll. It doesn't make them ...
The software these kids buy can't even generate a check to pay for ... To call it a "management information system" without any financial accounting ... If you have the schedule, and it says, "I've scheduled an hour, and I cite for an MOD composite, and I signed up for a PPO, and they're paying me $250," and this computer knew what all your bills were and how many operatories and how much time you spent. They would schedule an hour, and the computer could go red and say, "You'll lose 50 bucks." Then they move it down to 45 minutes, and it'd say, "Now you just broke even and did it for free," and, "In 30 minutes, you just made ..." What do you think of the fact that ... I often wonder if those kids should have skipped eight years of college and just bought a Dairy Queen.
Linda: I know. It's sort of like running my own business. We had to know how many people that we had to have in that course. Four months out was our break even point. Anything four months and forward had to be profit, or it wasn't going to fly. Dentists are no different. They need to know the cost of goods, the cost of running their practice per hour, and it has to be tied to that schedule. A recent practice, Howard, that I worked with, a young doctor, who was on way too many plans ... They were only producing $2,500 a day, and the overhead must've been $3,200 a day. It doesn't take a rocket scientist to figure that that practice is spinning its wheels.
After just four hours of working with communication and how to reduce broken appointments, how to turn one appointment into a family of appointments by asking, "You've scheduled, Mrs. Bailey. How about your other family members?" These gals were really, really hungry to learn all this, and they started doing it. The month after I was there, they produced $4,500 a day. A $2,000 a day increase is significant. Whether you start at $2,500 or $5,500, it's the little things that make the difference.
Howard: What percent of dental offices would you assume today, out of 125,000 general dentists in America who'll go to work today, and don't even know what they have to do to break even?
Linda: I would say the majority. I think, Howard, that dentists are in three different groups. There's the top 20% that's going to be successful regardless of what the economy, reimbursement from insurance, regardless of a lot of different factors, because they were always the go-getters. They probably sat down to do their first crown prep in their cap and gown. They were ready, ready, ready to go. They're never going to be hurt by what's going on around them, because they're sharp. They are in tune to what you just talked about. They hire, and they train, and they trust their team members, because they realize, as I've taught for years, and you've taught, your staff makes or breaks you. I believe when the front office hums, the back office dances. I see so many administrative team members who don't have the training nor the time to do the job to move the practice to the next level. They go through the daily operations pretty well, but it's like, what do they do to get the floating ['ree-care' 00:06:27] patients back? Are they recalling the treatment plans that didn't schedule? Do they give five-star customer service or one-star? All the things that are so important, they're just not doing.
I also believe that 60% of the practices ... I call these doctors the "bobbers." I've worked with a lot of bobbers. The bobbers are those that are happy. They're making a decent living. They've never wanted to set the world on fire. They have lives outside their practice. They're not ever going to set the world on fire, but they're making a good living. Those are the ones that sort of bob around from year to year. They may have a 10% increase one year and a 2% decrease ... but they're not ever going to have an exponential increase, because it's just not what [inaudible 00:07:18] are striving for.
Then we have the 20% on the lower end that I'm so concerned about. The ones you've just talked about graduating, and the [inaudible 00:07:27] ones that are on all these plans. When the insurance reimburses them 60% of a crown, and they have a [94% 00:07:37] overhead, it doesn't take a rocket scientist, again, to figure out that they're not only doing the crown free, they're taking money out of their family account to do it free. That's the 20% that is probably one month away from knowing how to make payroll.
Howard: Linda, what do you ... I always find it interesting how dentists won't blink at buying a $150,000 CAD/CAM machine, a $150,000 3-dimensional X-ray machine and CBCT or a $75,000 hard tissue laser or whatever, and then when it goes into dental office consulting, they just won't spend a dime. What is that? It's a hundred times easier to sell them a gadget, that they actually believe, "If I buy a really expensive machine, I'll be good."
Linda: The only thing I can say about that is the dental sales reps are better sales people than dental consultants, because when you go in to consult with a practice, you don't ... When your year or whatever your agreement length is, when that year is up, you don't take all your information back. It's ongoing for ever and ever.
Interestingly, over the last 36 years, most of us consultants will tell you, Howard, that it's not the ones who need us the most that hire us. They don't even go to the first management practice seminar and sit there and say, "Wow. I think I need some of this training for my own team," or, "I think I need these leadership skills, and I need to work with somebody on developing those," or, "I need to understand budget and finance and overhead and break-even points on everything that I do." I don't think that the ones who need us are the ones that hire us. It's the ones who are already very good. It's the top end of the bobbers, and the 20% at the top that hire consultants, and that's maybe one of the reasons they're there.
Howard: When I look at the most successful dental offices that I've ever seen, the top of the top, they have a consultant who'll come in every year, and they try a host of them, and they try different ones, because their [brains 00:09:59] ... If this person wants 25 or 50 or 60 grand, and next year, I'll do that, and next year, I'll collect 100 more. They just keep fine-tuning it all the way up, and they're past the $4 million range. It's so true.
Linda: They have million-dollar hygiene departments, and I truly believe, Howard, your hygiene department is the backbone of every single dental practice. If you have two openings a day in hygiene, and your average care visit fee is $150, which is low compared to New York and other cities, they're thinking, "If we have two hygienists, and they each have two openings, that's $600 a day lost." It's actually $1,800 a day, because hygiene is a third of total volume, and the operative opportunities are two-thirds of the loss. Instead of losing 600 a day, they're losing 1,800 a day, and that is almost a half million dollars a year.
Howard: Okay, I'm going to start cutting you down for specifics, because last I checked, we're getting about 5,000 views on iTunes, alone, on these podcasts, so most of the people have an hour commute, and you think it's across LA, but most of it's rural. They got an hour commute from a small town to another small town. Let's go specific.
If they're listening to you, and they know their hygiene department is not up to snuff, they know that, what specifically would you do? Who would you call? Would you call someone who just specializes in hygiene? Is a consultant different for Kansas as it is California or Virginia or Miami? Who would call to spruce up your hygiene department?
