Successful Strategies For Building A Dental Practice From Scratch

Successful Strategies For Building A Dental Practice From Scratch

To get in touch with Mindy:

Mindy Altomose
Mansfield Orthodontics

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Chris Pistorius (00:05):

Hey everybody. It’s Chris Pistorius, again, with the Dental and Orthodontic Marketing podcast. I’ve got a special guest for you today. We are with Mindy Altemose. She is the owner of Mansfield Orthodontics, in Mansfield, Massachusetts. Mindy, thanks so much for joining us today.

Mindy Altemose (00:25):

Thanks for having me.

Chris Pistorius (00:26):

Of course. So I’ve told you off air, I want to do more in the orthodontic space in terms of these podcasts. And I was looking, kind of getting ready for this, and I saw that you’re just barely a year into owning your own practice. Is that right?

Mindy Altemose (00:44):

Yes. Yep. We opened just before COVID, so it was just [crosstalk 00:00:49] worst timing really for us.

Chris Pistorius (00:50):

Wow, yeah. I didn’t even think about that aspect of it.

Mindy Altemose (00:53):


Chris Pistorius (00:53):

So maybe you could tell us a little bit about just where was your mindset in college? Did you know, right out of college, you wanted to go start your own practice from scratch, or were you thinking about maybe buying an existing practice? What were you thinking then?

Mindy Altemose (01:08):

Sure, sure. Yeah, yeah. And I mentioned to you, also off air, I didn’t know I wanted to be an orthodontist in college. About halfway through, I was a science major, and I decided to become a dentist by shadowing a bunch of different health professions. And so yeah, I went to dental school. I knew, pretty early on in dental school, I would like to own. I didn’t know how that would look for me, but then luckily, I had more time because I went to residency. And it was actually in residency where I had talked to a faculty member about partnering, and so I had kind of my eyes set on that and for helping to grow his business.

Mindy Altemose (01:42):

And then when it all came to be, it just didn’t work out, and so I was thinking of what way can I go next? And I looked to acquire practices, to be very honest, and there wasn’t anything in the areas I was looking for that I thought would be a good fit for me. And once I’d exhausted all those options, I thought, well, it’s time to do a startup, I guess. And so it wasn’t my first choice to do a startup, but it was what I landed into. And I’m really happy that it worked out this way. I think it was a good fit for me.

Chris Pistorius (02:14):

Awesome. Well, I can tell you, Mindy, that if you started a practice when you started it, going through COVID, I think you can probably just about do anything else in life that you encounter. So that’s an incredible story that just brand new, from scratch, you start this orthodontic practice in one of the worst viruses known to man-

Mindy Altemose (02:37):


Chris Pistorius (02:37):

… right in that era.

Mindy Altemose (02:38):

Sure. It’s-

Chris Pistorius (02:39):

I mean, I’m sure you probably shut down for a month or two completely?

Mindy Altemose (02:43):

Oh gosh. So yeah. So I’m in Massachusetts, so it was almost three months that we were shut down. So we weren’t even open as long as we’ve been shut down. So yeah. And also, I was new to the area. So I had just moved to Massachusetts and opened, so I never practiced here. I was in New York, upstate New York, for awhile. So it was a lot against us to get started, but honestly, I tried to take it, as I could, as a positive. We’re so little and boutique, we could keep it very low amount of numbers in our office, so I used that to help make people feel comfortable about coming to see us. And we try to still keep as least amount of people in the office as possible, so that was helpful.

Chris Pistorius (03:24):

Awesome. Well, that’s an inspiring story. So all of you young orthodontic students, or thinking about being an orthodontist, it can definitely be done, and it can be done even in an environment like we are now with COVID. So that’s an incredible story on its own. So maybe you could tell us a little bit about the practice. What do you really like doing? I know that you offer braces and Invisalign for adults and kids. Where’s your passion? Who do you like to work with the most, I guess, or what do you enjoy the most about being an orthodontist?

Mindy Altemose (03:55):

Oh, it’s the best profession in the world. So I love helping … I have two kinds of ideal clients. One is I love working with kids. So the braces age, traditionally, that kids go through is a very tough time for some kids. 12, 13, isn’t easy for everybody. So I just had an interview today for front desk, and I was talking to her about this. We try to be a positive portion of their day because things are not easy, so I love being part of a very important time in the kid’s life. And we see them often, so that allows us to have a really special relationship with them. So I love working on children, but I also love the busy professionals, as well, and thinking about them in mind and how we can best be as available for them and honor their time.

Mindy Altemose (04:47):

So between both of my ideal customers, it being a family with two and a half kids or whatever they say, and then also the busy professionals, we can always get more money and more things, but we can never get back time. So one of the things that we really try to deconstruct in the orthodontic process, in general, is how do we save patients time? How do we need to be more efficient with their time and value their time more? Because as yourself, a business owner with children, time is precious thing, and so we think about each step of the orthodontic process and how we can give patients back a whole appointment or maybe just 10 minutes or making the process just more streamlined for them. So that way, we are more mindful of what’s most important to them. So those are my two favorite age populations. Yep.

Chris Pistorius (05:39):

Yeah, that’s awesome. So when you start a brand new practice from scratch, and this really goes for dentists or orthodontists or really anybody in business really, but when you start from scratch, and you open the patient book, and it’s absolutely empty, right? What do you think? I mean, how did you market your practice, I guess, from a blank of nothing, to where it is now? What did you do to get that started?

Mindy Altemose (06:04):

Yeah. And so I opened before COVID, so things were different then. And I wish I could do some of the things I was doing then, but basically the biggest thing for me was to be as present in the community as possible. So we went, before we were open, to different health fairs. We went to an agricultural fair. I did a lot of social media stuff because that just isn’t and still isn’t being done in my area, especially for orthodontist. I tried to connect with other local small businesses that I felt might meet my ideal client [inaudible 00:06:39] would benefit from learning about. So I did this Facebook, which I don’t do currently, because I [inaudible 00:06:47] a few people in the office, but a spotlight on small business. So we would bring in family photographers, so you can learn about their business, see them talking to me and interacting.

Mindy Altemose (06:59):

Interior designer, organizers, people that I thought would be helpful for my ideal clients to know about, and also people I want to know about because I am sort of my ideal client because I was new to the area. I have a lot younger kids, but things that I would’ve liked to know about, being new to the area. So I did that. And even though I might’ve only had a couple followers, as they grow, and I grow, we re-share each other’s stuff. So that’s been helpful. And then getting in the community and serving the community was a big thing for me. So I joined a rotary club for my own, something that I wanted to do, but then learning about different drives and campaigns and stuff.

Mindy Altemose (07:41):

That’s one of our four core values is being a community leader, and so helping to support local community events has been huge for us because people love that. And then they’ll be like, “I really love this dog shelter they’re doing, this adoption thing. Can you help promote it?” Or whatever the case may be. And we love to do that kind of stuff. I did a Q&A thing on YouTube or something, and so that was helpful. Any way I could do for free, anything I could do for free, that was the number one thing. There were obviously a lot of paid things I did, as well, but I tried to do as much as I could for free.

Chris Pistorius (08:16):

Yeah. I think that’s a great point. And I think, honestly, it’s something that a lot of professionals miss. I do marketing, and I only work with dentists and orthodontists. And I see this. A lot of people talk to me about, “Oh, we need to do paid ads on Google or Facebook, or we need this awesome website.” And that’s all very much true.

Mindy Altemose (08:37):

Oh, 1000%.

Chris Pistorius (08:37):

But there is something to be said about just being active in your local community and just building relationships that way. That definitely, I think, has to be a core value of any marketing campaign, so much as so, we’ve created a team here that when somebody signs up with us, yeah, we do all the paid stuff and video and a bunch of cool stuff, but we also have this team call in to a local market, and they’ll try to do partnered sponsorships and partnerships with Little League teams or events or just anything to kind of get your name and your brand into that local marketplace.

Chris Pistorius (09:15):

And I think just being able to do that and people seeing your brand, over and over, on the backs of their kids uniforms, whatever it may be, I think that type of grassroot marketing should definitely be a mix. And it sounds like you’re all over that, so that’s awesome.

Mindy Altemose (09:31):

Yeah. I have found that particularly powerful and also because orthodontics is a bit different than dental dentistry, where it relies on referrals from dentists. Or not relies, but we love that partnership. And I wasn’t able to get into a lot of offices, and then COVID happened. And in orthodontics, particularly, it takes two years sometimes to see the work that I do. So of course, it takes time to build that trust, and I totally understand that. So that’s been so key for us because I couldn’t do some of the things I would have liked to done, to go in and do lunch and learns, to help and learn about these dental offices. I’ve had to rely on this grassroots.

Mindy Altemose (10:10):

And other than our location, the majority of our traffic comes from other patients, and some of the things that they have talked about us in, as well as seeing us … I did a gift card giveaway, where I promoted local salon, a local floral shop, and gave away gift cards and things like that. And people learned through us from there, and then they ended up coming in that way too. So any way you can kind of hit people in a different way than usual, where you’re providing value to them, as well, is always a positive thing.

Chris Pistorius (10:48):

Absolutely. That’s awesome. And I started my business the same way. I mean, almost 12 years ago now is when I started, and I didn’t do anything overly fancy. Basically, all I did is I put together a packet of information, and I just started walking into dental practices, saying, “Hey, I’m Chris. Here’s some information. Would love to talk to you more about it.” Got their information and left. And it’s just good to be able to walk in someplace, talk to them, and kind of build that connection straight up. So yeah, I think the grassroots stuff is definitely effective. And hopefully, once we get out of this COVID stuff, it’ll become a little bit easier to do that kind of stuff too. So

Mindy Altemose (11:30):

Yeah, [crosstalk 00:11:30] hope.

Chris Pistorius (11:31):

Yeah. And so we all know that dentistry is competitive. Orthodontic is competitive. There’s a lot of other orthodontists. What would you say is your unique selling proposition? So why should somebody come to your practice versus maybe one of the others? What do you think that is?

