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Interview with Howard Farran | Dental Marketing Guy Show

Transcript of Howard Farran on The Dental Marketing Guy Show:

Justin: Welcome to the Dental Marketing Guy Show, I’m the Dental Marketing Guy. Today we have a guest who really needs no introduction, it is an amazing honor to interview Howard Farran, the founder of, you've already heard of him, but let me tell you, this guy is changing dentists' lives', it is an amazing resource,, the Dental Town magazine. What we're going to talk about today is kind of the history of, how it helps your practice, and what it means to your future. Ah Howard Farran, how are you?

Howard: I’m doing good Justin, how are you doing?

Justin: I’m doing great; it’s such a huge honor to have you. I’ve interview some good guest, some pretty big names in the dental industry, but I’ve got to tell you, I’m almost nervous to interview you man, you're such a big deal!

Howard: oh how could you be nervous, I’m seeing your wrestling cauliflower ears, you'd kick my butt, this is like going back in time to high school, ah I was on the high school varsity wrestling team, to be with some girl, and ah that was when cauliflower ears were what you wanted, I mustn't have been a good enough varsity wrestler, because I never got them.

Justin: maybe you did the smart thing and wore your head gear.

Howard: actually you'd think it was head gear, I always though the guys that got it where the ones that used their head as an instrument or a spear. I always thought when you do a double-leg, you use your head as a weapon more, you got the cauliflower ears, instead of hurting' your shoulder. Do you agree with that?

Justin: yeah, you know what, that might be true, kind of as a front headlock, I think that’s digging the head in, I think that, that's probably where I got it, from the head lock, but ah.

Howard: From the head lock, digging your head in huh?

Justin: yeah, yeah, in the armpit there.

Howard: right on!

Justin: yeah, yeah, so basically just wanted to ask you to, kind of tell us the story, a lot of people know Dental Town, I mean obviously you've got a ton of dentist's on Dental Town, it’s a huge resource. , could you tell us the sort of history of how Dental Town came to be, and why you started Dental Town?

Howard: well basically, I have 4 boys, ah your friends with one of them, ah Ryan uh, I have 4 boys Eric, Greg, Ryan  and Zac,  their 27, 25, 23, 21 and my oldest boy was born in '89, and when he was 9 years old, I saw him on, uh in 1998, I saw him on the internet talking to other people about skateboard wheels and I thought 'oh my god, forget skateboard wheels, we should be talking about root canals, feelings and crowns', and what I use to have a  big problem with is, I’d come home from work, and I’d try to disengage  from work, and engage my four boys, but you always have in the bad of your mind 'oh my god what happened to that lady, should I have put her on antibiotics, should I have you know, pulled the tooth, should I have not done the root canal in one appointment', and I just desperately wanted to talk to other dentists and everyone that loved me, you know if I asked my dad, you know, or I told my dad what I thought before he say 'say a pray', or  my mum would say, you know 'what do you mean?', and I just wanted to talk to a dentist and, so I saw that, and I put all my time and effort into building that website, and got it up in '98. I literally thought, in all honesty, that maybe I could get maybe 20-25 guys or once or twice a month we could have a meeting or a study club and talk about this stuff, and the first month a thousand dentists joined and we never had less than a thousand dentists join in any month, and now we're over 210 000, and it's Dental Town, not Dentist Town, because we need guys like you in there. I always said that, if you took away about 500 dental companies, we'd be sitting outside on the sidewalk, on a road with a bunch of flyers we bought from home depot, and we wouldn’t be the magicians that we are, and so if all the dentists are talking about your product and its red and they're all saying 'god, I wish it was blue instead', I though the dental manufacturers need to see that and say 'wow, our customers, they don’t want them red, they want them blue'. So, I had had Dentist Town, but I called it Dental Town because, you know this takes a lot of different players, you know, insurance, business consultants, marketing gurus like you, it takes a lot  of, you know we have to wear a lot of hats, it’s not just about teeth.

Justin: yeah, excellent, you know I think that’s why it’s such a powerful resource. You've developed synergy in the entire dental community, you know, you've got hygiene town, and then I think you've got a couple of other websites; could you tell them about, tell us about that?