Linda: I think that management consultants can do part of the improvement. For instance, I'll give you an example of me referring to a hygiene consultant. I went into a husband-and-wife practice. They had a very lovely practice. Nine treatment rooms, very wonderful team to work with, new facility, everything was top-notch, and they were nice, nice people. Their hygiene department, with three hygienists, was doing $44,000 a month, and this was probably about eight or nine years ago. They were doing $44,000 a month in hygiene. The month or two after I was with them, they brought that $44,000 a month up to $55,000 by just eliminating open chair time, and, also, I talked to them about a mix of service. They were doing very little scaling and root planing.
I'm not a clinical hygienist, so I knew that they needed not only the management end of the hygiene department, but also a clinical hygienist to come in and actually teach that part, so Colleen Rutledge went in. I've referred to Colleen, I've referred to Rachel Wall. I've referred to Heidi Arndt. There are just a lot of really good hygiene consultants who are part of the Speaking Consulting Network, or the Dental Consultant Connection or the Academy of Dental Management Consultants. We really know who in our network that we can send when they need a missing part, whether it be marketing at a level that we're not an expert in, or whether it be hygiene consulting.
Would you believe, Howard, that up until about five years ago, I was still monitoring that practice, right after I sold my business to Dr. Rhonda Savage in 2007. They sent me their monitors, because they wanted me to still feel proud of how well they were doing. Their hygiene department went from $55,000 a month to $87,000 a month with four full-time hygienists. It was amazing to watch that transformation.
Howard: That is amazing. I spoil my podcast listeners. I don't want them to have to stop the care and have to write down www or names or anything, so I always send mine out for a transcript, so, on Dental Town, it's word for word, but go through those first three names you said. You said Colleen, Rachel ... What was Colleen's name?
Linda: Colleen is C-O-L-L-E-E-N, Rutledge, R-U-T-L-E-D-G-E, and she's in the Philadelphia area. Then there's Rachel Wall, and Rachel has Inspired Hygiene. She's in Charlotte, North Carolina, and she's terrific. She has a team of about six other consultants working with her now.
Howard: That's Wall, W-A ...
Howard: Oh, W-A-L-L. inspiredhygiene.com?
Linda: Uh-huh (affirmative). Then Heidi Arndt, A-R-N-D-T. Heidi is in the San Francisco Bay area. She just moved there from Portland, Oregon. They're all three, and there are others that I just can't think of off the top of my head, but those are the three that I know [crosstalk 00:14:57] to that.
Howard: If those are your friends, tell them I 'd like to podcast those three, too.
Linda: They would be so excited about that.
Howard: Tell Heidi I can only interview her during the Golden State Warriors basketball parade.
Linda: I'll tell her.
Howard: They just won their first championship after 40 years.
Okay, so that's the hygiene department. You said that's about a third of volume. You've been in a gazillion offices, and you've trained most of all the other legendary dental office managers. Everybody I know that's in practice management, dental office management, they all have roots to your tree. With Dental Town, my deal is, okay, with Dental Town, you shouldn't have to be all alone, so this dentist is driving to work right now, and they always think all their problems are totally unique. They always think, "You don't understand. You don't understand. I have this very unique situation," but when you see hundreds of offices, they have a lot of common problems in common. When you go into an office, what is the low-hanging fruit? What are the red flags that you could describe for this dentist driving to work? You could describe a scenario like, "Doc, this is a problem. This is something that can be fixed," because I think they're just overwhelmed.
Speaking of that Golden State Warrior thing last night, I thought it was very interesting. This team hasn't won a championship in 40 years. They got a brand-new coach. I just think it's interesting; during the whole game, the coaches are walking up and down the sidelines, calling time-outs, calling plays, firing everyone up, yet, every time I walk into a dental office, the thing could be on fire, and when the dentist is done doing his filling or crown or [inaudible 00:16:38], he or she just walks into the private office and shuts the door. It's kind of like they're just detached.
Linda: They are.
Howard: They park at the back of the office, they have a secret Batman cave door to their private office, the assistant comes and gets them when they're ready to numb the first patient, and every time they're done, they walk back to their private office, where I always walk up to the reception desk.
Linda: Right. I used to say, Howard, and you've probably heard me say this for 25, 30 years, that the dentist should never go near the front desk, because, when you do, patients want to visit with you, and that means three people are unemployed if you have two people up front working. So I usually say the doctor shouldn't hang out at the front desk, but I have seen dentists that just go into their "cave," as you called it.
There's another interesting person I'd love for you to have on. I heard him speak at the American Academy of Dental Practice Administration. His name is Cam, C-A-M, Marsten, M-A-R-S-T-E-N, and he is the number one person I've ever heard on the generational differences. He says that the matures, and I'm a mature, I missed the baby boomers by a few years. You're a baby boomer; I'm a mature, and then we have the millenniums. The millenniums are really those that are making the worst bosses, according to the statistical data about this generational difference, because we're into relationships. We love to visit and talk and have team meetings and get people fired, up, and, unfortunately, you described the millenniums to the T. They go in their private office. They're on their technology constantly. They text each other, and they say, "If you have a problem, text me. I don't want to know about your family. Don't ask about mine. Don't ask about my vacation, and we're not having meetings." I think that's a critical missing link with this newer generation. I really feel dentistry is relationship building, and it's a relationship marketing tool, and they're not using it.
Howard: Exactly. Linda, what do you ... I feel like, corporate dentistry, this is round two, because you and I were in dentistry in the '80s, when [orthodontist firms 00:19:00] in America was publicly traded on the New York Stock Exchange, and everyone said all the orthodontists should be working for a chain. There was a dozen on NASDAQ. Every single one of them disappeared, collapsed, gone. Then there was ten years of nothing, and now they're back again.
Do you think they're going to have the same fate as they did the first time around, or do you think they're back for good this time? What would you tell the graduates who are walking out thinking ... Some of them might be thinking, "I should do a residency in the army/navy/air force. Maybe I should go work for corporate." What are your thoughts on corporate? What is your prediction 25 years from now or ten years from now?
Linda: How about ten years from now?
Howard: Okay. Ten years from now, do you think they'll be more significant, or do you think it's a cycle, and they're at a high, and they're going to contract or just [inaudible 00:19:45]?
