Having opened two practices in Tampa, Florida with a 3rd on its way, Dr. John Cannariato DMD explains the importance of standing out through marketing and offering unique services. Dr. John Cannariato explains how his practice gained 250 reviews with a 4.9 star rating on Google and that it takes time to find the right advertising methods that will work for your practice.
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Shaun Keating: Hey everybody, I’d like to welcome you to this weeks Dental Up Podcast here at Keating Dental Art in beautiful Irvine, California. Today we got Dr. John Cannariato from Tampa, Florida.
Johnny Boy, what’s up dude? How you doing?
Dr. Cannariato: I’m doing well, yourself?
Shaun Keating: Ah, man I’m just living the dream, you know? Living the ridiculous dream.
Dr. Cannariato: Amen, amen, loving it.
Shaun Keating: Dude, it’s so good to see you, man. You’re one of my favorite doctors, you’re just a fun guy. The first time I met you, I think was in Vegas, probably 13-14 years ago. There’s a bunch of dentists, and I remember you were sitting with Armen Manssourian, that dude Armen. We were at a blackjack table, and I was a little scared at first, and you guys were throwing out these big bets. You were screaming every time for freaking, when you wanted to double down, if you had 11, so you needed a face card. But, you were screaming, “Monkey.” You needed a monkey, so I been doing that for 15+ years going into Vegas, I’m screaming, “Monkey! Monkey! Monkey!” Every time, that’s when you want your face card. That’s pretty cool, dude.
Dr. Cannariato: A good friend of mine, who is an Asian lady, she told me that’s what Asians will yell when they’re trying to get a 10, so I’ve just always used it.
Shaun Keating: No kidding.
Dr. Cannariato: Beautiful lady.
Yeah that’s all I got.
Shaun Keating: All my buddies use it, too now. Even the different Indian casino’s I got to in Millhammer, you kind of, “Give me a monkey, monkey.” It’s like, dude, I love that.
Dr. Cannariato: Exactly.
Shaun Keating: I like to start off, usually, with some sports. I know you’re a big sports fan out there. Who you got? You got your Bucs, how’s Tampa Bay’s football team going to be?
Are you more of a Tampa Bay … Cause you’re a New York guy too, so I mean …
Dr. Cannariato: Yeah.
Shaun Keating: What do you like?
Dr. Cannariato: I’m a Giants fan. Eli Manning, hopefully, is going to hit some of the big receivers we’ve got. Maybe, our defense will step up a little bit. Who knows with them, they’re hit or miss.
Shaun Keating: Yeah.
Dr. Cannariato: Sometimes Eli Manning can’t hit the side of a barn, other times he can’t miss.
Shaun Keating: You know, what he did in that Super Bowl years back, where, who was it? The Patriots … I mean to single-handedly win … Well, there’s a lot of guys on that Giants football team. But, it’s neat what Eli’s done there and I remember when he got drafted his dad didn’t want him to play for the Charges, and it was like, “What the heck, dude, you ain’t that good.” But, sure enough … He’s a leader, just like his brother.
You watch any of that basketball game? Cleveland lost.
Dr. Cannariato: Yeah, too much fire power out west.
Shaun Keating: Yeah.
Dr. Cannariato: Way too much. They were already great, and then you ad Durant. I mean, come on.
Shaun Keating: That’s nuts. It really is.
Dr. Cannariato: How do you lose?
Shaun Keating: It’s weird how they can assemble that kind of team. You’re looking at the next three-four years. These guys are all in their 20’s, 27, 28, the key guys. Lebron, he tried to put together that team, but it’s pretty amazing, with Lebron I mean, seven straight times to the freaking Finals.
Dr. Cannariato: That’s amazing. People are like, oh he’s three and five in Finals. Who makes eight Finals, anyway?
Shaun Keating: Exactly.
Dr. Cannariato: It’s still impressive.
Shaun Keating: It’d be cool if he could turn into the Jim Kelley of the NFL, where he went to four Super Bowls. He didn’t win anything, but, whatever. Lebron, he is an animal. What a monster he is on the court.
Dr. Cannariato: I don’t think he’s hurting for money, or having any problems. I think he’s all right.
Shaun Keating: Yeah, I heard he’s worth five-six hundred million, right now. He’ll be up to …
Dr. Cannariato: I mean that’s not Keating money, but that’s good for everybody else.
Shaun Keating: Yeah. That’s the little change prayers from me. I’m going to be the first billon dollar dental lab, before even the big boys out there. Give me a few years.
