470: How to Stay True to Your Vision: Lessons from "The Tooth Co." | Dr. Conor Perrin

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Today we're going to introduce a game changer in the dental practice management software world...


This is an innovative, all-in-one, cloud-based practice management software, and it offers an array of powerful features that are custom built for dentists by dentists ready to revolutionize the way you work.

If you are a start-up and decide to sign up with Oryx, they will NOT charge you a single dime, until you reached 200 active patients!⁠

They are partnering up with all startup practice owners and making sure you succeed, fast!⁠

Click this link to schedule a FREE personalized demo and to see more on their exclusive deal!⁠

Guest: Conor Perrin

Practice Name: The Tooth Co.

Check out Conor's Media:

Website: https://thetoothco.com/

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/the.tooth.co/

Other Mentions and Links:

Meta Ads


Bank of America


Wells Fargo


Ground Marketing Course



Windows 95

Host: Michael Arias

Website: The Dental Marketer

Join my newsletter: https://thedentalmarketer.lpages.co/newsletter/

Join this podcast's Facebook Group: The Dental Marketer Society

My Key Takeaways:

  • When starting a practice always follow HOW you want to practice first. Other peers may have great suggestions, but if you have to make the final call in the end!
  • Open ended questions are ideal for getting to know patients and adding a personal touch. If you are asking all yes or no questions, it will be difficult to be engaging and relate to them.
  • In school, if you study hard, you should be guaranteed a good grade. In business, working hard is important, but doesn't mean you'll be successful.
  • To attract a premium price demographic, be sure your brand reflects high quality more than discounts to get potential patients in!
  • Making an emotional connection to patients is essential for successful treatment acceptance.

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p.s. Some links are affiliate links, which means that if you choose to make a purchase, I will earn a commission. This commission comes at no additional cost to you. Please understand that we have experience with these products/ company, and I recommend them because they are helpful and useful, not because of the small commissions we make if you decide to buy something. Please do not spend any money unless you feel you need them or that they will help you with your goals.

Episode Transcript (Auto-Generated - Please Excuse Errors)

Michael: all right, it's time to talk with our featured guest, Dr. Connor Perrin or Perron, how's it going, man?

Conor: How are you going? Did I say

Michael: it okay or no?

Conor: technically, yeah, if you're saying it in the French way, it is Peron, but uh, American way, just Peron.

Michael: Nice. Have you ever been to France? Is that where you're

Conor: from? Did a trip once a couple of years back to Paris and then uh, South of France. Beautiful. Oh, man.

Michael: Yeah. That's a spot out there. South of France. Awesome, man. So tell us a little bit about where you came from. You're past, you're present.


Conor: are you doing right now? So right now, I'm at my personal office right now. We just opened up a couple months ago, but I was born and raised in Orange County and I went to school at USC for undergrad and dental school finished up there and then stayed in L. A. For a couple years after I finished up and I knew that I always wanted to come back down this way.

It's just always been home to me. when I got started with this process, I looked around in Newport Beach, Irvine. And decided upon this building. I felt like it was in a very easy to access area for a lot of people from different parts of Orange County. And yeah, the entire build out, getting the loan set up process wise probably took a little bit over a year.

This is actually decently quick, considering I've heard some people take. Sometimes multiple years, but yeah, and then I've been associating part time and now I'm officially in my own practice full time, five days a week as of this week.

Michael: Nice, man. So rewind a little bit. Why did you decide to do a

Conor: startup?

So for me, I was actually not originally thinking that I was going to do a startup. I had a couple of friends who recommended one, but I was thinking, you know, I might want to just go and buy a practice because it might be a little bit easier to deal with. But, there were a couple of things that I noticed when I was, looking around I didn't have a ton of connections with people who are close to getting ready to sell.

And so I feel like a lot of sales that did happen tended to be passed around by word of mouth. Sometimes they wouldn't be listed and. I think maybe just because I am on the younger side, when I was asking, you know, some of these, brokers for information about potential listings, I feel like they maybe didn't take me seriously.

I was looking around a little bit more and some of the practices that I did see, I wanted to change so much of. The way that they practice dentistry, maybe the interiors, the equipment that they had, and it made me think, I'm going to spend so much money wanting to redo this immediately when I get it.

Why not just start from scratch and have everything in my vision from day one?

Michael: Okay, so you were looking for acquisitions at the beginning.

Conor: I was yes, but to find like a good one, it can be tough to find if you don't really have personally have not really had a true mentor So I haven't been able to use that to leapfrog to find a potential acquisition Gotcha.

Michael: Okay. You mentioned they didn't take you seriously Because of maybe they saw you like you were on the younger side and stuff like that. How'd you know? How'd you know they weren't taking you seriously?