Linda: I don't believe that the private boutique practice, the one- or two-doctor practice ... I think there's always going to be a place for that, because certain clients and certain customers and patients prefer the exceptional boutique-type treatment, and they will always seek out that type practice: the solo and the two-doctor practice, perhaps a father and son, father and daughter, husband and wife. I think that there will always be a place, but there will be fewer of them, and I do think that corporate dentistry has a place and is growing and will continue to grow. I heard the other day it was 17 or 18%, and it's predicted to become about 25% over the next five years. They're buying up some pretty impressive practices right now. I think that some of the corporations are better run that others.
I think that one thing that's happening is a lot of the young kids are getting out; they're so far in debt with dental school that when somebody offers them a decent salary, no headaches of managing personnel, no overhead and budget worries, that it might be a good place for them. As much as I am [inaudible 00:21:09] for the solo and the private practice, I do see that corporate is here to stay, and I do believe that there will be more of the small groups, where there might be one group in a geographic region, a city, or a state of six to 12 practices. I think we're going to see that segment grow. I think that that segment will start hiring their own one-day-a-week specialist, so that it's a one-stop shop in those six or nine or 12 locations. I think dentistry's changing very rapidly, but I still believe that there are places for the solo practice, and there will always be.
Howard: What I can't get my hands around is what you just describe at the end ... First of all on what percent is corporate dentistry. I can't see any good [stats 00:22:01], because the dentists who say they don't like corporate dentistry, I'm like, "Dude, you're incorporated. You're an incorporated dentist! You just said you don't like yourself." The definitions ... What percent of dentists are incorporated? A huge, huge number, but the things I don't understand with an MBA is that I understand what you just said, the scales of economy, and instead of having one office, but if you had four offices, one in north, south, east, and west, in some town, and then you could have enough specification to have some premium management team. You could have four or five individuals that would be affordable if their skills were going to three or four or five offices. What I don't understand, though, is once you ... that extra tier, now you have an extra headquarter tier that's overlooking several different regional cities. I just don't know what that extra top layer, what they can do for efficiency at the bottom tier. But I do, I think some of the most well-run offices I've seen are group practice, but group practice that might have four locations in one city. Yeah, I think those guys are getting very efficient.
I want to ask you a question I hear all the time. I'm always out with, probably, a lot of hillbilly, redneck dentists, and you start talking about office manager and all those things like that, and at least half of them, just right out of the gate, say, "I don't believe in the office manager. I'm the dentist. I'm the 4,000-pound gorilla. I don't believe in an office manager." What would you say ...
It seems like whenever the dentist says, "I don't believe in an office manager," what he's really saying is, "I don't believe in management." We just survive by chaos. We might get three cancellations; who cares? Because we've got three emergencies. They just go into the day, and they just attack it, and they just get through it. Then, when they're done, they go home and drink beer and watch NASCAR and basketball, and they just get through it. What would you say to the dentist who says, "I don't believe in an office manager?"
Linda: I think that ... I want to say two things about practice administrators or office managers. Number one, I think they are a lot of very ... I should not say this, probably, but very poorly trained practice administrators. I think practice management is a full-time job in a practice that has more then six employees. You need someone who's going to protect the assets of that practice. If their number-one job is to see the practice become profitable and keep the environment happy for the patients, happy for the dentist, and happy for the team. I really don't blame the dentist; they've never been trained how to utilize this person. I don't blame the office managers, because there's been somebody my age, trained the next one 20 years younger, and that one trains the one 20 years younger, and all the bad habits of what we think we're supposed to be doing has been passed down, so I understand your hillbilly and your redneck dentists who say, "I'm the manager of my own. I'm the boss," and so forth. Maybe they've had some of those bad office managers.
People often look at me when I come in to do some training, and they'll say, "Linda, I have 26 years experience." I look and see what this office manager's doing, which is staying in a back room verifying insurance eight hours a day, which is about a 2.5-hours a day job in that size practice. I just, in a very kind and nice way, want to say to these people who keep telling me they have 26 years experience, "Experience does not impress me. Results do."
There's four parts of practice management that all dentists should think about delegating, but you have to hire this person, train this person, trust this person, and let them do their job, because micromanagement doesn't work. Clinical dentistry is a full-time job, and practice management is a full-time job for the office manager. The four areas that, when I did my two-day workshops, and Rhonda does them now, number one, they're totally in charge of personnel. They set up all of the interviews. They do the pre-interviewing. They narrow it down to the top two or three. The doctor/owner decides who, with the practice manager, who they're going to hire. They set up team meetings. They set up continuing education. Anything to do with time off and staffing belongs to the practice administrator.
Number two, they are the committee chair of your marketing. It's up to them to look at all the things available and make sure that this practice is investing in ... Do they have a marketing budget? Do they have a marketing plan? Do they have a marketing committee? Who's going to be on the committee? So they are the head of the marketing committee.
Number three, they are in charge of budget and finance. They run the business side of the practice. They know the overhead percentages in all the categories, and it's up to them to make sure that we come in under our goal every single quarter. If they aren't in tune to numbers, and the doctor doesn't like numbers, my goodness, the practice is in real jeopardy. They work hand in hand with the owner/doctor and with the advisors for that practice, the CPAs, the attorneys. They keep the practice in line and healthy.
Number four, they are in charge of the facility and the technology update. If we need new furniture, or we need new equipment, or we need to renovate the reception area or the sterilization area, they do all the research, get all the prices, do all the demos. Then the doctor and the office manager decide what we're going to spend and how much and with whom, but they're not trained, Howard. That's why the word "office manager" is really an ugly word.
Howard: I want to ask, first of all, being a man, I want to ask you, being a woman, sometimes you'll call a front desk person a term, and they'll get offended at it. I know they don't like "receptionist." What is the correct term to call a receptionist, and what are terms we should no longer use?
Linda: Right. We shouldn't use the word, "receptionist," because that's what I was in 1961 when I was making a dollar an hour in Bluefield, West Virginia. My first job out of high school, I was the receptionist, and I answered the phone, and I greeted patients, and I seated patients. The doctor stood and did his own dentistry back then.
