Not Your Average Practice: The Daz Singh Experience
Do dentists sell a product or an experience?
Today’s guest has views on this question that serve up plenty of food for thought.
We talk to Daz Singh about the meteoric rise of his boutique Liverpool clinic Ollie and Darsh, taking plenty of conversational stop-offs along the way.
For all the marketing we do, the one thing that is always consistent is word of mouth. This is by far and away from the best thing that brings people there. The more we work that out, the more people who come to see us, the more people who are going to go away talk about us. Hence, we would then get more follow-through. – Daz Singh
In this episode:
02:18 – Growing up in Saudi Arabia
13:57 – Daz’s first job
23:25 – Starting off in Liverpool
29:38 – Promoting a new clinic
35:13 – Strategies for collaboration
37:34 – The growth of Ollie & Darsh
41:05 – Word-of-mouth
01:15:18 – Values vs price
About Daz Singh
Daz Singh graduated Dentistry from the University of Liverpool in 2005 and went on to work in associate positions in Liverpool and Stoke.
He is also secretary to the European Society of Aesthetic Orthodontics, and a clinical instructor and mentor for Six-Month Smiles.
In 2008, alongside Sudarsh Naidoo & Suzy Gorman he opened Ollie & Darsh – a nouveau chic dental clinic in the heart of Liverpool.
Connect with Daz Singh:
Connect with Prav and Payman:
Prav Solanki: Hey guys, and welcome to the Dental Leaders Podcast. Thanks for tuning in, and today we had the pleasure of interviewing Daz Singh, or Ollie from Ollie and Darsh, as he’s otherwise known, guy who set up retail dentistry in the heart of Liverpool. Way before it was on anyone else’s radar, whose then gone on to teach at an international level, but certainly from close conversations with Daz, it’s very clear that he’s massively passionate about delivering an amazing patient experience, but also helping and mentoring younger dentists to do the right thing. Biggest take away for me was when Daz revealed what an associate needs to do to stand out and work for him.
Payman: One of my favourite people in the profession. Really honest, open, fun guy and if I was a young dentist who wanted to find out the inside track on high streak practise, I would be straight down to Daz because he’s just, I’ve never asked him a question that he didn’t over answer, you know? Unlike some people who hold stuff back, the guy’s just totally open about everything and the super interesting hearing about his early life in Saudi as well.
Prav Solanki: Hmm, very interesting conversation. You’re going to enjoy this guys.
Prav Solanki: So between the three of you, what would you say your key strengths are? Ollie you should pick your unique abilities, Sudarsh’s and then naturally Suzy’s.
Daz Singh: My unique ability is being able to delegate things to Suzy. That’s easy, that’s my unique ability.
Speaker 4: This is Dental Leaders. The podcast where you get to go one on one with emerging leaders in dentistry. Your hosts Payman Langroudi and Prav Solanki.
Prav Solanki: Daz it’s really good to have you here. Thanks for joining us and taking out the time in your day to come and spend with us and join us on this podcast.
Daz Singh: I appreciate you inviting me over to be honest, Prav. It’s very kind of you guys.
Prav Solanki: Daz can you just sort of give everyone a background of just your upbringing, your backstory, and just what it was like growing up.
Daz Singh: Yeah sure. I was born, my parents were 1st generation out of India and my dad came over to the UK to become a surgeon and part of that process ended up having me in a place called West Bromwich, and when I was about 3 my dad got offered a job in Saudi, so there was a new hospital being built in Riyadh and dad had an opportunity to do some teaching and to do some clinical work there. So when I was about 3 we moved to Riyhadh and then yeah, we spent the next 7 years there. I went to an American school, got a really nice thick American accent, which is a bit weird when we move back in about ’91 after the first Gulf War. Yeah so lived in Yorkshire for a few years then we settled in Darby, and then I came up to Liverpool to study, and then just been there ever since to be honest.
Prav Solanki: Wow. And what was it like moving around as a kid from school to school? I remember, gosh I reckon I certainly primary school I must have changed 4 times, and for me there were times when it was quite upsetting. You know you’ve got some friends like, I was part of the football team or whatever and then you just gotta say goodbye and move on to your next group.
Prav Solanki: Do you have any memories like that?
Daz Singh: Yeah, I mean of the international school, because it was an international school I went to in Saudi, and part of when dad was working there, he was quite fortunate in terms of our school fees get paid by the hospital, so we were part of the American school at the time and yeah, it was you know we were there, I mean, the time I spent in Saudi I just remember being at that school to be honest and then we understood though you know, dad wanted us to move to the UK because he actually wanted us to have an education. Which was interesting because when we moved back to Yorkshire I realised how uneducated I really was to be honest. But when we moved back to Yorkshire my dad’s closest friends were in Yorkshire at the time, so we went to the same school that they did. And then dad would sort of, kind of go from, would kind of go from one job to another, but we were fairly settled there to be honest.
Daz Singh: And then it was when dad finally got his GP posting in Darby to do his, to build a practise there. Then we moved down there. And I actually – what ended up happening – was that we had a really happy coincidence. Moving close to some really really close family friends of ours back from Saudi as well, so they were going to a local school so yeah they just made it all really easy for us. For me I just found it as like part of the process. It wasn’t sort of a major issue. It’s sad that I lost a lot of touch with a lot of friends from like, probably back in Yorkshire, but yeah. Things like Facebook and Instagram and things like that it’s great for keeping in touch.
Payman: Where you good in school?
Daz Singh: I wouldn’t say, I mean I probably be classed as probably a hard worker. I don’t think I was like, I don’t think I was like the most academically gifted person at school. I don’t think that that would be the way I’d probably describe myself. It was, I used to just put the graft in to be honest. What was really interesting was going from one curriculum to another, so when we were at the American school in Saudi, I had no concept of what an exam was or anything.
Payman: It was very different.
Daz Singh: It was. They just didn’t have any so, you know, it came back. When we moved here to the UK as 11 year old I was this fat asian, pudgy, sort of kid in like this broad town in Wakefield. And so they’ve just given this exam. I had no idea what was going on here.
Payman: That was a big culture shock to go from Saudi to Wakefield. 2 of the worlds nicest places.
Daz Singh: From you know heat, and so you know, desert to sunny, snow. I remember the first time I saw frost and I thought it was snow. I thought it was the most amazing thing on Earth. It was great. I’d never seen it before. So.
Payman: What are your memories of Saudi? Is it as people imagine?
Daz Singh: The time when we were there was during the 80s, sorry. It was a really nice time. I really enjoyed it while we were there. There was none of this, I mean, the idea of having a Middle East in conflict didn’t exist at that point in time.
Payman: Yeah, yeah.
Daz Singh: We were there during the, the fir-. I mean we were there during the Gulf, the First Gulf War. That was an interesting point in time. And as a kid trying to experience all of that was quite interesting. It was just, it’s something I reflect on now that I’m older, but at the time you just, you know what. You’re 10 years old.
Payman: Was your dad the doctor of a oil field or something?
Daz Singh: No no no. He was a general surgeon and he was working one of the university hospitals. And then he went to work for military hospital towards the end before we left, before we came over here.
Prav Solanki: When was the first time you decided you wanted to be a dentist?
Daz Singh: It’s a good question Prav. There was a time when I was at school and you’re having to make decisions about sort of, what type of career path you wanted to go down. And I’ll be honest with you, you know I wanted, I thought that medicine was probably the best way to go down. And initially I had applied. It wasn’t, it didn’t have the greatest amount of success for it. When it came to sort of rethinking an reevaluating I was everything, you know I’ve got a lot of friends who are medics, my par- y dad’s a medic, you know, my brother who is now a medic. And you know what, I just, I would- I didn’t really find that anyone was really enjoying the career as much and getting the same satisfaction and then I thought that, you know. I just wanted to have a career that I thought, you know, ironically that I thought you know, between 9 to half 5 and have a life afterwards.
Daz Singh: And you know, I used to dad having to do these massive on calls and sort of you know, being called out in the middle of the night to do some surgery and I’m like, you know I don’t think that’s going to fit for me. So I had a little look and I thought you know dentistry seemed the best fit for me. So, I had a friend over in Darby who I went to over to shadow for a few days and I thought, you know this sounds about right. So I thought, you know, let’s reapply and let’s do it for dentistry this time around.
Prav Solanki: Growing up in an Asian-Indian cultural environment with parents who, well every parent wants the best for their kids, right?- but I certainly had the pressure that you know, doctor, dentist, accountant, lawyer, was any of that sort of influenced? You mentioned medicine earlier obviously, your dad. Just talk us through that in terms of your, the values and the cultures growing up and what it was all like.
Daz Singh: I think that’s really interesting. I think that you know, from a very early age, you kind of, it’s kind of instilled, well it was certainly instilled into me that you know, there’s this idea of success. There’s an idea of sort of having a career. There’s a reason why you should go to school. There’s a reason why you need to university, and this idea of sort of you know, building yourself up and being able to become successful, so to speak. And our parents ideas is my will to do something sort of around that sort of medical, dental sort of field because at that sort of time it was quite given that you know, it’s a straightforward career, it’s a straightforward education path and you know if you work hard you will earn well, you’ll have a good life, and you’ll have good money. Which is probably what sort of I’d imagine any parent would instil into their kids anyways, so it’s not, it’s something I’ve always had more of an interest in.
Daz Singh: I’m never really, I don’t really have an artistic mindset. There are things that you know, I’d just, I wish I did. I can’t play a musical instrument or anything like that, but it’s something that, it’s something where I think both of our values kind of lined up well towards. It’s something I felt that naturally that’s a trajectory I wanted to go down. I don’t really go down to experience other things. I don’t think I was gifted enough to do something like law or some, or any other career. I think it was always gonna be around this sort of, sort of this medical dental mind. Sort of career path for me to be honest.
Payman: Did you study in Liverpool?
Daz Singh: Yes.
Payman: And wha- how was undergrad for you?
Daz Singh: Loved it. Loved every minute of it, yeah. It was just great. Absolutely loved it. Yeah, it was great. I just really really enjoyed it. I went to, I was a day pupil at boarding school before and it was ironic.
Payman: Where was that?
Daz Singh: It was a school called Repton. In the Midlands. Yeah it was really interesting. That was a really interesting experience. But yeah.
Payman: Why why why?
