Dr. Jessica Emery is: A wife, a mother, a daughter, a sister, an aunt, a Chicago cosmetic dentist, an entrepreneur, a creative, a visionary, a philanthropist, a smile stylist, a girl boss, a LOVER OF LIFE!!
Dr. Emery grew up just outside of Boston, in Worcester, Massachusetts. She followed in her mother's footsteps and attended Tufts University School of Dental Medicine. She opened Sugar Fix Dental Loft in Chicago, completely from scratch and built the practice of her dreams! At Sugar Fix, Dr. Emery has created a spa-like atmosphere treating her patients to white-glove service that she has become known for. She is also the creator behind ALL of Sugar Fix Dental Loft's social media and marketing.
Additionally in the fall of 2016, Dr. Emery launched another business: dental soiree. Dental soiree has been a dream come true for her and holds unlimited potential for the future of dental marketing.
VIDEO - DUwHF #1067 - Jessica Emery
AUDIO - DUwHF #1067 - Jessica Emery
Howard: It's just a huge honor for me today to be podcast-interviewing Dr. Jessica Emery, who is a wife, a mother, a daughter, a sister, an aunt, a Chicago cosmetic dentist, an entrepreneur, a creative, a visionary, a philanthropist, a smile stylist, a girl boss, and a lover of life. She grew up just outside of Boston, in Worcester, Massachusetts. Did I pronounce that right? Worcester?
Howard: How do you pronounce it?
Jessica: Worcester, Mass.
Howard: Worcester, Massachusetts. Worcester. That's a weird sound to get out of W-O-R-C-E-S-T-E-R. She followed in her mother's footsteps and attended Tufts University School of Dental Medicine. She opened Sugar Fix Dental Loft in Chicago, completely from scratch and built the practice of her dreams. At Sugar Fix, Dr. Emery has created a spa-like atmosphere, treating her patients to white-glove service that she has become known for. She is also the creator behind all of Sugar Fix Dental Loft's social media and marketing. Additionally in the fall of 2016, Dr. Emery launched another business: Dental Soiree?
Jessica: Soiree, like the party.
Howard: Soiree. See, you're a classy woman. I'm born in the barn in Kansas. So Dental Soiree- Did I say it right that time? Dental Soiree?
Jessica: Soiree, like a soiree, the French word for party, like a soiree event.
Howard: Okay, I'm just going to go with that. Has been a dream come true for her and holds unlimited potential for the future of dental marketing. I actually called you to be on the show. You didn't call me because I'm a big fan of yours on Instagram. I follow you @sugarfixdentalloft, @dentalsoiree, @thedentaldiaries, @soireestock. Am I saying- I'm still saying it wrong, right? And Smiles & Lashes. I follow you on Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat. I don't know what an Insta Story is. I've heard of that, but I know you're really big. But anyway, I just think you're a social media genius. You only compete with yourself at the level you're at. But thanks so much for coming on the show.
Jessica: Thank you. Thanks for having me.
Howard: So where does this flare for entrepreneurship come from? First of all, I think that's so cool that you followed your mom to Tufts and became the first mother-daughter dentists from Tufts. How cool is that? So when you graduated — because six thousand kids just graduated from dental school in the United States last week — did you go straight into practice with your mom or did you do a residency or- Talk about your journey at that part of your life.
Jessica: I did. I went right into practice with my mom at Worcester, Mass. I practiced with her for two years and then went out, just spent a weekend in Chicago, one of my sisters had moved out there and I absolutely fell in love with it and my mom encouraged me to go and try a different city. So that's the end of it. I got out there, I fell in love and then everything fell into place.
Howard: So you traded Boston for Chicago?
Jessica: I did
Howard: Worcester, is that a suburb of Boston or is that…
Jessica: It is, yes, it's a suburb. After undergrad in Pennsylvania, when I went back to Boston and I actually went to dental hygiene school there first, so I became a hygienist and practiced for a couple years before even going to Tufts. So I lived in the city of Boston and Beacon Hill, the North End, for a number of years, probably ten years or so. But yes, that was commuting from Boston to Worcester, which was about forty-five minutes West. It was quite a hike.
Howard: What was greater to you about Chicago than Boston?
Jessica: Everything, the vibe- I don't know, I think I was just ready for a change, to be honest and although I loved my mother's practice — my mom is just the most amazing woman — I always had a vision for my own thing. And then just finding Chicago, like I said, was just the end of the perfect match and perfect place to do it.
Howard: Downtown Chicago needs another dentist, like a hole in your head. What made you not fear that there's a dentist for every seven, eight hundred people and that if you would have driven an hour away from Chicago and found some small farm town of two thousand, it'd been so much easier to crush it. So what made you be fearless and go to downtown Chicago and start a scratch practice?
Jessica: I know. You know what? It never even crossed my mind. I had such a strong vision. I knew that I wanted to start a practice fee-for-service out of the gate. It was a scratch practice and I was told by everybody that it wouldn't happen and I wouldn't make it, including consultants. And I said, "You know what? If I got to be on that street corner holding a sign saying 'need dental?', I'm going to make it happen." And it all came down to the marketing, but it's been going strong ever since and building, and it's incredible. I have probably at least five dentists outside my door that I can see. I'm a street level practice. Like I said, there are a lot of dentists there, but there's enough for everybody, I feel like, so I just kind of stay in my lane and do my thing and stick to what I love. I don't do everything in my practice. I stick to what I'm passionate about.
Howard: Just for the kids — at least a quarter of the podcasters are still in dental school — you called out that you wanted a strictly fee-for-service practice. What does that mean to a dental student?
Jessica: That means that I'm out of network with all insurances, so my patients pay 100% upfront and we submit their claim electronically for them to get reimbursed directly.
Howard: What percent of the patients have a serious problem with that?
Jessica: Zip. Like the patients that come in- I'm sure with calls, there's a percentage for sure that call that do not schedule because of that policy, but for the most part, we're busy and cranking all the time and I don't have any pushback on the services we do, which are in the higher price bracket. So it's a beautiful thing. I've spent some time in some dental offices and had to listen to the patients and their pushback with the dentist where they're trying to tell them, explain the treatment plan and there's all that pushback. But what does insurance cover? I could never, ever, ever deal with that.