Mindy Altemose (11:48):

So yeah, we have a couple things that are important to us. I think how we think about patients is a little bit different than busy orthodontic practices. We have a customized approach to care, and we think about, like I mentioned, each step of the process, to really make it as streamlined, as efficient as possible, to give patients their time back. And we really respect patients’ time, and that’s very evident from the first time that you come in here.

Mindy Altemose (12:19):

Another thing that I’m sure a lot of dentists say, which is true about us too, is we are at the forefront of technology. We use a 3D digital scanner for each new patient, which is wonderful. It helps patients really understand, in a 3D perspective, what is going on with their teeth. We have the most ultra low dose radiation for our pan and ceph. We do a lot of things that are technology forward, which also helps us to save in time and money as well. And I think patients like the ability for us that we do spend a little extra time with them. It’s not a factory or a revolving door. I’ve heard that a couple of times with other patients about other local practices that might have great clinicians, but because we’re so small, still in boutique, and we want to keep that feeling, we are able to provide that additional time, and patients really love that.

Chris Pistorius (13:09):

Yeah, that’s great. And if you keep doing that, you’re going to be even more successful than you already are. So that’s good to hear that we still have some of those doctors out there that really pay attention to patients. And if it means spending a little extra time with them to make them feel better about the process, then it’s definitely worth that extra time.

Mindy Altemose (13:29):


Chris Pistorius (13:31):

So what would you say to somebody that maybe was in your shoes, a year or two ago or three ago maybe, where they’re thinking about opening up a practice, and they’re deciding, all right, should I try to buy something? Should I go on my own? Should I just go be an associate? What tips or advice could you give somebody just starting out?

Mindy Altemose (13:53):

Yeah. So somebody who didn’t know exactly what they like to do, I think getting very clear, first of all, on what your goals are, long-term. You could make a wonderful career, being an associate, and there’s a lot less responsibility on you, on a lot of other things, as far as your time bill and as far as expertise and other things. So that’s the first is being real clear on what it is and why you’re doing it. If it’s just to make money, like I mentioned, you can make great money being an associate and have wonderful vacation and all that kind of stuff. But if you want to build a legacy, for example, or if you want to be able to eventually have a community project that’s really important to you be done, and you use your business to do that. Or you want to change a bit how things are being done, sometimes you can’t do that as associates.

Mindy Altemose (14:41):

So first, figure out what it is you want to do. And as far as owning a startup versus buying, I think it’s all what the opportunity is that presents itself to you. I think that buying is a wonderful way to do it, with a little bit less financial burden and a little bit more security upfront, from a multitude of reasons. But it needs to be a good deal, and it needs to make sense for you and the location that you want to be and all that kind of stuff. And if the startup is what is possible only, then that’s also a good decision. Just know that it is a lot of hard work, similar to acquiring, in a different way. And I would say, as far as tips, there’s a lot of great podcasts out there. I listen to Shared Practices, which is just mostly general dental and dentistry, but I could adapt it to orthodontics.

Mindy Altemose (15:30):

And so I learned a ton from that podcast. And then in my specialty, there’s a bunch of podcasts as well, like OrthoPreneurs and Elevate Orthodontics, which was helpful. And then there’s another really great … I’m sure there’s more now. That was two or three years ago. Oh, and I’m going to forget it now. Mark Costes, he’s a dentist, and he talks about the business side of dentistry. So learning more about that and seeing if that clicks with you, learning what makes sense and what fuels your fire, and then you can kind of go from there. But doing that, and then also visiting a lot of offices. That was huge for me, visiting different offices and what an office could be like because your experience or your handful of people you know, there might be so many other experiences out there that you might want to create. And so getting edified in the podcast world, that was for me. I’m sure there’s other ways. And then just physically being in more offices, maybe not even in your specialty, but just in dentistry, in general, to see what’s out there, and what’s possible.

Chris Pistorius (16:30):

Yeah. Awesome. I want to get your perspective on something. In dental school, do you think they taught you enough about business to make you prepared for starting a practice? Or do you think maybe that could be enhanced a little bit?

Mindy Altemose (16:44):

I was trying to think of something clever on the spot and didn’t come to me. No, there was no training on how to do business. Now, in my residency, I did have a course about it, so I started the wheels to turn. And then some residencies, I know, actually do an MBA, and there’s more than what I got. But no, there was no … Mm-mm (negative). Marie Forleo, she’s a speaker and has a podcast and a book. She has a saying, “Everything is figure out-able.” And I actually bought it, and it’s on my desk over there because I’ve had to learn everything from scratch, from QuickBooks to I never really used social media. I love social media now for my business, but I didn’t use it [crosstalk 00:17:21] myself learning about how it works, to the crazy stuff that you can learn around the office, like sterilization. I didn’t know the ins and outs of that, so I had to learn it. So no, there is no business preparation in school. That was all done through just figuring it out.

Chris Pistorius (17:39):

Wow, that’s crazy. You would think, at some point, they will start to incorporate some of that because there’s more and more people coming out of school that are doing what you did and going right into their own private practice. So there’s this book out there, and I’ve mentioned it before, it’s called E-Myth Revisited.

Mindy Altemose (17:56):


Chris Pistorius (17:56):

Have you seen-

Mindy Altemose (17:57):

I’ve read that.

Chris Pistorius (17:58):

And it talks a lot about how to scale and not just necessarily for in the dental industry, but for anything. And I always recommend to my clients that are struggling on that aspect of it, read that and just try to create this machine that can run without you, right?

Mindy Altemose (18:14):

Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Chris Pistorius (18:14):

And obviously, you’re the doctor, and you have to be there, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that you can’t build a practice and have a lot of things not have to be relied upon you, you know what I mean? So-

Mindy Altemose (18:24):

Right. Absolutely.

Chris Pistorius (18:25):

Yeah. Yeah.

Mindy Altemose (18:27):

[crosstalk 00:18:27] and listen.

Chris Pistorius (18:27):

Yeah. Yeah. And so what’s in store for you over the next five years? Do you have some goals in mind, in term of business, and what would those be?

Mindy Altemose (18:37):

Yeah. I think one of them is related to that book, the E-Myth series, is that I would like to … Right now, we don’t have a lot of policies and procedures formally written down. So a big one for me is, from how to answer the phone, to how to walk a patient out, to, of course, all of our clinic procedures, be in a procedural manual. So that way, one, as we scale and grow, it’s more easy. It’s not as much hand-holding necessary, and there’s a lot more we can give to be independent to our potential new hires. So that’s a big one is to continue to grow our procedure manual and make everything automated, so that way, like you mentioned, of course, there are only things that only the doctor can do, but we need to slim that down as we grow.

Mindy Altemose (19:24):

When you’re a startup, I know how to do every single thing in this practice, which is crazy and way too much things for me to be doing all the time. But as we grow, we need to continue to disseminate some of those responsibilities and roles and then write them down formally in a way that [crosstalk 00:19:39] cohesive. So that’s a big one for me. Also growing my team. We’re a team of three right now. We need to continue to grow, in order to help as many people in the area as we can. And so that’s a big one, and then getting all of my ops in. So I have four chairs now, and I have the ability for a couple more. And so I’m continuing to obviously grow patient-wise, that way we can continue to grow and complete my clinic here. So that’d be exciting.

Chris Pistorius (20:07):

Awesome. That’s great. I want to also get your perspective, really quick, on you’re in this a little over a year now. How’s hiring and firing and all and training? I mean, I’ve talked to a lot of people in the industry, and they’re having trouble, right now, hiring people, getting good people. It seems like they’ll hire somebody, and then somebody quits. And it seems like they’re always doing this training thing, and they’re just not getting ahead. I’ve heard the perspective of, “Oh, only hire people at the front desk with experience,” and I’ve heard some people say, “I only hire people without experience.” So what’s your take on this, and being in the business for about a year now, what’s your tips and secrets to that?

Mindy Altemose (20:45):

Oh, so you guys don’t have a magical pool of wonderful employees? Oh-

Chris Pistorius (20:49):


Mindy Altemose (20:50):

… that’s a [crosstalk 00:20:50]. No, so-

Chris Pistorius (20:50):

How do I get that?

Mindy Altemose (20:52):

… It is … No, I’m teasing. I say that, and honestly, I just had hired somebody who I was really excited about, and they just didn’t show up for their first day of work two weeks ago. So I say that in a funny way because it’s been quite a pain point for me. And I am a bit green in this, but something that I look for, that I know a lot of people talk about, is more about personality rather than skills. So I love to train too. Any job I worked at as an associate, I’ve always trained new assistants, and now front desk, here at this job. And so I love to train. I just don’t have all the hours of the day to do so as I’d like to.

Mindy Altemose (21:32):

So I tend to hire people with less experience, and that could be to my detriment. But what I hope to find is somebody who uses that and then grows it further. I like things to be done a certain way. Shocker, type A dentist, right? So of course, just like a startup, there’s nobody with any bad habits, which is wonderful. And so I like when people have some minor experience, a year or two, and then I can provide all the rest of the information. And so there’s no bad habits to break or things that we do kind of work ourselves around.

Chris Pistorius (22:12):

Yeah. In fact, I think it was our last interview we did with somebody, they don’t hire anybody with experience. And the reason for that is that they feel as though the people that do have experience are sometimes just so set in their ways that they’re not coachable, and it’s hard to get them to kind of do things another way. So it’s all about perspective, but I agree. I think if you can find the right personality, that’s probably the thing that you should be looking at first. And then this stuff, I mean, no offense to anybody out there listening, but this stuff isn’t rocket science. It’s teachable, and it’s learnable, and it’s-

Mindy Altemose (22:49):


Chris Pistorius (22:51):

… it’s just something you got to find somebody with a good personality that’s going to take care of your patients and are willing to learn and excel. So I think that’s all valid points. So-

Mindy Altemose (23:02):

Yeah. I think just finding what are your core things that you’re looking for in a person and then reverse engineering the questions to find scenarios where you want to see them have that core value has been helpful for me to see … Something that’s important to us is to be positive always, in all ways. And so I look for negative situations in which you can see how they’ve handled it and carried themselves. And you can only do so much in an interview, but that’s been helpful.