Howard: yeah, we have ah, HygieneTown because a lot of the hygienists’ wanted to discuss without their employer reading, and after 9 specialties, the orthodontists’ were the only ones that wanted their own gig, the orthodontists, you know endodontist and oral, all the specialist have no problem sharing all of their information, but the orthodontists, don’t feel that way, they feel very strongly  that if there is any orthodontists needs for there patients, they should be the ones that do it from A-Z; so we started OrthoTown, so there’s a 10 000 orthodontist and I’d say half of  them are on OrthoTown, but uh, lately you know, the big month meet is  on DentalTown.

Justin:  excellent what would you say, what are the top 3 benefits, that dentist enjoy as a result of your work with DentalTown?

Howard: I would say that the number one, would be the social comradely  of  being able to cry on someone’s shoulder, I mean that’s what you do, when you’re a dentist and you call your brother and he’s a engineer or a pharmacist or a physician, I mean, they, no one truly gets what it’s like to practice in dentistry. If your world is dentistry, I doubt your mom or your sister or your brother or your dad gets it, I think that just going that. I think number two; clinical, the, its very country intuitive to go share, everybody, I mean, you go on Facebook everybody, they share the picture of their perfect crown or  their perfect root canal, and that’s just like having a deer head over your mantel or fire place, it just shows that you shoot a deer, it doesn’t show  how you did it, all the details and what I think is the most beautiful thing about Dental Town, is when people are so proud and so real, no one needs help on their perfect root canal, they need help, or they dropped the ball, they fumbled they lost the game, and to post a case on DentalTown and ask your peers, you know, 'what went wrong?', and let everybody critic it and talk about it and share, and so, you know, everybody in clinical dentistry, the cases, you know there’s hundreds of cases, posted everyday there, it's truly mind-blowing.

And  then third is where you come in; we were trained 8 years in math, physics, chemistry, biology, I mean, just all science and then we graduate, and a week later we've got to figure out, you know how to make it, and how to make payroll, and pay our rent, or mortgage, and were supposed to, you know, know our numbers and file our taxes and we're supposed to do marketing, so you know, the funniest letter I’ve ever got on my, I came out with all these dang tapes called the '30 day dental MBA', and there on YouTube and iTunes, and ah catholic priest wrote me a letter when they came out, he sent me a letter he said 'man, I feel just like  a dentist' he goes, 'I went to 8 years of seminary school, all we did was read the bible for 8 years, and then I graduate and they put me in charge of a church, and elementary school, and I show up there and the elementary school is  a million dollar in debt, all the teachers want a raise, everybody’s upset, and I just sit there and I thought, you know where was I trained in the seminary to run a catholic elementary school, and my sisters and I said  'you know, I don’t know if this applies to a school',  but  my brother played these tapes and said 'here, listen to the tapes, maybe you might learn something'' and he said 'oh my gosh, the entire 30 day dental MBA, if you just take out the dental, and put in catholic church elementary school, and nothing changed, it teaches the business of hiring teaches and doing job performance and talking to the accountant and why we’re losing money, and what percent of collection should be revenue should be teachers’ salaries and electric bills' you know, he said it was the best thing that ever happened and those tapes have been handed around to half the priests in his area.

Justin: that’s amazing.

Howard: and that’s when I, and that’s why thoughts and feedback like that, is why my last book, you know  my first book was on business in dentistry and then it was the consumers road map, the patients side of the  dental equation, but my third book is just uncomplicate business, you know, manage people, time and money. I took out all dental references, I didn’t even put on the title that I’m a dentist, because; business is business, and it really doesn’t matter if you’re running a casino, a restaurant a swimming pool, a catholic church, it really doesn’t matter, you know, you can’t manage people, your time, your money, I mean every business does the same thing, they just makes something, sell something, what’s the number? So I uh, I wrote that book its doing fantastic on amazon, its number one on the category of dental, and they just bumped it to the international best seller book list.

Justin: its, that’s, yeah, I mean it’s, it’s amazing because, when you wrote that book, like you said, it’s not even referencing dental, but its, I mean, your such a big name, you’ve given the industry so much help, you've been such a huge value, ah , and the way you’ve collaborated with dentists', on Dental Town, that’s been parlayed exponentially. So, that makes sense that your books a best seller. You know I saw Tuan Pham at the Townie meeting, and he was bragging to me that his book for a minute there, his was the number one best seller, I said 'oh yeah, but Howard's is coming back, we'll see, we'll see'. So you guys are battling.