Howard: That was 1961? That is awesome!
Linda: That was 54 years ago, Howard, and I'm only 47. I can't believe it.
Howard: I still think you're better looking than 98% of all the receptionists I've seen. Dental office mangers, I should say.
Linda: Here's the right terminology. First of all, I believe if a practice is going to grow at the front desk, they need a check-in person and a check-out person.
The three main duties of your check-in person that I prefer to call the "patient coordinator" or the "scheduling coordinator," you can pick either one. The patient coordinator or the scheduling coordinator, they have three main duties, and 97 other duties, but their three main duties are number one, they know how to answer the telephone and turn all shoppers and new patients into appointments. They, number two, are totally in charge of engineering the day. Instead of throwing 30 names on a page and hope you live through it, they know how to engineer the day so that the two assistants stay totally busy for that doctor, and the doctor is not in six places at one time. They're in charge of scheduling; they're in charge of the telephone, which is the most important instrument in the entire practice; and they are in charge of greeting patients warmly as though they're a guest in their home. Those are the three main duties of your scheduling coordinator or your patient coordinator, whichever you prefer.
The second person at the front desk is your financial insurance coordinator, and they have three main duties and 97 other duties. The three main duties are they present the fee and collect the money, they enter all the data into the computer for the treatment and the payment, and they handle everything to do with insurance. Anytime I walk into a practice ... Then there's the practice manager, who, in some smaller offices, she may be 60% front desk, and 40% practice manager, or she may be ... You may have three people if you have a full-time office administrator and the practice is doing, I would say, over $80 or 90,000 a month. It's a three-person job if you want to get that $90,000 up to $150,000 a month.
I believe that the second person should be called the "financial" or the "insurance coordinator," and I don't like the word "office manager." I prefer "practice administrator" or "office administrator." Women, in particular, Howard, do not like being managed by other people, especially managed by other women. I believe the word "manager" belongs in a factory or a garage, and I prefer "practice administrator." They don't mind being administered to, but they do hate to be managed. They're self-directed, clinical people.
Howard: Okay, Linda. Let's get to specifics. This dentist is driving to work, and I know what this dentist is thinking. That's my expertise is [inaudible 00:31:55]. I've been on the message boards four to six hours a day since '98. We're coming up on 4 million posts, so I just feel like I totally know what the average dentist is thinking. He's sitting there, thinking right now, or she's driving to work, she's saying, "Yeah, but Linda, I was formally trained. I went to eight years of college. My hygienist is formally trained, four years of college. My dental assistant went to a year of school. I hired Shirley up front; she worked at the local Chase Bank, Bank of America. How do I train her? My dental school doesn't have ... They closed down their [inaudible 00:32:30] laboratory thing, which was just dumb as ... That's what happened in the 30 years I've been a dentist. They closed down all the dental laboratory schools except for three, and then people want to know why their lab man was basically trained off the street. They never educated the assistant.
My question to you specifically is, what's better? Should I have her sign up for one of these organizations or associations you mentioned? I think you said American Academy of Dental Practice Managers and American Academy of Dental Office Managers or whatever. Should I sign her up for that, or should I bring a consultant in? What's the easiest way to get Shirley up front and trained?
Linda: There's a lot of different ways, Howard. Number one, a quick and easy way, and I do a lot ... I don't do in-office consulting as I did seven years ago, that is, the complete one-year package, but I'm doing a lot of Skype training with some of the newer people to bring them up to par with the long-term team members that I've already worked with over the years. I'm also doing ... I have a two-hour tele-training program on verbal skills and on scheduling and reduction of broken appointments. That's been effective.
That's just quick and easy and inexpensive, but I really prefer that all dentists bring in someone who can come in and spend a minimum of four hours with these people. You can cover a lot of ground in four hours if you just ask the doctor who's hiring you, "Tell me where your pain points are with this person. Is she timid? Does she need to be more outgoing? Does she ..." First of all, they need to hire ... For the front desk, I prefer that they have very outgoing people. In our world, in hiring people, we have a choice of two types of people: those who are people persons, who love to talk and interact, like the two of us, or you might finds a things person. Give them a back room where they can work on whatever computers or sorting mail or in a bank in the back office where they have no patient or no customer contact, and those are the happiest people in the world. You want people-persons out front, in my opinion. If I had two at the front desk, I would find out which one's more comfortable talking to people. That's what you want answering your phone, greeting your patients.
I also think that attitude about learning ... A lot of people say, "Should I hire this woman? She has 16 years experience. Or should I hire this new person who's 22 years old, and I really like her personality?" It's sort of like a can of Play-Doh. You know you've taken the top off of old Play-Doh when they're set in their ways, and they're resistant to change. Then give me a can of new Play-Doh. I want attitude, I want personality, and I want a thirst for learning. I love working with people who have zero experience.
I have a funny thing to share with you. One of the gals came to my two-day workshops, and she said, "Linda. I worked at the local bank, and my dentist that I now work for used to come to my teller window every time, and he would always say, 'How would you like a job in a dental practice?' I would say, 'No, no.' Finally, one day, he slipped me a note," and she said, "First of all, you never slip a bank teller a note. It said, 'I have an opening in my office. I like you personality. Will you please come for an interview?'" She went for the interview, and she said, "I'm now the collection, the front desk financial insurance coordinator, and he wants me to collect. Linda, I never had to ask people for money. They just pushed it through the window at me." I said, "I know a lot of dentists who hire a lot of ex-bank people, because they think they know how to get money, and they really don't."
Howard: That is so true. Back to the training of staff. You said you had some Skype videos. Is that on your website, asklindamiles.com, or where ...
Linda: I do have some sample videos on there. The training isn't listed on there, but a lot of consultants ... What I would recommend, Howard, is look at the Speaking Consulting Network roster of consultants, look at the Dental Consultant Connection. Read about the consultant there. The dentists that are listening to this can find so many good people close-by to them.
The other day, I flew all the way to California to speak for an oral surgery group for their referring dentists. Took me 15 hours, three flights to get there, 13 hours to come home to work five hours. I just don't enjoy that anymore, so I would say look at the Speaking Consulting Network roster of consultants, look at the Academy of Dental Management Consultants, and look at Dental Consultant Connection, and read about the people that you might want to bring in. There's just so many ... There must be 300 in all three of those groups.