Daz Singh: It just well, I mean, I was going from like a, sort of… different schools I was at was you know, there was an international-American school in Saudi, which is interesting because you meet characters and people from all different environments, so all different sort of fields. I remember, I think it was the Ecuadorian ambassador’s son who was in my class, to somebody, just like a maid from around the corner, whose dad was a medic as well.
Daz Singh: And then we went to Yorkshire, I mean we went to a place called… When we moved back to like Yorkshire, went to a school called Queenswood with grammar school and that was a proper grammar school, Yorkshire grammar school. So, that I got taught a lot more about British education system, values of the British education systems, and learned some instant truths, shall we say. And then, when we moved to Darby, we had some -I had some- one of my best mates was going to a school called Rapton, and dad thought it’d be best for me to go there as well. And that was a really interesting thing because this is where you go to school. It’s like 6 days a week, and you have 3 half days during the week. And you’re meant to be in school from 10 to 8 or 9 o’clock at night. And as a day people and so we went to university we actually ended up doing less hours, I loved it.
Payman: Lots of sport?
Daz Singh: Yeah, there was lots of sport. Very very sports orientated.
Prav Solanki: Are you still buddies with your friends from Saudi?
Daz Singh: Do you know, recently I’ve come to, I’ve come to meet people who I haven’t seen in like 15-20 odd years, but that being said, we just chat over Facebook because you know, life gets in the way of everything else. But if the opportunity ever came, then yeah, there’s the odd person that we try to keep in touch with.
Daz Singh: My dad has a close group of friends who obviously, they kind of developed a relationship while they were working over there and they get to see each other talking about once or twice a year.
Payman: So would you say you were in the top of your class in dentist school, or near the top, or no? Middle?
Daz Singh: Nowhere close, man. Not close. Yeah, no. I was – there were more people who are by far in a way more gifted academically then I was. I am not at that mindset at all you know, I’m more of a grafter than I am more academic. I can definitely put the hours in library and things like that.
Payman: Prav was top of his class.
Daz Singh: Was he? That’s no surprise. But no, that wasn’t me though.
Payman: So then ok, you got out of dental school VT?
Daz Singh: Yeah. VT was I mean.
Payman: Do you have the same, I thought when I got out of dental school I actually preferred work to education. I mean, I know, by the way, it’s not easy leaving university because you’ve got your friends, you’ve got your thing and then first day of work is weird. But overall I think I do prefer working to studying.
Daz Singh: Yeah. With paycheck.
Payman: Well Prav might not.
Prav Solanki: Well, when I finally sat my PhD viva, I swore that that was the last exam I was ever gonna do because for 10 years previous to that I was doing an exam every 8 weeks. And then, just happened to be that I got the bug that I wanted to ride a motor bike. So I sat my theory, because I’d have my driving licence but you have to do the theory -whatever- driving licence, the flipping driving theory thing? Anyone could do this. Didn’t look at the book, didn’t revise, failed the damn thing didn’t I. So that was my last exam. But I preferred university life to working. Best years of my life for sure. Even, with the study included right to the working.
Payman: Yeah, of course.
Prav Solanki: Freedom, the flexibility, the lack of responsibility, the health. You’ve got everything at that point, right? But you’re, compared to now.
Payman: Because you’re young.
Prav Solanki: ‘Cause you’re young, you can just do more stuff, right? You can get away with drinking 4, 5, nights on the trot. You know?
Payman: I’m sure Oxford was a quite different experience. But it is a different experience.
Daz Singh: It is, no I know, I’m pretty sure it is. My best mate was a medic at Cambridge and you know, some stories he tells me about like, I mean, we might have a party or something like that. At like a house, I mean the parties that the colleges would throw would just be a mess.
Prav Solanki: Yeah, just hot air balloons and all sorts of crazy stuff.
Daz Singh: I love the sense of, I love that sense of history that those colleges have, the traditions, traditions the word I’m looking for. That you know, you kind of buy into.
Prav Solanki: It’s nice.
Daz Singh: And I love that. Yeah, it’s really really quite cool.
Payman: So Daz, what was your first job then?
Daz Singh: So after I finished uni, did VT, got a, it was ironic actually, it was probably, I was quite kind of late to getting the job but it was a place called Colby Dental Practise. It was up in north Liverpool. It was social economically probably quite depressed area, Colby, but you know it was a great place to learn. Amazing place. And you know, I was very fortunate that people I was working with were great people as well, people I kind of, I’d already got to know through university so guys who I’d play football with and stuff like that as well, so there were some great guys who were already there.
Payman: What about the influence of that first boss VT trainer of yours?
Daz Singh: Yeah, so I mean I worked with a guy called [inaudible] who was my VT trainer.
Payman: Oh was he your VT trainer?
Daz Singh: Yeah, he was my VT trainer and it was, yeah, and do you know what, we did some really really great stuff, and one of the things though, one of the things I particularly remember was, I think I was, I’d only been there for a few months. And you kind of leave university with this kind of insipid idea what dentistry’s all about. You have this idea that you know, you’ve seen a composite, you’ve seen like what a crown prep is, you’ve seen and a… And then I remember that he took me down to a bard meeting in London. And I’d, and then [inaudible] was the keynote speaker there. And this was like me being a fresh eyed sort of dentist and I’m like what is this guy on? He’s like, what a presentation. To this day I think it’s the best presentation. It’s just unbelievable presentation and I had no idea grasp this sort of, this is how people can do dentistry. I had a mindset of sort of you know, is like you know, you have 2 up 2 down kind of practise in like a suburban area, and then you’re gonna be sort of dummy dentistry for the rest of your life, and then this idea that there’s this gentlemen who was doing some phenomenal dentistry and-
Payman: So that kind of inspired you?
Daz Singh: Yeah.
Payman: To go that-
Daz Singh: Well it’s certainly opened my eyes in terms of what was really possible there. You know, again my rents had organised for like Ash and Rahul to come up and do a small design course up in Liverpool. And I was very lucky to be able to go and become a participant in that as well, so.
Payman: Early on, huh?
Daz Singh: Yeah, so I’d had a lot of experience from all of that sort of stuff. From very early on and I managed to catch the boat from there on in. At the time there was a company called independent seminars who I think were part of FMC at the time.
Payman: Still, are?
Daz Singh: Yeah, under a different name. Again, they were bringing in a lot of guys in from around Europe. Who would be classes probably be influences now, but these are the guys who were doing lots of the solid dentistry from around the globe. And whether they’re coming from the US or from Europe and just fascinating listening to a lot of those people. And you know, again to meet and sort of network people in that sort of, in that environment that I’m kind of still quite close to now, to be honest. It was quite phenomenal sort of experience to be able to do so.
Daz Singh: For sure I mean during VT its was like for me a lot about VT was this, was that I felt that I needed to put the hours in so I can actually do the simple dentistry well. Should be able to sort of you know, how to do an MOD amalgam or how to sort of spot caries or how to sort of do a root canal too. I felt that you know, part of being a dentist is that you need to be able to do those simple things really well, and often being an environment [inaudible] you know, there was no pressure to sort of produce, there was no pressure saying you have to do this, this and this. It was much more self. I had a lot more pressure on myself just to make sure that, I felt the need to be a natural graduation in terms of how I produced.
Prav Solanki: Was it high volume dentistry that were doing in that, say, first year or two?
Payman: I remember that practise, I think. Like examining patients and things?
Daz Singh: Yeah. It’s a lot of exam patients and yeah, volume, I think is one way to put it.
Daz Singh: Lot of high volume.
Prav Solanki: So, you can now just not do a VT, right, and go straight into practise?
Daz Singh: Yeah.
Prav Solanki: So straight into a private practise?
Payman: Didn’t know that.
Daz Singh: Yeah it just means that I think you can’t work in the NHS if you go away from-
Prav Solanki: You provide a number or something like that?
Prav Solanki: What’s your take on that in terms of your experience and the grounding that’s giving you to be able to perform the type of dentistry you do now? What’s your take on not doing VT and just going straight into it and just learning on the job so to speak?
Daz Singh: I think there’s an element to that but I think that for me when I have conversations with young dentists, especially this sort of time and place, I think that there’s an element where I don’t think people do the simple things well enough to be able to go away and then to do the more complicated issues. And it’s that sort of all at it, you don’t know what you don’t know. And I think VT’s a great place to sort of learn the stuff you don’t already know. Or the stuff you need to understand that I need to work harder on this. And you know what, it’s that aspect of it.
Payman: I love it an enjoyable year of VT for me. I loved that year.
Daz Singh: Yeah, I loved it too.
Payman: I was with Zaki.
Daz Singh: Oh really?
Payman: Yeah, a guy called, I don’t know if came up with a Majid Shahab.
Daz Singh: The name rings a bell for sure.
Payman: But yeah VT’s great because you’re protected, you’re in the real world but not really, and then you’ve got that 1 day a week where you see your peers.
Daz Singh: Yeah.
Payman: I enjoyed that year. It’d be a shame not to do it to tell you the truth.
Daz Singh: I’ll tell you what I did. I made, I probably in hindsight, I probably made a mistake. I was like, I was adamant that after I left uni I was not gonna rent anymore. So I made the mistake of buying a flat probably about 3 months after I finished uni.
Prav Solanki: Wow.
Daz Singh: So I think we finished in July and I was bumming around on people’s floors until I actually managed to get this flat over the line. In like, I think it was November I finally moved in. I lived there for about 10 years, but it was just one of those where buying a place, everything I had could fit in like one corner of my living room at that point in time. So all I, so it’s just like slowly but steadily buying a sofa, buying a TV, and buying all of those other things as well .
Payman: So what was that you would literally wanted to accumulate wealth?
Daz Singh: No, it wasn’t about accumulating wealth I just felt that you know.
Payman: You’ve rented long enough.
Daz Singh: It was, you know, going back to it, one of the things we were talking about was this. Was that you know, for me it was, well we’re talking about success and we’re talking about sort of you know family sort of things, you know? For us it was all about you know, make sure you pass your exams, make sure you pass exams, and I was always adamant that you know, dentistry finals was going to be the last exam that I ever wanted to take. I’m just battered that’s the only way I can really put it.
Daz Singh: And after that, I was kind of quite liberating because you know, your whole sort of as you grow up, you start thinking that you know, what’s the next stage, what’s the next step. And once I had my dental degree, it was like well the rest of the career is mine now. I don’t really have anything. There’s no sort of presets, sort of pathway that you need to go down.