Howard: he's an amazing man, I mean, when you think about dental leaders, leaders in dentistry, I mean he's the kingpin, he's the number one, and that's something where, you know, if kids are at a school, and there trying to do the perfect crown, and the perfect bite, and at the perfect new price, and then the next day, some of them take years before they realize they have to be a leader for their team, I mean they never thought when they signed up for dental school that they were going to be the head coach and have 5-10-50 people working for them, and he just uh, and he had that exact problem, what’s interesting with Tuan is  that, he actually had that problem too, so he dove into it, and by the time he figured it out, he said 'I can really transfer all the years of pain and suffering and knowledge that I gathered, and concepts, I  can teach it demographically', and he’s been doing very well with his program, there’s just, yeah there’s just so  many hats that you have to wear in dentistry, and dental school cant prepare you for that, only life can.

Justin: yeah, you know, speaking of the Townie meeting, talk about some amazing speakers, you know I went out there, I saw John Nosti, he's incredible,  you know he’s a wrestler too, you know. He gave a reference to, you know he had some quotes from some wrestlers, it was pretty amazing, his presence on stage. You know, so the next Townie meeting, so that was pretty cool at the cosmopolitan this year, we just had it, uh, the next Townie meeting, when is the next townie meeting?

Howard: uh, it’s next year, same time, in Caesar's palace, so it will be next April in Caesar's palace. You know what, speak about wrestling, it's an uh, it’s an individual sport, but a team sport. So, you know there’s 12 weights you know that win, but you win one at a time, sort of like a football game, where you hike the ball and all 12 people are playing, I mean it is, you know, when you’re out there on the mat, you’re the only guy  from your team, it’s a very individual sport, but it has that team comradely, and that’s  kind of a lot  of lie dentistry, I mean  you’re in a dental office, your alone, you are the dentist, you are the one working on that tooth, but if you see that mat, there’s 12 people in that weight class, you need your assistants, and your hygienists’ your anesthetists, and you know all your suppliers and all,  you know, I think it was very good. I started all my boys into it when they were 5, and they all did it for over a decade, and I think it’s very good for personal growth development.

Justin: what, what would you say drives you Howard? I mean you do so much for the dental industry, I know when you had the Townie meeting it was podcast after podcast after podcast, you know I’m just wondering, I think a lot  of people are looking at the value you've bought the dental industry, and their like 'man, what drives Howard Farran?'

Howard: you know, I think, I just love it, I mean, I decided I wanted to be a dentist when I was 12 years old, and now I’m 53, so 41 years I’ve just been; living, breathing, dying, dentistry, and I think what really motivates me the most is, inside the united states is; how do you transfer the knowledge? you know, so you've got  a guy like me whose been working on patients in the same office for 30 years, and he makes it, and then you see a kid walk right out of school, and their  like 'you don’t want this kid to have stick his tongue into every light socket, trip on every obstacle in the way', and you sit there, and it motivates you to think 'wow, how can, how can I, you know, double this guy’s knowledge, faster, easier, highly quality, lower cost', and then when I go around the world, I went to 50 countries, there’s only, there’s 220 countries I think, there’s about 20 countries that are, you know, are like the united states, you know,  very  much like us, like Canada, Australia, New Zealand, you know western Europe, japan, Singapore, but there’s like 200 countries that are not like that at all, and you know, there’s 50 countries on the bottom where dentistry it's got a long way to go, and what’s got me most excited is, when I first was on the internet in 1998, and then we had you know online CE in 2004, and then that internet jumped onto the cellphone in 2008, with the little guy named Steve Jobs, and now you go to Tanzania, and I have that DentalTown App, and those courses are on the phone, and you meet the little beautiful Tanzanian dentist, and she’s Muslim, Islamic,  and she’s all in her garb, and she’s sitting there holding her phone and she’s listening to the latest online CE courses and you see the sparkle in her eye and she’s all excited, and there no way she could afford a Tanzanian, into Libya, into Namibia to jump on an air plane and fly to the Townie meeting,  but me being in that CE online that she seen for four days, at one time in her life, she’s going to practice for four decades. So I’m just so excited about the internet, getting it into the cellphones, YouTube, Wikipedia, and this is going to be a game changing century, I think 2008 was pretty much the dawn of civilization, because when that, you know the main frame for the rich fortune 500 companies, the personal computer, was really only rolled out to basically the rich 20 countries, and now every kid on earth, either has a smart phone, or someone in there hut, has a smartphone, and this is, you know, in 1880, 80% of the planet couldn't read or write, and were illiterate, and now we, you know when I was, I was born in '62, we got our first encyclopedia’s when I was 10, so that was '72, they were published in '52, so my first internet was these 320 encyclopedia’s, from A-Z, 20 or more, that were 2 decades old, and now that little kid in Tanzanian, when he gets a smartphone, he goes to his encyclopedia, Wikipedia, and its 51 million pages long, and its completely up to date, edited, the instant he logs on, so this going to be the genius century, I think the last century was you know, world wars, and the depression, and the Spanish influenza, you know it was a tough century. I mean, imagine the next century, when everybody’s literate, when everybody has access to information, when everybody can read or write, when anybody who can hear something from their buddy and say 'are you sure that's right?', and they can go to google, and then find out on Wikipedia that it was only half right, there’s more to the story, I mean. So this is going to be the most existing century that we've ever had, since the caveman.

