Dentistry Uncensored with Howard Farran
Dentistry Uncensored with Howard Farran
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995 The Future of Profitable Dentistry with Dr. Woody Oakes & Steve Parker : Dentistry Uncensored with Howard Farran

995 The Future of Profitable Dentistry with Dr. Woody Oakes & Steve Parker : Dentistry Uncensored with Howard Farran

4/26/2018 1:42:46 PM   |   Comments: 0   |   Views: 440

995 The Future of Profitable Dentistry with Dr. Woody Oakes & Steve Parker : Dentistry Uncensored with Howard Farran

Excellence in Dentistry has been serving dentistry for 30 years. "Excellence in Dentistry" which publishes The Profitable Dentist magazine, provides educational products, and conducts two national seminars each year.

April 27th, 2018 Free CE on Facebook Live: 


VIDEO - DUwHF #995 - Woody Oakes & Steve Parker

AUDIO - DUwHF #995 - Woody Oakes & Steve Parker

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995 The Future of Profitable Dentistry with Dr. Woody Oakes & Steve Parker : Dentistry Uncensored with Howard Farran

Howard: It is just an extreme honor for me today to be podcast interviewing my mentor, my idol, Dr Woody Oakes and his partner Steve Parker. Woody is the founder of Excellence in Dentistry and has been serving dentistry for thirty years. Excellence in Dentistry publishes the Profitable Dentist Magazine, provides educational products and conducts two national seminars each year. Woody's idol was...


Woody: Earl Estep.


Howard: Earl Estep from Texas and who's, I guess retired to a farm and has bought big equipment and spends all day driving around like a toy truck.


Woody: Right.


Howard: Woody is single handedly responsible for my lecturing career. It was way back in the day and Woody attended my seminar that I put on myself in a hotel and he gave me a five star rating, a raving review, and is Profitable Dentist Magazine, which went to tens of thousands of dentists all over America. And the minute you published that, man, I was getting speaking engagements from everywhere. Woody, thanks so much for all you did for me back then. How are you doing, buddy?


Woody: Pretty good. Trying to stay busy.


Howard: What's new in your world?


Woody: Not a whole lot. Just trying to help out Steve a little bit on the transition, trying to figure out what I'm going to do the rest of my life. 


Howard: Are you still at New Albany?


Woody: I am. Just moved into a new condo and moving from a house to a condo has been quite an experience.


Howard: Yeah, but it's nice; you don't have any yard work, you don't have to worry about so much of that crap; minimalization is a key to lowering your stress.


Woody: Oh yeah. Have you done that yet?


Howard: No. I've got four boys and they've all moved out, but one by one, three of them have come back and left. They're in and out, so I'm not going to do it until they're all married with children and out. But then I still don't want to do because I'm three miles from my office. I love my house and then I have their original bedrooms so when they come back for Christmas and Easter and Hanukkah and all that stuff, you know, thanksgiving. So I don't know, I probably won't. And then the other thing is every time I've gone to sell my house and I start looking at other ones, you know, by my office, and everything that I want to buy is three times more expensive. So I just think.


Woody: Stay where you're at.


Howard: I'm just going to stay. I've told my team whenever I talk about selling my house, just to talk me out of it because it's a huge waste of time. So you've got a rocking hot big meeting tomorrow in Destin, Florida? 


Woody: Yeah. And well it's actually going to be in Orlando this year.


Howard: Oh, it's in Orlando.


Woody: Steve wanted me to talk a little bit about the beginning of the seminar and how it got going. If you can imagine, Howard, back in the day, we started out with a sixteen page newsletter that was called Nationwide Dental Newsletter. Then it went on to become the Profitable Dentist and back then before the Internet, you could charge for stuff like that. At the time there were a hundred thousand dentists in the country. There's more than that now. And we had twelve thousand of them as paid subscribers, so $147 a year for one year and $247 a year for two years. We have basically 12% of the dental community got that newsletter every month. That's kind of the way the seminar's got started, my partner in the newsletter was a dentist named Travis McPhee, and I don't know if you remember Travis?


Howard: Of course I do, in Oregon?