Payman: You didn’t have to do anything.
Daz Singh: Yeah in medicine you have your junior, you have your junior house officer years, then you go into your reg positions and ultimately becoming a consultant. So that kind of pathway is all kind of led out in dentistry. We didn’t really have that, so when I left, when I finished uni the only thing I was really about was that I was not gonna go back to Darby because if I did then I knew that’s where I was going to be living for the next 20-30 years of my life. I loved it in Liverpool, I wanted to stay there as much as I possibly could, so one of the things was that I thought “You know I’ll buy a flat.”
Daz Singh: It was just interesting trying to do that from VT wages while at the same time. But yeah, it was good, it was good fun. But it just meant there was some things I kind of missed out on which I kind of regret. Things like a lot of the guys all went off to Chicago midwinter meeting because you know, they could go off. I just couldn’t afford to do it at the time, so it was just one of those.
Daz Singh: But, yeah.
Payman: And then you stayed on in the same practise as an associate?
Daz Singh: Yeah, we stayed there for about, I stayed there for about 2 and a half years or so.
Payman: And then you set up Ollie and Darsh?
Daz Singh: Yeah and then…
Payman: Is that all it was, 2 and a half years?
Daz Singh: Yeah, so I was about 27 when we set up Ollie and Darsh.
Payman: Bloody hell.
Daz Singh: Yeah it was just, I mean at the time we just seemed like the absolutely right thing to do. Between sort of finishing VT and going off and opening the clinic, it was just you know, going from all these forces and then you know. There was some guys who particularly made a massive influence in terms of what I – in terms of how I do things – clinically. Just listening to people like John Hammond and Ian Buckle. From the Dawson Academy. Suddenly started realising that actually, you know what. They exposed me to sort of saying well you know this is how you can look and try to formulate how you should go about trying to sort of set up and how you go about trying to do dentistry.
Daz Singh: And then it came to a point where I was like, you know, there was a situation where somebody became that I had to go in and I was doing a lot more NHS then I would’ve done privately. Just a career decision in terms of you know you spend so much money investing in yourself, if you don’t go away and create your own environment to be able to go and do that kind of thing, then you know what, how much is that investment going to then sort of tail off year after year after year.
Daz Singh: We become habitual in terms of how we sort of do things and I find it far better to be my own boss then to be told what to do.
Payman: Yeah okay. But, and Ollie and Darsh really is one of those very branded iconic high service. I would actually go there. It’s funny because every time they make an announcement of our 6th birthday or something, it feels like it’s been much much longer. Is it 10?
Daz Singh: Yeah, we’re into our 11th year now.
Payman: Yeah it always feels like they’ve been there much longer than they’ve- the year of their birthday that they announce. But, what is it about you that made you wanna open that sort of shop front branded. Was that what- I mean from my own experience, when I first did my first VT job, I was a bit shocked. Wow, is this what dentistry is? Like, is this the kind of place you work in and the way that people are and all that? And my boss was a great guy, but it just, the surroundings I mean. Look at Ollie and Darsh I mean there’s a lot of them around now. But back then it wasn’t as common.
Daz Singh: Yeah I mean I suppose, you know. There’s a lot of things that kind of led up to sort of how we set that up. It’s true to say that Ollie and Darsh is a vision of not just myself, but you know I have a business partner, Sudarsh Naidoo and you know a business manager Suzy Gorman as well, so it’s like as much as I want to try and take credit for all of it, it’s not really fair, but you know the 3 of us kind of came up with this idea that we should look at trying to do things and in some ways it’s the simplest thing to do.
Daz Singh: Because, when you have a blank piece of paper, and you sat there and think “I need to open up a dental practise, what do I need to do?” I’m kind of really glad I don’t live in this Facebook and Twitter environment right now because when it’s just 2 or 3 people and you sat thinking “Well what do we want to do?”, and we first focused on what experience our patients are going to have. What are they going to do. What are we going to do that’s going to be so different to people. And we say right.
Daz Singh: You know, every time someone comes in they’re gonna meet Suzy for a free consultation. We’re gonna show them around the clinic, we’re gonna show them exactly sort of what we are, what we do, how we go about trying to do it. That’s something we still do to this day, you know. All these patients come and they still see Suzy or they’ll see one of the members of our team to look at trying to come in and sort of see exactly sort of what we have to offer here in the clinic.
Daz Singh: And then from there on in it’s like we were then getting patients in for full clinical consultation. So there was an element where we felt that we had to be a little bit retail in terms of trying to trap patients in. And then there was going to be an element of clinical where we’re trying to be sort of where we need to sort of separate ourselves from the rest. It wasn’t just going to say “Yep, you can come in go yeah we kind kind of, you know, we can kind of do this, we can kind of do that. And then we can kinda”…
Payman: Remind me the street name?
Daz Singh: We’re on Dale St.
Payman: Dale Street, so must have been quite a big thing to take a shop on, on a major major street in Liverpool.
Daz Singh: Well it was one of those that we were looking around and…
Payman: Yeah tell us the process of it, how did you find the space?
Daz Singh: So, I mean, we were fortunate. We got in touch with a few different sort of agencies and stuff like that. And what, I mean, our clinic, I know you’ve down payment, and I think you have as well Prav, is that you know we’re based underground, so we’re…
Payman: Not anymore right?
Daz Singh: Well, kind of. We’re making our way up literally so to speak.
Payman: Had you decides it was going to be a high street shop front?
Daz Singh: I think we were just you know, going back to the original question about O and D was this, you know if we’re going to open up a dental practise, well you know, in Liverpool. At the time, there were maybe 1 or 2 sort of high street practises in the Liverpool city centre so to speak. I mean one of the things I was doing was that at the time I spent doing like the year long restoring course with Paul Tipton. And you get the, you go to Manchester about once a month every month and I forget the name of the square.
Prav Solanki: St Anne’s.
Daz Singh: That’s right and next to his practise was another practise and before him was 2 or 3 more practises. So I’m like, why is it? That in Manchester you can have 5 dental practises that are literally less than a stones throw from each other?
Daz Singh: But in Liverpool, we struggle with having dental clinics. So we’re having a little look to see, well what is it that people were doing or weren’t doing in Liverpool. And actually, for us I thought it was something as simple as they just wasn’t a dentist at the practise, every day of the week. I figured that you know if we’re gonna have a dental practise, we need to be, you know even if we couldn’t actually, if I couldn’t be there 5 days a week, we’re always going to have people there.
Daz Singh: We’re always going to have somebody to call up and say “Look I need to see a dentist.” “Okay, sure come on in.”
Daz Singh: And it’s not that we’re closed for this, this and this day, we’re gonna be sort of open Monday to Friday which is like normal business hours. Come in, come and see us and we can then go from there. And then that’s how I think we kind of built from there on in. It was just more about you know what people are still going, people are still wanting to have that solid dentistry done. It was just the mishonor of people thinking you have to go all the way up to Manchester or you know you have to go to places like ‘chester to do it.
Payman: So okay, you obviously spent a lot of money, the design element, setting this thing up. Did you set it up with 2 chairs to start with for you and Sudarsh?
Daz Singh: Yeah, the money thing is quite interesting point. People look at it from the point where we feel like we spent a lot of money. I look at it a bit differently. When I was looking how much valuation of practises were, I was looking at a practise that’s valued at like 1 million pounds, and I’m like but you’re just doing like 800,000 pounds of turnover. But you want me to spend a million pounds to do that. And I’m like I just don’t get that. Whereas if I spent a fraction of that and spent the time to build the practise, then I’d have a practise worth 4 times the investment.
Payman: But what I’m saying is you spent a lot of money, you found this place, spent a bunch of money, day 1 there are no patients.
Daz Singh: Yeah.
Payman: What did you do?
Daz Singh: You just call squeaky bum time isn’t it?
Daz Singh: Squeaky bum time, mate, you just gotta.
Payman: Is that a Northern?
Daz Singh: Yeah, it’s like you know it’s just one of those mate.
Payman: So what did you do? There’s no patients, what did you do?
Daz Singh: Well you know, we had we- from the outside we knew that we needed to market the clinic out. We knew that we needed to be able to look at trying to have some sort of form of campaign to tell people about who we were, what we did.
Payman: And you started before you finished the building?
Daz Singh: So we did a little bit of that, yeah. So you know we, I mean this is, remember you, this is 2008 so this is pre- sort of- Facebook. Pre crash as well. So all of our ideas were formed pre crash. But, the interesting thing was is that when we were creating a budget for the clinic, we budgeted a marketing spend for it? So we still have that even though the crash happened and then some ways when the crash happened it worked well for us because what ended up happening was that all the other people who were advertising at the time just stopped. And we just and so we were able to get much more beneficial rates, much more beneficial sort of ad time that you could’ve-
Payman: You’re working somewhere else and doing 1 day a week or how?
Daz Singh: Yeah so I’m still working the Colby practise for a short period of time and then I got a great piece of advice by a guy called Barry Alton. I met him at a dentistry awards dinner. He was like “Look, this is your practise and this is where you’re going to be for the next sort of however many years. However much you’re earning from your other job, I mean what do you need to do to spoil yourself?” At that time I just had a car and a flat and that was about it. So then you know he was telling me “Look it’s your time not better invested in just spending your time in your own clinic? What else do you need to do?” I don’t have a family that I need to support or anything else like that. You know it’s literally just car and a mortgage. So, and he was right so shortly afterwards I just made the decision I was just going to go into the clinic full time and then you know what we’re just going to build things up…
Payman: Yeah, so what was the first thing you did marketing wise to get some first few patients through the door?
Daz Singh: So I think we did, we were looking at, I think we looked at radio ads as a great way to look at trying to bring people in.
Payman: At the get go?
Daz Singh: Yeah, from the get go. So, yeah it was some intro, we had interest conversation with various different people. Actually no sorry, let me lie, we didn’t do radio at the beginning, we did that a little bit later, and what we did do is we just did some simple stuff which was just basically create a little bit of brand awareness around where we worked, we just had a few purses lined up. We started doing stuff with the train stations and things like that around it as well. And ads yeah.
Prav Solanki: Leaflet drops, papers?