Conor: for example, I would see a practice that I thought I was interested in and immediately I would reach out and they would text me and just be like, yeah sure, sure, sure. And I would want to set up a time immediately to meet either the head doctor or to check out the office and then I would get ghosted. And then about a week later, they're like, Oh, were you still interested in seeing the privacy? And I'm just like, Oh, I'm so sorry for your first choices, rejecting it.

And now you're trying to come back to me. I had very much got that impression from at least four different people. And I'm just like,

Michael: yeah, you're like, I'm your, I'm your second option.

Conor: You know? And so again, I think it is because they just heard, the year that I graduated and they probably thought that I wasn't truly serious about wanting to take that step into ownership.

What year did

Michael: you graduate? 21. Oh, 21. Oh, okay, man. So you're like, you said, I'm going to do

Conor: this. Yeah, I know. Exactly. Yeah. I just, I can be, I guess not picky the wrong word, but I just say, Yeah. I like to practice the way exactly I want to practice I think it's very important to associate you learn a ton of stuff, you pick up your speed, efficiency, how to talk to people, most importantly, but I just really wanted to be able to do everything the way that I wanted to, rather than the owner,

Michael: so then how exactly do you want to practice?

Conor: you know, there's like so many different ways that you can practice chemistry, but for me, I really value, deeper personal relationships and being able to spend a lot of individual time with each of my patients. I don't want to feel like also I'm having to hop between a lot of different rooms.

So when I book a patient here, I tell them, they're going to be here for X amount of time, and that's going to be completely undisturbed attention between me and them where I am treating them. I'm also really big on conservative dentistry. So I try not to, treatment plan any crowns unless I'm replacing a current one that might be defective.

And I'm really big on adhesive dentistry.

Michael: Gotcha. Gotcha. So building that relationship with the patient and then obviously the clinical side is what you wanted to, how'd you figure that out? What bad stuff were you experiencing? Like, I guess, incorporate or other stuff where you're like, I never want to do this.

And then some things where you're like, I can take this into my own practice.

Conor: We were very fortunate at USC. We got taught by Dr. Pascal Monnier and he is really big on biomimetic dentistry, very minimally invasive, conservative adhesive based dentistry. And so that's the way that me and my classmates all learned from the get go.

you take that for granted because then when you graduate. It's not like that at all in any offices. You're doing a lot of crown work. You're not really using a lot of the nice bonding materials that you're used to when we were at USC. And so when I hopped into my 1st position, started to see a lot of things like, more post op sensitivity maybe restorations not lasting as long as they should.

And I also, you I mean, everyone's very different, but I really don't like hopping around from chair to chair. It doesn't allow me to really be present with each person. And that's something, when I was in that first position that I did not like.

Michael: Gotcha. Okay. So that carried out and you're like, I'm not going to ever do that in my practice.

What were some of the things you decided you, you took away from other, you know what I mean? Like associates and you're

Conor: like, I'm going to do this. definitely systems, for example, they would contact patients when it would come to confirming their appointments different things that they wanted me, I guess, to say during an exam that would cause a patient to ask.

prompt them to be more open ended rather than just giving me a yes or no answer. So a lot of little things like that. And then also I've worked in offices that were more insurance based and then some offices that were you know, just filling them out for the patients.

So technically they were feed for service and and seeing the differences between the two, it made me realize. I wanted to be fee for service and just on behalf of the patient.

Michael: So right now, you're not with any insurance.

Conor: I'm not, which is terrifying.

You know, like the first week I saw friends and family and then I realized, Oh no, I have like no people on my schedule. And immediately I'm just like, I made a huge mistake. I have a consultant and so I'm talking with her. I'm just like, oh, I shouldn't have done this.

Give me all the information on someone, to get credential. And I also have another kind of scary phone call with a friend of a friend and he's just like, oh, you're making a huge mistake. You should definitely get credential. But, you know, after having, you know, a couple mild panic attacks that first week, I realized, this is not what I want to do.

It's not true to my vision. And this is not how I built this office. Unfortunately, just by advertising, mailers seem to be working a little bit of you know, direct person to person interaction. And Instagram stuff, I started to get a couple of people to come through the door in seeing just a few people and, having them pay out of pocket, you're still able to do just as well as you could be if you're seeing quite a few more patients and taking insurance and you're able to practice the way you want to and spend individual attention with them.

Again, different ways to practice, but I definitely realized, stay true to what you wanted to do and you're going to be happier that way.

Michael: Yeah, how many weeks or months have you been open

Conor: today or actually yesterday is officially three months

Michael: Okay, man. Do you think you're going to eventually hit that where you're like, okay, I'm panicking again.

I should probably get credentialed

Conor: I'm very lucky to have two other friends who are kind of in their startup journeys and they're right around the year mark. There's definitely ups and downs with months July and August are really good. I feel like this month we're maybe not doing quite as well as those two months.