Thank you so much for coming on. I know you’re so busy, but we’re just doing this. It’s a low-key, just talking to my existing accounts and just what you’re doing, and stuff like that. Tell me a little bit about your practice, location, and where you’re at in Florida, and maybe a little bit about where you went to college and stuff like that.
Dr. Cannariato: I grew up in New York, went to undergrad at Florida State. Stayed in Florida, went to dental school at the University of Florida. Moved down to Tampa, started my own office in ’03. Opened our second location last year and opening our third location next month.
Shaun Keating: That’s so awesome, Cannariato. I remember you were always the, “How are you from Florida, you sound like a New Yorker.” And you’d go, well I am from New York. It’s like a wise-guy a little bit, but you’re not. I’m just saying.
Dr. Cannariato: There’s so many New Yorkers down here, I fit in with them real well.
Shaun Keating: Oh, jeez. That’s awesome though. I heard you had a little baby girl here, recently, too. Congratulations, there. That’s so awesome.
Dr. Cannariato: Yeah, six months ago.
Shaun Keating: It changes your life, man.
Dr. Cannariato: It’s amazing.
Shaun Keating: It makes you get up and work. It puts the fire in the belly. It just changes you, I think. But, that’s so awesome.
Dr. Cannariato: It gives you purpose besides yourself. Not so selfish.
Shaun Keating: Yeah, you really go to put her first. I’m going to be grandfather, believe it or not. My oldest son, Kyle and his wife, Meredith, they’re expecting a baby in December. So it’s kind of crazy.
Dr. Cannariato: That’s awesome.
Shaun Keating: Now I’m sleeping with a grandmother, looks like. It’s like what, whoa, what happened?
Dr. Cannariato: We’re going to keep that to ourselves, all right?
We’re not going to tell Shannon that.
Shaun Keating: Shannon doesn’t like when I say that joke she’ll go, “Shawn, you know what.” She’ll be the hottest grandmother there is out there.
Dr. Cannariato: That’s awesome, I love it.
Shaun Keating: That’s so funny.
Dude, on your practices, I remember, you’d kid around and it’s a joke and I’d tell Shannon, I’d say … We met different times, in multiple places, but I remember one of the last time in Vegas, we’re kidding around, we got hit hard at the table, pretty good. All right, looks like when I’m going back to work on Monday, prices are going up.
Got to raise the fees.
Dr. Cannariato: That’s right, with all the insurance nowadays, that don’t work anymore. You got to win now.
Shaun Keating: Yeah. It is so true. We got these guys out here with Delta Dental and everything. They’re getting hit so hard, and insurance, is like …
Dr. Cannariato: The good thing though is, the materials now that we use, speaking of a lab perspective, now that we have Zirconium and stuff like that, we don’t have to pay metal fees anymore. It does off-set some of the cost. It was getting ridiculous there for a while.
Shaun Keating: Yeah.
Dr. Cannariato: Because metal prices were through the roof. Now, everyone mills Zirconium, e-max. We save a lot on that, and thank God for that.
Shaun Keating: Absolutely. We were getting crowns out of here at two to 250, average, on anything high white noble, or yellow noble, for sure.
Dr. Cannariato: Yeah, I remember, I used to used them.
Shaun Keating: And the gold was so high, and such a high number back then. It was tough, but now it’s back to the 80’s prices on … You can get Zirconium e-max anywhere from 100-150 dollars and that’s a good thing when it’s that … And in some places a little cheaper, but you don’t know what you’re getting there.
Dr. Cannariato: No, no, no.
Shaun Keating: It’s a neat thing where you can get a good, quality restoration for about a buck 50, or under. You know between 100-150.
Dr. Cannariato: It’s good too, that you get a choice, too. We can either get, hey, number two, who cares, number five, hey, when I got to number eight or nine, I need the ultra. I need the best that we have. You can still get it, much cheaper, and the aesthetics are not a concern, about dark lines and all that anymore. We’re blocking out cores easily these days. Things are getting better on that end.
Shaun Keating: Absolutely, no, it’s neat thing there. Again, I’ve got a lot of young guys starting off, and you’ve always been on the cutting edge, too. What do you attribute … I’m looking at you, you got Google Reviews out the ying-yang. That’s like the holy grail of marketing for a dental practice, or even my dental lab. I think I only like 10, and we’re just starting in this, and we don’t know the social media stuff. I’ve always been, dental journals, put a big ad in and then go to the dental conventions. But, it’s changing, the way the consumers are looking at products, or anything in life nowadays. They’re going off of their phones, this and that.