Chris Pistorius (23:29):

Yeah. Do you do any personality tests when you do a hiring?

Mindy Altemose (23:33):

Yeah, we do … Oh, now, it’s going to escape me. Yes. We send it. Yep. And now-

Chris Pistorius (23:38):

Is it the Kolbe?

Mindy Altemose (23:39):

I think … No, it’s not that one. Now, I’m going to-

Chris Pistorius (23:42):

But yeah, there’s a few of them out there. We use the Kolbe.

Mindy Altemose (23:44):

Yes, I’ve heard of that one though.

Chris Pistorius (23:46):

Yeah, yeah. And I got to tell you, I think it’s a good guide, but I’m not completely sold on it. I don’t know that I would ever … Say, okay, I’ll have a really cool, qualified candidate I’m excited about. Oh, the Kolbe’s test isn’t quite right, so we got throw them out. Right?

Mindy Altemose (24:02):


Chris Pistorius (24:03):

I think you got to use it as a guide. I just don’t know that it’s a end all, be all. You know what I mean?

Mindy Altemose (24:07):

Yeah, totally. Yeah. We want to make sure we have similar qualities that we can all work together, but right, it might be slightly off. I think some of them are important, based on where they are in the clinic, and other times it’s not nearly as important.

Chris Pistorius (24:18):

Yeah. For sure. Well, Mindy, I’ve got to thank you so much. I know how busy you are, but just the inspiration that I hear coming from you, of starting a practice during COVID, from scratch, in a new market that you’re not even from, and you’re having this crazy success. And I got to tell you, it’s just expiring for me, and I know it’s going to be very inspiring for a lot of the people that are going to watch or listen to this. So thank you so much for being on the show today.

Mindy Altemose (24:45):

Yeah, absolutely. Not a problem.

Chris Pistorius (24:48):

Awesome. Well, everybody, thanks for watching and be sure to tune in to our next episode, and we’ll talk to you all very soon. Thanks.


Is your Dental or Orthodontic office OSHA-Compliant? Watch this to make sure!

Is your Dental or Orthodontic office OSHA-Compliant? Watch this to make sure!

To reach Lisa regarding OSHA compliancy and more:

Lisa Kane
Dental Office Compliance of New England

View Full Transcript

Here is a full transcript of our interview.

Chris Pistorius (00:05):

Hey everybody, this is Chris Pistorius again with the Dental and Orthodontic Marketing podcast. We’ve got an awesome guest today. We’ve got Dr. Lisa Kane. Now you would think, “Oh, another dentist, right?” But not the case. Lisa is actually a dental consultant with the Cental Office Compliance of New England. So Dr. Kane, thanks so much for taking the time to join today.

Lisa Kane (00:30):

Oh, thank you so much for having me. I’m so excited to be part of this.

Chris Pistorius (00:35):

Of course. And why don’t you tell us a little bit about this story? So you go to school, you become a dentist, get all that out of the way. And now you’re a dental consultant. Tell us about that please.

Lisa Kane (00:47):

Yeah, so that’s what happened. I was a dentist. I practiced dentistry for about 20 years and then I was just getting really bad migraines. So I decided, “You know what? I like the business sort of aspect of it. I like organizing. I like making sure people are doing what they’re supposed to be doing.” So I decided to do consulting. So I opened up a consulting company a few years ago. And since then, that’s what I’ve been doing full time. And I got to tell you, I love it. I love having the dental knowledge and I’m glad that I went to dental school and I definitely wouldn’t be able to do this if I didn’t because there’s all that guilt that I wasted that, but I do, I really enjoy doing this.

Chris Pistorius (01:33):

Awesome, that’s an interesting story. So I guess once you got started getting the migraines and you knew you probably needed to change something, why consultant? Obviously you had the experience and you’ve got the degrees and all of that stuff, but you said you love it. Is that something you find that you’re passionate about?

Lisa Kane (01:55):

Yeah, it’s so interesting because practicing, I honestly didn’t even know that there were rules and regulations. I was just so focused. Obviously there were rules and regulations, but you’re so focused on what you’re doing with the patient and how you can treat that patient the best way possible and take care of them that I didn’t even know that there was all this other stuff going around regulation wise. So once I was in a situation where I found out that there were regulations, not because of me, but because of someone else.

Lisa Kane (02:27):

And then I was like, “Huh, I can help with that.” So I just researched it. It probably took me a year to completely research CDC, OSHA, and all the board regulations. Yeah, and now I just go in and I help people figure out how they can be compliant and how they can… I try to take off their plate the stuff that I wasn’t thinking about, but the stuff that you have to do. And I feel like definitely having the dental background and the knowledge, I know what the pain in the neck, and try to do it a little bit more efficiently maybe. Get everything done.

Chris Pistorius (03:10):

You know, and I want you to dive in to everything that you help with in terms of compliance, but in our situation, we do marketing for dentists and the biggest need there, you could figure out marketing as a dentist if you wanted to, but do you have the time, do you have the expertise, do you have a team of people that can help you with it? And it’s a time-saver and it’s have the expert do it because like marketing, compliance is a huge thing and it can cost them a lot of money potentially if they’re not in compliance. So why don’t you tell us about the specific kinds of compliancy that you help with and maybe what the people watching today should be thinking about?

Lisa Kane (03:54):

Yeah, first of all, OSHA, since COVID, has gotten over $4 million worth of violations. Yeah, and they’re not stopping. So basically, the whole respiratory protection program thing, the whole N95, there’s all these things that go with it that you have to have and people think it’s optional and it’s really not. So I think that kind of hit home because people were getting fined a lot. So what I do is I help people. I usually go into an office, I can do it virtually now, or I can physically go in so I can do it anywhere. And I look at what they have and see what they have and say, “Great, you’re doing a great job with this,” or, “We really need to work on this.” And I try to be super… I’m not getting you in trouble.

Lisa Kane (04:42):

I’m there as insurance to see if someone were to get you in trouble, because there’s all these patients and staff members that are really worried right now. And they really feel unsafe in certain situations. And they’re not hesitating to call some sort of governing body to let them know about that. So I try to help protect people with that. So I do that. And then I do infection control and OSHA classes. I’m doing medical emergency classes. And then I can do all your stuff for you. There’s all these plans and protocols that have to be done, they have to be personalized. You can’t just buy an OSHA book from the American Dental Association and put it in your office and be like, “I’m done,” because that’s blank. It has all the bones, but it’s blank.

Lisa Kane (05:25):

So I try to just, like you said, take it off their plate because it would take hours and hours and days and days to do it correctly. And I always tell people too, I am in love with water testing. So marketing wise, I always tell people to take these little water tests that they do and hold them up and put them on their social media and just show how… Because people, I feel like people are so concerned now with safety and infection control and the patients too, they’re much more knowledgeable than they were even a year ago. So I do feel like what you’re doing is a huge benefit for people because it’s you can’t do that on your own and you don’t and you’re going to do it wrong and you need someone who knows what they’re doing I feel like for everything else besides what you’re good at.

Chris Pistorius (06:17):

Yeah, and I’ll tell you the other thing probably with compliancy too, I’m sure is it changes, it’s not a static thing that once you learn it, you don’t have to worry about it anymore. It’s a moving target and marketing, especially digital marketing, when Google changes their mind about something, they don’t exactly tell everybody and let them know ahead of time. And there’s a lot of doctors out there that rely on Google for a lot of their new patients. So you’re right, it’s something that saves time, but it’s also like with you, you’ve got an expert working on this for you and they know about the changes and taxes, another thing, you don’t want to bargain shop that at all either. So who are your ideal clients? Do you have an ideal client? Is it pretty much any practice or who are you looking for?

Lisa Kane (07:11):

Yeah, I’m looking for any practice. I tend to work more with smaller practices or smaller groups of practices. I have a few groups that are probably like five to 10 offices, that kind of thing. It’s the people that really want to try and really want to try to be in compliance for the sake of being in compliance. Like the people that are active and interested in it, those are my ideal people. We’re really trying to be more hands-on. And so like literal handholding, except you can’t in COVID, but really trying to, “We’ll, come in or we’ll do your safety meetings for you. We’ll do your water testing for you. We’ll teach you how to review the SDS or go over your OSHA book with you,” and all these things.

Lisa Kane (08:02):

We have… It reminded me when you were saying things are ever changing. We made this COVID binder six months ago about basically how to react if certain things happen and it went from like five tabs in it to now it has like 20 tabs in it. Every day I feel like I’m emailing people and be like, “Here’s the update.” So I think that’s really important. And the CDC and OSHA too, they’re like every day, I’m doing a class tonight and I have to put my little disclaimer on it, “This was as of yesterday when I looked.” Everything is constantly changing. So it’s hard to keep track of.

Chris Pistorius (08:43):

Yeah, I’m curious. And I don’t know if you have numbers with this or not, but if I’m just a regular dentist just watching this, I’m probably thinking, “What are really my chances of being audited or being caught out of compliance?” What are your chances? You said I’m kind of surprised. I thought maybe they would let us off the hook a little bit in the industry during COVID, but it sounds like they’re going full steam ahead. What is that process and what is a typical dental practice’s odds of being audited on this?

Lisa Kane (09:16):

It depends. So there’s certain things like in Massachusetts there’s certain things that you have, like if you have a new anesthesia permit or you need to re-app, but you’re going to be visited, that kind of stuff. So there’s that kind of routine stuff. But then there’s things that are just… It’s people, OSHA is getting so many complaints and they can get a complaint from me. I could go home and tell my husband that I’m working in an office and they don’t have any gloves for me. And I feel so unsafe. And he could go online and do an anonymous complaint because I feel unsafe or a patient could come in and I keep on telling this story. I was in an office where a patient paid with a credit card and the front desk person so rudely put the credit card on her clean counter, which is not patient care, to type in the number, and the patient got so upset because they thought that, “Oh my gosh, you’re contaminating my credit card. And now I have to…”

Lisa Kane (10:08):

I don’t know what they have to do, but you just need that. All you need is someone you do not know. So I think the chances of someone right now, I think they’re pretty high having someone come in. Who knows? Maybe no one’s going to come in or it’s staff and it’s patients that if they’re unhappy, then they could easily call.