Howard: Well, it's totally just a mindset because if you study America, between the ages of sixteen and seventy-six years old, the average American will buy thirteen new cars. They'll finance every one of them five years. The average median car will be thirty-three thousand five hundred, so they have no problem buying a thirty-three thousand five hundred car and finance it for sixty months. And then you sit there and you buy your house, your iPhone, your Audi, everything just paid like that. I think dentists are the only ones that make Delta a god. They can't even open their mouth without saying "delta" and making the sign of the cross. They'll say, "Delta will only cover this much and you can only do this." They're the ones selling the power, and you have a different mindset that said, "Screw it, I'm starting from scratch. I'm just going to do this." Those people who have rolled up hundreds of offices, it's so much easier for them to start a de novo scratch practice with no mistakes than to go to some practice where the staff are paid too high, the overhead's too high, and by the time they do surgery and run off half the staff and half the patients, they're at the point now in their lives where let's just start this de novo. I'll never forget. I used to cry to my dad to take me with him golfing, so he finally did. I was like ten years old and he finally said, "Okay, you can go," and I thought I was going to golf with them, but he dropped me off at the (unclear 00:08:04). He said you'd never want to golf. He said the first ten times you golf, you want to be with a pro, you don't want to learn a bad mistake and then you'll never get rid of it your whole life. So the first ten times you're going to golf, it's going to be with someone that teaches you how to golf. So what kind of dentistry are you passionate about?
Jessica: Cosmetic dentistry. I love, absolutely love, love, love cosmetics. That's just kind of what I stuck to out of the gate, out of school. I dove headfirst into every single CE. I went through Las Vegas Institute, I've been through Spear, Hornbrook back then, but you name it- I don't even know financially how I did it, but I did. I took a deep dive, and I took away all of those pearls and it gave me the confidence. So now, basically a lot of people seek me out for that.
Howard: Let's keep it real. This is Dentistry Uncensored. Let's just be crass and truth- It seems like every time somebody is crushing cosmetic dentistry or plastic surgery, facelifts, tummy tucks, they're always hot people. You never see a short, fat, bald guy that's crushing it in eye lifts, tummy tucks, breast augmentation, veneers. You and Dorfman, don't you guys have a severe advantage because people look at you and say, "I want to be hot too." But when Freddy Fudd from Parsons, Kansas who looks like he just fell off a train says he's a cosmetic dentist- It's kind of like when you go to the aerobics class, if the instructor was three hundred and fifty pounds and up there smoking a cigar and drinking a beer, I mean, would you?
Jessica: This is what I think. I think it's passion. I think one, passion two. Passion speaks a thousand billion words. And marketing — let's keep that in mind. Even if you're an introvert — I'm obviously an extrovert — a high I on the spectrum, I just think social media- Like madness for instance. My clientele, my fee-or-service patients that are coming in are young. It's a young demographic that's willing to pay that kind of money as well and a lot of them feel like they already know me through social media, which is huge. So I don't know that it's about me as much as it is the culture that we are kind of showing through our social that attracts them, the fun, the fluffy, that kind of thing. It kind of takes away some of that fear so they're willing to pay to have that over something that's more clinical and sterile.
Howard: Okay, let's talk about your social media because that's why I called you. I'm just enamored by your social media. Let's start with your first website sugarfixdental.com. First of all, where did the name "Sugar Fix" come from? What does it mean to you? How was that part of your vision?
Jessica: Oh my gosh. I toyed with names forever and I wanted something different. I had a really big vision and like I said, didn't want a logo with a tooth in it holding the toothbrush. I wanted to do something different. So I racked my brain for days and I have notebooks filled with names and when that name came to me it was just like the clouds parted and that was it. I liked the play on the word, obviously like "sugar fix", but I'm also a believer in that you can have sugar as long as you brush your teeth. I'm not one of those dentists that's anti-sugar and banning it.
Howard: Yeah, so the website. Did you program that yourself? Did you hire a programmer? Where did you get that?
Jessica: Yeah, I'm probably on site three for Sugar Fix. I obviously keep them updated. Every two years or so I do an update and the last one I designed, completely came up with the design fully and obviously the videos that are in it and the color palette, my logo, all of that was created. I did hire at the time a group to work with because that was before I had branched off with dental spray. But basically, the site that you're looking at now that's still up is one that I just poured my heart and my soul into because I had a hand injury. Unfortunately I had fallen and I tore the ligament in my hand in between my thumb and finger, and I was out of work for three months, which you can imagine as a fee-for-service practice with no AR, that was no fun. So I had to pour my heart and soul into something that I loved and I just went deep with that website. It's a huge engine, and I love it, but I'm actually thinking about tweaking the whole website again, just to make it a little bit lighter to follow. What Google wants really, with their algorithms.
Howard: The two biggest search engines period are Google and YouTube and just like this podcast- I can't believe how many people in dentistry do podcasts. They only do a sound file on iTunes. We do this video and put it up on YouTube. You have a YouTube channel. When people tell you they know how Google's search engine works and they know their algorithms, I'm like, "Well, you need to go tell Microsoft that because I'm sure they'll give you several billion dollars to fix Bing." Bing last year in 2016 had 2% of the searches. Google had over 90%. Trust me, the guy at the Holiday Inn does not know how Google works. "But he lectured at the Hinman meeting." I don't care. If he knew how Google's SEO worked, he would be a billionaire. But it seems obvious that when you go to a website and your email is a yahoo email or email at aol.com, like Google's going to get excited about that. So you have a Gmail account, you have a YouTube channel. I love your YouTube channel. By the way, I was watching your videos, your two daughters, Morgan and Paige. Have you already told them they had to be a dentist or will they get the choice? Will they have to follow mom and grandma's footsteps?"