Woody: Yeah, and we were talking one Sunday and there was snow on the ground here and snow on the ground there. And we said, you know what, we need to find a way to get out of this place and get to some warm weather. And both of us kind of spontaneously said we need to have a seminar in someplace warm. And neither one of us had ever done a seminar. And we thought, well, we'll just get three or four dentists and we'll go down there and we'll call it a seminar, and that'll pay for our vacation. Well, to show you how things have changed, we put one little notice in the newsletter and Howard, we had, I think you were at the first or the second?


Howard: I think I was at the first one.


Woody: There were seven hundred people there for one little bitty ad in the newsletter and you know how that's changed so much. But that's kind of how the mega dental seminars got started. We had seven people, people you'd know, Rick Kushner, Cathy Jameson, the Duffins, who were all a big deal back then. The first time Travis and I had ever met in person was down at [inaudible 05:17]. And we walked in and I said, Travis, you're fatter than I thought you'd be. And he said, you're taller than I thought you'd be. So that was our first introduction. We had never done a seminar in our lives and so had to wing the first seminar totally. From the AV, and how to introduce the speakers and back then we videotaped everything. We sold the videos and it just of grew like crazy since then. And at the time we were the only dental seminar, live seminar out there except for the ones that the ADA did, which were, you remember, super boring. So is that the way you remember the first seminar?


Howard: Oh yeah, and Rick Kushner is still all that and a bag of chips. I've been trying to get him to come on my podcast. I lectured with Cathy Jameson in Oklahoma last Thursday. She's still all that and her husband John. That was just amazing. The funniest thing I remember is when you and Travis wanted to do a skit where you guys went out there and me and another guy, what was his name?


Woody: Todd Vogel.


Howard: Todd Vogel. I still have the picture and it's so hilarious, we overdid the joke, we were going to pretend we were women, so we got in a bathing suit and put a wig on. But your girls put so much damn makeup on me, they actually just thought we were both just two ugly chicks. No one knew it was me and Todd. And so the joke bombed just because they didn't know it was me. In fact Ryan is going to have to [inaudible 07:00], and said, did you think I was funny? They'd take a second look and say, Howard? Do you remember that?


Woody: Yeah, we put the picture on the cover of the magazine actually at that time.


Howard: Oh my gosh. Do you still have a picture of that?


Woody: I do.


Howard: Well take a picture with your iPhone and send it to because that is just hilarious. When's the last time you talked to Travis?


Woody: Oh it’s been a long time. He's retired now. He ended up just going to denture practice; he found out he can make more money doing dentures up in Oregon. But it's been, probably ten years. 


Howard: Wow. We should follow up on this show with Travis.


Woody: Oh I know.


Howard: So talk about your inspiration from Earl Estep. What did Earl Estep mean to you, with his newsletter Country Gold?


Woody: Of course they called him Earl the Pearl. And I had been at dental school six or seven years and things were not going well, financially. I'll tell you a little story to illustrate how bad it was. I hope I don't offend any hygienists that might be on the call, but I was not making a lot of money. I was just paying bills and that was that. I was dating this hygienist named Beverley, a beautiful girl, but she wanted a boob job and she came to me and said, "Would you pay for a boob job?" And I said, "Well, Beverley, money's really tight right now. Can we do one now, and another one three months later?" And she didn't think that was funny. And that was kind of the end of that. I was just gasping to find a way to start making money in dentistry. And so I get this sales letter from this guy in Athens, Texas, named Earl Estep. And I read this thing and I was just really blown away with what he said. And the seminar was going to be in Memphis, Tennessee, and as many of you who have been [inaudible 09:11] know, I had a 61 Volkswagen with the hole in the floorboard. And I decided I was going to drive to Memphis and hear Earl. Well, I couldn't afford the tuition to the course and so I called Earl and basically talked him into letting me come for free and then I couldn't afford a hotel and Earl says I ended up in the red light district as far as hotels, but it was a place to stay. And this guy walks out in the morning like at 8:00am, and he put a six pack of Coors Light on the podium and he also has a cowbell and he starts drinking at eight o'clock in the morning. And he said every time I tell you something good, I'm going to ringing this cowbell, and that's a writer downer. Write it down, it's important. And he said, if you noticed, I will be drinking some beer and if you dare fall asleep while I'm talking, I'm going to throw a beer can at you and wake you up. This guy, he was amazing. Absolutely amazing. His message was, if I can do it, you can do it. And then of course I had lunch with him and he had a bunch of people sitting around a table and I'm just mesmerized. And then the second day was more of the same and I came back to New Albany, Indiana and just started doing everything that Earl talked about. And within, really in a year or two years’ time, things turned around completely. And there would be no profitable dentist; you said, Howard, you wouldn't be on the national stage if it had not been for the ploy we gave you in the newsletter. There would be no profitable dentist without Earl Estep. He's an amazing guy, he came to our twentieth year reunion, somewhere down in Destin. But that's how it all started. Steve Parker and I were talking before the call, that back then it was so easy to get big crowds at seminars. But that was before 9:11 and it was easier to travel, and there weren't a lot of people doing seminars.