Chris Pistorius (10:33):

Sure, and I know with some HIPAA stuff, I’ve done some interviews with some HIPAA compliance folks and it’s kind of the same process. Anybody can file a complaint. And I believe if I remember correctly that the government almost has to at least follow up on every complaint. So we even cut a story, sort of joked around about it, but kind of not, literally you could have a competitor just go in and leave an anonymous complaint and you would hope that that wouldn’t happen in this industry, but you know what, I’m not so sure. So I think it’s one of those cases to be certainly better safe than sorry. Would you agree with that?

Lisa Kane (11:15):

Oh, without a doubt. And OSHA, if they come in, you have to post what they found. So it’s like a restaurant with their ratings on it. You have to post. No one’s going to want to come in an office that has trash in the bathroom or whatever or no one has the right they don’t feel safe here. It’s really scary. I think that everyone has… At any time, not to scare everyone and make you all go underneath your covers, but I feel like that’s why if you have yourself organized and you have yourself set up for success, if OSHA comes into your office and there’s low-hanging fruit stuff. If you have that, they’re already in a good mood.

Lisa Kane (12:04):

If you have the written respiratory protection program, if you’ve had everyone fit tested, if you’ve had medical clearance for everyone, they’re already happy. They come in and they see like, “Wait, where’s this, where’s this, where’s this?” They’re going to be mad and they’re going to look further. So I think that having someone come in, having someone do some sort of a walkthrough virtually or in-person or something is a really important thing for every office to make sure that you’re where you think you are.

Chris Pistorius (12:34):

Yeah, I totally agree. And it’s one of those things that if you start showing them the low-hanging fruit of, “Okay, we’ve got this binder that tells this,” and you look organized, I think they’re probably, “All right, well these folks, they’re on their way.” They probably don’t look quite as hard, I guess, in some cases, maybe if you at least initially show how organized you are. But maybe you could talk about, I’m sitting here putting my dental hat on, and I’m thinking, “Okay, well if I do get caught with something out of compliance, what is my risk?” So could you talk about how that works? I’m assuming there’s fines and penalties, things like that. Maybe you could detail a little bit of that?

Lisa Kane (13:17):

Oh yeah, yeah, and there are thousands and thousands of dollars of fines. They’re not just little fines. It’s huge. As I said, $4 million, that’s how much they’ve gotten. But yeah, you get fined and you can talk to them and again, the nicer you are, the better off you are. If you’re super argumentative or if you have nothing, they’re going to be really scared. If you’re doing something that’s endangering patients or staff significantly, they’re going to shut you down. But most people aren’t doing that. Most people are doing things that… A danger is a danger, but it’s on a scale, but yeah. They could come in and people… There was an office in Massachusetts that was charged over $9,000 for some of the things I was talking about.

Lisa Kane (14:04):

So it’s a big deal and it’s not private. So once that happens, everybody knows, especially the people like me who just constantly look on the OSHA website, but it’s in the news. So that’s what’s scary too. And it’s marketing wise too. It’s going to be on… Someone’s going to write a Google review and be like, “Hey, just saw this.” So it kind of impacts everything. That’s why I keep on doing all these cliches, low-hanging fruit, ducks in a row, just do everything how you’re supposed to do it and get your office up to date and where it needs to be.

Chris Pistorius (14:45):

So maybe you could talk about that a little bit. Again, the dental hat is on and now I’m nervous because I’m thinking these guys are going to bust in my door at any second and essentially shut me down. But what can somebody do? What’s your advice, tips, tricks, whatever it might be to get your office organized and get some of this stuff ready?

Lisa Kane (15:12):

Yeah, a couple of options. I mean, obviously first you hire me to come in your office and do something. That’s the obvious solution. But there’s other people like me. So you can hire someone to come in and check your office. The other thing is too, all the boards, the state dental boards usually have some sort of checklist for an inspection. The CDC has this whole thing, oh, I actually have it. They have this, I’ll put it upright. That is a lot of what needs to be going on in your dental practice. OSHA has a whole website about it. If you really are going to get into it, if you’re going to go down all these rabbit holes and it’s going to take you days to actually find out everything. But if you really follow, those are the big ones, OSHA, the CDC, and whatever your state board tells you to do, you can follow it. And again, everything has to be personalized. So you cannot just buy a stock book and expect that you are in compliance. So you have to label, you have to put all your own personal stuff in these books.

Chris Pistorius (16:18):

Okay, and I think that’s probably good advice. So where do you see this going? Do you see more restrictions coming into place, harsher fines, them even being more, what’s the word I’m looking for? More on the lookout for these violations? Do you see this getting just them taking a little closer look at this, I guess?

Lisa Kane (16:49):

Yeah, honestly what’s interesting is there hasn’t been, except for the N95s and the respiratory protection and the not having people in your waiting room, nothing else has really changed. You were supposed to do all this stuff before, so it’s not like this is all like, “Oh my gosh, COVID now we have to do all this stuff.” This was all stuff that was supposed to be done. I do think that people now seem to be more aware that you can reach out and complain. And so I don’t think that’s going to stop. I think that if you get your office in healthy shape, I think you’re better off. I don’t know, I’m just guessing, but I don’t see this stopping because I don’t know whether people’s perspectives are, “I want to get this place in trouble,” or, “I want to try to help this place so it doesn’t hurt anybody else.” So I’m not sure. I’d like to think it was more the second one, but I don’t personally feel like that’s going to go away anytime soon.

Chris Pistorius (17:52):

So if a practice wanted to talk to you or hire you or anybody like yourself, what is that typical process once they reach out? How does that all work in the COVID world now?

Lisa Kane (18:05):

Yeah, well a lot of things are… This Zoom thing is amazing. You can really do a lot. So what I do when I do classes, they’re all like this now because I don’t want to have everyone in the same room, but walkthroughs. I’m assuming everybody does it this way, but you can just take… I’ve had people just walk around their office with their camera facing the other way. And I have a whole list of things that I ask and they just show it to me. And I feel like I can get a really good sense of how they are. If they’re in Massachusetts, most of the times I will go out there because I wear an N95. I feel pretty safe doing that. So I’ll do that. But you can definitely, there’s a lot of virtual things you can do. And I feel like having someone do a walkthrough is a really good first step. Whether or not you use them to do your plans and protocols to do anything for you, just to get a really good sense of the health of your practice.

Chris Pistorius (18:58):

Right, okay. And Dr. Kane, if somebody sees this and they do want your help, what’s the best way to reach out to you and start that process?

Lisa Kane (19:08):

Yeah, they can go to my website. It’s, or it’s lisa@doc3ne. So it’s D-O-C, the number four, and then N-E for New England .com. And they can just reach out.

Chris Pistorius (19:23):

Awesome, well Dr. Kane, I got to tell you, thank you so much for joining today. I know how busy you are, and I guarantee there’s a lot of people that are going to watch this or listen to this and it will open their eyes a little bit and it’ll be partly, “Oh man, something else I’ve got to worry about,” but I think it’ll also be a lot of you’ll be able to sleep a lot better at night once you have this stuff in place. So thanks so much for your time. And maybe we could have you back in a few months and just maybe do an update and see where we’re headed then.

Lisa Kane (19:55):

That’s great, thank you so much. This was great.

Chris Pistorius (19:56):

Okay. Well thank you. Thank you, Dr. Kane, and thanks to everybody for listening to this segment. Make sure you check out our next cast, which will be on in a week from today. So thanks again. And we’ll talk to you all very soon.

Best Practices For Managing Multiple Offices!

Best Practices For Managing Multiple Offices!

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Chris (00:05):

Hi everybody. This is Chris Pistorius, again, with the Dental Marketing Podcast. Today, we’ve got a great interview. A true dental professional. We have Marie Sessions and she is with Dental Specialty Associates. They’re in Arizona. They have a few locations, actually, and they’re actually a great client of ours, as well. Marie, thanks so much for being on the program today.

Marie (00:31):

No problem, Chris. Thanks for having me.

Chris (00:33):

Sure. And you’re the… What’s your title? And just tell us a little bit about… about your practices and what you guys do.

Marie (00:40):

So, my official title is Regional Manager of our company but, I pretty much do everything from changing light bulbs to answering the phone, whatever the office needs on a day-to-day basis. But we have two specialty offices, Dental Specialty Associates, and my owners also own two general dental locations called Imagine Dental throughout the Valley. And so, I oversee and manage all four locations.

Chris (01:10):

Awesome. And how long have you been with Dental Specialty?

Marie (01:13):

I’ve been with them for about eight years and we’ve been opened for about 13. So, I’ve been here for a while.

Chris (01:22):

That’s great. And you got to be enjoying the Arizona weather when you can, right?

Marie (01:26):

Yes, absolutely. It’s nice today because it’s a bit rainy, which it hasn’t been in quite some time, but yes, we love the sunshine here.

Chris (01:33):

Yeah, absolutely. So, tell me why, what intrigued you in this position with Dental Specialty? I mean, when you have multiple locations, as many of our listeners probably do, you’ve got to stay busy, right? So, what are some tips and tricks for you in managing multiple locations?

Marie (01:53):

So, I think one thing that makes our practice unique is we’re very inclusive of everybody, everyone’s needs. A lot of doctors and offices don’t take insurances because insurances are super difficult to deal with, but they’re also a great referral source. Everybody works for somebody that has dental insurance through their employer or whatever the case may be, and we accept every insurance. So, whether it’s a state plan, discount plan, HMO, PPO, which, I’m sure, some people would be like that, is absolutely crazy. But long-term, we get a ton of patients that are able to see and maintain it, a really high volume of new patients because of it.

Chris (02:42):

Yeah. That’s interesting. I think that’s a great look at it and it’s, definitely, a way different business model, if you will than other’s approach. We’ve done these interviews and we have clients that are strictly fee for service and that worked well for them, right? But there are also other, other avenues to look at when, especially, if you’re starting a practice, right? And you’re trying to plan out like, “All right, in five years, we want to be here. In 10 years, we want to be here.” There is a happy medium, and then there’s a kind of take a lot of insurances and you’re reaping the benefits of that now, it sounds like.