But everything is slowly on an upward trend like that and there's still not a day that goes by right now where I'm just like, hey I took out this monster loan. Maybe I shouldn't have spent this much money to do all this stuff. I have a huge debt service at the end of the month, but it's natural.

I was able to get my tenant improvement check from my landlord recently, and so that's able to help pay some of the bills right now until things stabilize a little bit more so.

Michael: Okay. Got you, man. talked to a lot of people who are like, yeah, I eventually had to get credentialed.

and then eventually they try to phase it out. I don't know how easy it is to phase it out. You know what I mean? Because then they have to deal with I'm losing half my patients type of deal. You know what I mean?

Conor: Yeah. And the other thing is too, since you are a startup, I mean, realistically do they ask?

are you a network? I think we've gotten only 1 of those type of phone calls. Usually they will ask, do you take insurance? And I mean, the answer still is technically. Yes, we are very happy to build, but we explain that we still require up front payment, they will get reimbursed by their insurance company via check in around 2 to 3 weeks.

And as long as you explain things very clearly to each patient. Okay. They usually actually don't have a problem with that.

Michael: Gotcha. So it's communication. Exactly. Gotcha. Something you mentioned a little bit before I want to rewind, you said you learned some things that you would say to patients that would give them an open answer instead of like a yes or no.

What were some of those things?

Conor: When I'm starting out with a consultation, one of the things that I always like to ask a patient is what brought you here? And to tell me a little bit more about yourself, your journey, et cetera, rather than just, did you have braces?

Do you have popping or clicking? You know, immediately just yes, no, yes, no. I want them to open up more so. and that definitely carries it out into like a cosmetic consultation more so because you Really connect with the patient and try to get their emotions to say yes to what you're trying to offer them essentially, because you want to ask them like, Oh, how will this make you feel?

Or what are some of the things that you're wanting to get out of treatment that have brought you here? And so the more that they're starting to think about it, the more they almost realize. Hey, I really want to have this done.

Michael: Gotcha. How long is your new patient visits? Your first visit?

Conor: If the patient is really easy they're quick and they don't talk a lot, I can have them in and out of here in about, an hour and 20 minutes if they've not had a cleaning or if they're not doing a cleaning. Standard though, without a cleaning is an hour and a half.

If we get the cleaning in there and the patient's willing to stay, then maybe like two hours, two hours, 10 minutes.

Michael: Okay. Will it ever like go lower, less or anything as you get busier or you're like, no, I like that two hour

Conor: mark. I like it quite frankly, because I take lot of like DSLR photos and I like to use them to talk to the patient about what I'm seeing.

So by the time that I upload them into the computer, crop them, upload them into Oryx. My assistant takes the x ray, the scan, I'm like going as quickly as I can. I don't foresee it getting a little bit shorter. Okay.

Michael: Yeah. Okay. But the patient, how do they feel? Usually,

Conor: they don't have an issue with the length.

Sometimes they will have wanted a cleaning, but by the time that we're done, they go ahead and postpone the cleaning for like a week or two afterwards and we'll usually attach a little bit of treatment onto that cleaning appointment. Okay, gotcha. Because they're happy to come back anyway.

Michael: Yeah. I don't know.

That makes sense. That's nice though, man. You know what I mean? Like you're doing all that, the work behind it. You know what I mean? To

Conor: make sure. Oh, yeah. Thank you. And I feel taking better photos with the patient, know, intraoral and then also some portrait photography in case they do want to do aesthetic work or, you're using it to communicate with Invisalign or Ceramis.

I think the patient really sees the value in a lot of that. And again, when they see a very clear photo right in front of them cause we have a monitor right in front of our consultation room it becomes a lot more real to them rather than you just putting an instrument in there being like, Oh, I feel like a stick right there.

Michael: Yeah. That does feel a lot better. So then let's dive into a little bit about your build out process and your business here. first and foremost, who'd you go with for your loan?

Conor: think America. Why'd you pick them? Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. oddly enough, they were the 1st bank that I talked to.

I was talking to another bank that I have a good relationship with, but they don't really do a lot of dental specific stuff. And so I wanted to go with 1 that had a dental specific component. I know Wells Fargo used to, I don't think they do currently, but then another good 1 is Provide. But, I talked to Ali, great guy, he's in charge, I think, of all the startup dental loans with, Bank of America, and when I looked at, what the interest rates were, and how the repayment is done, it seemed like a really, really good offer, and that's what I ended up deciding to go with.

Michael: Okay. And then how much was the loan for?

Conor: So regarding the loans, they'll kind of give you a different amount based off of what you're, trying to do. I started off with 600 and then I don't know if I'm supposed to be saying this or not, but then when the project went over budget, then I asked for a little bit more and I got a little bit more.

Michael: They were to give you a little bit more. Yeah.

Conor: how? Just later on when the project was close to completion, I'm just like, we need to up this

Michael: just pretty quick or not that quick?