Daz Singh: Yeah, a few. We did a little bit of newspapers. Not as much as we hoped we would but then I think when we did our first Invisalign open day, back in January 2009, that’s when we used radio ads for the first time and that was what really kicked us off after that. We’d open in November 2008 and then we had a bit of a soft opening for 2-3 months leading up to that but then after that January it’s just kind of been, pretty much full on.
Payman: Which station was it?
Daz Singh: A station called Radio City.
Payman: The one with the tower?
Daz Singh: Yeah, the one with the tower.
Payman: And so what was the ad, was it just like as you would expect?
Daz Singh: No it was just when we did it, it was like very specific advert for Invisalign open day that we were going to Invisalign at a certain price and it was going to be on this day at this time. If they wanted to come in then they had to sort of call up and make an appointment to come in and see us on that day.
Payman: Do you still do radio advertising?
Daz Singh: Sporadically. Sporadically, I think that you know, there’s better ways to look at trying to spend that kind of capital.
Payman: What does it cost to advertise on the radio in Liverpool?
Daz Singh: To be honest it costs as much as low as you want.
Daz Singh: It’s like if you had a budget for 5 and a pound a month, you can get ads for 5 and a pound a month. If you wanted to spend a million quid a month they’d give you – they’ll take that as well. So you know it comes down to sort of how much you really wanna look at trying to spend. It’s great for creating awareness, you know. Because we’ve been doing it for so long you know, people kind of do recognise us on the radio.
Payman: Have you got a jingle?
Daz Singh: Yes.
Payman: Go on, sing it.
Daz Singh: No I’m not, no chance.
Payman: Come on.
Daz Singh: No chance man.
Payman: Ollie and Darsh.
Daz Singh: Absolutely not. It’s not happening.
Payman: What’s your tagline? One smile at a time?
Daz Singh: Where individual smiles matter.
Payman: That’s the one.
Prav Solanki: So we just rewind a little bit, the name Ollie and Darsh, I only actually found out about this like 10 years later where it came-
Payman: At the minimalist. [crosstalk]
Prav Solanki: Yeah, I think it was then so I’m sure a lot of our listeners are in the same position as me. Would you just like to enlighten us?
Daz Singh: Yeah sure. Is there a tagline to follow?
Daz Singh: No, so the name Ollie and Darsh, so my real name is [inaudible] very few people can really say it properly first time round and it’s usually got this question “Hmm?” So I say it again. So what happens is when I first born, my sister couldn’t say my full name properly. I still blame my sisters to this day for this, but so she was reading Oliver Twist at the time and she started calling me Oliver. So, my entire family, all of her call me Ollie. And it’s just the name that stick.
Daz Singh: When I went to the school in Saudi, my name was Oliver Singh. It was just basically that’s what it was. My yearbooks all have Oliver Singh in them. It’s quite something. But then when we moved back to England, I was like you know.
Payman: Oliver Singh does have a ring to it.
Daz Singh: Yeah, you’d be surprised, right? But you know, when we moved back from Saudi and moved back to Yorkshire, it was made aware to us that maybe you should start using your real name now. And then I started using my real name and that eventually got shortened down year after year down to like 3 letters. Daz, so I went through sort of school and uni being known as Daz and that was fine. I had no problems with that. But, we were coming up with names at the clinic and Sudarsh is my business partner and naturally her nickname is Darsh, and-
Prav Solanki: Makes sense.
Daz Singh: Yeah, so that made sense.
Payman: How did you meet Sudarsh?
Daz Singh: Again we used to work in the same clinic together.
Payman: But she was-
Daz Singh: She was working in another clinic at the time. And it just came to ahead were we felt like we just needed to do our own thing. And it just, you know, we have a great business relationship and it works really really well. We’re business partners first and then we’re friends second, which I think works quite well for both of us to be honest.
Payman: You must’ve been asked this before, she does exist right?
Daz Singh: She does exist. She’s there on our website mate, she’s there.
Payman: Sorry Sudarsh.
Daz Singh: It is quite interesting when I get called Ollie and Darsh at the same time. It’s like some sort of Jekyll and Hyde thing that I have seen to happen.
Payman: You’re the Colonel Sanders of the brand somehow yeah? And listen, I’m the Colonel Sanders of Enlighten and Sanj does more than I do at Enlighten that the Prav will attest to that.
Prav Solanki: Without a doubt. You play more table tennis than me.
Payman: Yeah, but somehow, I didn’t do it on purpose.
Daz Singh: No, its the same. No it’s definitely you know, we both have different lives you know. Sudarsh is, she’s got a lovely husband and she’s got -at the time when we first opened up- she had 2 really young boys. Keiran, her youngest was probably less than a year old I think when we opened up.
Daz Singh: So her time, I mean, her time she wanted to maximise between the family and the clinic. So she had no time for any other opportunities that Ollie and Darsh might have looked to trying to afford. So basically it was just me, I don’t have any sort of dependence, I didn’t have any family. And it was just basically you know whenever one of these things kind of came about, when an opportunity came about, I’m like “Yes”. I’ll just say yes and we’ll work out how to do it later. Which is what kind of ended up happening.
Payman: And the model of Suzy, sorry but Suzy takes care of the staff?
Daz Singh: Yeah.
Payman: She takes care of a lot of the patient contacts as well. Are you involved with the staff matters? Or does she literally handle that?
Daz Singh: You know, one of the things that, one of the challenges we’ve had as a business as we’ve grown is that we’ve grown from an idea into an actual business and the process of being in a business is this, you need to be able to look at delegating things amongst yourselves and I realise that when I try to meddle myself into different things that I shouldn’t be meddling into, things end up going p tong. And so well for me it’s just a case of you know we have a brain trust between the three of us and we sit down regularly, we have meetings were we thrash a lot of these things out. But Suzy’s pretty much the day to day running that clinic.
Daz Singh: She’s definitely the point of contact for patients, for staff, pretty much everyone else. She’s pretty much the all round go to person in our clinic. If it’s a clinical issue it goes to either me or Sadursh. But otherwise it goes to Suzy.
Prav Solanki: So between the 3 of you, what would you say your key strengths are? Ollie you should pick your unique ability, Sudarsh’s, and then naturally Suzy’s.
Daz Singh: My unique ability is being able to delegate things to Suzy. That’s easy, that’s my unique ability. Suzy’s great ability is that she’s a very personable person. She’s extremely, you know, the way I describe her is that if you cut her in half she bleeds orange and blue. She like bleeds more of the brand then I do. And you know, for me it’s like the brand was never meant to be about me or Sudarsh or Suzy. The brand was just meant to be, it’s a clinic that we do some, we’re hoping to do some really exceptional stuff that people wanna get involved with. It’s not designed around me it’s not like this is the Daz Singh brand or the Ollie Singh brand.
Daz Singh: It’s just not that. It’s meant to be around Ollie and Darsh, that’s the way it was created. But, Suzy’s the one who sort of, you know we have, we might have ideas in the clinic and I call it the tip of the sword, where she’s like you know we could have great ideas but Suzy’s the one who just basically goes in and makes it reality. We can sit down, have an idea and then before I know I sat back at my desk and what we’ve talked about is you know, here’s some quotes, here’s this, here’s that. Which one are we going to do? And how do we get on with that.
Daz Singh: Sudarsh’s ability to deal with all my tantrums without a doubt. Sudarsh is a phenomenal clinician. And she’s great at what she does. And again it’s just our ability to be able to kind of bounce off each other, to kind of work from there.
Payman: You’ve got you know a super successful clinic. The numbers of treatments that you do, of course success comes more than number of treatments, but who’s responsible, who’s sort of the growth engine on that? Was that you?
Daz Singh: I think we sit back and we’re always looking at numbers and you know for us you know we’re always looking year on year to try and push and be better than we were the year before. That’s how I- that’s how we define success. We’ve kind of settled for the same as the year before then we’re looking like you know what this is fairly easy to do, this is like you know, this isn’t hard. And that’s what my challenge is. My challenge is to say right okay how do we look at trying to move things forward. How do we look at taking things plus x plus 20%. It might sound like I’m motivated by money, I’m not it’s that I’m motivated by looking trying to push the clinic to a place where it can’t – where we didn’t thing it could – go.
Daz Singh: You know, it’s not about, I’m not interested in sort of pushing a thousand veneers out of the clinic or a thousand in Invisalign. I’m motivating by doing things for the first time if that makes sense. I’m motivated by doing something a bit different. I’m motivated by looking trying to say well can we do this, can we do that, and how do we go about trying to do this.
Daz Singh: In amongst the way that we want to try and get things done.
Prav Solanki: What other key metrics that you look like when comparing year to year? I mean I speak to a lot of clinics who use lots of different metrics, whether it’s conversions, if their consultations or new patients, or turn over profits. Do you have a set key metrics that you guys look at?
Daz Singh: Yeah for me it’s kind of comes down to profit at the end of the day. The rest of its all [inaudible] Yeah it’s just you know, if we’re making more money than we did last year, then that’s great. And the question is that why are we making more money? And I try and work it backwards from that. There are things that are designed in a particular way so that we have certain things that are designed to bring more people in to see us, so not necessarily a loss leading product, but something, a product that doesn’t actually bring us a general amount of revenue, but actually gets people away talking about us so that they can then bring in more people who might then come in for other things as well.
Prav Solanki: For example?
Daz Singh: For example, like whitening. For us, it’s not the most, especially in a place like Liverpool, you know, there are many different ways of being able to go off and do whitening and you know I understand that why some clinicians and why some clinics price whitening the way that they do. But we do it very much like milk in a supermarket where we just, we need people to come in at the beginning and you know when they did, we kind of go from there.
Prav Solanki: You were the guys who started ‘Whitening Wednesdays’ is that right?
Daz Singh: Yeah that’s right.
Prav Solanki: Does that come from Orange Tuesdays by any chance?
Daz Singh: Well, do you know, it was when we first opened up, you know, it was, everyone was worried about credit crunch and everything else like that and people are starting to make these credit crunch offers. And that’s just the most savage way to try and market a clinic personally. I thought that you know, I would not. Could you imagine trying to go into Subway and thinking “Here’s a credit crunch sandwich.” Here’s half the bread and here’s everything else. Just didn’t make sense, so it was our challenge to say well you know how, what are we going to do, how are we going to market the clinic, what can we look at trying to have a tag. And yeah, just like you know, just like orange had orange Wednesdays, we suddenly came up, well I say we, Suzy came up with the idea for having whitening Wednesdays.