Marie (03:22):

Yeah, we are. And I think if you do it long enough and you’re doing it right, it doesn’t have to run the office, you can kind of run it and allow it to build your practice in a positive way and not let it overturn your schedules and be running around like a chicken with your head cut-off if you’re doing it effectively. So, it’s benefiting the practice, you’re able to maintain a high volume, but you’re not running around like crazy people for no money, which, I don’t think there’s anybody who wants to be doing that. So, we’ve been able to kind of make it effective and feasible, and profitable for all of us.

Chris (04:03):

Yeah. So it sounds like, even though you do accept a lot of insurances, you understand that that, you control it so that, you’re not just filling up a schedule to fill it up. You actually… You need to make some money too, right?

Marie (04:16):

Yeah, exactly. So, we work hard at training the front and, realizing that there’s still a number to be met. It’s not… I have to often tell the staff and the girls, “We’re still a business.” We love to help everybody. And I have a great staff with very big hearts, but we still got to pay everybody. So, there’s, definitely, a bottom line. And I think having specialty within the office, definitely helps with that because a lot of specialty procedures are covered. So, you’re coming here and you might be seen in hygiene, and but then as soon as you have a tooth problem or need an implant, we’re also here and are able to accommodate that. So, those services that aren’t covered by insurance, we have the opportunity to expand on with all of our patients, as well.

Chris (05:04):

Yeah. That’s awesome. And I know you’ve been there a majority of the time since they’ve been opened, but do you know, do you have a little history on the practice? And I’m assuming they started with one practice and kind of figured out how to go about it or did they kind of have this plan from day one?

Marie (05:22):

No, we started with one. So, my owners, Dr. Lillian and Dr. Berger met. They had both worked at Southwest Dental Group, which in Arizona is kind of a big multi-location, Aspen Dental-type place if you will. They had all services in one location and, both, my owners worked for that practice. So, they met each other, became friends, and decided that it was a good business model that worked well, but there were some things wrong with it. The personability, it’s very much not learning anybody’s name, not very personable, not that connection that you want to build when you’re building a private practice. So, they decided to start their own and here we are with Dental Specialty Associates. So, we’re trying to be premier specialty implant doctors in Arizona and kind of having all those services in one place to make it easy for a patient to complete the process.

Marie (06:21):

So, you don’t have to go to a bunch of specialists to see, you can just come to us and we can take care of you from start to finish. It’s the same people, the same doctors. It’s really personable, for as many patients as we see, we try really hard to know everyone’s name and, “Hi, how are you?” So, you don’t get that sterile, “I’m here for the first time. I’m never going to come back,” feeling that you sometimes get at a specialty office when you’re just going to go in there for one thing. So-

Chris (06:51):

Yeah, that’s great. I mean, I think that’s a great story and, obviously, it’s been successful for you guys. And I think a lot of people listening or watching today can really get a lot of feedback from that. Especially, the folks that are maybe thinking about going out on their own, or maybe they’re to start a school, thinking about starting a practice, this type of experience you just can’t buy, right?

Marie (07:13):

No, you really can’t. And there’s something to be said, both my owners have been doing it long enough. They have years and years of experience and they complement each other really well. I think that there’s… Part of this specialty experience is being lost a little bit in so many private practices because they want to keep everything in-house. So, they don’t want to lose anything to a specialist referral. They’re trying to place implants themselves or have someone come in to do Endo or all of those things. And I think, there’s something to be said for allowing each person to do what they’re good at. And so, being able to refer to an oral surgeon for oral surgery procedures, and it’s still being in the same place, they’re not losing anything. Productivity-wise, it’s really nice for the patient because they’re being taken care of really, really well. And the standards are being maintained across the board.

Chris (08:10):

Right. That’s awesome. And I think that’s a great way to a great strategy to go about it. Let me ask you… I’m sure every practice is a little different in your organization, but I always talk to people in the marketing side of things. And we, obviously, are doing that with you now in terms of… Let’s figure out who’s our ideal patient, right? Who is it that we want to come in? Because, typically if you can do that, and it doesn’t have to be just one type, like in your situation, there could be multiple. But the better we can drill into, who is it that you want to bring into the practice, it makes marketing, your practice, so much easier because you can target those specific things and qualities. So, whom would you say is the ideal patient for you guys?

Marie (08:57):

Yeah. Well, like you said, I think we definitely do have two very different sides of the practice in attracting multiple areas. So, we have the single families with young kids who need to come in and have basic hygiene maintained but are also going to have dental issues all throughout life. Whether, it be crowns and wisdom teeth, and just basic necessities that are the bread and butter of your practice, and those are patients that we want all the time, anytime. Welcoming new families and… Great.

Marie (09:33):

That’s one part of it. I think another part of it is an ideal patient is knowing that they’re coming to the right place, feeling confident in who they’ve been referred to, and knowing that they’re going to get the best treatment possible. And of course, wanting to say yes, as soon as you present them with whatever they need. Yes to the implants, making it easy and seamless and just being decisive and knowing that their dental health is a priority. Educated in terms of rehab research, that they need an implant or on for, or whatever the case may be. And coming in with that knowledge base of, “I know what it is. I know what I want. I don’t want to be in dentures. I want implant retained dentures.” And knowing that they’re going to get it at the best quality with the best doctors here.

Chris (10:25):

Yeah, that’s awesome. And I think, you’ve really already, kind of, said this in a summary, but if you had a sentence or two to, kind of, talk about your unique selling proposition. We all know that dental is extremely competitive for dentistry, private practice, wherever it may be. But why should somebody come to visit one of your locations versus maybe the 50 others around it?

Marie (10:51):

For sure. I think that the decades of experience from the providers, mixed with the personable feeling that you’re not going to get at any corporate facility. Knowing that you’re going to have the best doctors with the best services and the best equipment, all in one place while still feeling like we care is you can’t beat that. Especially, in, let’s say, like the healthcare field where it’s all insurance-based. You see a nurse practitioner, you don’t get to see a doctor, spend any time with them, or anything like that. You’re coming to a place where quality and care are the top priority. And I think, there’s a lot to be said for that in the kind of corporate-dentistry-hamster-wheel that gets put out there a lot, because they’re able to afford to wash out the little guy. So, we’re competing with them and doing it well and you’re still going to get high quality because the owners are doing it.

Chris (11:56):

Right. I think that’s awesome. Dentistry, I think can be very… I almost said trendy, but a very innovative, new technologies, the new services that a general dentist can offer. What do you see in the horizon in terms of dentistry? I mean, is there a new technology out there that you’ve heard of, or you guys are looking at or any type of services?

Marie (12:21):

Yeah. I mean… Yeah, just as something as easy as digital scans with crowns and taking out impression material, nobody likes to have goop shoved in their mouth for anything. Much less, whether it be a crown, or a night guard, or a denture, even if we have digital 3D scanners in our office that scan everything. So, I think there’s definitely in terms of fabrication and digital technology on the horizon for dentistry. I think that’s going to be a big game-changer for a lot of offices because your quality inadvertently is going to go up. On the implant side, I think it’s limitless there. There’s so much new technology out there. Every time you turn around, there’s something new going on with the implant side of things that’s really inspiring because nobody wants to be in dentures and spores. You and I do know that when we go to lose all of our teeth, that we’re going to have an option that isn’t sitting on the counter-top is going to be awesome.

Chris (13:37):

Yeah. I got to tell you, my dad had dentures at a pretty, fairly, early age and there’re some images there I just can’t get rid of. So-

Marie (13:45):

Yeah, I know and I never want to be that. It’s never going to be a good look for anybody, and to know that that it’s come such a long way already and where it’s going in terms of placement and all of that good stuff. I think that it’s super, super exciting.

Chris (14:02):

Yeah. Absolutely. So, let’s say that there’s somebody out there in your position, has been in dentistry and they’re thinking about getting into management whether it’s one office or it’s multiple locations. What would you say to them right now? And tips, advice like run for the hills or embrace it-

Marie (14:19):

No, I mean, run for the hills. I’m sure somebody might say that. I love what I do, and I’m super passionate about my patients and the practice and it excites me. It’s hard to sleep on Sunday nights because Monday I’m like, “Oh, we get to do this and we’re going to do that.” And it’s just I love it. So, I would say that if you don’t love it, don’t do it. Because it’s a really hard thing to, kind of, have been in it. It’ll wear you out, but if your heart’s in it and this is what you wanted to do then, definitely, I would say that it’s the best thing ever. And don’t get hung up on it in a title. I would say that part of managing is doing everything. And, honestly, the days that I have someone call out and have to answer the phone and get to talk to 20 people are still fun for me. I don’t see that as a sort of thing. I see it as, “Great. I got to interact with all my new patients.” So-

Chris (15:20):

It keeps your skills up to date too, right?

Marie (15:24):

It does. Yeah, for sure. Yeah. So, I would say, just be passionate about it and if you have that passion for it, go for it.

Chris (15:31):

I’ve got a question for you. I’ve been getting a lot of feedback, especially, in the last few months. And I assume there’s some COVID-related stuff with that, too. But even single practices are having this issue of staffing. We’re seeing a lot of turnover going on in the industry. Can’t keep people, can’t find qualified people. There are different strategies. Do you bring in somebody with dental experience or you bring somebody that you can, kind of, train and mold the way you want them? What’s your advice on hiring and firing and training? What’s been successful?

Marie (16:05):

This is, honestly, as a manager, anybody going into it, one of the hardest parts of my job because it’s so out of my control, right? Obviously, everything else I can either do myself this, I can’t control any of this. And it is really difficult because you don’t want to have a high turnover, but you don’t want to keep bad people. You’re not going to really know anyone, what they can do until they’re there. So, I’ve just gotten, kind of, it to the point where I lay our philosophy out in the interview. This is what we do. This is who we are. We’d love to have you be a part of that. And sometimes people come in and it’s just not a good fit. And I’ve learned that if it’s not a good fit to just let it go. Because you end up losing more in the long run on your phones, and your schedules, and all of those things that I’m not around to see all the time then it is worth the retention.