Howard: These younger kids, they weren't there thirty years ago, and back then it was extremely taboo to talk about profitable dentistry. Nobody wanted to hear a physician or a dentist talk about money. And back then you could, you know you're in Indiana, you're near two distilleries, and you’re near Maker's Mark. That's what, an hour from your house?


Woody: Right.


Howard: And in Tennessee, Jack Daniels, back then you could drink Maker's Mark and Jack Daniels where you'd go to jail if you smoke marijuana. Well now marijuana is legal in most states. And back then people who talked about profitable dentistry like you and Earl, it was just so taboo. People couldn't even believe that you can have that conversation and now that it's thirty years later and they are graduating with four or $500,000 in student loans, now it's complete necessity. If they come out of school and they don't get profitable quick, life's going to be very difficult.


Woody: You know, Howard, after we did that first seminar, and I've got the letter somewhere, Travis and I got this scathing letter from the ADA, How dare you put profitable and dentist in the same sentence. They were really, really upset about that event down in Florida. And like you say, it's turned around so much now, where these kids are coming out of school with so much debt that they have to get profitable quick.


Howard: What advice would you give them? Because most of these dental schools are now up to seventy to $100,000 dollars a year tuition and that doesn't include supplies, room and board, car, insurance, all that stuff like that. What is your advice to these kids because the dental schools aren't going to change their ways because the dental school Deans telling me, “Look, every time we raise our tuition, $10,000 a year, we get no decrease in qualified applicants.” So the tuition is completely inelastic to demand. And veterinarian is the craziest because vets don't make any money and they got like four times as many people per seat applying to vet school as med school or dental school. And graduating a veterinarian with that kind of debt, it's just insane. The return on investment is not there. But what advice would you give these kids walking out of school, half a million dollars in debt and they're twenty-five years old?


Woody: You know what I would do, Howard, and I think you had him on one of your podcasts. Tony Robbins?


Howard: Right.


Woody: We've done a couple seminars with him and I know him fairly well. He says, find somebody who's getting the results you want and copy what they're doing. So one of the things I did when I was trying to turn things around, I'd been hearing about a really good practice in Columbus, Ohio. And I'd called the guy, and say, and back then they were all guys, there were almost no female dentists. That's changed tremendously. And I'd say, "Hey, I hear you got a really good practice. Do you mind if I come up and watch you for a day?" And the really good ones would say, "No, I don't mind." The ones that were doing crappy dentistry, they'd say, "No, I really don't want you to come in my office." So what I would do, I would talk to the reps from the Patterson and the Benco's and say, "What clients do you have who are really doing well and have great practices. And I would just go and watch these people and learn from them because every office I went to; some offices you learn just a little bit, one or two things, but then other practices, you learned so many things. Tony talks about it, it cuts the learning curve and it really does, rather than try to learn all this stuff on your own, which is never going to happen. And the other thing I learned, don't bother going to anybody in your own town because they're so protective and they don't want you to see what they're doing and vice versa. So find people out of town. I'm right across the river from Louisville, Kentucky, so there were several people in Louisville that I would visit and just pick their brains all day long.


Howard: You and I have seen the DSO rodeo twice now because when I got out of school in eighty-seven, what year did you get out of school?


Woody: Seventy four.