You’ve got like 245 Google Reviews, which is unheard of, and it’s rated at 4.9. You’re almost at a 5.0. You can’t teach that. What do you attribute to that? Is it just something …
Dr. Cannariato: We’re very diligent about asking our good patients for reviews. I don’t ask just the patients, I just ask anyone and then you get … Of course, you get a bad one here and there, but if you have a 5.0 at 250 reviews, no one believes you. You have to have a few bad ones. But we just ask people who come in.
I always look. We ask how did you hear about us, if they say, Google. I’ll say, “Hey do you mind writing a Google Review for us.” Because I know they’re on Google and that’s how they found us. I use that a lot, and the staff is trained.
Shaun Keating: Yep.
Dr. Cannariato: They know that, “Hey, we need Google, we need Google.” Because Facebook is okay, and other things are okay, but Google is the holy grail.
Shaun Keating: Yeah. You have hundreds and hundreds of people on Facebook, that’s following you. But I think Google is the holy grail when it comes … Everyone Googles everything. Like, “Google, Tampa, dentist.” And there’s Cannariato. You come on up, and it’s like the Yellow Pages on steroids, from the old days, I think, in a way. That’s pretty amazing, with you doing that.
Tell me a little bit about on your practicing. Are you doing a lot of your endo or are you referring out? What do you like to do most and what do you refer out? What do you recommend?
Dr. Cannariato: The office in South Tampa, where I’m mainly at. I bought microscopes years ago, we do a lot of endo there. I’m an old dog, I didn’t want to learn all of that implant stuff, so I hired an associate. He does all the implants, a lot of the Invisalign. We offer pretty much every service in the South Tampa Office, and that, not surprisingly, is our most profitable office. Cause we offer all of the services there. In the other offices, now, that we’re building we are trying to get more people in. Either have a specialist travel, or hire associates at a higher rate that will do those services, because it’s better for us.
Shaun Keating: Cool, I mean it really is. Surround yourself with the people, the right people and just grow your practice. Two, three practices, that’s … Once you get that down, and get the systems in place, it really does come back and help you, financially, quite a bit. It’s a little bit of a stressful situation to get it dialed in, but I’ve got multiple guys with two, three, four practices. They’re just thankful that they did it, because one practice, it’s hard to run it, and sometimes it’s down, with not as many patients as it was at the height of good times. When you have two or three to make up the difference.
That’s like with us. We have multiple doctors because some doctors are down, we got doctors down 20-30% from their heyday. It’s never coming back, but I just got to fill in other guys to make up for that. It’s hard to find them.
Dr. Cannariato: Yep.
Shaun Keating: In certain areas have been hit harder. What do you get? Do you get a lot of the Snowbirds out where you’re? Or is it a lot older community? How’s that work?
Dr. Cannariato: Not really, it’s the opposite. The newest the one we’re opening is more towards a higher demographic age. The office that I’m mainly in is in a pretty high income area. My strategy is, everyone is fishing in these small ponds, looking for right and 10, 12 unit veneer cases. I tell my associates, we’re fishing in a big pond, where we’re looking for two crowns here, insurance here. Some people say, well, you’re playing into the insurance game and this and that. We don’t take a lot of plans in our office, but we will definitely service that and we’ll definitely see any patients that will come in. I’m not searching for everyone that has a Ferrari, everybody needs help.
We offer service. I don’t understand when partial denture became not a good treatment plan, anymore. It’s all, I only do implants, I only do implants. Well that’s awesome, but some people can’t afford that. So when did a partial not become an option, or an extraction and not replacing become an option. I kind of, feel the patient out, we offer basically anything. I never get caught up in that, you know, I have to –
Shaun Keating: – Limit it to cosmetics only, or something ridiculous.
Dr. Cannariato: That’s right. Some offices I talk to they get 10 or 15 patients a month, and both of our offices now are over 120 new patients a month.
Shaun Keating: That’s so killer, dude.
Dr. Cannariato: We just follow very different … I use a marketing agency that I’ve used for a long time. Our new office that will be open in the beginning of July already has appointments already booked out. We just use the same marketing philosophy. Yeah, you’re right we will take your insurance, we will check your insurance, we will file it for you. We’ll deal with it for you. Why put up obstacles for our patients to come in.
We open early, we’re open late. They’re considering opening Saturday’s because these are the times … The late and early hours … The one in South Tampa is open from seven am to seven pm, five days a week.
Shaun Keating: That’s awesome.