Marie (17:05):

And then in terms of finding people, I mean, I go back and forth. There are some times where it’s yes, we need the experience because we just don’t have as much time to train. And then there’re times like right now I’m having the hardest time finding a good front office, people that we’re in line at Chick-fil-A and I’m like, “Well, that girl can hustle.” And I bet you look at her and talking to all those people and she’s smiling while she’s doing it. Maybe she should come work for us-

Chris (17:34):

That can’t be taught. That’s a personality trait.

Marie (17:40):

Exactly. And so, I learned that the things you can’t teach… We can teach anybody about teeth. We all learned it. You can watch videos. I can teach you what a crown is. The doctors will… I’ll show you along the way. I can’t teach someone how to be nice. And to give you that thing through the phone that makes you want to schedule, that’s a total, like you said, personality thing. And if you find it, whether it be at a store or a restaurant, just at this point, I’m hiring him, like, “What do you want? Come work for us.” Because that’s stuff, that’s going to keep new patients coming in.

Chris (18:17):

Yeah. That’s awesome. That’s a great tip there at the end. So I’m going to wrap it up here in just a question or two but… I know you’re not the owner of the practices, but where do you see Dental Specialty Associates in the next five years? Are you guys… Do you think you’ll grow? Do you think you’ll just get better or both?

Marie (18:36):

Absolutely. I think the growth is, kind of, limitless right now. Especially, with the state of everything, and with you guys helping us achieve our goals and new patient-wise. I think the goal for the next five years would be to be the premier implant doctors in Arizona, placing dentures all on fours, all of that good stuff that whenever that conversation is had around the Valley, it’s our name is in the mix with it. We’re right up there with ClearChoice and all of those places. It’s, “No, you want to go to Dental Specialty Associates, these doctors know what they’re doing.” So, I think the next five years, that would be our goal, is to just kind of be taking over that part of the market here in the Valley.

Chris (19:24):

That’s awesome. Well, you just said, I think we might splice out of this and use it for like a TV commercial or something for you guys. That was like, spot on. That was great.

Marie (19:33):

Whatever you want to use [crosstalk 00:19:35].

Chris (19:36):

Awesome. Well, Marie, I really appreciate your time.

Marie (19:39):

No problem. Thank you so much for having me.

Chris (19:41):

Yeah. And maybe we’ll check back in with you guys in the next few months and just see how you’re doing and maybe do a little bit of a follow-up.

Marie (19:49):

Yeah, absolutely. Just let me know. I’m always around Chris. Have a great day.

Chris (19:53):

Awesome. Thanks again.

Marie (19:54):


Chris (19:55):

All right. Everybody thanks this has been another episode of the Dental Marketing Podcast. I hope you got some great information from Marie about their situation and be sure to tune in to our next episode. Thanks again.

How Maintaining Relationships with Your Patients & Employees Impacts Your Dental Practice!

How Maintaining Relationships with Your Patients & Employees Impacts Your Dental Practice!

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Chris Pistorius (00:03):

Hi everybody, this is Chris Pistorius again with the Dental Marketing Podcast. Today. I’ve got a special guest, Dr. Landon Blatter, who is the founder and CEO of Rocky Mountain Dental Partners in Colorado. They have two locations, actually, right now: Aspen Springs Dental, and Aurora Family Dentistry. Dr. Blatter, thanks so much for joining us. I know how busy you are.

Landon Blatter (00:29):

Thanks for having me, Chris. I really appreciate it.

Chris Pistorius (00:31):

Absolutely. So, Dr. Blatter’s actually been a client of ours for several years now, and we’ve seen… we’ve gone through different financial reconciles, if you will, in terms of the economy going up and down, and now COVID. And so we’ve experienced a lot together and we’ve actually grown our businesses at the same time. So, Dr. Blatter and his practices were actually one of our early clients, so several years now. So, we appreciate the ongoing support Dr. Blatter, and maybe you could just tell us a little bit about how you got started. I think you’ve owned them now for 15 years and still going strong. Maybe you could tell us a little bit about the history of the practices.

Landon Blatter (01:16):

Yeah, you bet. And I think it’s probably closer to seven, eight, maybe even nine years, Chris, it seems like-

Chris Pistorius (01:21):


Landon Blatter (01:21):

because we’ve been doing this a long time, so not just two or three.

Chris Pistorius (01:24):

Right? Yeah, no, no. Yeah. That’s what I meant. I’m sorry, I probably misspoke, but yeah, it’s been several years, for sure.

Landon Blatter (01:31):

I really appreciate the relationship and you’ve always done a great job for us. So, I started, Chris, 15 years ago out of dental school, graduated Harvard Dental School in 2004, and I always knew that I was not made to be somebody’s employee. But I decided to work for somebody at corporate dental office in Colorado Springs for just a year. Great experience, got some hand skills, and then I bought my first location in September of 2005. Then in 2007, I bought the second location, which happens to be the Aurora office. Then in 2009, 2010, I bought a couple other offices. Those two I’ve since sold because I found myself being stretched too thin. And we settled into two offices where I feel like that’s a really good… that stretches me and we’re growing those.

Landon Blatter (02:25):

And I just don’t feel like I’m too stretched too thin with just the two offices at this stage. And I’ve really enjoyed the fact of trying to build a group office and have multiple doctors. And that process has been outrageously stretching for me and stretching me beyond my existing sets of skills. But it’s fantastic to watch them grow.

Chris Pistorius (02:48):


Landon Blatter (02:49):

For instance, the Aspen Springs office, with much help from you is… we’ve grown probably four or five times since I started it 15 years ago.

Chris Pistorius (02:59):


Landon Blatter (02:59):

So it just takes time [crosstalk 00:03:01].

Chris Pistorius (03:01):

Yeah, it’s been remarkable to watch just from my side. We help you with marketing, but you’ve done so much to grow the both of those practices. And I can remember when we started, I mean, there were some pretty big gaps in the schedule, and we both had concerns about that like, “Geez, you know, is this the right market for him? Is this…?”

Chris Pistorius (03:21):

And then between some right marketing moves and just what you’ve done internally in your organization, it’s been incredible to watch that. So-

Landon Blatter (03:34):

You hit something there on the head. I mean, you’re right. I remember the days when you and I first started, where I had two or three columns going, and we had holes all over the place. Now I’ve got five columns and it’s almost totally booked. And so we’re looking at a new location, so it can happen. It does happen.

Chris Pistorius (03:53):

Yeah, absolutely. Absolutely. And you know, sometimes I think, especially the new guys coming out of school or maybe somebody that’s been an associate and looking to start their own practice, for me, I think some good advice is that you’ve got to have a business plan that gives you a little time to get going and get started, because I don’t see somebody opening a practice brand new, especially, and within 30 or 60 days, all of a sudden you’ve got 50 patients a month, right?

Chris Pistorius (04:21):

Maybe you could talk a little bit about that. What should expectations be when you start out, I guess?

Landon Blatter (04:28):

Man, it all depends on where you’re at, obviously. The demographics are super important as you know, Chris, but I would agree, most of us dentists, we are not going to make it overnight. And you’re not going to open your shingle, put up a shingle like we used to back in the day and have 20, 30, 40 new patients knocking on your door every month and be like, “I want to join. I want to come in,” right? Takes work. It takes a lot of effort. And I think that we just have to be persistent and have realistic expectations. If we start to think that overnight success happens all the time, we end up letting ourselves down.

Chris Pistorius (05:07):


Landon Blatter (05:07):

And early on, I was like that, Chris, I felt, “Man, why am I not growing faster? I’m only growing at like a 10% clip here every year.” But instead of looking at that and celebrating that progress of 10% growth and be like, “That’s awesome,” I was getting myself down. And then when I finally realized that, you can’t be looking at the negative of everything all the time. You have to look at how much work you put into this and how great 10% growth is. That’s way better than most of the dentists out there, right?

Chris Pistorius (05:40):


Landon Blatter (05:41):

And so, always stay positive. We’ve got to look at at the negative stuff and then utilize that to grow, but celebrate that progress, celebrate the positive things that are happening just in life in general. What a great strategy to just sure that you’re celebrating the good things, right? Especially in COVID right?

Chris Pistorius (06:00):

Oh, yeah.

Landon Blatter (06:01):

We have so many things that are stressing us out.

Chris Pistorius (06:03):

Yeah, no, I think that’s great advice for any business owner, honestly, not even dentistry. I mean, especially with COVID, we had a situation where every client of ours, except for emergency, shut down over a matter of a couple of months and some a little longer depending on where you were. So it’s pretty easy, once you get into a situation like that, to start looking at some pretty negative stuff.

Landon Blatter (06:26):

Right. Amen.

Chris Pistorius (06:29):

If you could see the light at the end of the tunnel through something like that and stay optimistic, I think that can help you get through just about anything, so.

Landon Blatter (06:36):

You’ve got to have your mentors that have gone through that-

Chris Pistorius (06:39):


Landon Blatter (06:40):

kind of stuff too, whether that’s in your profession or… one of the things I love to do is I love to look at athletes and look at what struggles they went through, right?

Chris Pistorius (06:47):


Landon Blatter (06:48):

And my son is in basketball, we just were looking at Michael Jordan. Didn’t make the varsity basketball team as a sophomore.

Chris Pistorius (06:55):

Right? That’s right.

Landon Blatter (06:55):

But he became the best ever, right?

Chris Pistorius (06:57):


Landon Blatter (06:57):

And now you’ve got Tom Brady out there that’s going to his tenth super bowl.

Chris Pistorius (07:02):


Landon Blatter (07:03):

People have something special, and what can we learn from these people? We can implement that into our professions too, right?

Chris Pistorius (07:09):

No question, no question. Except I don’t think I have any guaranteed contracts worth $20 to $30 million, but hey, that’s… I guess that’s part of it, right?

Landon Blatter (07:18):

That’s your next contract, Chris.

Chris Pistorius (07:20):


Landon Blatter (07:20):

That next dental office right around the corner.