Howard: You know what I wish all 300 would do? Dental Town is coming up on 200,000 dentists, four million posts. We should break both those barriers this month. We should break the 200,000 dentists and the four million posts, but we put up 317 one-hour courses, and they just passed 510,000 views, so a half million views. If every one of those 300 consultants, for free, just put up a demo, like a one-hour lecture, for every person that said, "Thanks for the information for free. I'm going to go implement it myself. I don't need you." It's so counter-intuitive. The other person is going to say, "Oh, my God. I agree with you. I'm just never going to get it implemented. I'm going to give you a check."
I've always believed that with consultants, that the reason that dentists don't pull the trigger is because they're afraid you're going to come in and say, "Okay, quit taking insurance and be a boutique practice and get off all this other ..." They don't know what you're doing to do. Then the consultants, they don't want to say what they're going to do, because then they think, "Oh, you're not going to need me." I always thought the consulting business, with all the top people I know is, it's kind of like they go to the menu. They see salmon or a filet. I can make a salmon. I can make a filet. I just don't want to. I want to write a check and have a chef do it right. I really think they don't want to buy a consultant until they at least hear out what she plans on doing.
Linda: I think you're 100% right, Howard, and for years, I did what I called free after-dinner lectures." Out of that one hour with questions and answers, maybe for ten minutes at the end, I closed, coming back to that same study club within 90 days, I closed nine out of ten of those, because they felt they knew me. They knew my philosophy of collections and scheduling and whatever. They thought, "Wow. I need more of that." After I did the one-day seminar, out of that group of maybe 25 to 40 dentists, I would have three or four one-year contracts, so you have to give something away. They have to hear you, see you, talk to you on the phone. They have to experience you a little bit before they're going to invest in you. I firmly believe that.
Howard: Tell them to start putting up one-hour courses on Dental Town or doing podcasts or whatever.
Linda: I [did 00:40:03].
Howard: I want to ask you a couple of hot-button questions. We read this a lot, and sometimes, you don't know if a person's whining, that it's an excuse or if it's legit.
I do want to make one comment, first, about the bad habits. Any coach will tell you that it's harder to unlearn a bad habit, like in golf, a bad swing, it's 100 times harder to unlearn it. Every golf coach would rather start with a kid who's ten years old. Nobody wants a 52-year-old guy who's been slicing it for 30 years. They'd rather just take you to the vet and put you down. Yeah, so starting fresh is so much better.
The couple of whiny things we hear is that, "I'm a man, and I tell my assistant or front desk to do this. They just jump and they go do it. If I'm a woman dentist, I say the exact same thing, and they treat me differently." The majority of people who work in dental offices are female. Would you agree with that? What percent of dental offices ...
Linda: I would say 99% of all employees are female, and I ...
Howard: Yeah, and do you think they respond differently to a man versus a woman?
Linda: Absolutely, they do.
Howard: If I talk about that, I'm a sexist pig. You can talk about it.
Linda: Howard, I even have a seminar called "Women Working with Women: From Sabotage to Support." It's so true that women dentists have certain pluses and have certain minuses of working with an all-female team. In fact, some women go out of their way to hire a few males, just so they do have someone besides all women working for them, but I have seen it work beautifully well, where the women in the office say, "I would never work for a man again. I have the best boss in the whole, wide world," and then I have seen a lot of problems. The biggest problem that I see, and I caution these female dental students that I talk to, "Don't become the team's best buddy. Don't go out and drink beer and have dinner with these gals every single night and go shopping with them and to the spa with them on Saturday," because they're going to go ... They usually migrate to the youngest dentist on the team, because they're more their age, perhaps, especially if they work for a 50- or 60-year-old male dentist [that's 00:42:28] a senior.
One of the rules is don't become their best friends if you're their employer, or even an associate dentist, because they'll want to whine to this doctor about the older, make dentist. If that happens, and they're out to lunch once a month or whatever, just say to then, "I think we have a valid situation, and in fairness to Dr. A, we need to invite him into this discussion," and just don't listen to the pity parties, because it can really cause problems between the two doctors.
Howard: Linda, what would your advice be, whether it be a coach and there's five players on a basketball team, or a dentist and their five employees ... Where is the line between ... Like with my four boys. "I'm still your father. Yeah, we're all having fun, but at the end of the day, you four are brothers, and I'm your father." Where are the lines drawn between, "I like you. I want to be nice. I'm sympathetic. I have empathy. I'm a human, too. We're all humans, but at the ends of the day, I'm still your boss." How can you really be [inaudible 00:43:39] with someone if you can turn their life upside-down one day by saying, "You're fired"?
There was one legendary anthropologist, Abraham Maslow, who's one of the most legendary anthropologists of all time, and he said that you could not be friends with an employer, because [inaudible 00:43:58] he said it was a form of forced coercion. He said it's a mild form of violence, because I can stop giving you money, and now ... That that was a mild, mild form ... He said that being able to hold that over someone's head, you can't be their friends, anyway. Where do you draw the line?
Linda: Most of my clients were close with their team members, but they were more like, if it was an older male doctor, it was usually a father figure, or if they were in similar ages, it was usually a brother figure, and they did not socialize regularly with their team. They may take them to lunch once a month, like in our practice, when I worked for my last boss, every other Wednesday was pay day, so every other Wednesday, he took us to lunch, and when it was a pay-day week, we took him to lunch. Then at Christmas or for the holidays, he and his wife had us over to their home, and we enjoyed some getting together. We were together if we went away to a seminar, to Williamsburg or something, but we weren't best buddies.
I think an employer loses their ability to instruct or lead a team when they become too familiar. Familiarity breeds contempt, and a lot of disgruntled employees have actually turned on good bosses, because they become too familiar with them, so I like to keep the distance professional between employers and employees. I like to let them know that we care about them. We care about their family. I also believe that it's important to outline that, "We have a problem, and I need your help." That's one of the most empowering things an employer can say to the employees, which says, "I may be the boss, but I don't have all the answers."