Jessica: I've got the three kiddos, all of whom are very different, but my one daughter Paige is all over it. Like I don't encourage them, they can be whatever they want, but we were getting her nails done the other day and she picked out a palette, two polishes, a pink and a green, and she said, "Mommy, this is what I want. The colors I want in my logo." And she's eight.
Howard: That is so cool.
Jessica: So I asked her what it would look like and- Because she wants her YouTube channel and my other daughter lives on Musical.ly and this is just where the kids are today. They don't watch television. They are on devices and watching YouTube and as we all know it, it's just going, moving towards voice very quickly.
Howard: Yeah, I love your website and also looking over your website, it looks like the focus is cosmetic. You have pictures of Invisalign, whitening, veneers. How big a part of your practice is Invisalign?
Jessica: Big. Really big actually, because I'm a huge believer in conservative dentistry, so I always want to set up the dentition for success so that we have to remove less tooth structure and obviously so that they'll last a lot longer. Even if that's just a conservative correction for the lowers, I always talk about it before moving forward with say, veneers, if that's what's indicated.
Howard: Okay. I'm not going to embarrass myself again. Say the other- Dental Soiree?
Jessica: Dental Soiree, yes.
Ryan: Soiree, yes.
Howard: Soiree? Dental Soiree?
Jessica: Soiree all day. That's what we always say. Soiree all day.
Howard: Soiree all day. You know what? Seriously, there's something wrong with my brain because the only D- No, I'm serious. The only D I got my entire life was in Spanish and my teacher San Martin told my mother, back when this word wasn't popular, that I was linguistically retarded. And then me and my five sisters had to take piano lessons every week and I always tell everybody that the happiest day of my life was when my piano teacher fired me and she told my mother I couldn't carry a tune in a lunch pail. And then I'll go on a vacation, I'll go lecture in some foreign country and take three or four of my boys with me and hell, after the end of a week, they've got a working vocabulary in this language, and I'm like, "Man, this is the fifth time I've come to Paris. I still don't know one damn word." But anyway, so tell us about your journey at Dental Soiree. Was that when you had the hand accident so that's when you started that?
Jessica: You know what? Pretty much. When I took that deep dive into rebuilding my website, I became passionate about it, yes, but I have had so many dentists over the years approaching me for just kind of "how do you do what you do" and coming to my practice. My practice as you probably can see if you've done the YouTube walkthrough, which is dated and I need to redo- I've been living over on the Soiree side so I need to come back to the other side, Sugar Fix. But I have oriental rugs and chandeliers and all the couches and it's very homey, the environment there, so dentists have just asked over the years. They've been in Chicago visiting and they wanted to pop in to see the practice. So I just saw after years of spending time with dentists and having them come in and talking about where their struggles were, that there was just a niche in the market for it, and obviously being my passion and having helped some people, I was like, "You know what? I think I'm just going to start this company and see where it goes." I had started it originally as a social media marketing agency because that is obviously where my true passion is, right? I run five Instagram channels, daily blogs, websites, you name it. I love social media, love social media, so that's where I wanted to live. When dentists started approaching me for that and I took a look at their website, a lot of them didn't even have mobile friendly websites, like they were still circa 1960. So I was like, "All right, you've got to reverse engineer and back up and build websites first, story tell, rebrand, refresh and then be able to pull that through social media afterwards." So I got into web by default. It wasn't a place I wanted to be. So we've done that, but I am actually going to be launching something fun and exciting soon which is soireeshop.co, because what I have realized with dentists is that it's very difficult and time consuming for dentists to do a real custom, highly-designed website. Dentists don't have time for it. So I'm creating just a limited edition of Soiree branded themes that people can select and then we're basically going to tie them up in a pretty bow and turn them over within three days for clients. It's all going to be online, like I said, and then we're going to create new ones so they're all custom, but they're already pre-made which is nice, and I think wonderful for dentists. So then we can just out of the gate, get those up, get them running, and then start their social media channels.
Howard: So what two colors did your daughter Paige say? Green and what?
Howard: Green and pink. I thought that was amazing because your two colors are definitely pink and red.
Jessica: Right, yes. Pink is- Oh that's Soiree Stock, right.My pink is. So Smiles & Lashes, my other own little side-gig thing, is definitely red. That Instagram, I pulled the red through that, but Soiree Stock, Sugar Fix, Dental Soiree are definitely pinks to oranges. so I guess the red-pink-orange theme is there.
Howard: One of the reasons DSOs are so successful is because the individual dentists just has to wear too many hats. You've talked about your journey of going to Spear and (unclear 00:20:46) and Hornbrook and all those institutes to learn your craft, just to learn Invisalign. That is an overwhelming full-time job. Then you have to run your business and you've got to run HR and accounting and taxes and then when you talk about dental websites, I believe that 50% of all the dentist websites in America are a flat-out F and most of them don't even know it. And what's weird is you'll be at the bar drinking with some dentist eating a cheeseburger and he's like an implant legend. He's placed five- And then you go to his website, you wouldn't even know he even does implants. I still think the biggest marketing thing in the world is to get a damn camera. Start digitally photographing your own damn work. But the DSOs, they can have a scale of management. They can say, "Okay, this lady only does legal. This lady only does marketing. This lady does HR." They just have a whole layer. So you got to outsource your marketing because if you can't own it, if you don't have a natural flair for it, that's the one place you can't get an F in and half the websites are an F, and then I'd say 30% are a low C, high D. I don't even think 1% of dental websites are crushing it. So what can you do for my homie listening to you right now? What services are available now for them?
Jessica: The thing is that my true passion is content creation. I love to find out someone's "why", get into a practice and figure out how to tell their story through media, and that is typically developing a website or the content for a website, and then, like I said, sprinkling that through social media. So that's basically what I love to do. We are actually doing a big shoot this Friday. Our client's coming to Chicago, which is really exciting, and it's someone that you've met with before.
Howard: So I met with before?
Jessica: Yes. So we're just, like I said-
Howard: Well, that narrows it down to about fifty thousand.
Jessica: I know, I know, I know.