Howard: Seventy four. I got out in eighty-seven, so we saw Orthodontic Centers of America do these roll-outs, they made it to the New York Stock Exchange at a billion dollar valuation and then they imploded. There were a dozen on NASDAQ, then they all imploded, then they're gone for a decade. Now they're all back. But, but Wall Street doesn't forget the lesson; Wall Street wouldn't touch any of these guys because they're just a roll-out. They get a bunch of debt and they buy a bunch of offices and the only way they grow themselves as to grow their debt sheet, and by the time they get to a hundred million in sales or a hundred million in debt, but a lot of people think the sky is falling and that these DSO's are going to take over all of dentistry and someday we're going to be like the pharmacist working at Walgreens or CVS. What's your opinion of the current state of DSO's and what do you think their impact is having on dentistry and how big do you think they'll get and all that stuff?


Woody: That stuff I think Steve can talk a little bit more about. But one of the things I see, Howard, you talk about these kids coming out of school with all this massive debt and there's a lot of people, particularly the women, because as you know, the classes are 50% women now. What I've read is their average career is only seven years, because they start having babies and they don't want to practice full time. So I think that a lot of the DSO's, it's a good fit, particularly for women it's a good fit for particularly women dentists, but a lot of other dentists. I had an associate who ended up going to one of those. I think it serves a need; if your career is only going to be seven years, and you want to come back into dentistry just a couple of days a week, then that's a good option. The pay is pretty decent. What do you hear?


Howard: Well, when you say their careers are only seven years, I know a lot of, because they're going to have babies. Actually the opposite is also true. I know a lot of women dentists where their husband quit their job and is playing Mr. Mom and raising the kids. I think the women can retire early is because women always marry with their brain. Women dentists always marry a dentist, a physician, a lawyer, you know, they always have a great job and most of them married someone who makes six figures. Whereas this stupid dentist is always going to marry the best looking girl, the best-looking waitress at the waffle house and then he's not smart enough to realize the only reason she's going to trade her beauty for Humpty dumpty dentist is because she's never going to work and she's going to get to spend $10,000 a month.  It's a trade-off. They just don't marry right. I always tell dentists, if you're on a date and they bring the bill, if she doesn't even try to pay, I mean, if you want to pay that's cool, but if she doesn't even try. You're a fool and your money will always part. So many women are enamored by physicians, dentists, and lawyers that they're going to have high social status, high income, never work, drive a range rover. And the women dentists, they're not dumb. The women dentists assume that all men are useless and if you're going to marry one, they'd better make $10,000 a month or they're not even going to entertain the offer.


Woody: Howard, I should have talked to you before my last marriage.


Howard: Every time I lecture in dental school, I tell those boys, I say, dude, the smartest decision you could ever make in dental school, is marry one of these women in the class. Just send a generic email to every single one of them, make it a group email and they all know who you are. It's the best decision. And a lot of these dental schools have hygiene schools too. So that's great advice. But they marry so ridiculously. In fact, Greg Stanley, who's a common friend of ours, he lives up the street, when you ask him when do dentists retire, and he says, "Well, if you've never been divorced, you can retire early. But at one divorce you're looking at sixty-five, two divorces you're looking at seventy-five, and three divorces you'll die at the chair."


Woody: That's true.


Howard: So I just [inaudible 20:23], you're at, the Profitable Dentist is @exelindentistry. I just retweeted that to my twenty-three thousand homies. Thank you so much for following me on twitter @howardfarran. And the tweet is So you're having a big seminar tomorrow in Destin, Florida and you're also going to live stream it?


Woody: Howard, excuse me, it's Orlando.


Howard: I mean Orlando. Sorry. I went to Destin. I've got to tell you my funniest Destin story. First time I ever went there, this was before cell phones, mapquest, all that stuff. I fly into that airport, I rent a car and I asked the Hertz lady, I told her the address of it and, I kid you not, you couldn't make this story up. She says, "Oh, that's so easy." She goes, "just go on that highway, go down seven waffles houses, turn right on the seventh waffle house, and its right there." I'm like, "what? Seven waffle houses." She wasn't even kidding. There was a waffle house every mile, all the way to Destin.


Woody: Well [inaudible 21:35] beach, they call it the Redneck Riviera. And that's all it is. And then you go down past all the waffle houses and then [inaudible 21:40] there's a beautiful resort down there that nobody's heard of.


Howard: Yeah. Destin, Florida. So you decide to have it to Orlando. We just had our [inaudible 21:51] meeting in Orlando. So how's the meeting looking? Who have you got speaking? Are you excited about it?


Woody: Yeah, Steve, I'm going to bring you in on that, because you've been working more with the speakers than I have.