Justin: yeah, I think your right, I meant this is like, they call the information age, and it’s amazing.

Howard: all knowledge is going to zero costs and affordable for everyone. I mean, I don’t even understand, I mean I don’t even get the college value promises anymore, you go pay some university $30 000 a year for 4 years to sit in some brick and mortar building to listen to some geek talk for an hour, and write a test on paper, in all the time of that would have been far well better spent, just surfing YouTube on any subject you’re interested in!

Justin: yeah, you know, and I think it's changed the way we consume entertainment, and it’s changed the way we educate ourselves, you’re definitely right about that.

Howard: when I was little, mom, I mean everybody called the television the 'idiot box', and I mean for the most part, it was the idiot box, and now these kids, now television, for kids under 25, the view ship has dropped off most to the poor, but the only people watching TV are over 50, I think the average age of someone watching CNN, or Fox News, is now over 60.  And you see these kids, and there watching YouTube, and documentaries on all of their subjects, and there just so, I mean, I got a son, Greg, gets into the history, I mean holy moly does that kid know history, and it’s all from just sitting in a chair, you know listening to YouTube documentaries.

Justin: yeah, definitely, and you know the internet has caused dentistry - the average solo practitioner, or private practice, is able to put out that information way more efficiently. I mean if you’ve got a YouTube video, your ahead of the curb, if you've got a professionally crafted YouTube video, that’s basically, just like this podcast, just like, ah, when you do your podcasts, your putting yourself out there, its automated, its automated; people know you Howard,  and you’ve never met them, but they know you, so they can go to your practice, and they feel like they know you, 'oh, yeah, I recognize you!', you know people coming up to me at the Townie, they're like  'oh you’re the dental marketing guy', you know like, I've never met this person. But that’s the  thing is, you know, in dentistry if  people know, like and trust you, their more likely to accept treatment, so in this internet age, to put yourself out there in video, or even just photography, and it’s just amazing how  much patients will trust you when, it’s all automated; you  don’t have to be there. Nowadays, you don’t have to be face to face, so, I, yeah, it’s really cool, and I’m sure you've seen that in your practice and you know plenty of dentists who experience that too.