Chris Pistorius (07:21):

That’ll be a big practice, won’t it? Well hey, tell me a little bit about… I know both practices are fairly similar in terms of what you’re trying to achieve, but there’s differences too. But who do you think is your ideal patient? Who do you really want? And who’s the person that you really want to see come through that front door, I guess?

Landon Blatter (07:43):

That is a great question. So what we’ve done in both offices, as we’ve started off as family dentistry and seeing kids, we’re gradually moving away from seeing younger kids. And if we can start to see kids when they’re 14, 15, that’s probably, that’s much more ideal for us. So 10 years ago, that’s what I focused on because everybody needs a dentist. But now with more specialized training from the Dawson Academy from-

Chris Pistorius (08:13):


Landon Blatter (08:14):

[crosstalk 00:08:14] and then also some dental implant classes, we’re trying to move much more towards reconstructive dentistry. And so we’re trying to really develop a niche where we can be the people that the dental office that people know about correcting people’s bites.

Chris Pistorius (08:32):


Landon Blatter (08:32):

There’s a lot of people that have uncomfortable bites and they just don’t know where to go. And so sometimes that would be dental implants, and other times it’s just correcting their bite via a few crowns and a bite adjustment.

Landon Blatter (08:45):

So we’ve kind of transitioned over the years. And I think every practice does that, but our ideal patient right now is somebody who’s going to probably be a baby boomer, 50, 60, 70 years old that are looking to restore their smile, restore a bite, maybe fix some headaches, maybe some TMJ issues is where we’re at right now.

Chris Pistorius (09:06):

Right. Awesome. What about… I know you and I have talked about this several times, but you know, maybe in a couple of sentences or paragraphs, whatever works, what do you think is your unique selling proposition? We know that dentistry is very competitive and we have corporate dentistry, private practice, everything in between. And there’s tons. I mean, you’re in two markets that are, especially Aurora, is very competitive. What separates you from the competition? Why should somebody come to one of your practices versus maybe 50 of the others?

Landon Blatter (09:37):

That is such a great question. And it’s honestly a hard question to answer, and it should be something that’s on every business owner’s mind and preparing for this, maybe really start to think more about that, Chris. Customer service, I believe, is something that we have to all really… and that relationship-based service for people. I know that when I go to my doctor, I want that to be relationship-based. And it’s hard to experience that and to know that that’s actually happening in a practice until they actually come in, right? They can give us a try and either like us or dislike us, but with the help, you know what you’ve given us for sure, one of the most strong things is we’ve got 300 plus 4.9 star reviews on Google. That kind of stuff really helps emphasize that we’re taking care of people, right?

Landon Blatter (10:34):

So I think that that sets us apart. We’re not just show up, “Hey, sign this piece of paper and we’ll get you back here in a few minutes,” we try to have our systems very well organized. And in those systems though, it’s relationship-based, and you’re going to get to know your hygienists, you’re going to get to know your doctor, even though you’ll see multiple doctors, and people are friendly. Everybody tries to do that the best that we can, and I do feel like that sets us apart. And we’re proving that with our reviews that you help us get.

Chris Pistorius (11:09):


Landon Blatter (11:11):

Starting off early on, I really used Harvard Dental School has a unique selling point and I still do that, but just not as much. But then educating our patients and not selling patients, we use the inter-oral camera so much where we get to show them their exact teeth. And then it doesn’t… then it’s like, “Hey, this is what we’re seeing. What do you think we should do about it?” It’s an educational process about what’s going on in their mouth. And I feel like that really sets us apart. Now, whether or not I get that portrayed online that… but once they come in, I think that’s what they feel. And that’s what what we’re trying to achieve when they come to our office.

Chris Pistorius (11:53):

Yeah. You know, it’s funny, you mention that because online advertising is awesome if you do it right. But you know, sometimes you’ve got so much to say, and it’s probably not just online advertising, but you’ve got so much to say and so much you want to say, that it’s like, I don’t know if you even remember this, but the old classified ads in the newspapers, you only get like three lines to say it. So as a marketer, I’m so frustrated because I’m like, “Man, he’s got an awesome practice, but how do I convey that in three lines?” Or whatever it is, you know, on a website or a… because people have short attention spans. They’re not going to read through an entire website. You’ve got six and a half seconds to really attract their attention. So how do you get all that content into such a small amount of space? And that’s the trick to it, I guess. Right?

Landon Blatter (12:37):

Yeah. So hard to [crosstalk 00:12:38].

Chris Pistorius (12:38):

Yeah, absolutely. Well, you talked about some of the technology things, and I know you guys are, you’re kind of loaded up with the latest in technology, but what do you see? Is there anything coming down the pike that you’re excited about or things that you want to get into in terms of, I mean, you talked a little bit about maybe getting into implants more and a little bit higher end cases, but what excites you in terms of technology that might be coming down the pike or services that you can offer?

Landon Blatter (13:04):

That’s a great question. What’s really exciting right now is the digital scanning and what we can do digitally. We’ve got an iTero scanner for Invisalign patients where instead of taking the big goopy impression, the iTero scanner is fantastic. In and out of there in 30 to 45 seconds per arch. Patients love that, they can see a digitized model workup right there immediately on the iTero scanner. That super excites me. The Cerec machine, where we are making same day crowns, and we just barely got two new ones of these, and this allows us to make zirconia crowns in-office. So we’ve been doing a lot of that. So both of those required digital scanning and digital technology that’s really fun. We’re working towards being able to do more of that digitized work with our hybrid dentures and making that less analog-based and less model-based, and that’s really exciting, too. So, great stuff in dentistry.

Chris Pistorius (14:06):


Landon Blatter (14:06):

I tell people all the time like, “Whoa, what happened to those days back in the day?” Can you imagine living in the day when the day you go to the dentist, you’re like, “Dude, my tooth hurts,” and all he has to offer is, “Here’s a bottle of Jim beam. I suggest you drink a lot. A lot of it, because this is going to hurt,” right? Now, we’ve got these tiny little needles. We’ve got topical anesthetic. You’re totally numb. And digital scannings, we don’t even have goopy impressions. How awesome is that, to live in a day and age for the patient and the dentist? Things fit the first time, almost every time.

Chris Pistorius (14:44):

Right. Yeah.

Landon Blatter (14:45):

That’s so cool. And I just get excited about that. [crosstalk 00:14:46]

Chris Pistorius (14:46):

Well, I’ll tell you a personal story. My whole family, obviously, goes to your practice and my son had to have a tooth removed. He’s only 11, but you had to have a tooth removed. And it was a baby tooth, so it wasn’t socked at really tight. But I kind of thought about that. I was like, “Man, when I was 11 years old and if I was told I had to get a tooth pulled, that’s a fair amount of fear,” and he didn’t have any. And I worried about that because this was his first real experience with doing anything, and he got home and he didn’t text me or anything. He just got home when I got home from work.

Chris Pistorius (15:20):

I said, “All right. So how did it go?” I was cringing a little bit, and he goes, “Oh yeah, I didn’t really feel anything. They put this stuff on my gum first, then they gave me two shots that I didn’t even feel. And it took like five minutes and I was out of there.” I was like, “Wow. You know, that wasn’t always the case when I was, you know, 30 years ago or whatever it was when I was at age. So it’s amazing in just a small amount of time, the change that’s gone on in dentistry, I think.

Landon Blatter (15:46):

It’s incredible. I mean, from that kind of stuff like you’re mentioning, that patient experience is so much better. And then what would we do with periodontal disease now and being able to save teeth with lasers and laser bacterial reduction, instead of all the other processes of just letting things get worse, we actually understand how it all works.

Chris Pistorius (16:05):


Landon Blatter (16:06):

Great time to save our teeth, great time to live, because when we’re 85 or 90, Chris, you and I are going to be sitting on our front porch and we’re going to be chewing watermelon seeds and with our own teeth, right? That is so awesome.

Chris Pistorius (16:18):

Right. Well, I hope so. I hope you’re right with that one, for sure. But, you know, they say, and I’m trying to embrace this with all of our clients, but they say that the biggest reasons that people don’t go to the dentist are because of time, fear, and money. And so when we construct marketing campaigns, we’re like, “All right, we probably should talk about at least those three things very quickly in our advertising conversations, right?” So, time… what is it, extra hours you work longer? Whatever it might be. Fear, I think fear and money, I think… especially fear.

Chris Pistorius (16:54):

I think video can do a lot, just having video from the dentist himself, like you’ve done several of these just to make people feel more comfortable and talk about the advances that have happened in dentistry. And you know, it’s not like it was 30, 40 years ago. And then, money. I think every practice is different. You know your fee for service practices, you have your practices that take all kinds of insurance, and then you have folks that do kind of in the between or they have their own in-house plans. But would you agree that those are important things to talk about, as a dentist, not just with online marketing, but with anything you do?

Landon Blatter (17:30):

Oh, for sure. If you can solve what people’s concerns are, you’re going to be successful. And if you solve their time problem, that’ll make you partly more successful. You solve their fear problem, you’re going to be more successful. And you solve the money thing by helping it be affordable and accepting their insurance, or however you want to do that. All of those things it’s about solving the problem that the patient has. And when we can do that, our practices will be successful, right?

Chris Pistorius (18:00):

Yeah. And I think that’s a great point. You’re really… what you’re selling are solutions to problems, not necessarily dentistry stuff, right?

Landon Blatter (18:09):


Chris Pistorius (18:09):

And I think when you can convey that message in your marketing and just anything that you do even in in-house, I think that goes a long way with resonating with people that are looking to have procedures done. So I think that’s great advice.

Landon Blatter (18:25):

And you solve their problems, but then you leave them with a good feeling when they leave the office.

Chris Pistorius (18:29):


Landon Blatter (18:30):

And if they can leave with that feeling, because it’s the feeling that helps them come back, it’s the feeling that, “I trust you. I was comfortable there. I really enjoyed the conversation. I didn’t feel pushed.” You know, all these feelings are so important to people, especially when we work in an occupation, that fear drives them. People are nervous. About 80% are nervous about the dentist, right? So if they can leave with a good feeling, man, it is success.