Steve: Yeah, probably a little bit like you, Howard, Orlando is just an easy place to get in and out of. One of the chief complaints we had with Destin, it's a beautiful place, but no easy flights in and out, and you have to leave a day early. There are two flights from wherever you live, and so we decided to make it easier for people who want to attend in person. And then the other thing we did was, you're right, we're going to live stream it all day tomorrow. This is kind of a new thing. We've talked in the past and a lot of people who put on seminars, we all have the same situation. It is just hard to get people to show up and put in the time and travel when CE is so readily available. So what we're going to try and do is stream this thing starting at 7:30 in the morning. Friday is a lot of mostly practice management speakers. Dr Craig Spodak from Delray Beach, Florida is our keynote. If you haven't heard him, you really need to hear his story about his practice. Just an amazing thing he's done. He has really embraced the millennials as employees, which I know you've done a few podcasts on that and it's a topic that a lot of dentists have a hard time getting their mind around right now. We've got Laura Hatch, Elijah Desmond, Gary Kadi, Gary Takacs and Dr Brady Frank. This is all day Friday. I just saw your tweet, I appreciate it. All you have to do is really register and then you'll start getting notifications all day tomorrow that’ll say, the next speaker is up, you click it, log in, you can watch it for an hour. You have to log in before ten minutes is up. And then you'll get live CE. When you're finished, it'll know you were there and a CE certificate will bounce back to you, in your email and you'll say, "Wow that was easy. And I got to hear a great speaker." And then Saturday, if you happen to be in Orlando, we'd love to have you, we still have, believe it or not, people signing up today to attend. We have people flying in at the last minute. It's at the Hyatt Regency Orlando and part of what we've done here is taken all these speakers and put them together in more of a presentation area and you can come hang out with them, rather than just sitting in a room watching them speak and they leave. You get to hang out with all these speakers. We have about six, I think it might be seven pod-casters recording their live podcast at the event. And then Saturday is mostly clinical. If you want to come, we won't live stream it, but you can view it afterwards. But those will be more clinical presentations. And then we're doing what we call it digital trade show. So all the vendors there, there are about thirty plus vendors who will do a podcast live, video on Facebook live, and you'll be able to see them, see what they have at the show. It's about twenty minutes. So they'll do their pitch, they'll give you a special, just as if you went, so you can get a discount or a break on whatever their product is. What we're really trying to do is take what Woody started all those years ago and really put it in the new media and the new, mostly social media and really deal with and address the realities of today. There's just so much CE. Think about the CE that's available today, literally today as there was thirty years ago and how easy it is to get. So we're really trying to take advantage of those things and bring it to a much larger audience. From the numbers we're expecting will be north of probably sixty thousand views tomorrow. So that's a lot of dentists all over the world.


Woody: Is that a world record for dentists?


Steve: It will be, yes, we've already broken the record of registrations and signups for a dental event, online or streaming. We'll know when we're done, I would like to hit a lot bigger number, but we think it's going to at least be north of sixty thousand views tomorrow.


Woody: Wow.


Howard: Damn! Where do they go on to do all this? What's the best website to find out all the information?


Steve: You can go to and register. And really what registration does is puts you in our queue for CE. We have to know who you are and identify you according to the ADA.


Howard: So its


Steve: Yes, like and that gets you registered, which the ADA requires that we do. And again, for every hour, you have to do fifty minutes. So you have to be logged in and it'll know that, it'll know that you're logged in. So if the first session is 8:00 and you log in at 8:08, and you're logged in through it, you'll get a CE certificate for each course you watch, there are eight courses tomorrow.


Howard: And how much is that?


Steve: That's free.


Howard: The


Steve: Yeah. That's free all day tomorrow.


Howard: So the whole thing's free?


Steve: You can watch it all day, live tomorrow for free.


Howard: Damn. Very interesting thing is the fact that these millennials are coming out of dental school, a half a million dollars in debt, you look at the data, 38% of millennials still live with their parents, it's really affecting the housing market. A lot of these millennials can't qualify for a home, and its having a serious, material impact on housing. So taking CE online is easier and faster. I mean dentaltown has four hundred plus courses and most of them are the price of a cab fare from the airport to the hotel. So, you know these weekend courses that are $3,000 or $4,000 at all these famous institutes, that could be very cost prohibited when you're trying to make your student loan payment on a half million dollars of debt. So that's amazing. Gosh darn, that is really cool.