Howard: yeah, and these Dental Marketing videos, some dentists are treating the poor Medicaid, Medicare, Obamacare, and some people are medium practice, other people are higher end, but it seems  like that the people that are just crashing it, are the ones who, ah, do  something; maybe its  cosmetics, maybe its implants, maybe its gum surgery, whatever; but their website is filled with these documented cases, and these people, these consumers, their on their smartphone too, there not on the old simple yellow pages, and they're  going to these websites, and they're seeing, here’s the dentist websites, and here is the dentists website, and hers the dentists name  and  picture, and  a picture of him standing there with his wife and you know the dog and a cat, and then they go to another site, and there is just like 20 cases of before and after, of some, you know, amazing dentistry, and people are literally blind to their city, because they want that. So, you know it certainly is engaging, compared to when I  got out of school, when you put your name and phone number in the white pages, and then the yellow page you get a little square and  then maybe the ad was maybe a little more attention grabbing, but it  certainly wasn't very much transferred information, kind of like when I was a kid and mom would take us to, where grandma and grandpa were buried and all you saw was 2 dates and a dash, that whole dash was their life, and now we hear that there’s over 30 million dead people on Facebook, and a 100 years from now, or 200 years ago, you’re wondering 'oh, I wondering what my great-great-grandfather was like', you go to his Facebook page, you scroll through his whole life, that’s a lot more amazing then just a dash on a tombstone. Or a number in the white pages that says, you know, 'Howard Farran, dentist, he's the phone number', now you can go to the website where it all comes alive.

Justin: right, right. And you do have, you still prac-, you know I get the Dental Town magazine in my mail box for people that want that medium, but probably the internet is where things are going with dental town, is what I’m guessing, maybe you can tell me; what’s next for DentalTown?

Howard: well, you know Dental Town, well,  we so, we started the print in '94,  and everybody says print, everybody that says print is dead is crazy, what changed on print is - people aren’t going to pay for  newspaper, they can just go to google news for free, so this comes at a price. But what you'll notice in a magazine, their still a market, they still pick a magazine, sit in there big rocking chair and like to read it. But, we came out with it, we put in online in '98, we did online CE in 2004, what’s really robust is the classified sections, the blogs, the podcast, so now that’s all jumped into the App. The app is up and running, we added online CE to app this year, ah, last year. I think this year we're going to add the classified ads and the blogs, and ah, the podcasts are on the ah app too. The classifieds are amazing, because just like you wouldn't want to buy a brand new car, if you know you can get rid of your old for half the price. It's amazing what you can buy, the dental town app, there’s like 6 000 classified ads and it’s just amazing, the value you come by on stuff and so on. So, I would just say, we'll just keep on truckin'

Justin: excellent, excellent. Well, you know it, we've come to a close on our time, and I know your time is super valuable. Our listeners really appreciate you coming on and they can find you at, and you've got the podcast, Dentistry Uncensored, its Dentistry Uncensored right?

Howard: Dentistry Uncensored

Justin: excellent, excellent. And you book, what’s the tittle of that one more time?

Howard: Uncomplicate Business, it's on amazon, it's in book, kindle, print, audio; I think the audio is about 5 and a half hours long, the book, if you want to read, is about 275 pages. The secret to writing is  re-writing; I wrote that thing, I re-wrote it, I wrote it again, and it’s just the most clearly simple way to transfer what I learned in a half a century and an MBA in Business in 5 hours; so that was my goal.

Justin: Excellent, cool. Well hey, thanks for coming on the show Howard, I uh, to our listeners, if you have an questions, I’m sure you will, if you see  this on YouTube, dental town, whatever, the dental marketing guy blog, wherever you see this on social media, feel free to reach out, ask some questions, if you have questions for me, if you have questions for Howard, just get connected, get on, ah, get that magazine subscription, get on there, you go the book; uncomplicate business, the podcast; dentistry uncensored. Just amazing value, if you’re a solo practitioner, if you’re in a private practice, if you’re thinking about one day maybe 20 years from now, starting your own practice, even if you’re working as a dentist for someone else, the clinical side of it, everything is covered on this website. So, if you haven’t heard of it yet, uh get out from under a rock and get on, uh, once again, I’m Justin, the Dental Marketing Guy, from, thanks Howard, thank you very much.

Howard: Justin, it's been awesome seeing you at Townie and Ryan and I sure had a lot of fun with you, that was a great meeting, thanks a lot. Have good day.

Justin: okay, till next time.

Howard: till next time.

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About the Author - Justin Morgan

Justin Morgan is the CEO and founder of what most of us affectionately refer to as the “DMG.” From all circles within the dental industry who address dental marketing as a topic, Justin Morgan is the dental marketing guy that everyone keeps talking about.
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