If you want participative management, you've got to give people their daily, weekly, monthly, quarterly duties. You have to have high expectations, and I really believe that team members can't read the boss's mind. If I disappoint my employer, is it because I didn't know his or her expectations, or is it because I'm their best friend, or I think that I'm their best friend, and I've been here the longest, and I'm exempt from doing that. I think it's real important to keep a professional relationship with all the employees.
I also don't believe in favoritism. Favoritism is the biggest cancer in most work environments, where one or two feels that they are exempt from following the same guidelines. They don't have to do any more scut work, because they are favored by the boss. If you want to create a queen bee or a prima donna, that's the best way to do it, is to have an uneven distribution of trust, an uneven distribution of praise, and an uneven distribution of rules or guidelines. Best way to tear an office apart is to have favorites.
Howard: I want to ask you ... An engineer will tell you that everything has a trade-off. If you want the car to get the best gas mileage in the world, make it out of plastic. If you want it to survive a crash, make it out of iron. You can't have both. Dentistry is about a relationship, so I still have my first dental assistant, so when you still ... I have dozens of people who have been with me for one, two, three decades, but the problem is is that every time the Earth goes around the sun, they want another raise or another dollar. Most raises in dentistry are based on the solar eclipse and the zodiac symbol. They're not based on profitability, overhead, and income, it just ... Did the Earth go around the sun?
A lot of dentists don't know what to do, because they've got staff that've been with them for 30 years, so for 30 years, every year, they get a dollar raise, and they just ... How do you handle that conversation, when your long-term employee, who you think's like your sister, mother, brother, son, whatever, walks in there and says, "Hey, Linda. The Earth has gone around the sun again. Time to ..."
Linda: "I've been through another year. It's time for my raise." It's a very uncomfortable situation, and in my seminars, I talk about the four criteria for merit increases. I don't believe in across-the-board raises. I don't believe just because you give one a raise, you give them all a raise. I don't believe in that, and pretty soon, Howard, they're making more than the owner. If they understand, as employers and employees, what these four criteria are, I think that this makes both sides feel really good about it.
The number one criteria is the first 25% of a merit raise should be based on their attitude and their ability to work well with other people. I think that that is as important as their skill level. Do they come in in the morning? Are they caring? Are they cheerful? Are they a joy to work with? Or are they coming in and frowning and messing up our happy home? I want to work with happy people, so attitude and personality is 25% of it. If they know that, they're going to get real happy and stay real happy.
The second 25% of the merit increase should be based on their ability to do the job that's on their job description, no matter what their title is. How great of a hygienist are they? How great are they as a clinical assistant or a scheduling coordinator, financial coordinator, office manager?
The third 25% of their merit increase should be based on their ability to attend continuing education, read whatever comes across, constantly wishing to improve personally and professionally while they're in this position. I think that that should be 25% of the merit increase.
The final 25%, and the most important, is the health of this practice since my last raise, in the last 12 months, perhaps. That is, if we had a flat year, if you were my client, and I were your coach, we would have a freeze on all salary increases until this flatness goes away, and we see a peak in our productivity and profits. If we have a really good year, then of course, there can be room for raises, not just for one, but for all, or for those criteria, awarding different amounts to different people. The final, if we had a declining year, does this mean that the employer gets to ask for part of the salary back? No. If we had a down year in profits, that means the owner just took a hit, because what you giveth, you cannot taketh away, or you loseth your staff.
I know a lot of young dentists, Howard, who possibly take over their father's practice, and they have a dental assistant with 30 years experience, who's making top salary. Several of those clients of mine transferred their practices to younger dentists, and they call and say, "I love my assistant, but Dad took her to the Pankey Institute, and she's excellent. She's just the best assistant in the world, but I'm not producing like my father. I can't afford to keep her." I say to that young dentist, "Sit down with her and let her know that this is a real issue. She's worth every penny that she made previously, but salary has to be based on income and profits. Help her find another practice like your dad's that she's going to be super-valuable in." That has to happen, and guess what? Both people are happy.
Howard: Okay. Linda, what should labor be? Off the top of your head, what numbers do you like to see on financial accounting?
Linda: It really depends on what you count as ... Benefits vary from practice to practice, so if you strip away the payroll taxes, and you strip away the benefits, because they vary, and, in some practices, the doctors payroll taxes are bunched in with the team members', and that throws that number way off. In another practice, they may have their spouse on the payroll, paying the spouse $6,000 a month to pack their lunch, and that skews the staff salary. When I work with a practice, I just want support staff who's on the payroll. If the spouse is on the payroll, and you are paying the spouse what you would pay someone else, then, yes, count it, but not if they are not ... Some people pay the pool man and the yard man and the babysitters. I said, "I'm not here from the IRS. That's between you, God, and the IRS. I just want to know what you pay your support staff, period."
When you strip it all out, it should be somewhere around 23 to 25% of collections, and that does not count payroll taxes or benefits, which would increase by probably 3 to 7% in some practices.
Howard: What do you think total overhead should be or could be?
Linda: Ideally, I would like to see it at 55 to 65%, and that is a great ideal, but what we typically see, because of the wasted time, open chair time, and systems not being smooth and team members not being well-trained, what we typically find when we start working with a practice is 65 to 75. Our target is to decrease that by 5% the first 12 months.
Frankly, Howard, I don't do in-office consulting any more, and I'm not really bragging, but if my client did not recoup seven to ten times my fee from one year in their practice, I felt like I didn't do my job really well. Seven to ten times return on investment is something I feel dentists should expect from a consulting assignment.
Howard: I know me and all my friends are the big whales out there. Every single one of them sees consulting as low-hanging fruit to bump up your office. [inaudible 00:54:40] saying, "This is awesome. I gave that lady a dollar, and she gave me a ten dollar bill back." Or, "I gave her a dollar, and she gave me five." They all see it as, "I gave her a buck, and she gave me three, five, ten back," and the dentists just don't see it that way.