Steve: Well, I think you also see a difference in the type of CE and you really alluded to it earlier. You know, I've been in this business, I'm a business guy. I just happen to own a lot of businesses in the dental industry and fifteen years ago I would go in and do some consulting with dentists, my background is management finance. So I would get in and kind of get under the hood and they never wanted anybody to know that a guy like me was helping them out; they would be embarrassed. At the time I owned some dental labs and that would have great big bills, great big AR from a great dentist. And so we were talking and I couldn't understand why they couldn't pay their bill.  So that's how I got engaged and involved in it. But they would not want to share with anybody that I was helping them with simple things. How to collect your AR. You pick up the phone and call, that's how you collect your AR. Today, fifteen years later they, they're proud to say, hey, I have this person mentoring me, this person helping me on work with this company. And I think the type of CE has gone from less clinical to more nuts and bolts. A realization and understanding that they're an entrepreneur, they're running a business and they can be the best dentist they could ever be, on their way to bankruptcy court if they don't understand how to pay their taxes and pay their employees and fund equipment and all the things it takes to run their business. So one of the things we've also done is we've changed this and called it the Practice Owners Conference. And that's really to just address the fact that that's where a lot of the struggle in dentistry is. It's not necessarily the clinical; it's in the fact that I'm a practice owner, when really I just want to be the dentist. So one of the things we're trying to do is recognize, and that's why we split it up Friday and Saturday, recognize that all day Friday is really about running your business and ideas to help you build your dental business, your practice. And then Saturday being the clinical is more about, I'm still a dentist and I still love my patients and I still like the work, so that's why we've divided up like that.


Howard: You know, there's one recurring theme in my one thousand podcasts, I've done it every day for a thousand days. It's coming up on three years. I can never figure out why dentists always hesitate on hiring consultants and you're saying it's embarrassing, its ego, and they didn't want you to tell anybody. Which is the only proven return on investment. This is how you get out of student loan debt and practice debt, is you get your dental office poised for growth. You get your house in order and they just don't do it, but they'll buy a $150,000 chairside milling, they'll buy an $87,000 millennial laser from [inaudible 31:17]. They'll buy $100,000 CBCT. They'll buy any single thing, except what they need. And I tell them if your house in order, when they say they want to buy chairside milling machine or a laser, I say, "great, can you write a check for it? You've got to assume debt and lease it for five years." If your house is in order you can just buy a Porsche or a cabin or a laser. But when you're borrowing money for chairside milling, lasers and all that, and you're a doctor in the richest country in the world, how do you not see the problem with that. But what you're saying is they didn't want to tell anybody that you were helping them. So you think it's just ego and pride?


Steve: I think so. I've been fortunate to look under the hood of a lot of dental practices and that's a lot of it. The holes they find themselves in are just silly holes. You're right. I can't tell you how many times,  and the whole chairside milling is another podcast, but I can't tell you how many times I've had dentists show me this, they're proud of this new thing and their nut is about $3,500 a month and then they're buying a $53 block for every crown that they make. So it's $4,000 or $5,000 a month. And their lab bill was only twenty-two hundred, and they're only getting out 80% of that. It's always struck me that that math, I don't care who you are, what you learned or where you went to school, at some point you've got to be lying in bed at night and say, wait a minute four thousand is going out, and all I'm really doing is saving $2,000 or $1,500 of a lab bill. Those are the simple things. Or AR is probably the second biggest thing that I see. Number one is way too many people, way too much overhead. And second is AR and I'll go into an office that has eight or nine or ten months’ worth of receivables. They've been working for free and they're carrying it themselves. So you kind of take a systematic approach to that, but nobody ever gets around to it. So they're embarrassed to say it's that big and that it's gotten that way.


Woody: You make a good point, and Howard asked about that, you know, [inaudible 33:29] going down the dental offices, but even back when I had no money, I had consultants come in, Bill Blatchford, Cathy Jameson, I had seven or eight consultants come in, back in the early years. [Inaudible 33:41] point about doing that.


Steve: They're trained in one thing.