Prav Solanki: Cool.
Daz Singh: Yeah and what we did when we first started off was that if you wanted to come in on a Monday, Tuesday, Thursday or Friday, for whitening it was going to be double the price. So we could then, we basically led with this idea that all our whitening, whether it was gonna be, we did and we still do, zoom, sorry Payman. And enlighten and we still have our home whitening as well and when it was just me, Sudarsh, there at the time, we knew that on a Wednesday, we were gonna be pretty much full pump, just doing some whitening. That’s something that steadily grew overtime. The real archetype behind the idea was Suzy to be honest.
Prav Solanki: Suzy. Just talk me through how that ended up creating more work, because like you said it’s a loss leader. Milk or bread in a super market, and did that often lead to other treatments or discussions around different treatment plans?
Daz Singh: I think that what we try and do is this. When we look at patients who come in. Often I think that we sometimes have the wrong focus. We look at the patient, they’re coming in for a particular product. You know they’re usually a little bit sort of price sensitive about things like that and I get that. So we weren’t necessarily looking to try and market to them. What we wanted patients to do is this. Is that I wanted them to come in and see us. I wanted them to have the experience with us. I wanted them to go away talk about the experience they’ve had with us to their family and friends, so the knock on effect would be is that we then had their families and friends who have been told that you know this person’s had a good experience at the clinic.
Daz Singh: Why don’t you go see them about your teeth or you know the problems you’ve been having, so forth and so on. And that’s kind of how it went about. I think that for all the marketing we may ever do, Prav, is that the one thing that’s always consistent is that word of mouth marketing is by far in a way, the best thing that brings people in. So the more, if we were to have that the more people who come in and see us the more people who’re gonna go away ‘n talk about us.
Daz Singh: Hence, we would then get more follow through from things like that as well.
Prav Solanki: So, just talk to me about numbers here. I mean I’m huge on that. And I truly believe that the first marketing strategy that any practise should ever have is a word of mouth strategy. And not enough practises focus on that. It’s the cheapest form of marketing. Patients who come from friends and family. Know you’re pricing structure, know your service, and then know that you’re gonna deliver the goods, right?
Daz Singh: Yeah.
Prav Solanki: What strategy do you put behind your word of mouth to generate patients that way. You know you talked about putting a blueprint together for you know the experience, the service. Just talk me through your, what you would consider to be your word of mouth blueprint strategy.
Daz Singh: So, you know for us it was at the time, we probably didn’t realise this heavily, it was you know, we knew we just needed to get more people through our doors. That’s how we first started. After that, after we started building up a database, after we had people starting to come and see us, I read a book and it was about word of mouth marketing. I’m not- you know what? There was a line-
Prav Solanki: What was the book?
Daz Singh: I can’t remember. I really can’t remember the name of the book but it was, there was a line in the book that basically said that if you look through all your marketing, you’re going to find that however much you spend on all your other bits of marketing, you’ll get a certain return on investment. But then you look at the top and you’ll see word of mouth is probably the most number of patients. But then if you look how much you spent on it, you’ve spent probably almost nothing. Which then you know, for me it’s just one of those liable moments you have been practising.
Daz Singh: Well you know we’re spending x amount of money on trying to bring new patients in. Why don’t we just look at trying to do something for the patients who do something for us? For us it was just like you know let’s have a little bit of fun with this you know for us we’ve always been, you know we’ve always had chocolates out.
Daz Singh: So we used to use local, we used to use a local chocolatier who used to sort of hand to deliver some chocolates and then recently we started using Hotel Chocolat because it’s just become easier to do so.
Prav Solanki: Just talk me through that process so you decided to hand chocolates out to patients. At what stage in that patient journey did you decide to do that?
Daz Singh: So, anybody who basically, any referrals that came in from patients would then get a box of chocolates from us, as long as we knew where those patients come from, so you know it wasn’t sort of on the say that would then go ahead with treatment or anything like that, we just felt like, you know, we’re happy to send chocolates out and this sort of day and age with Facebook and Twitter and Instagram and things like that, it’s just nicer, you know. You can get like a box of chocolates and patients are quite happy to put a post up on Instagram and just say look what my dentist just sent me, my dentist just sent me some really nice chocolates.
Prav Solanki: And 9 times out of 10 it always comes across as a surprise, right?
Daz Singh: Yeah it does, and you know some people quite like it to be honest and for me it’s like you know we just want to say thank you to our patients for referring people on and you know if they’re referring people to us on then you know for me it’s our job to them to try and translate that into sort of hopefully looking, trying to bring business into the clinic, but you know, patients have done really great in terms of referring our name over anyway.
Payman: Daz, you know what I find interesting about your clinic that you manage to combine being a high end clinic as well as being an offer-led clinic. A lot of high end clinics can’t get their heads around offers. Is it a Liverpool thing?
Payman: That the people always looking for an offer? How have you managed to sort of square that circle?
Daz Singh: I suppose that the dynamic of how clinics sort of really comes about. I think that, you know, we don’t have offers on a tremendous amount of things. But I’m also keen on understanding where sort of patients are in terms of the dynamics of trying to go ahead and have treatment done, you know. Some people are sort of – some patients who wanna go off and have treatment aren’t necessarily offer-led. So, you know, some people will go away, will do all their research and then come and find us it’s like, you know it’s one of us being most experience Invisalign providers in the northwest. And they’ll come and see us because we want you to do it for us. And that’s fine.
Daz Singh: But then somebody will come to see us because you know, actually we’re one of the most economically right for that patient as well.
Daz Singh: So, the whitening Wednesdays, you know, has always worked well in terms of trying to bring patients and sort of, more whitening patients interests as well. And, you know, it’s for us I think that some people get bonked down by the simple bits of dentistry to start looking at so that slightly larger impact of certain things and you know, for us the way we look at it, we offer free consultations so that somebody could just go in and have a chat with us.
Daz Singh: There are more offers. I think that you know, I think that one of the things that people are doing at the moment which is like a package of everything else, which is kind of nice, and I can see how the appeal of it is, but then on a clinical level, I see where sometimes I can sort of fall down as well, so. It’s just about trying to combine everything together that works well for patients.
Payman: When you say package as in one cost for Invisalign, whitening, and bonding, that?
Daz Singh: Yeah so I mean one of the great things about doing something like that is that you can then resonate with the patients because then they understand what the fixed cost of are up front. And then they can relate that back into payment schedule that they can then kind of go from. X, Y, and Z. You know, I mean.
Daz Singh: But it’s one of those as well where you know, depending on where the clinics can be you know. I might be in Liverpool where we do tremendous amount of Invisalign, or you know, liners or something like that. Or you know, you meet other clinics who don’t have the same success but have that with implants. And we don’t have the same sort of impact with that.
Daz Singh: Predominantly because we’re not as price competitive as some of the other clinics around us as well. And so, it just really comes down to some people. I think, not necessarily just looking for sort of value in terms of what they’re having done, but just I think some people can work out what they thing is best for them.
Payman: With the Invisalign, well actually your – most of your work – how much of your work is done on finance? Liverpool is a big finance city.
Daz Singh: I mean.
Payman: Have you got a number? Like what percentage.
Daz Singh: Do you know the top of my head, I couldn’t say, no. I couldn’t say that I have a number, but it’s certainly a tremendous amount. It’s you know, it is one of those things where you know, it’s certainly finance driven. Especially a lot of our sort of liner market, fixed simple braces market, or sort of any…
Payman: Even whitening, no?
Daz Singh: Well, whitening is something that has to be fixed. It’s fixed fee so they generally tend to pay it on their card. But, you know, we don’t do it in terms of finance for that but you know. It becomes part of a bigger package so they’re just happy to go ahead and have it done.
Daz Singh: I think for us the magic number seems to be somewhere around about 3-6k. And they’re just you know, they’re just very happy to put it all in finance and just go from it. That’s not a problem.
Prav Solanki: And so when you do your open days, your off days and things like that, is the cost of finance factored in? Or do you add that on top when the patient comes in?
Daz Singh: No, no, no. Well, you kind of, yeah I mean, slightly. I don’t even sort of add it on top, but we’ve had it factored in from the start to be honest.
Prav Solanki: Okay.
Daz Singh: For us it just, you know, we… We’re very happy if something, if somebody wants to come in and have a dental finance piece predominantly that’s where a lot of our treatment comes from.
Prav Solanki: Yeah.
Daz Singh: If there’s a number, probably about around sort of 70-80% is probably where that really…
Prav Solanki: And so I guess there’s somebody comes along and pays cash, it’s just a bonus, right?
Daz Singh: Yeah, that’s right.
Payman: Your associates.
Daz Singh: Mm-hmm (affirmative).
Payman: I know Chiggs. How many associates have you got?
Daz Singh: So in our clinic we have… There’s myself and Sudarsh who are both principal dentists and then Chiggs has been, Chiggs is our first associate who came to join us about 2 years ago.
Payman: Oh really?
Daz Singh: Yeah, and then we have now 2 therapists and a hygienist as well. To this day we just only have 1 associate. We’ve tried to be as therapist and hygienist led as we possibly can be. We had looked at the scope what some DCPs and you know, some of our clinical assistants can look at trying to do. And they can take a load of burden off us so that we can then try and focus around that and so, it’s much more in terms of a didactic model where you have a dentist and you have a patient. The dentist does everything for the patient. We look at factoring in what the other team members can really look at trying to do.
Daz Singh: A lot of the stuff is that actually I might see a patient once to do clinical consultation and then the plan gets executed out by the rest of the team. Which tends to work out really well for us.
Daz Singh: But yeah, Chiggs has been our one and only associate since he joined us a couple years back. He’s been great for us. Really really good for us. Just great to have a nice young lad with the right type of energy, the right type of attitude who wants to come in, who wants to learn. And just wants to try and do things as well.
Payman: He’s a good boy.
Daz Singh: He is.
Prav Solanki: If you’re looking for an associate in a practise like yours, right, there’s loads of dentists out there would give their- chop their right arm off to work in a practise like yours. What advice would you give them to set themselves up, just coming out of dental school and saying “Do you know what? My dream would be to work in a practise like yours?”