Howard: So do you first go to the American Dental Association and pay homage and then work backward? I've always wondered practicing in Chicago, if the American Dental Association is a bigger part of your professional career or not really?
Jessica: No. You know what's so funny? Actually, I'm going there this week to see Paul Homoly speak. I'm in a workshop the next two days with him, Wednesday and Thursday, and I'll be at the ADA building. I haven't even been there or connected with them. Something that I am doing and building is courses for dentists and social media that I've done on Teachable, so I'm about to release my first Instagram business, Instagram course for dentists, but I want to find out just how they can maybe get credit or CE (inaudible 00:23:56)-
Howard: Where are they going to be able to find that course??
Jessica: That course I am putting out basically as a Facebook sponsored post for right now, but as I continue to build more courses, they're going to live in the Soiree suite, which I am currently building.
Howard: So what does it mean on Instagram where you talk about storytelling? Talk about Instagram. How is Instagram different than Facebook, especially in regards to your storytelling or- What is the deal about Instagram?
Jessica: I just think there's an immediate emotional connection because of all of the pictures. People land there, because like I said, they just want to look at people's pictures, so to me, they're all of the lindal windows to the soul of your business, basically. People can get a lot from your Instagram. I have a lot of young patients that come in that literally their mom's given them their credit card and I don't even know the moms, but they drop them off in my practice because those kids that are eighteen say they only want to come to our practice because that's where they live today. That generation is on Instagram. Facebook, obviously we know is a little bit an older generation and the content should be geared a little bit differently there, but Instagram is my passion because I can be creative obviously in laying out- I love photography and I love storytelling and so for each one of my channels, as you've seen, I put post different content every single day on each of them. For dentists they get really stuck and they're just like, "What am I supposed to post? I don't know where to go." That's why I think a lot of companies have popped up that have made those signs, try to give them signs to hold with their dentist, but that doesn't really engage an audience. It's awesome. I'm so happy that people are creating content, right? At the end of the day, that's what it comes down to is at least just putting content out and being present in today's world because the train has left the station, so you've got to get on. We have really tried to train teams, team members because there's always a millennial on a team that lives on Instagram or loves it, so if we can make them the head and be that designated person to keep in mind throughout the practice, but each day just to take a shot of a picture with their iPhone of what's going on for the day. And then if you can create content underneath it, talking about that (unclear 00:26:26) you’re about to deliver or tell that patient's story… It's so awesome. I just think it's one of the best places to be. So Instagram Stories are basically where you can kind of go live and tell your story throughout the day, so we always start our day with a morning huddle and every single day that new quote is up on the board and I'm always taking an Insta Story picture of it as well as Snapchat because I'm also still in Snapchat, but it just gets people engaged and they just want to follow along.
Howard: For the older people on the show that are my age and have grandchildren, tell them what is Snapchat and why do you like it and how is it different than Instagram?
Jessica: Well, Snapchat has been around for some time, and it's different. A lot of people have moved actually from Snapchat over to Instagram stories, but they're very similar. Instagram Stories took off after Snapchat had evolved. They both are stories that you create the disappear within twenty-four hours, so that is something for audiences (unclear 00:27:26) engage everyday to see what's going on, but Snapchat is something that is a little bit more private than Stories. But Stories, you have a lot more followers that will see it than Snapchat. So-
Howard: Wow, I cannot believe they're so- I'm on Instagram and I'm (unclear 00:27:58) I just wrote Ryan, "Where the hell is Instagram Stories?" and he points right to the top of the screen: Stories. And it's so weird how the human mind works. I've never seen that. I've never ever seen that. So those are all Stories.
Jessica: Right and all those-
Howard: Huh, and you do a story every day?
Jessica: We do, yeah. I do content for every single one of my five Instagram sites a day and I typically do Stories. So if you were to look at mine this morning, you'll see the beach at Fort Lauderdale, which is where I am right now, but I went for my run. I just story tell through my day, and because people show up, I keep doing it.
Howard: So which website- If a dentist sits there and says, "Look, I'm in a competitive area. I need more new patients. I want your services." What would be the site they go to?
Jessica: is the one. That's under the big umbrella company.
Howard: Okay, dentalsoiree.com, and it's dental S-O-I-R-E-E. dentalsoiree.com. And what does that cost?
Jessica: You mean as far as the websites?
Howard: Yeah, to have you do this marketing?
Jessica: It depends because just like being fee-for-service, I'm definitely up there when it comes to custom content creation. For instance, many of our clients, including the one we're seeing this week, we hire a stylist that comes in from L.A.. He's my stylist, so basically he just brings racks of clothing and whatnot. We also hire a professional makeup and hair person. I basically find a funky cool studio. So I just want everybody to have a different footprint, so a different place to do the photography and then different walls of Chicago to do photography. And then I also purchase props that are specific to what the color is for the practice and what we're going for. So that can get costly when you're talking about building custom content in a day because we've got a fairly large team, but it can also be scaled down. It just depends on what the client wants, and the same thing goes for the websites. It really depends on how big that engine is going to be, what they want, how many pages, etcetera. The company will be almost two years old now. We've been all over the United States traveling. It's been a blast. It's been so much fun. I love everybody we've worked with and I'm so proud and excited of everything we've done, but I think that where I'm going to go with this, now that I've launched Soiree Stock, which is a styled stock photography site for dentists to help them with their Instagram, to give them content, I am going to also- Like I said, soireeshop.co is going to be a place where we have these already limited edition collections that will be laid out as attractive website themes for dentists to select, and we will turn them over very quickly. So if somebody wants to come out to Chicago for the creative session for instance, we take all the photography, do any videography if they'd like. We can just basically plug everything in and then turn that site around very quickly instead of having to spend so much time, because what I've found is that dentists, although they think they want to spend the time, they don't really want to spend the time on the big daddy creative stuff.
