Brandon Lee: Hey everybody! Welcome back to Celebrate the Wins, and I am here with a long, long-time friend of mine, Dr. Erin Elliott, and she is the partner and owner … I got that right. Right, Erin?
Dr. Erin Elliot: Yes, you did.
Brandon Lee: I know you’re the stud in charge is what I like to call you, but we’ll say the partner/owner of Post Falls Family Dental and Sleep Better Northwest. You have been kicking butt in your industry, and I love touching up with you, hearing about everything that you’re doing. Welcome, Erin! Thanks for being with us on Celebrate the Wins.
Dr. Erin Elliot: Thank you so much. I know it was probably a little odd for you to consider a dentist on your messaging.
Brandon Lee: No way!
Dr. Erin Elliot: I think we have some things to contribute.
Brandon Lee: Absolutely! I think it’s great because, as you’ve been sharing with me what you’re doing and how it’s a win for you, I think you’ve got two things going on there that I’d love to talk about because you have the win with your practice and the growth that you’ve been doing, but you’ve also been doing this talking on stage in front of thousands of people. I see on Facebook you up on this major stage in Las Vegas speaking to a big crowd, so I want to hear about all those things.
Dr. Erin Elliot: Honestly, I think I’m a little bit of an anomaly in the dental industry because I have hair, I’m not bald, and I have two X chromosomes and not a male. I did not necessarily pursue getting on stage because I hate public speaking, but I believe so passionately in my message, and I have a fun way to give that message.
Brandon Lee: Tell us a little bit about that message in your fun way because I do think that that’s part of the Celebrating the Win is your fun way of expressing that message, so tell us a little bit about it.
Dr. Erin Elliot: I think that most people don’t realize that dentists are really on the front lines of screening and looking at people for snoring and sleep apnea. How does that relate to dentistry? Oftentimes, the dentist is the first and only healthcare practitioner to actually look in the oral cavity, as well as the airway, and take the time with our patients. Our hygienists spend a whole hour, and there is a lot of dental signs and symptoms that show compromised breathing at night, which is essentially snoring and sleep apnea. Many dentists don’t get involved because that involves medicine and medical insurance, but we really owe it to our patients to be on top of this. Really, my call to action is training dentists in this, as well as getting them interested.
Brandon Lee: This is where the Sleep Better Northwest came about, and this is what I think is really cool. The entrepreneur in me is going, you went from being a dentist and a partner in a practice and evolving a whole nother business and, through that business, that it’s also catapulted you to being a public speaker in your industry and very well known in your industry and traveling all over, I’m going to say, country and maybe world by now. I don’t know.
Dr. Erin Elliot: I’ve got to go to Germany, Beijing, a few different places, England.
Brandon Lee: That is awesome! We’re going to talk today about a specific win, and I told you our routine, right? It’s five questions in 18 minutes or less. Let’s see where it goes.
Dr. Erin Elliot: Let’s do it!
Brandon Lee: Question number one, as you know, sales, and dentistry is. It’s all about sales. You got to build your practice just like everyone else. Has sales gotten harder or easier than it was ten years ago?
Dr. Erin Elliot: Versus ten years ago, I think sales and dentistry is a little bit of a four-letter word to many dentists. However, I think they think of sales in a negative connotation because, essentially, sales is giving people what they want or getting to a point where they value what you’re providing them. A lot of times, patients don’t know what it is that they need or value. Ten years ago, I would say I didn’t have the confidence to talk about that, like, “Ooh! They don’t want to spend the money.” I’m putting my perceptions onto that patient. I say it’s better than ten years ago because of my confidence, and I’ve learned a few… I took a course, and I help teach a course called Ethical Sales and Communication. That’s all it was was asking questions, shutting this because dentists like to talk too much, and using these and letting the patients discover what’s important to them. I’d say it’s gotten easier, but we also now have to compete against boats, vacations, sometimes some expendable income. In that aspect, it’s gotten difficult, but I like the challenge of showing them that you’re going to use your teeth more than you even do a car, so let’s show how important that is and get the whole team on board.
Brandon Lee: Gosh, Erin. Here’s what I love about this is, Celebrate the Wins is about celebrating sales wins, and what you just did is break down sales in the dentist industry, which probably most people don’t ever think about.
Dr. Erin Elliot: They really don’t.
Brandon Lee: But you broke it down to the foundation of sales, and what you said is, “Listen more, talk less, and you present something to somebody in a way that they actually want to purchase it.” All the years that I’ve been building companies, sales isn’t about selling something. It’s about presenting it in a way that they want it because it adds value to them, and you just broke that down very simply, and you applied it into the dental industry. I think it’s awesome. I love how simple you made it. Thank you.