Daz Singh: Yeah, I find that I’m having these conversations a lot more with younger dentists and you know, one of the things we’ve looked at is this, is that we weren’t have a dentist who could have, had the right attitude had the right, good level of hands with a right sort of mental energy to really come into a practise like ours. So it’s like you know, one of the things about being a day pupil at a boarding school is you kind of grow up with that kind of mentality in terms of you are sort of, you’re given a job to do. You go off, you get it done. So you work out how to do those sort of things.
Daz Singh: And sometimes I find that, you know, you can get people to go off, and under pressure to do their own thing, but if they want to come in and work in a clinic like ours, I’m gonna need them to expect them to do other things that might go around what they think that they need to be doing.
Payman: Like what, like what?
Daz Singh: You know just like just trying-
Daz Singh: Communication, just doing a lot of the simple stuff. Just doing a lot of the sort of nitty witty sort of stuff there as well. Just going through the same similar sort of journey that sort of myself and Sudarsh went on because I know that when there’s a lot of young dentists who seem to be coming out of university at the moment and they’re being blitzed. In the media by everything that’s going on about all this fancy dentistry that seems to be going on. And you’re starting to see some of the the things that some people are doing.
Daz Singh: Especially on things like Instagram. And you’re looking and going “I get where they’re coming from with all of this, but…” You know? And I get that when you have a patient who just says “Yes, I want to have this done.” And they go off and they do it. I understand that. But it’s about them looking, trying to lean on each others’ experience, look at trying to say what the right thing is.
Daz Singh: But, going back to your original point there Prav, it’s that, you know, what kind of advice I’d look at trying to give it’s about what kind of attitude do you have to look at trying to get something like this done.
Prav Solanki: Number one, right?
Daz Singh: Yeah, attitude for me is the most important thing. It’s about, you know, it’s like if you don’t have the right attitude, if it’s all about sort of, you know, my principle’s this or you know, the team are doing this and I can’t do this. It’s about how you’re gonna fit. There’s gonna be good days there’s gonna be bad days. And you know for me it’s just about if you have the right attitude to come work in my clinic because you know, one of the things I don’t wanna be hearing is “I don’t think this is for me.” And I’m like okay, well you know, I think this is not going to kind of work out.
Daz Singh: Which is what’s kind of feared me. I’ve had this sort of fear about taking an associate on for so long as it was. But, we still could like with chicks so I can’t really say.
Prav Solanki: I do want to steer this conversation direction of Daz’s teaching because as well as being a clinician, the clinic owner, he has lectured and talked. And, but I’ve got one more question about your clinic which is: What’s the lowest point you’ve ever reached in running your clinic where you’ve hit absolutely rock bottom, and how did you pick yourself up out of that ditch?
Daz Singh: Yeah, I mean, it’s an important point and so, you know, there are moments or times when you look at things and you know, for me it’s always almost been probably financial more than anything else. On a clinical level I can accept when things don’t go well and you know I can appreciate that that doesn’t happen, and I look at those moments and I think you know, there’s something to be learned from that and I think that you know, if I made a mistake on a clinical level I’ll put my hand up and I think you know, I want to make this right. That’s just, you know, that’s just on me.
Daz Singh: It’s probably come down probably on an economic level where sometimes you get like a perfect storm suddenly hits the practise like you know you might have an open day or you might look at trying to do a marketing plan that just doesn’t work. Or you know, suddenly you’re looking at the back end of you know, on a financial level in terms of where are we right now? How do we look at trying to move ourselves out of this? And sometimes you just you know, for me it’s just, I go home and I need to go away, have a shower, trying to think about things and think you know how do we look at trying to move forward with this? How do we look at you know, we can’t sort of, I have my pity party for about 20 minutes and think how did this happen to me or how could this have happened to us? And then you know, how do we look at trying to move forward?
Daz Singh: But almost always it’s almost been on an economic level where we’re looking once again…
Payman: Are you saying that a cash crisis?
Daz Singh: Yeah, so sometimes.
Payman: You owe more than you’re thinking early on when…
Daz Singh: Yeah. Still going to be earlier on, it’s so early on. In the first couple of years when you’re looking at this going “Wow. Where are we going to get the finances to do all of this stuff?” You suddenly, you know. A lot of this stuff that we’ve been talking about has been a slow burn. It’s like we’re in this for the long game. And, you’re looking at this and we’re thinking about you know how do we look at trying to make…Not how do we necessarily look at trying to make ends meet, but it’s just like what do we need to do to try and take things up to that level?
Prav Solanki: And the thing that’s important because people always see the glamour, the shop front, the retail, the ads.
Daz Singh: Yeah yeah.
Prav Solanki: The Instagram feed, the Facebook feed, but behind the scenes they don’t see the fact that you’re going home, your heads exploding, team members handed the notice in and say somebody’s turned up late. You know, something’s happened in the practise or a patients put a complaint in and all of that comes with the territory right?
Daz Singh: Yeah, I mean it is one of those. I mean because you know I remember I had, we were treating a PI lawyer in the clinic once and she said something to me which was quite interesting because she said to me goes “Look, you know” because for them it’s their job that’s what they do. And it’s quite interesting looking from their point, and they said to me they said that “Look, whenever we do this with a clinician or anything else like that you go, you guys take it really personally.” And I go “Well, yeah. Because, you know in its essense you’re saying that we’ve done something wrong and we’ve done it intentionally? In that sort of aspect?”
Daz Singh: And so it was kind of eye opening for me in terms of understanding where they’re coming from from that aspect and I’m like going you know it is just one of those moments. You know what you’ve you know, the anxiety builds over certain patients and you’re starting to look you know is this going right, is that going right, am I gonna make them really happy with what we’re trying to do here? And those are the things you take home with you.
Daz Singh: And you know, on a financial level you’re there going making sure you know, I wanna make sure that everyone there is looked after, everyone is well paid, everyone’s sort of making sure that you know for the next day that you know everything’s going to be fine. We’re still going to have a solve, a business and things are going to be going well.
Daz Singh: That’s my challenge. That’s the reason why we try and do things. For me it’d be really easy to have a free surgery practise and you know, just have me, Sudarsh, and a hygienist and we could just wandering off and just you know we can do everything else. But the challenge is that we want to have the fully functioning sick surgery practise. And then go from there.
Payman: What about, we’ve been sort of asking this sort of black box thinking question about what’s the biggest clinical mistake you’ve ever made? So, going back to that thing where in dentistry everyone or medicine dentistry no one likes to talk about their mistakes but then we never learn from each other’s mistakes then.
Daz Singh: I think that you know, I certainly think that when I first started using braces. As a general dentist, you know, there have been moments and there have certainly been 1 or 2 patients where I look at it and think, you know yeah we could have done this a lot better.
Daz Singh: You know, there are these sort of things that we look at and we go you know.
Payman: But did you have a situation, like a clinical situation did a tooth go out of the arch or something…
Daz Singh: No, it’s just you know, we had 1 case where you know the patient was, postures into a class 1 position. And then, this is again in my earlier days, and the patient came in and he’s like you know really low in confidence, really sort of you know, nobody’s prepared to help him out, no one’s prepared to treat him, no one’s really looking at trying to say you know let’s see how we can try and help you out. And we’re really low down on confidence and things, and you know, we say oh you know what, I’m sure we can look at trying to make some movements here and we can look at trying to, this looks a little bit more straight forward. With experience I look back on it thinking you know, I know where we made our mistakes.
Daz Singh: But basically what happened is we tried to give him aligners and he slipped into a class 3. So he started looking a whole lot worse. So his alignment had improved, but because now his mandible relaxed in the condyles. He’d slipped further into a class 3 position and to try and salvage that and bring that back was going to be a much, a really really tricky position.
Payman: So it was because he was posturing into the class 1? You weren’t aware of that?
Daz Singh: Just wasn’t aware if it. And it’s just one of those sort of things that when you take some initial photos, you’re having a look and you realise that you know, he’s looking fine, he’s looking edge to edge. I’m sure we can just try and improve the alignment, and then all of a sudden we put some aligners in I mean just slips into a class 3. And we’re like “Wow. What’s going on here?”
Daz Singh: I remember once we treated one patient and you know it was the very first time and the only time that this really happened to us where we gave some patients some of this set of aligners and patient had [inaudible] and we gave her some aligners. The condyles slipped into, I’m sorry, the mandible slipped. The mandible condyle slipped more into the eminence. And to some tissue. And it’s just piping hot, and she couldn’t bare with it literally.
Payman: The pain.
Daz Singh: Literally just yeah. Just massive massive massive pain, and this is like within the first month.
Payman: Feels like you caused that pain.
Daz Singh: Yeah, I mean the patient was really great about it.
Payman: What could you have done differently? Could you have known that?
Daz Singh: I think yeah, you know what? I think my examination process could have been a whole lot better. Yeah, yeah. Absolutely. I think that you know, it’s just it could’ve without a doubt been a whole lot better.
Daz Singh: And you know, when I look at things we’re doing back, you know, 9-10 years ago compared to how we’re doing things now, you know our processes, our clinical processes have changed dramatically since then.
Payman: How do you feel about the, you must have cut quite a lot of porcelain veneers right?
Daz Singh: Yeah.
Payman: How do you feel about those, you must see those patients, your early ones. How are they looking?
Daz Singh: Yeah, it’s interesting. I think that you know, I think we have this, you know we have this ethos that you know, we understand now that porcelain veneers aren’t probably the best wear, the only way to look at trying to fix some patients problem.
Daz Singh: 10 years ago though? You know I didn’t really see very much other options that we could look at trying to do.
Payman: No no, I’m not saying that – how do they look?
Daz Singh: Well, they look like they could have had ortho. And some bonding, to be honest. But you know, it is, we’ve, I’ve been fortunate enough that we’ve been in the same place for 10 years and we will look after and maintain. Yes we have the odd factory, yes we’ve had some that you know we look at them staining, margins need to be replaced and sorry. There’s definitely some margins staining they’re just looking now that they need to be replaced and so forth and so on.
Daz Singh: But yeah.
Payman: Tif talks about this a lot about being in the same place for a long time and seeing… absolutely makes a lot of sense doesn’t it.