Howard: But where these dentists have to get it in their walnut brain is that regarding your fee, one Invisalign case is sixty-five hundred bucks. What I noticed is that all the ortho- Because we have Dentaltown and we have Orthotown. The Orthotown, orthodontists figure out religion when it comes to marketing within two years, because they know each person that walks through that door could be $6,500. So the dentists, you go into a dental office, what percent of just the fillings that you present do you close? They don't even track it and we know it's about 38% for just decay and restorative fillings. We're not talking about veneers, bleaching, bonding. But the orthodontist, my gosh, some orthodontists need eighteen new patients a month to close fifteen. Other orthodontists need thirty new patients a month to close fifteen and then the consultants are saying, "Okay, doc, we don't want you presenting anymore. You have a 50% close rate and we think Sherry here in your office might be able to do 85%." But the general dentist just doesn't get it because their filling is $250, so they don't focus but marketing is everything.
Jessica: Everything, everything. I can't even. I am so, so, so, so, so passionate about marketing. My husband keeps saying, "Jessica, come back to the golden egg. Like what are you doing?" because I'm moving more and more over towards the Dental Soiree side and the marketing side to help dentists to be out there (unclear 00:33:11) dentistry because I feel like there is such a need and that dentists just don't get it, but the future is going towards corporate or fee-for-service and the ones in the middle are going to get lost. So again, I'm just like, you guys have to understand, like outsource it if you don't want to do it. Invest the money to do it well, to do it right, because people are buying when they see your marketing versus someone else's, and if I see another postcard with the same family on it in my mailbox with the blonde, with the glowing teeth and the salt and pepper hair… There's nothing that screams authentic about that or who they are. To me, that's just going right in the trash, so why spend the money there? It doesn't make any sense. So there are a lot of different ways and social media is free. Facebook marketing is so inexpensive right now to target the market that you want to get them in the door. So for all of those young ones out there, that's why I say like, get your marketing right, get your brand on point. What is your vision? And sit down and master it. Knock it out. And like I said, just open your doors without asking for service and stick to it because you'll make you make so much more. "Work less, make more"motto? I'm in my practice two days a week now and it's pretty incredible. I work twenty-four-seven, so I'm working on my other businesses, but I'm seeing patients two days and I've always only seen patients for three days and the practice was pretty successful, and now we're able to do that. My team is (unclear 00:34:54).
Howard: You got out in 2002, correct?
Howard: 2003. When I got in '87, you could come out and make so many mistakes and still be fine, but today it's thirty years later, like when I got to Phoenix, they didn't have any dental schools or fluoridated water and neither Utah or Nevada. Now Phoenix has two dental schools, they graduate two hundred and eighteen a year, there's fluoridated water. Same story in Utah. They got two schools now. Nevada's got one. These kids got to come out of school when you've already committed to $200,000, $300,000, $400,000 of student loans. Gosh, down at Wall Street Journal last week, they covered an orthodontist who has $1,000,000 in student loans. The thread on that on Dentaltown has gone off the charts. When you're $300,000, $400,000, $500,000 in debt, you can't afford to come out and make very many mistakes, and one of the things that you can't make a mistake on is marketing. You just can't come out and say, "I borrowed $400,000 of other people's money and there's two hundred and eleven thousand Americans living today who have an active license to practice dentistry and I just dropped the ball on marketing." You could have done that all day long thirty years ago, but you can't do it today. When dentists come to you, how many times do you just look at their website, look at the whole thing and say, "Dude, we just got to rebrand you from scratch. Everything you are, we're going to throw it away and we're going to rebrand you from your head to your toes."
Jessica: Everybody. Everyone. I'm not kidding. Every single one. That's what's so exciting about a startup. It's also so exciting for the practices that are out there that are open to doing so. It's so fun. It's so fun for the entire culture of the team too, wanting to get involved in that, I think. But it is so important and it's interesting that you say that because back when even I graduated it would be, What am I going to do? I'm going to borrow more money on top of all the money." It would be probably to CE right out of the gate. Right now I would say, "Invest in your website and then do the CE." And the thing about websites is, the research has to be done, and a lot of my passion and the reason why I also started this company was because dentists don't know what they don't know and I was pretty screwed over by a company that went heavy design for me, but there really wasn't anything on the back end and I didn't realize it until I fell off Google very quickly. I'm a practice that lives as a fee-for-service practice and not insurances. I live by my website and in the optimization of where I fall on Google, so that was eye opening to me and I started digging deep. I started learning what code meant, all of that kind of stuff, and got under the hood and I was shocked and at that point I just said, "You know what? There will not be another dentist taken advantage of," because again, like I said, they're not being educated, not knowing what they don't and throwing money thinking they're going to save money. Also, for a website that may have the same content that every other (unclear 00:38:13) will not work for them. So again, why go there? So I just say do your research and find a company, ask questions, make sure that that company is going to provide photography and videography and to tell your story, not just the generic one that's out there. And like I said, no more teeth in the logos, like people just don't want to see that; they're afraid of us anyway. Just to come up with something that's fun and colors that are attractive and (inaudible 00:38:50).
Howard: Your wording is like say, it's very storytelling. Just your first paragraph: Cosmetic dentist, devoted wife, mother of three, loving daughter, caring sister, eager entrepreneur, boss lady, avid runner. The list goes on and on for Dr. Jessica T. Emery, founder and owner of multiple successful businesses and team leader of Smiles & Lashes. By the way, what is Smiles & Lashes?
Jessica: Oh, that's just a little side hustle I have going on.
Howard: A side hustle?
Jessica: It is. It's actually network marketing with Rodan & Fields that I started because I was using their products and I love them and I thought, "Hey, I can market this for dentIsts. We can do smiles and the skin, lips and lashes because the women, particularly in my practice, love that stuff, and so out of the gate, I started in January, I have seven dentists under me and just on boarded someone in Australia. Um, so I have a team of women that are bringing that into their practices and it's basically just making money while you sleep, which is what we all want to do. I think ultimately, through my hand injury, I learned very quickly that our jobs rely on us physically, so that's just like you said, kind of sits in my pocket and I get a check monthly for it, so it's just kind of nice. And like I said, I love their products. I wouldn't do anything I absolutely didn't love and couldn't sneeze about, so that-
Howard: And what are the products?