Conor: Reasonably quick. Yeah, I was going to say, especially post COVID, it seems like construction costs have gone through the roof.

I was talking to my contractor about that. everything costs more. So that's why I feel like a lot of banks now they usually have a hard cut off, but then further on, if you need a little bit more, sometimes they will be generous and be willing to give you a little bit extra.

Michael: Gotcha. Okay. So then how much was your build out?

Conor: It was like close to a million.

Michael: Really? Yeah. Man. Like, why?

Conor: I put every amount of personal money that I had into this thing I maxed out everything that I could with the bank I'm still in the process of paying my dad back for, you know, a little bit that he loaned to me I'm not the type of person who's going to want to hop from a place similar to, the way that I want to treat patients, but I don't want to hop from office to office and continually try to go on to the next thing. I wanted this to be my life practice. And so I didn't want to cut any corners with, trying to, you not do a certain thing or the other.

I wanted everything to be good from the get go. So I wouldn't have to change it. Okay.

Michael: So then touching around a million. What type of practice do you have? how many ops?

Conor: it's still not complete technically two of the ops they don't have chairs or anything like that in them or like monitors.

So we have a consultation room I'm able to do Invisalign type stuff in there also and then we have If it were to be completely built out by other ops,

Michael: okay, so then working right now, how many

Conor: that you're in, including consultation room, it would be. four.

Michael: And then the type of practice you have it's fee for service general or are you Oh, no, we want to just focus on families or only cosmetics or fee for

Conor: service general.

And so like my overall goal is obviously this is going to be general practice. I want to have a lot of people just come in for routine dental care. But I eventually want to get to the, position where I'm just doing cosmetic cases. And then I have maybe an associate working under me who's doing a lot of the other bread and butter type general dentistry.

And then

Michael: cause you're located

Conor: where? I'm in Irvine. So I'm like close to the Irvine spectrum about 15 minutes from Newport Beach, 10 minutes from Laguna Beach.

Oh, that's right.

Michael: That's

Conor: right. I did. It's a good feeder for a lot of different

Michael: areas. So whenever somebody signs up to the ground marketing course, I do like a little community research and I was like, Irvine spectrum has so much around there.

Conor: Yeah. the Irvine company has built a ton of housing around here. I think they have something called the great park. Where they're putting in still a ton of other houses, and yeah, it's a good area to be in. So you

Michael: guys got a lot, yeah. Okay, so then, do you ever plan to say like, Well, you know what, I have one here, maybe one in Manhattan Beach, or one like, you know what I mean, would be nice.

Conor: I think so. I haven't put a lot of thought into it, or if it would be... Reasonably nearby, or maybe if I would even consider putting it in like a different state too, but yeah, I think that would be something I would definitely want to revisit maybe, eight or so years after this is fully developed because, you know, I heard it can take almost.

Six to seven years for your startup to reach the full size of a normal, operating office.

Michael: Yeah, gotcha. Okay. So then this kind of but technically isn't like the end goal, right?

Conor: No, but I don't want to just sell this off or leave this office. I will always want to have this office at least as a part of a brand potentially.

Michael: Yeah. Okay, cool. Cool. And then how many employees do you have right now?

Conor: So right now I have two. I have Katie. She's like our front desk concierge. She'll help patients out with insurance, checking them in, calling, scheduling, you name it. And then I have Jasmine. She's my assistant in the back. But one of the great things about Jasmine is she's also front office trained, and Katie had no dental experience, so the first couple weeks when Katie was trying to learn stuff, she was able to pick Jasmine's brain, and Jasmine was able to fill in kind of the gaps there.

Michael: Uh Huh. How'd you find them?

Conor: Not easy. I was going to say, I looked around a lot and I happened to find both of them on Indeed. I want to say, but even a lot of people on Indeed, people who reach out to you and you'll go to schedule an interview with them.

They look promising. And then all of a sudden, they'll ghost you I have a theory that a lot of it has to do with maybe them potentially wanting to collect And so they want to show proof that they've been looking for a job but that's a different story.

I happened to find both of them on a deed.

Michael: Gotcha. Okay. how do you craft your, ad? Is do you ask for?

Conor: I wrote it completely myself. I think I put the philosophy of my practice and how I'm going to be different than your standard dental office there.

one of the things I really pointed out was I'm not really hiring so much on skill. I'm really hiring on personality because I feel like skill can always be taught and it can be trained, but you cannot change a person's personality, obviously. one of the things that really struck out is they had really nice smiles they were very personable, bubbly, and I'm just like, this is great.

We can work with this. Nice,

Michael: man. I like that. what is the philosophy of your practice?

Conor: So my philosophy is, one on one personalized attention and just elevating a person's overall experience when they come in here. not trying to sell a patient anything. I'm just trying to provide what they need and also do it in as minimally invasive of a way as possible.

Michael: Gotcha. So then, you've been up and running for three months now. Yes. What's production and collections looking like?