I want to ask you another red flag, hot button question. Since you brought it up, I'll throw it back at you: the spouse. For every dentist who says, "I couldn't do it without my woman. She's just the whole heart and soul of the office," another one says, "That was the worst damn decision I ever made in my life." I know dentists who say that that was the worst decision they've ever made in their complete life. What's the criteria then? Obviously, every marriage is different. Every couple's different, but if this dentist is thinking, "I got this hot bride. I love her to death." What should the dentist be thinking about, bringing their spouse into work?
Linda: I think that 70% of the ones I personally worked with over the last 36 years, that it was a good match, but they have to differentiate, and they have to have set hours. They have to have set duties. They have to be treated as an employee. I always tell the couples that work together, "You need to have a place on your drive home, if you drive together, where you will not talk about the practice after you cross a certain railroad track or whatever," because not all couples can work well together.
Some do it beautifully and seamlessly, but I actually consulted in two practices where the spouse, the wife, was a young mom, didn't want to be there, and the husband made them come to work in the practice. After I interviewed the wife, I had lunch with the doctor, and I said, "Can you tell me why your wife is being forced to be in this practice? Her heart is at home with your three children. She doesn't want to be here." One doctor said, "She's here because I wanted her to see how hard I work." The other one said, "If she's not here, she's in the shopping mall, and so she spends too much money. That's why she works here. I keep her here for a reason." No one should work in the practice that doesn't want to be there.
I see a lot of dental spouses that work out beautifully well. I have some client practices, if it were not for the spouse, there wouldn't be a successful practice, but about 30% of the spouses I've met should really not be there. I have encouraged them, "Please, have your own life outside the office. It isn't working well. You and your husband, your marriage is more important, and your family's more important than you working here every day. It's like oil and vinegar." I've actually asked some doctors to allow their wives to find happiness elsewhere in another position or to do volunteer work or whatever, because they're not a good match for the practice.
Howard: Would you say most personal injuries amongst dentists is getting their finger caught in a wedding ring?
Linda: I've never heard that, Howard!
Howard: Linda, I want to ask you another question. I've only got you for three more minutes. You have a whole 'nother life from dental office consulting with oral cancer. Tell them [about 00:58:16] oral cancer, because I've heard it before. How did you get interested in oral cancer, and what should dentists be thinking about oral cancer, or if you're in mouth cancer?
Linda: First of all, I lost my sister-in-law in 2012, and she had oral cancer. It was a horrible, horrible diagnosis, and a horrible, horrible treatment, and she didn't make it. She was late-stage diagnosed. Then Robin Morrison, my business partner in OCC, oral cancer cause, has lost her brother, Mike. We were talking at the AADOM meeting, the American Association of Dental Office Managers, and with her 30 years in dentistry and my 50 years in dentistry, we said ... and her marketing expertise, we said, "We can do a foundation for Mike and for Charlotte."
Before that, Lee Tarvin, who has worked with me as my personal assistant for 31 years, her 42-year-old son, David, had a lump on the back of his throat that didn't go away. His dentist found it. David had a landscaping business, so he waited six months to go see about it, and by the time he went in in November for this outpatient surgery, he had stage-four cancer of the tonsil. At the time, I was too busy in my own business to start anything, but that was when it really hit me that somebody needs to be helping these people financially while they're going through this horrible treatment, especially if the bread-winner can't work.
Robin and I founded that in 2012. It became a 5013C in 2013, and we're asking all dental practices to become an OCC practice. As you know, Howard, doing a complete oral cancer screening by the hygienist or the dentist is standard of care. Unfortunately, not a lot of people are doing it, so we hope to inform the grass-root patients what to expect when they see a dentist or a hygienist. We're hoping that early diagnosis and awareness is going to save a lot of lives.
Howard: What website do they go to? OCC?
Linda: Oralcancercause.org, and I'd love for everyone listening to please listen to our theme song that was donated by Laurie Streeter. It's a beautiful song that's on our website. I'd love for them to see Dr. Jeff Blackburn, who is a dentist in Richmond, Virginia, who is an oral cancer survivor, and read some of the stories. Mike and Charlotte's pictures and stories are on there, as are many other survivors and those who didn't live to talk about it. Robin and I are very proud of the fact that we can help the families financially, with child care, with trips to their cancer centers, and we just want all dentists and all dental teams to start becoming more in tune to helping us save lives by doing these advanced cancer screenings.
Howard: What would you say to these billion-dollar dental insurance companies who, if Linda went to her physician and wanted a cancer screening for her woman areas, or a mammogram, or whatever the insurance all pays, and then if you come to your dentists, and I try to do an oral cancer screen with any of these technologies, I can't bill for it?
Linda: I know. I know. Frankly, Howard, if I were a dentist, I would use my oral ID or my VELscope or identify whichever device you're using. I would use it as a marketing tool, and I would say to the patient, "You know, Mrs. Bailey, some dental offices charge a fee for doing an advanced oral cancer screening, and because we are so concerned about this horrible disease, and more 20- to 40-year-olds are actually being diagnosed every single day ... One person dies every hour from this disease, we are providing it for you and for your family and all other patients at no fee, simply because we are that concerned about it." Use it as a marketing tool, but I do hope, one day, the insurance companies might definitely recognize it.
I will say that medical doctors who are not physicians of the mouth and admit that they are not, are now embracing the fact that dentists and dental teams are the people that should be doing these oral cancer screenings and looking for these bumps and lumps that don't heal in the mouth.
Howard: I know it's hilarious when you're a dentist and you get your annual physical, because the doctor takes a popsicle stick and has you open and say, "Ah." I'm like, "Okay, dude, I've been a dentist for 20 years. What could you have just done?"
Linda: They're looking at your throat. My physician the other day said, "You know, Mrs. Miles, I'm very intrigued with what you're doing." He's about 55. He's a Filipino physician, and he's an [inaudible 01:03:12] and wonderful. He said, "Instead of us physicians saying to the patients, 'Tell me, how is your blood sugar? How is your blood pressure? How's this? How's that?' We should be saying, 'How's your dental care? How's you mouth? How clean is your mouth?'" Because the mouth is the gateway to overall health, and they are finally realizing that dentists are very important parts of keeping people healthy overall.