Jessica: It's a renowned brand that's out there. It's two women dermatologists that basically were in Neiman Marcus and Nordstrom and pulled it. They were early disruptors in the market and they pulled it to go online so they saw what was happening before anyone else did, and here we are with Toys 'R' Us closing and all these others stores closing, so they basically just have skin care products. They've got a lip serum I use on all my patients after treatment and their lavender towels. It's just a fun little thing to incorporate because (inaudible 00:40:48)-
Howard: Dentists listening to this, if you're a fifty-five year old male dentist that says, "No thanks," for all you know you might turn your dental assistant onto this. It might be her world. I want to ask you one thing since you're a doctor and skincare- I live in Arizona so sun is probably more an issue than in Chicago or Boston, but it's really weird because the consumers are getting two very mixed messages. All the nutrition people say you need at least ten minutes of sunlight every day to make your vitamin D Three and your melatonin and sleep better, and it's so important, and vitamin D Three, we don't get enough of that. And then the dermatologists say, "Oh no, lather yourself up with SPF and it's got to be at least fifteen and stay out of the sun from ten to four." So which is it? And now they're saying, even in Arizona, if you have lunch outside and you've got short sleeve shirts and long pants, just the exposed forearm skin and your head for the whole lunch hour won't even give you enough vitamin D Three, but if you go lay out in your backyard, in your birthday suit, five minutes either side, you can measure all the D Three. So what are you going to tell your three kids? To get ten minutes of sun and melatonin D Three or cover yourself in SPF factor?
Jessica: You know what? I'm a huge sun lover. I always have been. That's why I come down here to Florida quite often actually to just- I do my best creative thinking down here because I have no interruptions. I've been coming to this hotel for twelve years now every eight weeks or so for a little mini weekend and I take my (inaudible 00:42:29)-
Howard: Which city are you in?
Jessica: In Fort Lauderdale, Florida.
Howard: Oh okay, Fort Lauderdale. Love that place.
Jessica: So you'll see it. Everybody that's known me through Instagram or following me through social knows, like it shows up in my feed quite often. But it's my little sanctuary. The sun feeds my soul as well, so I do, although I'm under the umbrella, I am definitely, like I said, getting my little fix, my fifteen minutes of my vitamin D for sure.
Howard: It does noticeably make you feel better. There's just no doubt about it. You go out there in Phoenix and just catch five, ten minutes in your backyard and you just feel different, and I think it makes me sleep different and I have so many friends who don't do that, but they take like a little melatonin, like two, three, four (unclear 00:43:13), especially a lot of the seniors because by the time you're sixty-five, everyone is battling insomnia. And it's like, I just think that that sun's a big deal. So then I got to go to your other website, thedentaldiaries.com.What is thedentaldiaries.com website about?
Jessica: Oh, that's just a blog. That's not a website. It's just kind of a blog that I started. I'm a lot more active on the Instagram channel. The idea was going to be that I was going to story tell my own kind of world in life through that blog and I have started and I jump in every now and again, but because life has been such a whirlwind with Dental Soiree taking off, we're so busy on that side of things and then creating content for Soiree Stock and then seeing patients at Sugar Fix, I haven't had a lot of time to pour a lot of love into it, but it is definitely a goal of mine to continue to build that out, but I am very active on The Dental Diaries' Instagram page.
Howard: So your main deal is Instagram. It seems like that's your fave.
Jessica: My jam, yeah.
Howard: Yeah, and also Wall Street thinks it was the single best investment that Zuckerberg ever made. He bought it for a billion and they said that- I mean, hell, when Snap when public, Snap's not nearly as big and that was a huge multiple in billions. So Zuckerberg, it's kind of interesting that the kids that are leaving Facebook, he bought where they're all running to.
Jessica: Yeah, Instagram, right, exactly.
Howard: And do you think the millennials think that all this privacy stuff- It seems like there's almost two Americas. When you hear all this stuff about privacy violations, I'm sitting here thinking, "How could millennials care about privacy when they're posting themselves on Instagram all day long where they're with their kids, where they're vacationing, their car-" And they're even saying, "Oh, we're on vacation, which means a robber can say, "Okay, well you're not at home," or blah blah." Even when I asked my four boys, my son Greg says, "I love the fact that when I do a search, they know me and the search is better." Like I am such a dork. If I start typing in a name, even misspelled, it knows that I'm looking for a dentist. I only look for dentists. If I'm typing into Google search bar, I'm trying to find Jessica Emery and it completes the sentence and throws the DDS after the name, and I love that fact. So is privacy dead and does anybody matter?
Jessica: Absolutely not. People ask me that all the time. I am probably one of the most open books there is. I completely share my world, my kids, all of that. Obviously I don't tag locations, like I say Fort Lauderdale beach and I'll say what hotel I'm in, kind of thing. There are some things that I feel like you should be aware of or go back and tag later when you're gone because tagging does help. But I feel like people should just really, just truly be who you are because that's the thing, is that if you're going to live, like just not post because you don't feel like it's going to look right or be right and be paralyzed from that, you've got to move the needle. Just pivot forward because like attracts like and you're not for everyone. It's just like there's enough (unclear 00:46:40) there's enough to go around. So I just say, be who you are and like share the love of your culture, who you are, your practice, and you've got to sprinkle your kids and your family in because your patients have the same and when you're talking knee to knee in the op, that's where that engagement happens. But today people aren't coming in to buy it. They're looking at you from the outside, so that's what you want them to see before they come through. And so I just say be. Be you, and like I said, have fun with it. Open up. And if you really can't do it, at least have someone in the practice start taking pictures of what's happening in the practice, the kind of fun had there.
Howard: I think the best people at being themselves, it's always bumblebees. Bumblebees always be themselves. Have you noticed that? So it sounds like the dentist should go to dentalsoiree.com. Dental then S-O-I-R-E-E dot com. That's the main website if they're trying to pick up more and you got to think like a businessman. I can't believe how many people tell me, "I want to take that Invisalign course, but it's like three thousand." It's like, "Well, your first Invisalign case is six thousand." How many things in life can you get your return on investment by selling one unit?