Chris Pistorius (18:57):

Well, and it opens up your channels for them to tell their friends and family how great it was too, right? Which is a huge part of operating in a successful dental practices, that word of mouth referral type marketing, so.

Landon Blatter (19:11):


Chris Pistorius (19:12):

Okay. Well, cool. So just circling back a little bit, because I know we’re going to have a lot of people watching or listening to this that are probably a little bit on the fence right now. “All right, I’ve got one practice, built it up, going great. Should I make that jump? And should I really go buy another one or two or three? What does that look like?” And I think we can leverage a lot of your experience with this, but what advice would you give to somebody that’s looking at the books right now and maybe thinking about making that move?

Landon Blatter (19:45):

That’s a loaded question, Chris.

Chris Pistorius (19:47):

Yeah, yeah.

Landon Blatter (19:48):

I’ll tell you, it’s a lot harder than you think it is, right? So many times we feel like, “Well, if we have one thing that’s successful, then I can do four.” Well, why did I go to four and then drop back down to two?

Chris Pistorius (20:01):


Landon Blatter (20:02):

I did it because, I dropped back down because, I realized, “I can’t do this right now.” My skillset wouldn’t allow me to do that. And so, my recommendation is that if you’re thinking about doing it, make sure that the worst case scenario of running this thing, if three people quit on the same day, that you have systems in place to take care of that, then this can be way less stressful. But if you don’t have… if we don’t have systems in place to take care of that, to work through problems like that, man, it just becomes… your problems, honestly, instead of are doubled by adding one extra office, sometimes it feels like they’re tripled or quadrupled.

Landon Blatter (20:39):

And so my recommendation is to go into this with your eyes wide open, knowing what problems you have in your own office. And just really honestly assess inside yourself and say, “Would I be better off to spend more time in this one office and make it more productive, or is two really going to bring that profitability that we’re looking for?” And four was too much for me, the profitability of that wasn’t working. So I’m like, “I got to drop it back down to something that I can maintain.” So really assess if you can handle those worst days and if you can, then, and you got some systems in place, then I think it’s great. But if you feel like that’s not your skillset, maybe one and just grow that one is better.

Chris Pistorius (21:26):

Yeah. How do you learn that the hard way? Well, and I think everybody will do that somewhat, but it seems to me like where you’ve kind of made a difference to me anyway, is that as you’ve grown, you’ve been smart enough to know that you can’t do it by yourself. You can’t be in two locations at the same time, and trying to book yourself in two locations or even three or four is crazy, right? And you’ve done a really good job, I think, of finding good doctors to come in and help you do this. I mean, Dr. Ricks has been with you forever, but you’ve grown beyond him as well. What’s what advice do you give to people looking to bring in associates or other doctors in whatever capacity?

Landon Blatter (22:15):

Man, that’s a really good question. You got to have, firstly, you got to have people that see dentistry the same as you do. You have to have the same treatment philosophy. If that treatment philosophy differs too much, it probably will never work. It’ll just create longterm animosity. But the second thing is win-win situations for both people involved and knowing what the doctor’s looking for and then somehow creating a situation that’s a win for both of you, you know, Stephen Covey at the finest, right?

Landon Blatter (22:46):

I mean, you got win-loser relationships, you got lose-lose, and then you got win-win. If we can win-win everybody… even if maybe, for instance, one of the doctors is making a little less than he was before, but it’s a win-win situation and it takes away the time that, say, for instance, I have to be at the office, well, that’s a win, right? And I know patients are going to be taken care of. Dr. Elvish gets in or Dr. Ricks gets into a great office. And so looking to win on both sides and not trying to be… like trying to make him make it on one situation and just know that, hey, if everybody’s going to win, it’s going to be a good long-term relationship and that’s better in the long run.

Chris Pistorius (23:33):

Right, right. I think that’s great advice. And I know that… I think you’re still involved, but you may not be in directly in charge of day to day operations in terms of hiring and firing things like that, but we’re seeing a big trend right now with our clients and just in the industry of front desk, staff assistance, things like that, of having high amounts of turnover. And it almost feels like to some people that they hire somebody and then a few months later they have to hire again, retrain and it’s like they’re never getting ahead. Do you have any tips or expert’s advice on how to hire and find good quality people that’ll stay loyal?

Landon Blatter (24:13):

That is so important and so hard to do. I think we all struggle with that, I do too. But some of the things that I’ve learned over time is you got to, again, it’s back to relationships. This has to be a relationship between you and your assistant and knowing that assistant, for instance, and what her career goals are. And so if you can know their career goals and then develop a path for her or him to achieve that goal, and this goes for every employee in our offices, if we know what their goals are, we can help them achieve that. And if they know that we’re trying to help them achieve that, and have a plan, man, I would stick around, right? And a lot more, I’d stick through a lot harder times than maybe if I didn’t have that, if I were the employee, right?

Landon Blatter (25:00):

So that’s one thing is, know them individually, have that relationship, and try to achieve some sort of a career path for them and where they want to go. Secondly, we just hired somebody at the front desk in the Centennial office, and she was a patient. And she was a patient that wanted to make a career change, and my front desk team leader, which are you talking about allowing other people to do stuff, she nurtured this relationship and now she’s been with us for six months and she’s just a really great employee now and team member. And so don’t… sometimes we look too much into, “Hey, do they have the skillset to do something?” And we missed the idea that, man, that personality, I need that personality.

Chris Pistorius (25:50):


Landon Blatter (25:50):

I need that to be the greeter of my office because they sparkle, they shine, right? And we can train a lot of things, but we can’t train being nice. You’re either nice or you’re not nice, Right? So look for these, whatever that important characteristic is, that you want in that position, look for it in all areas. And then we can train some other stuff.

Chris Pistorius (26:12):

Yeah. That’s a great point, and I’m hearing more and more of that of, we almost don’t want to hire people… I mean, assistants are a little different, but front desk people, things like that, that have a lot of dental experience because sometimes… and it’s every industry, not just dental. But when you hire somebody in my business, for instance, if I hire somebody that knows how to do SEO, well, we’ve got a special way that we do SEO, that’s a little bit different, but if they’re set in their ways and they’re not coachable, if you will, it’s not going to be a good fit, right? So I’m hearing a lot of people bring in people that don’t necessarily have tons of dental experience in an office, but they’ve got the perfect personality for it. And the practice is like, “You know what? We can train the dental stuff and the front office stuff,” but you can’t train, as you said, the personality stuff. So I think that’s great advice, so.

Landon Blatter (27:06):

I’ve got another example that was the same timeframe. My assistant, she graduated assisting school. She’s in high school still and she’s finishing up, but she’s got that personality, right? So we hired her and she did an internship for us during her school. So that’s another way to find people is, have them come in for an internship, make that relationship with one of the assisting schools or the hygiene schools, and then say, “Hey, send me your best. I want to to see what you… the best one you have.” And that’s how we found her. And I’m telling you, Chris, she… some people that have been in there in the career for 20 years would never be able to learn a new skill like scanning instead of taking impressions, right? She has jumped in and because of her proactive personality, she is now scanning, designing crowns, and is working towards now being a dentist, right?

Landon Blatter (28:00):

All within a six month period of time, because one, we trusted her, and like, “You’ve got what it takes,” and we showed that confidence in her and she jumped on the opportunity, right?

Chris Pistorius (28:11):


Landon Blatter (28:11):

And she’s 17, right? And she’s so good at what she does. And you can’t let other people tell you that this is how you got to hire. You got to go with that intuition sometimes and do something outside the box and say, “That’s what I want. That person is going to grow here at our office,” right?

Chris Pistorius (28:33):

That’s a great story. That’s incredible. I didn’t even think about the… yeah, why wouldn’t you partner up with schools and institutes that… I’m sure they love to help place their graduates and… that’s a great idea. Awesome.

Landon Blatter (28:48):


Chris Pistorius (28:48):

Okay. Well, we’re going to wrap this up in just a second, but you know, it’s been a crazy year of COVID, and so it’s kind of weird to think about this question, but where do you see Rocky Mountain Dental Partners in five years? I mean, what, are you looking…? What’s your plan?

Landon Blatter (29:04):

That’s such a great question. I’m growing. COVID be darned, we’re going to grow, right? And it’s all about focusing on what you want. And I… so in the Centennial location, we’ve got five chairs, and we’re going to take that to 10 or 12, maybe a 15 chair office. We’re going to buy a new location, get a better spot, hopefully with more visibility. And that’s our goal. In Aurora, we just went from four chairs to eight chairs, so we already took that leap. I’m telling you, Chris, it was right during COVID. I signed that lease on February 15th, one month prior to us being shut down. You want to talk about being scared? I mean, so many people that are listening to this are probably in a situation just like it, but it will pay off. We made it through. If we can make it through COVID right after signing this extra lease, we can make it, right? We’ll make it through anything.

Chris Pistorius (29:58):

Right, yeah.

Landon Blatter (29:58):

So, we’re going to grow. I’m going to try to grow 10%. We’re going to add some more chairs. We’re going to add more doctors. So, that’s where we’re going. And-

Chris Pistorius (30:06):

That’s great.

Landon Blatter (30:07):

it’s fun to think about growth. I just… it’s not fun to think about being stable. It’s fun to I think about growth, right?

Chris Pistorius (30:14):

Yeah. What do they say? What’s the old business statement? If you’re not growing, you’re dying?

Landon Blatter (30:17):


Chris Pistorius (30:17):

Something like that?

Landon Blatter (30:17):

Yeah, that’s right.

Chris Pistorius (30:19):

I agree. Well, Dr. Blatter, I can’t thank you enough, I know how busy you are. I appreciate your time, and if it’s all right, maybe in a few months, we can revisit things and see how you’re doing, and just check in on your progress.

Landon Blatter (30:32):

I would love it. That’d be great. Let’s do it.

Chris Pistorius (30:34):

Awesome. Well, thanks again. And thanks for everybody tuning in. This has been a great interview and please be sure to join us for our next episode. Thanks.