Howard: What's really funny is when you talk to consultants, they don't read the economic stuff from the ADA, economists. Marco, what's his name? Marco Buchesec. I'm so sorry Marco, that I'm always butchering your name. But anyway, he has the best data in economics. He used to work at the World Health Organization, the United Nations. I can't believe the ADA got the greatest healthcare economist ever. And he shows, with data sample size, the average general dentist is doing about seven fifty, and taking home a $174,000 a year. But you talk to any dental consultant and say, "Well, what does the average dentist collect and take home?" They always say, "You know, I'd say, probably about a million two and they take home three fifty."


Woody: Right.


Howard: And that's exactly because everybody that uses consultants. The greatest office I've ever seen and just managed everything, he’s had a different consultant every three or four years to this day and he's ten years older than me. He's sixty-five, and he says, "Well, I've just never given a consultant thirty, forty, $50,000 where I didn't get all that back and then some, in that year." And these dentists, they just don't do it. Now I'm all for CEREC's and chairside lasers and A4D's on app, if that's your love. If that's your love and that's your passion and that makes you want to run a red light on the way to work, knock yourself out. But if you're buying that for a business decision, you're incredibly flawed thinking.


Steve: We're together on that. Yeah.


Howard: Yeah. If that's what makes you love dentistry, people ask me all the time, they say, "Well do you think I should specialize? Do you think that's a good business decision?" I'm going to go, "Dude you don't only want to specialize, if that's what you want to. You're only going to live one time and you're going to graduate at twenty-five and you're going to do this for thirty years to sixty-five. I hope I can do it until I'm seventy-five. I hope I've got twenty more years in this. But my gosh, that should be a matters of the heart and when it's matters of the heart, you don't ask some short, fat, bald dentist in Phoenix what you should do. I mean, these are matters of the heart. That's like someone saying, should I marry my girlfriend? That's a matter of the heart; if you want to specialize, lasers, place implants, do invisalign, all that stuff, but that's totally separate than the business of dentistry.


Steve: Right.


Howard: And you've already made a decision to use half a million dollars of other people's money and you got debt that you can't default on. How corrupt is that? It's in the constitution that we don't have debtor’s prisons and bankruptcy is a right, but the good government in bed with the banks, they can't even bankrupt [inaudible 36:38]. So if you've come this far, you've got to make some good business decisions.


Steve: I always tell people your dental degree and your dental license just means you're a good dentist and has no bearing on you being a good practice owner. That is a whole different can of worms. And I think that has really come to light. I'll tell you, when I speak at dental schools or I speak to students or young dentists, they get that. I think guys, a generation or two older, I think Howard, we're about a year apart, and they don't get that. They think, oh I'm a dentist so I'm going to retire well. And it hasn't worked out. But I think young dentists see themselves in a very much more entrepreneurial light then just a generation ago.


Howard: So Woody, last time I was talking to you, you had a basketball goal in your garage, it was inside your garage, wasn't it?


Woody: Right.


Howard: I can still remember watching your boy shooting baskets inside the garage.


Woody: Right.


Howard: How old is he now?


Woody: Thirty-one. He got his MBA from Kelley Business School at Indiana University. I couldn't talk him into dentistry; he's working for a big pharmacy company.


Howard: Nice. Nice. Whenever people talking about leadership, I want to get your opinion, because I know you're a huge Bobby Knight fan.


Woody: Yes.


Howard: And he was a brutally fired, I think, because he threw a chair out on the court, but I always tell people that you don't know what it's like to lead five college boys on a field, I mean, basketball. Leadership for a boy's college basketball team might be very different than leadership at a dental office where all your employees are women. Do you think Bobby Knight was a good leader or do you think he rightfully should have been fired? Talk about leadership.


Woody: Well, he shouldn't have been fired. He's a great leader, of course he was a West Point before he came to Indiana University. There you go. I don't know. One of the first things he did, he took them all to the barbershop and told them they had to dress in a sport coat and tie when they travel. I went to his very first game and I can't remember, I had a string of, I don't know how many games I went to before I missed one. It was a blinding snowstorm and he wouldn't let us drive into Bloomington. But yeah, he's a great leader and a very intelligent guy, very respected. And you look at some of the teams now where the players are doing drugs and all kinds of other crazy stuff. And it's just a different world. But he had a lot of respect. And I think that's something with dentists; if your staff doesn't respect you, then it’s pretty tough to have a good practice.