Jessica: Seriously, I know. I've had so many dentists get the (unclear 00:48:09) app because my practice is a CEREC practice and it is so huge and not only that, it's made dentistry fun. So I'm telling dentists all the time, the lab fees, not like saving on the lab fees, but it's adding value to a patient when you're saying "Hey, we can do this same day." Time is so valuable to people today. And in the marketing, you've got like the latest and greatest. We've got ThreeD scanning technology. Bring it to the forefront. But again, you're right, they're like, "I don't have the money." I'm like, "You can't afford not to get this!"
Howard: So what ThreeD scanning are you using? You're using a scanner on the CEREC machine?
Jessica: Yes, I've got the latest CEREC.
Howard: Oh, okay, so that's all by display. Well, I'm sure my buddy Sameer Puri who lives up the street from me and- So does Paul Homoly; he lives in Phoenix too. So I'm Sameer Puri would be shaking my arm, saying, "Shut up and have her talk more about the CEREC machine." So talk more about the CEREC machine because I know how my homies' thinking. They're thinking, "You know, Jessica, I graduated $350,000 in student loans and you're telling me to buy $150,000 machine?"
Jessica: Abso-freaking-lutely. Yes, oh my God.
Howard: Okay why? It's a huge decision.
Jessica: First of all, it is the best decision. I was an early investor of the EFourD; I didn't use it. I switched over to the CEREC and I will tell you I was extremely intimidated by it. I am older and like I said, the technology of it, initially I was intimidated, but then when it just clicked, it clicked. And let me tell you, there is no going back for me. All of the restorations I do, if it's not an occlusal, our CEREC (unclear 00:49:59) every single one of them and the integrity of those restorations is so much better than anything you could ever, ever get, like I could never pack another MODO composite with the (unclear 00:50:13). Like you couldn't get me to do that. So when I've seen then year after year on films and everything else, they're just phenomenal, and let's just talk about how people are (unclear 00:50:24) today. We're trying to get them all into programmers and whatnot, but some of them, I don't know, are still doing a number on their teeth, so the marginal integrity is so much better. I could go on and on and on for days, but I love that machine and I've actually been wanting to talk to CEREC because what I've gotten feedback from dentists as well is that a lot of them (unclear 00:50:47) photography of the CEREC and I just have to get permission from them to go ahead, but I'd love to start doing a lot of photography of the CEREC so that people can start putting it on their website, have some cool, cool-looking photography with the CEREC (inaudible 00:51:02).
Howard: My advice would be just to do it. Just do it, because it's a lot easier to ask for forgiveness than it is for permission. Whenever you ask these big billion dollar companies the question, they have to send it over to an entire law firm and it's like, "Forget it." I just do it and then if someone has a problem with it, I beg for forgiveness, but that's a lot easier than permission. So other high-price toys… Do you have a laser?
Jessica: Of course. I have a few lasers. My favorite, favorite thing about the CEREC, Isolite is something I could never live without, and my Digi Doc cameras in every room. My (unclear 00:51:41) Docs are my number one favorite, favorite toy that sells dentistry all day, every day. All day. So that is huge, and being able to show patients, and I always do ask them if it's okay, obviously, for me to pull those photos around for us to look at together, because some are just like, "No, I trust you. I actually don't want to see any," and then others are like, "Yes, do show me because I love to educate." So the minute they see that thing blown up on the screen with that kind of high quality, they're just like, "Ew, oh God, yes." And our closing rate is extremely, extremely high because of that. I can't imagine not having that.
Howard: This Digi Doc, not only is it a no brainer, but how low is the price now? What is the Digi Doc down to now?
Jessica: I don't know if it's still sixty-five. Maybe sixty-five per camera? I don't know. Has it gone down?
Howard: My first intraoral camera was 1987. It was called a Fujikam, sold by Patterson. It was $38,000 a camera and it was the size of one of those mini fridges on a cart. You had to be a big dental assistant just to move it out of the operatory and now it's this little bitty hand wand thing and people still are balking at buying it, but humans are visual and it's all about the close and they don't even try (unclear 00:53:07). So what do you say about this, when — this is a very common thing — they say, "I'm not a salesman. I don't want to sell dentistry. I hate sales. I didn't go to college eight years to be a salesman." How do you approach that?
Jessica: People don't need teeth. We are selling ourselves every day. We are selling dentistry. Get over it. Yes, we're selling dentistry every single day, but again, they don't need it, so you need to create the value and that's where that comes in, in listening to them. Like we said when we opened, we said they're going to be going over to Best Buy tonight to buy that big flat screen. They have the resources. You need to make it valuable enough to them that they can make a decision to invest, that health is their best wealth, why. Caries, they don't feel it, so they don't know. It doesn't hurt, right? That's the number one thing that we get. But if you're able to show them and say it doesn't hurt yet, but like let me show you proximity to like where the nerve is and kind of what's happening, they're more apt to, like I said, just sign consent, sign right then to have it done. And we do a lot of same day dentistry in my practice as well. We block book and because of the CEREC, I know a lot of people out there call it fries with your burger, but we typically at the end of the day will come out with additional add-ons because again, if people know that they can get it done that day, they're wanting to do it.
Howard: I agree about Isolite. Huge, but so many people don't get it. Talk about Isolite. Why do you like Isolite?
Jessica: Oh my gosh, I love Isolite, like I love, love, love Isolite. Number one, with the Isolite, it is amazing, even for the CEREC scanning as well. So the Isolite is this little gummy bike block that we put in that people can rest their jaws into, and again, back to the fact that people are like clenching and grinding so much because everybody is so dialed into their devices twenty-four-seven before they go to bed. I think it's like rewiring people's brains because I'm seeing more wear on the teeth than I have ever seen in my life on young people, but it's nice for them because they can rest their jaw into it. It keeps their mouth propped open for us to get in and keeps the tongue away and it suctions all of their saliva, so you're got a dry field. You essentially just don't even need an assistant. My assistant just kind of stands there. But it's just a beautiful thing, and especially with scanning with the CEREC as well. It keeps everything nice and dry, keeps the tongue out of the image and you can just rock and roll.