Dr. Erin Elliot: Good.
Brandon Lee: Let’s go into the win that you talked about with me. Tell us about the win that you want to celebrate today and how you got there.
Dr. Erin Elliot: Many times, we monitor everything because numbers tell a story so, yes, are we presenting treatment, but are they accepting treatment? One of the numbers that we look at is new patients. I hate that we focus on that, but that really is a good barometer because we have corporate dentistry moving in. We have dentists that want to live in North Idaho, so it’s pretty saturated. When I look at new patients, I get excited because that tells me we’re doing something different. We’re attracting people. We are creating a culture that people want to be a part of. Simply, anything we do on Facebook, social media is about conveying the culture that we have, which is a family dental practice. We don’t cater to the hoity-toity. We like to see 3 to 103. I’ve done fillings on 2-year-olds even. How do you convey that? One of the things we did recently, everyone and their mom does free whitening for new patients, a hundred dollars off, or they discount it so much that patients don’t see the value in what you’re providing them. You’re giving it away so, essentially, we just went with a free Sonicare. Sonicare did all the marketing for me to direct to public to show that it’s a good thing, but one thing we did differently. We did the free Sonicare ad, got some new patients but, essentially, we switched the platform on Facebook, and the leads generated. Oh, my gosh! It was like 30 over the weekend and, when we look at new patients in a month, our goal is between 30 and 40. We got 30 leads in one weekend. It was incredible.
Brandon Lee: That is really awesome. When you can get in a weekend all the leads you wanted for a month, you’ve got to start looking at new offices and expanding your building and all of that, but what specifically did you do with Facebook? Let me say what I heard, what I love, and where my brain goes is that you leveraged the Sonicare brands and all the millions and millions of dollars they spend in commercials, so you kind of partnered with them without asking them permission. You just leveraged it, which is awesome. You said, “We’re going to give away a free one,” so trying to be different than any of your competitors which focus on whitening. Then, you created a culture around it, and you used Facebook. What specifically did you do with Facebook?
Dr. Erin Elliot: We recently did a re-brand, new logo, that sort of thing. That allowed me to just start with this new fresh look, but I also worked with a company that I come up with these ideas, but they help me actually implement it because I need to be working with patients.
Brandon Lee: You’re not a full-time marketer, graphic designer, copywriter? You don’t do all that yourself? I thought you were superwoman.
Dr. Erin Elliot: I’ve been doing it by myself for a long time. I wear too many hats, too many hats. What they did is, they changed it so, to get into your information, instead of going to a different page, and I don’t fully understand it, they don’t have to leave Facebook. It’s easy. Exactly what that is, I should have done a little bit more research before I talked to you but, essentially, we made it easy for patients.
Brandon Lee: It sounds like maybe you did some sort of an app inside your Facebook page so that they were able to interact with you there, fill out a form, request and appointment, claim their free Sonicare or something right inside the Facebook page. That’s what I’m imaging, but we’ll find out, so excellent.
Dr. Erin Elliot: Sorry.
Brandon Lee: Don’t worry about it. I’m assuming you did paid advertisements or you did sponsored ads that led them to something there, and you captured them, targeted people in your specific area. Did you go into tracking very specific people based on any other criteria?
Dr. Erin Elliot: You know, I don’t know that. It was probably friends of our friends, I’m assuming, only because the people that have already liked our page are probably existing patients. When I look at my marketing dollars and where I’m going to spend them, we track where new patients come from, but I look at it as, it’s not a waste of money because the patient may have seen me on Facebook, seen me in the newspaper. The newspaper still works around here because everyone wants to know who’s getting divorced and going to jail. It’s like they have to see you several times, and then they’ll ask their friend, Joan, about it and Joan gets the credit. I just think being out there, again, conveying that culture, is really how I gauge that. Whatever happens, it’s been great, and it’s continuing.
Brandon Lee: In looking at that, where do you want to improve? You did it well in that you hired a good team, you got a good marketing agency, you created this culture, utilized Facebook. What have you learned from that that you would want to improve upon as you move forward?
Dr. Erin Elliot: One thing that I haven’t tracked that I really should have is, yes, we got leads, we got names, we got phone numbers. How many are actually converting? That comes to the front desk which, in the last year, has kind of been a revolving door, but we have two people especially up front now that you can hear their warmth over the phone. I listen to their verbiage. We’ve sat down and talked with them, trained them so that patients, when they do call, feel the warmth. Like your post yesterday about the millennial when you said, “Do you call them?” Many of these patients, they may not answer their phone, so I have been talking to them about following up because we have captured their email, as well, and we have that capability. Next week, we’re getting a cell phone up front so we can text people. Those are things that dentists don’t do.