Conor: I was going to say, haven't looked at August's data quite yet, but I think June was a wash. I was also on vacation the last month of June. It couldn't have been worse timing, but I think in July we did almost 40, 000 in collection.

Michael: Okay, and then your, break even point. Is where

Conor: not paying myself. And this is a scary number. It is around 26,000.

Michael: Okay. Paying yourself, how

Conor: much, if I'm giving myself not a great salary in bare bones, let's just say like in 30. Okay. No, I can't. Cause I can, I can live with that. I haven't paid myself at all so far. I just know that it's going to be a little short term pain for longterm gain.

So I have to put it back into the business. Gotcha.

Michael: And then how many days are you open

Conor: now? Officially open five days a week and we are open Monday through Thursdays. Fridays from eight to four and then Fridays from seven to

Michael: three. Okay. Did you create those hours because you saw that there was a need for that time

Conor: or?

No. I'm really big on a routine. I like being able to come home and I mean, this is also stressful. Dentistry itself is stressful. So I need a personal life when I'm done at the end of the day. been in a couple of offices where I did like a 10 to seven o'clock. And you're just like a zombie towards the end of the day.

And I just knew, even though it might be, I guess, a little bit more convenient for some people, I didn't want to do it. And so I'll come in on Saturdays sometimes. I'm willing to do that for patients who might not be able to make these normal hours. But I just wanted to set it that way from the get go. And by opening a little bit Earlier on Fridays, I can make time for some patients who might not want to miss work.

And also I feel like a lot of patients also cancel on a Friday afternoon. So by ending a little bit earlier, we try to avoid that.

Michael: Gotcha. What are the demographics in Irvine where you're at? Like, how'd you figure out the demographics? And then how are you like putting that with your marketing and everything like that?

Conor: It's tricky. There are. A lot of different demographics in this area. So 1st and foremost, I would say Irvine itself is very upper middle class or affluent in some different parts of it. Very safe community, but then there's also a really large immigrant community to heavily, I would say like, Chinese and then there's also a large Arab population.

So 1 of the things that I was looking for originally when I was trying to find, you know, a team is maybe someone who also spoke a little bit of Mandarin, which also that ended up proving to be a little bit more difficult than I thought. I didn't really get a lot of people who applied who spoke it.

But there's also Newport Beach close by, which is a little bit older. Also very affluent. And so I guess when I'm running different ads, I'm trying to attract a lot of general patients from this immediate area, but then for more higher end cases, heavily focusing it on South County, looking into Gal and then also Newport Beach too.

Michael: What have you seen difficulty wise when it comes to working with those type of patients, like from Laguna, from Newport, or maybe marketing to them when they call and ask you questions and I think we're like, Oh my, how many years have you been practicing? Oh, you know what I

Conor: mean? It's hard and I need to not let that get to me, but it's like a huge pet peeve of mine. I'll walk into a room, sometimes they'll be like, Oh, how old are you? And I'm just like, I did just turn 30 this year, so I definitely am on the young side. I get it. But no, I was gonna say that's probably the number one issue I have when I'm first meeting someone.

Obviously when I get to know 'em, it's not so much of a problem then, but yeah. How are

Michael: you

Conor: combating. I learned this and being in my last practice also you never want to get defensive because when a person says that they're just, testing you they want to see what your reaction is.

So if you get defensive, it shows that they're winning. You just have to laugh it off. Yeah, in a very professional polite way.

Michael: Yeah, not like an evil laugh just like so then what systems would you say are unique in your practice right now that you're like, you know what man I'm proud of this that we've created.

Conor: A place where a patient walks in and they're immediately telling a lot of their friends and family about what a cool experience it was. So, you know, When a patient 1st sits down and maybe they're filling out some forms, I have Katie go ahead and grab them an espresso. We have sparkling water, some other cool beverages, and she'll bring that over.

We'll give them like a personal tour of the office too. I feel like that builds value in showing what we do, what makes us different before they actually sit down in the chair. I also through the company who did my branding, I got these off of Alibaba, but they're like these little like travel kits that have our logo on them, a bamboo toothbrush with the logo on them.

And then also these cool custom flosses. they get to take those home then towards the end of the new patient experience with Oryx, you're also able to give the patient a personalized handout showing them, what their different risk levels for different things are.

There's explanations for different conditions and they really, really like that educational value. you, utilize

Michael: Oryx then for your new patient visitation, right?

Conor: You said? I, I utilize the Oryx for everything. It's our practice software, but they have a lot of really cool features that a lot of other softwares out there don't have.

And that's what attracts me to them.