Dr. Cannariato: We get people in at all times. The one in the middle of Tampa is the same thing, seven to seven, five days a week. The new office that’s going to be a scratch start will be open two days, seven am, two days till seven pm, then Fridays we’ll … Until we build it up.
Shaun Keating: That’s awesome, dude. You got it, you got it down. That is so cool. Your saying on your marketing company. What does that consist of? Just social media things? What are some of the marketing, if you can give us some of the tips, if you could.
Dr. Cannariato: The group I’ve used for years, I got turned on them from some other people. Basically, we do a lot of direct mail, which people are always telling me is dead. Which I will disagree with, it’s dead if you send cheap looking postcards. These are four-fold brochures that I’ve used. It’s not only that, people ask me, “Hey, you love this company …” Well it’s not that I love them that much, it’s just that they’ve taught me a lot of other things, too. Like at peak hours we will double book our hygiene appoints and have an assistant work there and do things. We’re being way more efficient with the time that we have.
They have studies about what time is open, you know, when should you do this. If I have a question, “Hey, I want to open this office, when should we get the marketing going?” Everything is there for me.
We do a lot of direct mail. I also use another company here, local guy that I know, who does all of our SEO, builds our website, he’s a master at pay-per-click. I still do pay-per-click, because the results speak for themselves, so I don’t change it.
Shaun Keating: Yep. That’s so good. A lot of guys don’t want to do the pay-per-click. You try to get up organically on that first page, which you can do, it takes time and effort. But, to put a couple pay clicks there, it’s going to put you double up. If you get up there generically and then get on top of the list on, “Best Dentist in Tampa.” Or whatever. Yeah, it’s a four dollar click here and there, but it’s just something that comes back to you because people see you.
Dr. Cannariato: If I’m competing in an area that has every dentist is called, “South Tampa.” Let’s just make up a thing. Every one is South Tampa Dentist, South Tampa Dentist, if you come in the game eight or 10 years later than everyone else, how are you going to get in front of them? You can … You have to use keywords, you have to organically get up there, you have to spend money. You know Google, they’re going to move you up if you do spend some money.
Shaun Keating: Yep.
Dr. Cannariato: And not even that. What services you want to offer. Everybody here offers veneers. Every patient here offers veneers, that’s awesome. There’s very few that offer other services, like late night appointments, early appointments, things like that. That stands you out, too.
Shaun Keating: Yeah, absolutely. I got too many guys that are, “Oh I’m doing two days a week, this and that, but I’d like to fill it more.” But, the worker bees, the guys that are in there, you need to really, really kick some but when you’re doing it your first 10-20 years, to set it up so you can enjoy it from 20-30, then try to keep from 30-40. But, it’s something I just love the way your hours and everything else caters to the people. You need to be open for them when they’re ready. I know your bedside manner, you’re just so smooth with people, and that goes a long way, it really does. Even your staff, through the years you got great staff, you’re always really top-notch. I love seeing you going on your third practice, now. That’s new, I didn’t know you were doing that. That’s really cool.
Now tell me a little bit about on … You’re doing some endodontic, you’re doing some TMJ treatments, too? That’s kind of getting out there a little but, or no? Just …
Dr. Cannariato: I used to do a lot more, I’ve limited it down. To mostly, mild facial pain, MTI’s, grinding issues, this and that. I’ve found, at least in my office setting I can’t charge a fee that’s justifiable, or spend the amount time that I think true TMJ patients need. If they have a true TMJ. Most people think they have TMJ and most of the time it’s just, these muscles hurt when I wake up, you make a little appliance, they’re fixed. That’s 90% of them that I see. I make them an MTI or some appliance like that. They’re happy, we’re done. A couple grinders here. I would say two percent are ones I actually have to refer out to oral surgeons to have some jaw imaging and stuff like that.
Shaun Keating: Now, being in Florida, are you a Dawson guy? What is your collusion? What do you …
Dr. Cannariato: I’m more a Spear guy. I was seeing him for probably 15 years, or so.
Shaun Keating: So you’re going out to Scottsdale, then.
Dr. Cannariato: Don’t tell him, but I haven’t been out there. I saw them all before that. I used to travel to Seattle to see him.
Shaun Keating: That’s back when he was with John Ocoise or no?
Dr. Cannariato: No, I just see Spear out there. He used to have class in Orlando, I would go to those. Then he would have hands on ones out in Seattle, but there used to be only like 12 or 15 of us. So it was really hands on with him, and just doing everything with him. Take you out to dinner, have wine, he was a great guy, a great teacher.
Shaun Keating: That’s what I hear.
Dr. Cannariato: It’s paid off well for him.