Brandon Lee: We can talk offline. There are a couple of apps out there that you can use that will text from the computer, so you could use that. If that adds value, too, I’d love to share them with you. Follow up in looking at your conversions because you track everything, but it seems like you’re stopping at the conversion. Thirty leads over a weekend. Woo-hoo! That’s awesome. How many converted, I have no idea. What one or two things, specifically, are you going to do moving forward to keep your wins becoming bigger wins?
Dr. Erin Elliot: Obviously, tracking that. I think that we’re just going to continue to move into beyond Sonicare. I have the sleep portion of my practice. I’m placing implants now. We can stabilize dentures. I’d like to expand just getting people in the door, but really focusing on what therapies that we like to do so that we ca do more of those. I don’t know if that makes sense. I know I need to do more specific. I’m going to continue leveraging social media and being out in the community. Sometimes, you have to hit the pavement, put a little sweat equity in. I love being a part of this community and getting out there. Personal touches still has a place in dentistry.
Brandon Lee: Absolutely. Within social media, what, specifically, do you think you’re going to do?
Dr. Erin Elliot: We started … I think one thing that we’re really going to do, we’ve already done, too, is videos. Then, I asked my social media team to actually add the words, closed caption almost, because there’s times where I see the video, and I can’t always listen, and keep it to 30 seconds. I did this really cool custom mouth guard video, and it was too long, so we’re going to cut that. People’s attention spans are shorter, so I’m going to continue to do the videos, anything that’s organic, like we post our patient of the day, or something that gets people to interact to expand that reach. Those are the kind of things I’m looking for. Right now, I have a whole point system, if you ask for a review, if that patient actually does a review, if you do a video, if you do a blog post for me. I want to get the team involved so it’s not the Dr. Elliott Show because I want to have another associate come in here so I can work less, and I don’t want it to be about Dr. Elliott. I want it to be about the team.
Brandon Lee: Erin, Dr. Elliott, sorry. I’ve always said if you earned a doctorate degree, I should call you doctor. Dr. Elliott, Erin, I love hearing what you’re saying about … You’re being innovative. You’re learning. To say things like when you’ve noticed, even on your cell phone, you’re watching videos or you’re somewhere and you see a video on Facebook and you don’t have a chance to listen to it, you probably saw other people that were adding captions to their video and going, “We need to do that, too.” I love hearing your thought process and the innovation and the creativity that you’re doing to keep growing your practice. I think it’s awesome, so kudos to you. Not only are you my favorite dentist ever that has ever worked on these chops, but you’re also so innovative and creative and doing really cool things. It’s fun to watch you grow as a person, but also watching your practice grow. When I was seeing on Facebook you up on stage in Las Vegas, that was just so awesome to see, so I applaud you for that. You’re doing great things. Before you leave, as the guest, and I know you know this is coming because you watched a few of the other episodes, I have the surprise question for you. You ready?
Dr. Erin Elliot: Uh-oh. I don’t know if I can handle it.
Brandon Lee: It’ll be an easy one for you. You ready?
Dr. Erin Elliot: Yep.
Brandon Lee: Golf or soccer? Which one do you get more enjoyment out of?
Dr. Erin Elliot: Still soccer.
Brandon Lee: Attagirl! I love it! I was hoping you would say that. Erin and I have this [crosstalk 00:17:14].
Dr. Erin Elliot: As long as I can stay running around, I’m soccer.
Brandon Lee: We played on the coed team together when we lived in [inaudible 00:17:20]. Dr. Elliott, thank you so much for sharing with us today, being on Celebrate the Wins. We celebrate what you’re doing in your practice. Anything else you want to share with everybody?
Dr. Erin Elliot: You know what, Brandon? Thanks for talking to the dentists in this world. I think it was fun.
Brandon Lee: Absolutely. We’re moving into veterinarian coming up, as well, because I think professional services is huge, and competition, as you said, and I didn’t go into this because we had 18 minutes, but you said a lot of people were moving into North Idaho, a lot of dentists were moving into North Idaho because they want to live there. You’re competition gets tough, and you have to be innovative. You have to keep creating. You have to keep figuring out, how do we win in the midst of this fast-paced culture that we live in.
Dr. Erin Elliot: Yep.
Brandon Lee: Erin, thank you so much. Hey, everybody! Thanks for joining us with Celebrate the Wins. This was my good friend, Dr. Erin Elliott, with Post Falls Family Dental and Sleep Better Northwest, and she’s also an awesome public speaker. Erin, thank you so much. We will see everybody next time on Celebrate the Wins!