Michael: were you deciding between Oryx and another

Conor: thing? I was looking at Curve also. I was wanting something cloud based, you know, to where you could access it from anywhere. I don't have to dis on a lot of other softwares out there, but I also, since I'm building like a brand new modern office, I don't want a software that looks like, Microsoft 95

, So , yeah,

Michael: I get you man. I get you. So you felt like Orex checked that part out, right? I

Conor: mean, yeah. But that's, the surface level. But, I haven't taken any Coist courses yet. I'm taking my first one in May of next year. But I've heard amazing things about Kois, and I like how systematized.

Or access when it comes to doing that new patient exam. So you're doing the exact same thing with every patient because, in dentistry, we get so distracted with so many little things and sometimes we'll do something for no rhyme or reason, and it can influence the standardization of how you conduct that new exam.

So by keeping you on tasks. You're always able to put together a nice comprehensive treatment plan for the patient.

Michael: I know I'm going ask you an excruciating detail right now, but like, how do they do that in the sense of walk me through like a new patient exam?

Conor: Oryx, it's like super patient guided.

I don't even know how to describe it. Like the software itself guides you throughout your journey with the patient. So say patient folks online with you again through Oryx, they give you a plugin to put on their website. You're going to get a pop up. when you get the pop up, you're going to be able to send a patient all of their forms and information that they need.

And then when that's done, that patient is going to have their appointment time ready to go. And you're going to have a pre checklist of everything the patient should have done or will need to do before you bring them back. you know, You can easily see that in the corner there, you'll get them seated in the chair on their appointment day and then has.

a section just for, clinical. And so what happens there is you have your radiograph section, TMJ section, you have an oral cancer screening section, you have a tooth morphology section, you have your probing imperio section, and then something on the appearance of the patient's teeth.

And so you follow each one of those steps throughout every exam. And then that way you're hitting every box that needs to happen. And sometimes, by having conversations with the patient regarding aesthetics, the appearance of their teeth, they might talk themselves into doing something that they didn't originally plan on coming in for.

Michael: Can you present it that way?

Conor: So what I do is Obviously I kind of discussed what I'm seeing, but I like to compartmentalize everything into four different sections. So I'll talk about the patient's overall smile. That's the first thing. I'll talk about the patients gum and supporting bone.

I'll talk about their bite, and then I'll also talk about overall condition of each individual tooth. And I make my own, PowerPoint presentation based off of the photos that I took, and the findings that I'm seeing, and then we look at them together on a TV that I have on my computer. Consultation

Michael: room.

Gotcha, man. So, Aurix kind of helps you out with all that?

Conor: Very much so.

Michael: nice, man. Okay, so that's like just one little

Conor: feature, right? I will say Aurix's forms are long. been told by a lot of patients hey this is taking me a long time.

I'm just like, just fill it out, please. But, it really gets them thinking about different conditions that they're having. And I love how it allows me to ask open ended questions about what they've been experiencing. Questions regarding food getting caught in between their teeth.

By bringing that into the conversation so early, it makes talking about why they might need a new crown further on easier.

Michael: Nice, man. 200 active patients or no?

Conor: No, not there yet. I'd have to check. I want to say that we're like at maybe 60 to 70, something like that.

Michael: Okay. is it free for you right now or no?

Conor: to double check. I had like a free period. I don't know if it's free currently, but I also have a couple of friends who are going through the startup journey right now. So they've put me as their referral. So I've gotten a couple of free months.

Michael: Okay. Nice. Nice. I know like right now they're doing that. free until you reach 200 active patients. So that's what I was wondering, bring it up to them and be like, Hey man, Michael said it's free, but awesome, man. So then how many new patients are you getting

Conor: monthly? It depends. I think last month we saw close to 20 new patients.

And just because we are a little bit more of a cosmetically oriented office, I will get patients who come in here sometimes who are not looking to have me as a general dentist. They are only wanting to have maybe a little bit of veneer work done. They might also just want to do clear aligners with me.

they're going to just stick at their other general dentist. And that's fine. Obviously I asked them if they're looking for someone new. But even though it's around 20, sometimes that full number is not exactly patients who are going to be coming back consistently.

Michael: Yeah, because if you look at your, social media, right?

It's nice. So it doesn't really look like a general practice, you know what I mean? To me, it kind of looks like, uh, he's doing something elevated here,

Conor: Well, thank you. And I mean, I will say like, I was talking to my assistant, about this. I am going to try to At least just add a little bit more content showing things maybe aren't as stiff as they appear maybe on Instagram.

I want to make myself a little bit more, I guess, like approachable and then also show more general dentistry type stuff rather than only cosmetic don't want people to get confused and think that I'm only doing veneers or bonding at this office.

Michael: But Connor, let me ask you, would you want to just do that?

Conor: only do cosmetic work?

Michael: Yeah, like in the end where you're like, that'd be the goal if I can just

Conor: do that. Absolutely. Yeah. That's my, completely my end goal. I'm young, I still have a large portfolio to develop before I am only seeing that kind of patient consistently.