Howard: You know what I would do if I was you also on your marketing? When you deal B to C versus B to B — B to C: business to consumer — you're talking about an average American combined median household income of fifty-three thousand bucks. When you start a business and you start focusing on dentists, now the average dentist makes $174,000 a year, the average (unclear 00:56:22) makes three-thirty, but when you start dealing with dental companies, like look at Isolite. Their website, they don't even have a link to their Twitter account; they just have a Facebook link. So then you got to go to Twitter and put it in "@isolite". My God, if I was you, I'd start focusing on dental companies because even the biggest dental companies, big ones that do- Isolite, I don't know how big they are, but I'm sure it's a ten million to a hundred million dollar a year big company, and even the dental companies' social media marketing is lame.
Jessica: Well, that's a course that I'm attending soon that I noticed that the links were broken on that I contacted them, but I got nothing back on. So it's a little bit frustrating because I don't know- We talk about our patients and value. I don't know that dentists really see the value and that's what I guess I'm out in trying to change. That's why I'm going to start the education circuit for the reason why social and websites and marketing is so critical and so important today because you are your brand, and you've got to make things quick and fast and easy because that's like how our attention spans are like this.
Howard: And the dentists, it's not even close. Like when I go to a dentist's website and they have a contact where you put in your name and number and you send them the deal, 50% of the time it doesn't even go through it. It has a red asterisk error, wrong information. I'm fifty-five, I have nine years of college, I'm reading the deals. It's all correct. And then I'm sitting thinking from a businessperson. Let's say someone was contacting your office about Invisalign and say, "Was the zip code off?" or whatever. Wouldn't you still want that lead? Wouldn't you want to see that Jessica Emery tried to contact the office. We didn't get all the correct information, but we got a lead. They don't even think of it as leads. We went over, sorry about that. You promised me an hour of your life. I know you're busy, but-
Jessica: That's okay, just one quick thing. One quick thing is just as well for dentists, today you must have the plugin. So if you don't have a dated website, this is tricky, but everybody wants to make an appointment online. They don't want to talk to you. I don't use voice- I don't check my machine if you're calling my cell phone and leaving a message, I'm not answering it either. Like text, IM, like whatever. But so many of us, like I said, people don't have time when they're on the fly and they want to be able to make an appointment online, so there are a lot of great companies, but that's been super successful for us as well, is booking an appointment online. There's so many little incredible things that dentists can do and people can do to help bring people in. But yes, I appreciate you having me. I do have to fly back to Chicago so I've got to get to the airport, but it's been such a pleasure. Like I said, I could talk all day on this topic.
Howard: My final question, because they don't understand the return of investment- I always talk about the funnel. It is my expert opinion that it takes about three hundred people to land on a dental office website for three people to call the office. Three people have to call the office for your receptionist to convert one to come in and three people have to come in with your one-third close rate on just simple restorative, basic dentistry. So to do that seven hundred and fifty thousand collection and take home one seventy four, for that you had to bring in seven hundred and fifty thousand times three because you have a one-third close rate. They had to bring in an additional million and a half dollars worth of dentistry that they didn't even schedule. So if they just fix anything on that funnel from- Why do three hundred people land on your website and only three convert and call? Fix your receptionist. How come three people have to call your receptionist before you can get one scheduled? And why do three people have to listen to your treatment plan for one person to buy? Can you fix anything on that funnel?
Jessica: This all -funnel it back to marketing. If they trust you before they come in the door, they're going to buy from you, and that's it.
Howard: So you're saying it's all trust.
Jessica: It is hands down trust, and I think that people don't trust us unfortunately, and I think that the system is broken. When they come in as well, like I said, maybe they're already emotionally shut down and they're not even listening to you because they're scared. But like I said, if they want to buy from you when they see you on the outside and you have told your story and who you are, and they have emotionally connected, when you have someone that's emotionally connected, they will buy. My close rate in my practice — and like I said, our fees are high, I'm fee-for-service — is like 95% to 96% and people are prepaying. It works. It's not just mindset. I really do believe it comes back to social media and storytelling and being out there. Like I said, just being who you are and letting it all loose, I guess.
Howard: Yeah, and I do let all loose because I know you're not going to believe this. I can tell you this, but all the pictures of me on social media, they're not photoshopped. I'm au naturel.
Jessica: Yeah, me too!
Howard: Everyone thinks I'm so sharp, that it's all photoshop. They say, "You can't be that hot." But your last thing you said was trust. It is absolutely- When a hundred women call the air conditioner man because the air conditioner went out and the air conditioner man comes up and says, "Oh, I can't fix it with a shot of freon. You need a whole new air conditioner for six thousand bucks." What percent of women don't believe him?
Jessica: Okay, but let me tell you-
Howard: What percent? All.
Jessica: All? But this comes back to the customer service, which is a whole other call. The customer service is everything. It is how they're greeted on the phone, how they're met when they come in and all of that has everything to do with this as well. Now if that air conditioning guy is coming to me and greets me with a handshake and is kind and courteous and like goes out of his way for whatever reason, like sees my water outside the door and picks it up and brings it in, I don't know. The little things that we notice about people, that is everything again to win someone's trust so that they buy, so I would buy from the air conditioning guy if I felt it.
Howard: Nice. Trust is everything. Hey, I know you're busy. thank you so much for coming on the show today. I could talk to you for forty days and forty nights. You're amazing. Thanks for coming on the show and telling your story.
Jessica: Thank you so much, thank you.
Howard: All right, and thank you Ryan.
Speaker 4: What makes an artist? They must be driven. Something must inspire them. Something must drive them. They must work in a world of aesthetics, in a field of beauty. They must be capable of seeing what is often overlooked. What might be, what could be. They must have a canvas, and a gallery. Is dentistry art? We believe so. We are Sugar Fix Dental Loft.