Daz Singh: Sure. Yeah yeah, I mean it’s quite humbling you know. One of the interesting things was when we first opened up people were talking about so what’s your exit strategy. And I’m like what’s one of them? I’m like what do you mean an exit strategy I’ve just opened the clinic up with my – why do you think I want to leave? And it was quite interesting that some people think you have a 3 year, 4 year exit strategy, you meet people who have opened up multiple squads and things like that.
Daz Singh: And I’m like that’s…
Payman: Have you thought about doing another one?
Daz Singh: Yeah. I have, I have. And then something happens in the clinic and I’m going “I’m glad I don’t have 2 of these now all of a sudden.” But you know the idea of opening up your squat is quite interesting. If only for the reason that I want to see if we can try and do it all over again. It’s a different market, it’s a different dynamic. I wanna see can we look at trying to do something differently, and how do we look at trying to go about it? I think that there’s things… the market is… the market for cosmetic dentistry 10 years on from 2008 is massively different to where it is, where it was back then.
Daz Singh: And you know, I think that there’s a lot more to go for we can look at trying to do. It wouldn’t be, it would be something completely different.
Payman: Oh really?
Daz Singh: Yeah, it’d be something that.
Payman: But you’re such a strong-
Daz Singh: It is but you know, I think that the market is just slightly different. I think that, you know, there are different things there we can look at trying to do. I think that if I opened up- I mean, there’s potential where we can look at trying to take Ollie and Darsh and use it as- and open up multiple clinics all the way around.
Daz Singh: But I’m also looking at them in terms of thinking you know, what if we just did something completely separate? What if we did something completely different? What if I just wanted to leave Ollie and Darsh the way that it is?
Daz Singh: The things that make, the things that I know that make Ollie and Darsh what it is now, I find are going to be hard to translate if I do it in a different business. If that makes sense, because a lot of the things that we do can be quite personable, can be sort of very boutique kind of feel.
Prav Solanki: You’d lose that.
Daz Singh: Yeah. You don’t wanna have- I mean the thing is about… You get to Hilton you know exactly what you’re going to expect, and you just really just wanna go, sort of a nice rest, you kind of, you want a good customer service, you want to go from there. And I’m like that’s fine. And I’d be kind of depressed if that’s what Ollie and Darsh really became, you know and use that as a sort of personal outcome, that sort of personal feel.
Daz Singh: If I wanted to open up a multiple clinic sort of squat clinic with a relative sort of boutique feel to it, it’d need to be completely different. And, you know there are things and processes out there that would just change completely
Payman: Liverpool’s such a great town for cosmetic dentistry.
Daz Singh: Yeah.
Payman: I mean, Enlighten’s top user was from Liverpool from 2001, why is that? What is it about Liverpool people? I mean it’s certainly not the biggest town, it’s not the richest town.
Daz Singh: No, I think that there’s now a way, you know. There’s a lot of people that who want to look good and feel good to be honest. I think that you know, I think that there’s definitely an element that, you know, people like to look after themselves. People like to sort of want to be able to sort of feel better about themselves as well and just like to have that element of extra confidence in themselves as well, to be able to do that.
Prav Solanki: You get that feels working around like Liverpool one or whatever. People make an effort. Real effort, and you know dress up and look – you see it.
Daz Singh: Certainly much more than me anyways for sure. I walk around in a baseball cap.
Payman: But what a good town it’s become, I mean I remember when the first few years when I used to go there, I still loved it by the way, sorry Prav, but I prefer it to Manchester personally.
Prav Solanki: For your own body.
Payman: Yeah, but what a different town its become now to what it was maybe 15 years ago.
Daz Singh: Yeah, I mean it’s definitely a sign of progress. I mean my dad did his, so if our family has a little bit of history in Liverpool. My dad did his VT training in Liverpool during the mid 90s, GP training, sorry. He did his GP training over in a place called Hunter Cross.
Payman: Oh so he’s a surgeon and then became GP after that.
Daz Singh: Yeah so when we moved back from Saudi, there were 1 or 2 issues that dad had with his surgical training and they weren’t gonna give him the same years that he had over in Saudi when he moved back to the UK.
Daz Singh: And so that became a bit difficult and at that time he just figured that it would make more sense for him in terms of the family if he decided to go off and do chief general practise. And so, yeah he’s like a overqualified GP at Darby at the moment but so he did his GP training in Liverpool then my sister went off and she did study pharmacy there and then bout a year after she did that then I went to the proper university to go study dentistry.
Daz Singh: And it’s interesting to see because you know there are areas that dad talks, that I drive dad through in Liverpool and he’s going you know when he was going around doing the rounds as a GP trainee going to his houses like in Toxteth or on Crown street or like in some of these areas that-
Payman: Toxteth riots I remember.
Daz Singh: Yeah well it’s just those areas where people just wouldn’t go into if they could, but I mean that’s all changed now.
Daz Singh: And Liverpool one is like you know, it’s really interesting to see what it’s become. But it’s a double edged sword because you know I took a walk around Liverpool one, just for the first time in a long time actually, around Liverpool and it’s sad to see you know with Liverpool one the way that it is, what it has done is taken a lot of business away from a lot of the other streets that really existed.
Payman: That happens. Same with Westfield in London, you can see that what it’s done to other streets.
Prav Solanki: Daz, tell us about your teaching career and where it all started, where you’ve been, and where you are now.
Daz Singh: Yeah, it’s really interesting for me because you know, it’s not something I really thought that I’d ever kind of get into to be honest. I thought it was for people far more clever than I am to be honest, but it was one of those where I got invited to do the odd little seminar and talk. I think stuff that we were doing with Invisalign very early on. They wanted to try and replicated that through different other various sort of places.
Prav Solanki: Just stop you right there Daz, public speaking. How did you feel at that point when you’re invited for your 1st talk to give a seminar in front of people. Does that bother you?
Daz Singh: I was scared. I was scared.
Payman: Yeah, few years ago you gave one for us, independent seminar. Years ago.
Daz Singh: Yeah yeah. I mean the very very 1st one I remember we did, the very 1st speech I did I think Chris had invited us to like the state at the fmc where he was doing, he did a day.
Payman: I was there in the audience.
Daz Singh: And it was just that was me that was my very 1st public speaking gig. And it was meant to be me, Sudarsh, and Suzy. Sudarsh bailed 1st, then Suzy bailed the day before, and then it just ended up being me so. You know, thanks Suzy and Sudarsh. But, it was just basically yeah just that was it. I just kind of talked and mumbled and droned on things like that.
Prav Solanki: Very nerve-wracking.
Daz Singh: Yeah it was really really nerve-wracking. At the same time, I was really quite glad to be there but, yeah. Just kind of from there I’ve just always taken it as an opportunity that you know, if somebody’s given me an opportunity like that, I’ll take it.
Prav Solanki: You’ll take it. Does the nervous go away?
Daz Singh: No, not really. I think there’s always in there there’s always a nervous energy that you know, I’ve been that guy in the crowd and you’re looking at it thinking you know you really hope you got to you know you paid some money to be there and you really hoping to get through enough moments out of that day.
Daz Singh: To be able to take away and think yeah that’s what we need and you know that’s what I’m always conscious of. I’m always conscious that whenever I go up and you realise people have spent money to go off and listen to you. But you’ve got to suddenly realise that actually not you need to give them something credible. You’ve got to give them some credible advice you can’t just – I’ve been to the worst worst worst meeting I’ve ever been to was when Tom Warrant came to do a talk.
Payman: I was there. 1,000 gems.
Daz Singh: 1,000 gems which I think he missing sort of 3,000 of them in the bank. But what was really interesting is that I remember I went there with Suzy and we were sat about 3 rows from the front. We were just listening to the guy. And I didn’t realise that there were like 20 rows behind us and they’d all been leaving 1 by 1 by 1 behind us through the day, yeah it was awful.
Daz Singh: One of the worst days. But what was really interesting is actually I picked up some of the, because I took the, I still have all of the FMC stuff. I still have all of the little booklets so I would refer back to them every now and again. Because you never find you know a gem that you didn’t realise about 10 years ago, something starts making sense now. But it was one of those sorts of things that you – there was still some good information in there- but yeah it was a shocking day.
Daz Singh: So I’m always worried that I really don’t wanna be that guy. Don’t really wanna be that guy who’s sort of you know he doesn’t really know what he’s talking about.
Daz Singh: For me it was just a happy accident to be honest and it’s just been kind of you know I’ve had someone like – I knew because kind of dragged me along by the scruff of the neck said “You’re coming to this, you’ve got to do this, you’ve gotta do that.” And you know, I used to be involved with some of the stuff that he used to do and then yeah.
Daz Singh: It was just kind of being able to be put up on a podium and do some teaching was really great.
Prav Solanki: So how did it evolve? So you did it, did a little bit of stuff through Invisalign some small seminars and then…”
Daz Singh: Yeah, so it started off by just doing the odd little study club and doing some little bits and pieces for Invisalign and then I started going of and doing some stuff with Six Month Smiles. And when we started doing some more of those cases and things and you know I remember Anoop asking me to come down and sort of help him out 1 or 2 courses.
Daz Singh: And then there was a natural progression to go from being helper to being instructor. And I did that for a couple of years and that was really really good for it, really really enjoyed that. And it was just you know, for me it was really eye opening in terms of seeing how that side of sort of being for the presenter and so being able to look at trying to make sure we being able to be, give some really good information to the dentists who are going on. You really want them to sort of take up on it.
Daz Singh: I’ve always been conscious that I don’t really wanna just teach something I don’t really kind of believe in. If that makes sense.
Prav Solanki: Sure.
Payman: Six Month Smiles, were you not giving their presentations?
Daz Singh: Yeah you’re giving their presentations but the focus is on me to make sure I deliver it in the right quality. You know, I’m not an Anoop, I’m not as energetic as that guy.
Daz Singh: You know, It’s just for me you know you have to be kind of believable as well to do it. You know you can’t you know somebody said to me you know go off and give that seminar. If I don’t believe it I just won’t do it. That just doesn’t make sense.
Daz Singh: You know if Payman, like you know if you asked me to come do a talk for enlighten, I’ve always been happy to do it because you know its something that you know we always have done and you know anyone could do and we could talk about that until Kingdom come. In 6ms you know I did that for a couple years and there things that were changing within that company that I wasn’t completely comfortable with and you know there were things there that they were asking us to do that I just, it was going against some of the values that I had. I really enjoyed the education side of it, the sales side of it was just becoming a little bit overbearing on me, should I say.