Michael: Yeah. It's different what you're doing. So it's attracting, I think when they get there, they're like, Oh, you also do, you know what I mean?


Conor: exactly.

Michael: that's my thought, but I don't know. It's up to you. I know right now, like you said, you're young and you want to build your portfolio. So what are you doing for marketing and advertising?

Conor: a loaded question. Um, so I first started off, I found a company through a friend and some of the things that they were suggesting, I just really didn't like at all. And I ended up firing before I even used them really at all. And then I found someone who did some freelance stuff and, basically running a lot of digital ads and, talk to vision with her.

But, the office opened and I. realized that I was having to constantly remind her to do different things. She was also in charge of my social media at the time too. So I'm just like, why wasn't this posted? We talked about this or, what happened to tagging these different accounts with this.

And so realized since I was basically having to double check and do everything else myself at that point. Why am I keeping her? And on top of that too, a lot of the search terms that she was using Didn't make any sense at all, there were no exclusions for different things that were being done for example, like I don't do full mouth implants of this office I had a ton of people looking for cheap full mouth implants for seniors So a lot of those terms should have been excluded from the get go and then while I was doing that you know obviously I looked into some direct marketing trying to contact like different apartments to put my Information may be in new resident flyers, that sort of a thing, but bringing it up to today.

I worked with my cousin. He's a jack of all trades guy. He helped me run some Google ads after I let that last freelance person go. Had a little bit of success with that. I've had a lot of success with direct mailers that my cousin and I did. But I also just brought in a new marketing company.

They seem to be doing a good job so far. I really liked their philosophy and different things that they suggested for me. And so we'll see how that works out.

Michael: Gotcha, man. Okay. So direct mailers is it right

Conor: now? I would have never thought that. I've had a lot of people say that they don't work at all.

But. I released my first round of them in early July, and I think I got at least 10 to 15 patients out of it.

Michael: What'd you put on it?

Conor: It was a picture of me, the office, we had a couple incentives on it. But I tried to use a slightly thicker paper, when I was sending it out, and I just wanted it to have like a little bit of pop to it.

So I made sure that the colors... Everything that I did on it was very on brand.

Michael: what was the incentives, and then what were the colors?

Conor: my brand colors are like a, it's almost like a navy blue, a gold, and a cream. I incorporated those, but then the incentives were, a new patient special, a free veneer consultation. And then also a discount on new design thinking about it now, though, obviously, I've already sent these 1st 2 rounds out. I would probably change the way that I do. And sometimes I would probably offer something that I would give a patient.

After they pay full price rather than offering an incentive itself right off the bat, because sometimes when you send that out, patients are always looking for a discount to some degree. hey, like, if you come in, we'll give you, a cool whitening pen. I think that's like a better way to do a lot of those incentives rather than saying, oh, hey, we're going to completely discount your services because.

When I thought about it more, so I'm just like, am I potentially also cheapening my brand by doing this? But sometimes you have to do what you have to do in order to get people to share in the beginning.

Michael: could I ask what were the type of patients that came in from the mailers?

And then what was the incentive that people were like, this is the one I want?

Conor: I've had people come in for all three categories from completely different walks of life. I will say that the usual veneer consultation, people tend to skew older. that's why I decided I want to target, more so like Newport beach, those types of areas, because I tended to grab the attention of older, maybe 60 to 70 year olds in those areas wanting to come in for that kind of stuff.

Invisalign discount has brought in more young people. for a lot of people out there who are maybe thinking about adding that to a mailer, I would probably get rid of it because you have a lot of people who are just price shopping, and even though you say that it's going to be X amount off, they still have an unrealistic expectation as to what the final price is going to be.

But I still wouldn't put that final price on your mailer. And then I've gotten a lot of people also just wanting to do the new patient special. How much

Michael: do you charge for the new patient special?

Conor: So right now it's heavily discounted for x rays and exam itself. It's like around 150.

Michael: That's good, man. Okay. So then mailers is what's working, bringing the best ROI right now. Yeah,

Conor: so hopefully now with some more different... Meta ads. I have this marketing company now working on doing a really nice job Google ads. Also, we'll see some more people come in from that and they've even run like some ads on YouTube And I actually got a patient through YouTube last week.

Really? Yeah, I'm just I would have never expected that. What's

Michael: the ad on YouTube? I've been hearing that a little bit more from people. They're like, oh, yeah, YouTube is getting

kind of...

Conor: so I think beyond people just watching YouTube videos or like channels A lot of people use YouTube for TV itself, like a cable.

Your ads can sometimes be put on people's TVs in the same way that you would see 10 years ago, like a medication ad. Yeah.

Michael: What is the ad that you have on there

Conor: though? To be honest? I have no idea which one I should know. So I just had a meeting with them this morning. I forget which one that they chose, but

Michael: Yeah. Gotcha. Okay. I was just wondering if it has like an incentive

Conor: none of the ones that they're running right now have incentives on. Oh, nice.