Howard: What advice do you give them because, it's so much to do with leadership, but they're coming out of school? They're twenty-five, they're working at a DSO, where they are associate for a year or two, and as far as a DSO, and I just tell these kids every day, if that's your best idea, I just want to see the evidence. Let's go back five years. I want to see the evidence of all these kids who went and got jobs at DSO's and they're still there and they love it because the bottom line is, the average associate job is one year to two, and it's the same on Wall Street. Apple's average millennial doesn't even work there twelve months and Facebook holds them the longest and they only hold them two years. That's with stock options and everything. So if working for someone else for thirty years was just all that, show me these people, I haven't met them. All I meet is associates in private practice and in DSO's they quit every year. I talked to a dentist in Scottsdale yesterday, she's had her own practice for ten years, but in the six years before that, she had eight different associate jobs in six years. She hated them all. So then they open up their office and they've got to be a leader. What advice would you give a young dentist to be a leader?


Woody: Well, I think number one, you have to set the example. You can't show up twenty minutes late with patients waiting. Because if you do then, Bambi, Dawn or Fawn's going to show up late too, because the Doctor does and it must be OK to do that. I think communication is big. When I was in practice, we met every morning, we had a morning huddle, we looked at the day's schedule, where can we work somebody in,  what's the status of this patient? I think communication is really key because I'd been in a lot of offices where nobody talks. They just show up, they do their job. I think communication is really essential. And the other thing is feedback, because when I was doing a lot of consulting, I'd be going into practice and I would sit down with the doctor and kind of hear that side of the story and the Doctor would hop into his leased BMW and go to the Country Club for lunch. And where you really learned about the practice was having lunch with the staff people. And I'd say, what's going on? I said, Doctor has leased a new BMW and he belongs to the Country Club? Well, what you don't know is this. And I'd get so many good ideas from the staff people and then I would bring it back to the Doctor, and I said, "OK dude, you think you're really doing well, but here's what I'm hearing on the other side of it." And Earl Estep did a whole book on that; it's called From the Other Side of the Chair. I think we still have copies of that.


Steve: We do, yeah.


Woody: That was a really good book. One other thing we didn't mention, Steve, I don't want this to be a commercial but you and I have talked about it. One of the ways I got started into lecturing, I wrote a book back in the eighties called The Winning Combination and it was just kind of tidbits from all these little trips to other dental offices. And as far as I know, and somebody can correct me that's listening, there are more sales of that book than any other practice management book ever. We sold north of eighty-five thousand at thirty-five bucks a copy.


Howard: What was the name of it?


Woody: It's called The Winning Combination. And Steve is trying to talk me into doing an updated version of it, which I'll probably do. By today's standards it's kind of like, what's the big deal? But you know, back then before the Internet and all the courses that we have. So yeah, we're probably going to re-release The Winning Combination. And then Earl Estep's big book was The Obvious Secret. And of course the obvious secret is people can't make a decision when they're stressed. So when he backed away from the patients and let the staff do the selling, everything turned around. And then he had two assistants, Mary Parallon and somebody, and they thought, Estep, if he can write a book, we can write a book. And they wrote one called  ‘The Other Side of the Chair.’ It's a fantastic read because it lets you see the other side of the chair. What they can see and what they're picking up on and what we as Doctors do that we shouldn't be doing.


Howard: Speaking of that chair, its 8:45 in Phoenix, I’ve got a 9:00 appointment in that chair. And my staff have told me if I don't shut up and get off my free stupid daily podcast show hobby, it's my favorite hobby. I mean, I don't golf, my favorite hobby is talking to other dental homies. I just love my podcasts. I'm the only one who's listened to every episode and I'm the only one who loves it the most. But hey, seriously Woody, thank you so much for all that you've done for me personally and for so many dentists. You're the pioneer. Steve, I did a whole hour with Steve Parker. He was episode eight eighty-one. We'll get this out today because you've got that live event tomorrow. We'll push that out and hope you get some more streamers from it and set all kinds of records. But hey, on that note, I've got to see a patient. You've got to catch a plane to Orlando. Woody, thank you so much. Woody Oakes, Steve Parker, Go to And Ryan, thank you so much for putting that out today that just, I just ruined your day. And I hope you guys have a rocking hot day.


Woody: You too.


Steve: Thank you Howard.


Howard: Thank you.


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