Shaun Keating: That’s what I heard. I heard he’s –
Dr. Cannariato: – He’s okay.
Shaun Keating: – He’s like Puff Daddy of rap world. P. Diddy.
Dr. Cannariato: He’s the Larry Ellison of dental.
Shaun Keating: Can you believe that?
Dr. Cannariato: Yeah, he deserves that.
Shaun Keating: Yeah, with Samear and all that guys, Dr. Flemming, and Rich Rosenblatt, they all got on the little ship. It was a good ship to get on, I’m thinking.
Dr. Cannariato: Guys we’ve known for 15 years.
Shaun Keating: Yeah.
Dr. Cannariato: They’re just killing it, and doing a good job and great service. The [inaudible 00:18:35] guys to Armen and his things that he’s doing now, with the CT’s and the apnea. A bunch of those guys we used to talk to in dental town, there was barely any of us on there.
Shaun Keating: What about on six month smiles, or power prox, you doing any of that stuff at all?
Dr. Cannariato: I do power prox a lot, Rick DeVal, I spent a lot of time with him to learn how to do it. I would tell people, cause some of them are like, it’s not comprehensive, I’m like, exactly, it’s not comprehensive. But I don’t do … I know, which cases not to do. I always get septs, I have the septs interpreted, I don’t cut corners and say I’m going to take a pano and this is going to work.
Shaun Keating: You’re so well rounded, man. I know you’re staff keeps popping in, you got to get out to a patient, but a couple more things. What about practice management, any courses out there for my younger guys, anything you like out there? Just that you can recommend at all?
Dr. Cannariato: Truthfully, now we’re at point where we’re on auto pilot. But to get there I tried a lot of bad stuff that didn’t work. I tried it all. Once you find something that works … Then, if you’re doing … don’t wait for your practice to start falling apart, and say, oh, I need to advertise, now. Well, it’s too late. It’s like the stock market, once the stock market crashing, don’t be selling, hold then buy low. Same sort of thing.
Shaun Keating: It really is. That’s good advice there. Tell me little bit though, with digital dentistry, what do you think about that? What do you think for the future of dentistry and what it holds for it.
Dr. Cannariato: I think that it’s the future. The way it goes, it’s better for you, it’s better for us, it’s better for the patients. I’ve had Serac for a long, long time, you know that. I’ve done a lot of them and I find that I still enjoy doing it a lot. I love how now, we can take images, send them right to the lab, get the crowns back in three or four days. It’s that quick. The thing with Serac is hey, I can make the crown the same day, and people are happy. If you don’t want to spend the money on the units and the blocks and all that. You can still take a scan, make a temporary, it’s on for three or four days, it’s not like it’s on for two weeks anymore.
Shaun Keating: We can get them back, yeah. We’re doing, with models, in a day. It’s overnighted and, boom, it’s kind of crazy.
Dr. Cannariato: That’s what I’m saying, everything is milled now, you don’t have to have technicians sitting there all day long. It’s amazing.
Shaun Keating: So what have you got going for the summer, here? You going to take any time off with the fam? You got anything planned? You got any wild trips?
Dr. Cannariato: Florida is always off, man. I live in paradise, I’m always off.
Shaun Keating: That’s awesome. So when are you going to come out and see me here? When are you going to bring the family out?
Dr. Cannariato: It’s a little hard with a six month old, but I might have to escape by myself.
Shaun Keating: Yeah. You know you’re welcome. My wife would love to see you, she loves you. She says to say hi to you.
Dr. Cannariato: Good, man. Good.
I appreciate it Shawn.
Shaun Keating: Dude, thank you so much. I really appreciate you coming on board and … How’s our lab doing for you? We doing good work for you?
Dr. Cannariato: You’d know if you weren’t.
I talk to Bob anyway. I know you’d always answer my call, but Bob takes good care of me.
Shaun Keating: Yeah.
Dr. Cannariato: The guys are great, I don’t send word back, I don’t have any problem.
Shaun Keating: You’re the man.
We Dr. Cannariato, I want to thank you so much for this today. I know you’ve got to get back to work. Keep in touch, you need anything at all, let me know. God bless you, and your family.
Keep kicking ass, I want to see you get up to five practices. Cannariato Smile’s nationwide.
Dr. Cannariato: All right, bother man, tell your family I said, hello. Always good to talk to you.
Shaun Keating: All right, later man. Good to talk to you.
Dr. Cannariato: See ya, bro.
Shaun Keating: Again, we’ll see you guys next week and thanks for tuning in.
Thank you, Johnny.