Michael: that's good then. And then right now, what would you say from the moment you thought Hey, I'm gonna do this to right now today.

What's been your biggest, or some of your biggest fails, pitfalls, or struggles?

Conor: I think it's just keeping my expectations in check. I've always been the type of guy where if I worked hard, I would get what I wanted. You know what I mean? Like, say, studied really hard. I would get a good grade. This is not like that. no matter how hard I try, getting patients through the door is not easy.

it's been an interesting year like, first dealing with personal problems with my parents long distance relationship, getting this office open there's been like a million and one things that have kind of happened. And so now adding on the stress of all this monthly debt service and making it all happen, it's tough.

And not only that, because you're a business owner too, you have employees under you. You want to make sure that you're able to take care of them, too, because they're relying on you for themselves.

Michael: Yeah, and that is tough. So how is this all affecting your personal life?

Conor: definitely was an adjustment.

I was never really an anxious person before this year. But now, as you're getting close to opening. You're trying to put out so many holes. There's always such a long reminder list, and I think it's so important that you do stay organized or else you're going to always be short circuiting.

They're like a pinball machine trying to figure out exactly what you forgot to do. because I am in a long distance relationship, even though it's like harder, it would be nice to have like support that's like a little bit closer. Like a lot of people, go through when they're opening up an office like this.

It's actually worked to my benefit, I would say, to some degree, because I've been able to Devote more of my own personal time into this.

Michael: So if you know what I'm asking, the longest relationship is how long?

East coast of Canada. Oh man. Yeah. That's

kind of

Conor: hard. So it's not easy.

Michael: Three hour difference. Four. Four? Four.

Conor: Yeah, he's in Halifax, Nova Scotia.


Michael: So then from that right, the personal life, all this happening, how do you stay organized?

Conor: one of the biggest things that I do is every week I have a project forward that. I work on with my team, and so we'll have the issue that we're having, what we're going to do about it, and then a regrouping date, for when I want to have resolution for it. Whether it's ordering a supply, making sure we have all of the food ready to go for our open house. It just keeps everyone really accountable. And then for me personally, Apple Notes and the Apple Reminders app, I have a nice laundry list of everything organized by when I need to have a certain thing done.

And I'm constantly looking at it and making sure that I'm just trying to take as many as I can when I get home each day.

Michael: It's like a to do list, like a checklist. Exactly,

Conor: a nice little to do list. things are a little bit more stable now that I've been open three months, but if you don't have one of those when you're close to opening or right in your first month, I don't understand how you survive,

Michael: yeah, no, definitely. And you mentioned you had two consultants, right?

Conor: have one consultant. I brought her aboard in May. Her name is Patty. She's been fantastic and we're starting to get more so into the operation size of things and analyze reports, making sure that all of our metrics are clearly put into the system.

But in the beginning, she was fantastic with getting Katie trained up. Making sure that we have a call strip that we're following the new patient experience, our bringing patients and how we're talking to them on the phone again. It's just that high level that we want to, you basically provide in this practice here.

Michael: Gotcha. Okay. So that's like a mentor, right? I guess you can say

Conor: she really is like a mentor. Yeah. She's been super, super helpful with everything.

Michael: Yeah. Awesome, man. So then one of the last questions I want to ask you is, say we're one of your patients coming in and we walk out and I'm talking to my friend and I just went to the, my dentist, he is, or they are, what do you want them to start saying about you

Conor: or your practice?

I really want them to say that it was like no office that I've been to before. It was very comfortable. It didn't feel scary. And they really went above and beyond to make me feel special. I don't want a patient to feel like they're just a number in here or that again.

I'm like. Cornering them in a room, trying to get them to sign off on a care credit statement, just to try to force them into treatment immediately. want them to. feel that. They got educational value out of things and received personalized care.

Michael: Received personalized care. They didn't pressure me. Uh Huh. Anything about like the style or anything like that or no?

Conor: that's

probably the first thing that... A lot of people comment on when they come in here. Um, you know, we tried to make the interior of this place look like a, hipster, boutique New York hotel.

Greg from Design Wise, my designer, he did a fantastic job with the artwork furniture. flooring. And so obviously, yeah, I want a patient to be like, wow, this is like nothing I've ever seen.

Michael: Yeah, it is. becoming like that, man. It looks nice. Thank you so much.

Yeah. Awesome, Connor. Awesome. We appreciate your time, man. Thank you so much for being a part of the podcast. We really appreciate it. If anybody wants to reach out to you, where can they find you?

Conor: I think easiest is via Instagram. My business account is the. tooth. just reach me there and I'm usually pretty quick with getting back to direct messages.

Michael: Awesome. So that's going to be in the show notes below and thank you for being with us. It's been a pleasure and we'll hear from you

Conor: soon. Michael, thank you so much.