Howard: Linda, we are out of time. It's already an hour and three minutes. I'm three minutes in over time. I just want to tell you seriously, you're my idol. You're a rock star. You're an idol to everyone that I know in this business. Anybody who's ever taken practice management seriously, you're a big part of their journey. Thank you so much for all that you've done for dentistry, and you continue to do for dentistry. You're definitely one of dentistry's thousand points of lights. Thank you very much for giving me an hour.
Linda: Thank you so much. Thank you. Bye-bye.
[inaudible 01:04:09], Linda, while I have you on the phone, I just want to tell you that these dentists will put up a course on, say, ['mor-in-duh' 01:04:17], and they'll put up a one-hour course, and they'll tell me that in the next 12 months, they'll get booked like 76 invitationals to speak at ... All these dental meetings, they get three volunteers. They say, "Okay. I want Moe, Larry, and Curly to be in charge of next year's speakers. I want you to find one on endo and practice management and dentures." They go to Dental Town, and they'll go to endo, and there's like eight guys that did a one-hour course, and they pick ... It's really your debut.
Linda: It's a marketing tool.
Howard: Oh, yeah. My business model ... Yeah. We're at now 200,000 dentists. My business model's very simple. I'll split whatever you ... If they put it up for free, even though I got 52 employees, I put it up for free. If they want to sell it for a dollar, we collect the dollar and send them half every month. If people just want it for marketing and exposure, and they put it up for free, it'll get ten times more views, especially around the world.
Linda: I really hope you'll be at the Speaking Consulting Network and meet these people and maybe have a booth there. I'm going to talk to [Lois 01:05:27] about you being a VIP. You would love it. You would absolutely love it, and you [crosstalk 01:05:35] ...
Howard: Every one of these 300 consultants up there, it'd be their hour demo, and some people would listen and learn and implement, and they would just say thank you. For every one of them, another person would say, "I like the way you think. I wish you would come into my practice. I'd like to give you a check and order that." I feel it's very important, because I'm trying to get the dentists ...
I just had a podcast with Dr. Kois, from the Kois Center in Seattle, and he said the same thing. He says, "You're not going to buy a piece of equipment and be successful. You're not going to be successful because you've got a laser or a CAD/CAM or a CBCT." He talks about all the things that you talk about. I'm trying to turn these guys around: "Look, you're stressed out of your mind, because every time you try to solve a problem, you go buy a $100,000 CAD/CAM, and then you buy a $50,000 optical scanning impression, and then you buy a $75,000 ['my-oh-lace' 01:06:27], and we need to get back to basics. We need to get the business."
Linda: We need to get the team members thinking about our practice, instead of his or her practice, and we need to get them excited about dentistry, Howard. So many of them are not excited.
Howard: Now, they got some serious, sophisticated competition with corporate. I think the best way to fight back with corporate is to get a lot of dentists to focus on the business that they're not focused on. You know all the great consultants. Tell then, "Look, if you want to do it for free as a marketing, Howard'll put it on Dental Town free. If that's how you make money, he'll split the money with you, 50-50." Have them call me, do a podcast, have them put it online [inaudible 01:07:04], because, this economy, it's just kind of flat, and there's a lot of people that need a lot of help.
Linda: You have done more for the business of dentistry in the ... How many years have you been doing this, Howard? 25?
Howard: Yeah, but you know what's funny is what's coming on is, what the American's don't realize is, they're leading the world on this. When you go around to Kathmandu and [Shenzhen 01:07:25] and India and Brazil ... I've lectured in 50 countries, and they quote your guys' names there just like they do in Kansas and Oklahoma and Nevada! I've gone into probably 20 different dental schools in India, and they actually ... The same brand names on Dental Town. It's just global ... The Internet ...
Linda: Dental Town has taken the whole dental world and turned it upside down and inside out with information.
Howard: You know what I also don't understand about the dental consultants is that so many of those dental consultants are putting all that time and resource on their Facebook group, and they've got 500 or 1,000 people on Facebook, and it's all their choir. It's like, why wouldn't you put the effort on Dental Town in front of 200,000 people from here to Australia to England to all 50 states?
Linda: I think that they have no idea. I know I used to be on Dental Town, and then when Facebook came along it was like, "I love looking at the pictures," and all that. It certainly isn't a marketing tool.
Howard: I look at the difference between Facebook and Dental Town as a ... Facebook, a dentist is just going to put the picture of the trophy, of the deer head above the mantel, and say, "Oh, look at this final root canal I did," but it's not going to teach you how to hunt. Facebook's a mile wide and an inch deep, and Dental Town is an inch wide and a mile deep. It's got four million ...
Linda: That's a great way to put it, yeah. Listen, I'm ...
Howard: But tell your best consultants ...
Linda: Howard! Can you do me a favor and just send me a little paragraph that I can send out to Susan, who is the executive director of ADMC? I'll send it out to Lois, who has the up-to-date database for SCN, and I'll send it to Robin for Dental Consultant Connection. I know that everybody would want to put an hour ... really, there would be such a ... You would have such a library that people would go on it nine million times more, because they're going to get something out of it every time they go back.
Howard: I'd rather have the brand name and be Nike or Coke or Budweiser first, and then try to be a consultant than going up to someone, and they can't pick your face out of a police lineup. If they put up an hour, and 10,00 dentists listen to them for an hour, that starts their brand. Then it's easy to go in there and close. It's pretty hard when you're a complete stranger.
Linda: How many podcasts can you do a week, say?
Howard: I can do three to five a day.
Linda: Wow. I'm going to ... I'll put out ... Do you have something like a paragraph that you can explain what you just said to me about how many hits and all, and how many people are in your audience?
Howard: Yeah, absolutely.
Linda: List the three benefits to them of being on your educational library.
Howard: Right on.
Linda: Okay? I'll send it out, because you can say it so much better than I can. You know all those numbers.
Howard: Okay. All right. Have a great day.
Linda: Say hi to your four boys for me!
Howard: I will.
Linda: And that little granddaughter's precious!
Howard: Oh, she ... She's my reward for not killing my four boys.
Linda: [inaudible 01:10:53]. You take care!
Howard: All right. Bye-bye.