Daz Singh: So I was like you know, I think they need someone else to look at trying to do that for them.
Prav Solanki: Time to move on.
Daz Singh: Yeah. About a year after that I got a message from Invisalign to come and do some talking for them in terms of the eye ghost after they were doing. Which I thought, I still think is a really really good product and it was a really interesting insight in terms of how Invisalign wanted to look at trying to grow the line on this side of the market as well, and how that kind of carried on.
Daz Singh: But then, yeah it kind of came to a point where again it was just you know they had some great guys, great people involved in it, but then you know they don’t really need me to do that kind of stuff so I figured it was just time for me, it was the right time for me to sort of bow out at that sort of point as well.
Daz Singh: I need for – because I really wanted to spend time focusing on the clinic of the last 2 years and I figured that you know the energy I was giving to all this teaching, if I put into the clinic it was gonna be even better.
Payman: It’s clear you enjoyed the running side of the business, but hands on what’s your favourite kind of dentistry?
Daz Singh: Hands on what’s my favourite type of dentistry?
Payman: Is it Invisalign or that sort of thing? Or is it… Would you prefer other?
Daz Singh: Well, Invisalign’s great. Invisalign for me is about a bunch of stuff. If that makes sense you know.
Payman: Because you do so much.
Daz Singh: Yeah I mean. We just do so much of it. It’s just for me it’s… For me genuinely I enjoyed treatment planning. That’s where I really really enjoy. I really enjoy problem solving. I enjoy getting patients coming in, coming with complex issues and being able to see the pathway in terms of okay, I have now people in my clinic who can look at trying to do this, this, this and this, we’re gonna do stage 1 this, stage 2 that, stage 3 this, and stage 4 that. And you know that’s how it’s all gonna kind of revolve.
Daz Singh: Whether it’s like a mixture of a hygiene pro-dental therapy coming to just simple coms to sort of doing implant work with ortho and then just doing, finishing off with the aesthetics stuff. The stuff that I really like to do is where you know patients can come in and see us. And the idea is to leave them like they’ve not been touched by a dentist at all. That’s the stuff that I enjoy doing. I want patients coming in and saying to me they’ve had compliments on how nice their smile is not how much they’ve spent to have it done. That’s kind of the stuff that I like to do and for me a lot of that comes from the treatment planning side of things as well.
Prav Solanki: Your latest move to teaching. You’ve started working with the IS academy.
Daz Singh: That’s right.
Prav Solanki: And you’re now teaching in Dubai, is that right?
Daz Singh: Yeah, and so I was, I’d been invited to talk at the cap meeting I think that’s in April, so I’m really looking forward to that. So, I think it’s one of the first bits I’m going to be doing with the IS guys and its going to be quite a fascinating thing to be looking at trying to do to be honest. Yeah, I’m really looking forward to just giving a couple of talks out there and we’re running a seminar out there as well.
Prav Solanki: Excellent. Excellent stuff. If it came to the end of your career and time and you were sat there on your bed and you wanted to leave the world with your legacy, Daz was … Finish the sentence.
Daz Singh: Yeah. Daz was here probably, to be honest. But there you go.
Prav Solanki: With a W. UZ.
Daz Singh: But no, it’s you know I think that I’m not motivated by what I try and achieve, I’m motivated by well what kind of the things that I can look at trying to put my fingerprints on. If that makes sense. I’d be much happier you know, if you know I’m a much happier guy knowing that Ollie and Darsh has the recognition that it does. But not me necessarily. If that makes sense, you know? There’s a lot of, you know I think that for me it’s you know if we can have, if we can look at trying to put fingerprints on just being able to look at tryna get people to more the style of dentistry that I like to try and do and people get it then you know that’s gonna be a great thing as well so for me it’s just things are just up on that sort of level. I think that, I’m not the kind of guy who likes to sort of put my name up in bright lights and stuff like that.
Daz Singh: It’s not about that it’s like you know, looking and working with guys I like, I ask for example you know they’re people that are who are far smarter, far better dentistry then I am, it’s just… I like being in the organisation looking at trying to work with these people to see you know where can I push myself to go that I couldn’t go before.
Payman: The other thing Daz, the thing I know about you, your relationship with suppliers I mean at the end of the day I’m a supplier to you, it’s very unique. Very very unique, I mean I don’t know if you’ve ever had this from a customer, but you’ll say I don’t want the discount.
Daz Singh: No, I’ll have it from you mate.
Payman: Yeah yeah.
Daz Singh: I’ll have it from you.
Payman: He’s actually said that to me once. He said look you supply this thing we use it we make plenty out of it. I wanna pay the right price for… I’ve never heard that before.
Daz Singh: You know, for me it’s… you know I meet a lot of dentists and I see a lot of conversations go on Facebook and often when you have conversations on value and price dentists sit on both sides of the fence. They’re like well why does my patient not understand, why does my patient want to go off to Turkey and pay 40 quid when I can charge them 700 pounds. And then you get the same dentist complaining about sort of, how much their gels cost. Well, I mean I get that but I’m like you know either your sort of the sound business interest in terms of what you’re tryna go about and how you’re tryna go about getting things done and I can understand that people wanna keep the costs as low as possible to be able to look at trying to get things. To try and maximise their profits.
Daz Singh: But I’m like if you’re becoming a value, you’re either value based or price based clinic and if you’re a value based clinic then you’ve gotta work with people like yourself. I have a great relationship with the guys at [inaudible] as well. Less so now that I’ve started using a scanner rather than impression material, but you know it’s one of those that I know it’s better for us in the long term if I work with someone like yourself Payman.
Daz Singh: And then you know you build up a brand and my conversations I have with you Payman are not like how do I get this as cheapest, like how do we do more of this. What can you do to try and help me to do more of this?
Payman: I wish I had more conversations like that because its not about the price of that product its about talking, moving the conversation on from price.
Prav Solanki: You get more out of your supplies as well right, you know more for less but certainly a lot more in terms of that relationship value. I know, look I work with a lot of clients there’s those who just pay the going rate and there’s those that’ll negotiate. I know the ones that do try and negotiate if we ever do crack , which we used to back in the day less so now, it was a pain in the backside, yeah? And the ones that value you? You give them 10 times back.
Daz Singh: And I know that. Payman and I have known each other for years now to be honest.
Payman: It’s a unique way of thinking pattern, you actually explained it to me. I never heard a dentist explain it to me that way.
Daz Singh: Yeah and you know I think that probably comes down to the fact that you know I’m 27 I was naïve and you’re probably taking advantage of me at the time.
Payman: What’s that on the ground?
Daz Singh: It’s like you know it’s one of those sort of things where you know but if you come in and you have a piece of paper and I’m like you know my sole focus is not.. when you have an NHS, I get it when you have an NHS clinic and I get it when you have a sort of amount of funds that come into a clinic and you basically have this amount of money coming in and the you’re like well how do I reduce the amount going out to maximise my profits.
Daz Singh: Which is where traditions are, these conversations come from. I’m the other side where I’m looking at I need to get more patients in. So I’m like Pay, how do you help me get more of these patients coming on?
Daz Singh: That’s where we worked on people who looked at this centre of excellence that we do in Liverpool. Is that you know we do some PR-
Payman: It was our first [inaudible]
Daz Singh: Yeah the 1st one. Which is why I still have the whole of Liverpool right now.
Payman: We’ve got Robbie coming in next month.
Daz Singh: What?
Payman: Not to Enlighten, the podcast.
Daz Singh: Oh okay, but its one of those. My question to people is that how are you guys going to help me get more patients? Because then that’s a mutually beneficial thing. Because then that just works out better for us all.
Daz Singh: If I try and hammer you for like 5 pounds less or 50 pound less or-
Payman: The other thing I ask dentists lots of times about lots of things. I found your answers always very open you know no trying to hide anything and at the end of the day you’ve done a lot of interesting things and very interesting for me you know you set up the practise.
Payman: You know when you set it up 10 years ago it was leaflet drops and radio ads. Then you did that wonderful bit on SEO and the social came and you guys dominated social and its that open mindedness and that openness that makes you while you’re not trying to hide what you’re doing, you’re open you re asking people a lot of questions and I’m sure going forward whatever the next thing is, snapchat or whatever you’ll dominate that too. Its an important thing.
Daz Singh: Well it’s one of those you know there are certain things out there that I think people do that I think people do better than us out there than we do you know if you’ve got robby coming in next week or whenever he does this a whole lot better than we do and I get that.
Daz Singh: What’s interesting is that-
Prav Solanki: He does instagram better than anyone. He does instagram very well.
Daz Singh: Yeah and do you know fair play to the guy you know its one of those. The challenge for us is that you know we’ve had to sort of challenge and adapt what was right 10 years ago isn’t right to do now. its about how do you look at trying to move things forward and you know one of the things we’re kind of excited to do is we’re gonna be working a little bit with you Prav on some of the patient follow up marketing as well. Which I think is going to be a massive part of how you look at trying to… It’s just you know I see it more and more and more and I understand the power that something like that can have and you know its… Instagram’s great but what I’m learning vastly and quickly about all of these is that it will go away and something will take its place.
Prav Solanki: So true.
Daz Singh: And you know it’s we will see at some point within the next 2 or 3 years something else trying to dominate the market.
Prav Solanki: Word of mouth will always be there.
Daz Singh: But yeah, some you can’t change.
Payman: I really enjoyed that.
Daz Singh: It was a real pleasure.
Payman: Thanks for coming all the way from Liverpool for this.
Daz Singh: Nah it’s a pleasure. I haven’t been to London for a few weeks so I thought you know I needed an excuse to come back.
Payman: It’s a real honour. Thanks a lot.
Daz Singh: My pleasure.
Speaker 4: This is Dental Leaders. The podcast where you get to go one on one with emerging leaders in dentistry. Your hosts Payman Langroudi and Prav Solanki.
Payman: Well thank you for listening to the Dental Leaders Podcast. If you listened to the end then hopefully you got some value out of it. If you did please subscribe to the channel and share it with your friends. Maybe feedback, give us a 5 star review. Thanks so much for joining us.
Prav Solanki: Thanks guys massively appreciated and this is all about creating a community where we can share the depth of every individual we interview. So thank you for taking the time out to-