Welcome to today’s episode of true to form with your host president and co founder of crystal clear, highly regarded speaker and two time inc 500 entrepreneur. Tim Sawyer, true to form is a podcast that highlights leaders making headway in the ascetic anti-aging and elected medical industry. Learn from the experts to discover the secrets of success and pitfalls to avoid when growing all aspects of your elective medical practice. This week’s episode is brought to you by Ken Della, a leading US-based global medical aesthetic device company engineering technology that enables practices to provide advanced solutions for a broad range of medical aesthetic application, including hair removal, wrinkle reduction, tattoo removal, women’s health treatments, facial resurfacing, traumatic and surgical scar treatments, body contouring, improving the skin’s appearance through the treatment of benign vascular and pigmented lesions and the treatment of acne leg, veins, and cellulite. Please join me in welcoming your host, the authentic, the transparent Tim Sawyer.
Hello, welcome to true to form the podcast that connects you to the people technology and hot topics that shaped the elective medical community provided to you by crystal clear and brought to you by this week, sponsor Kendall, the leading US-based medical aesthetic device company. I’m your host, Tim Sawyer, char returning guests. Welcome back. And for our first time listeners, we appreciate you joining us and encourage you to become a subscriber. In the last episode, we spoke with owner of Dell Chi cosmetic medicine and master injector Terra Del kite. We talked about how to stay resilient in the face of adversity, including why she believes aesthetic medicine is essential in today’s world. If you missed it, you need to check it out, which brings us to today. We’ve got a really cool guy. Somebody that I just met a little bit ago, spent some time with Audrey Neff, who you all know, she thinks he’s going to be an amazing contributor to the program.
I want to introduce Warren Danforth. He’s the owner of spot 35 medical spot, which launched way back in 2006. You don’t see that every day. Warren is a leader in medical spa, marketing and nonsurgical cosmetic technology. He used a key opinion leader for Candela medical, a worldwide world wide leader in energy based devices for medical spas and cosmetic practices by delivering outstanding services, working with great people and leveraging digital marketing spot 35 has earned more than 405 star customer reviews and created a reputation for excellence excellence among its clients. And within the aesthetic industry, Warren is here to share his knowledge learned over 30 years in sales marketing information technology and the medical spot industry Warren, welcome to the program and thanks for showing up today. Hey, Tim,
Really appreciate it. And looking forward to having a great conversation.
Well, I think we have to start with the thing that sticks out the most obvious is so you got this going in 2006 and what was the origin? Was it a day spa or an actual medical spa back then
Started as a medical spa? Um, you know, I I’m at the kind of more the tail end of my career than, than most folks. So for me, this is kinda my third or second career. Um, prior to the med spa, I was actually one of the early people in the cell phone business. I got met in the really early stages of cell phones and I was fortunate enough to, um, to have some stock options, my company sold. And so I was looking for something else to do. Uh, at the time I was into fitness, I was really going to the gym a lot and I really wanted to do something like that. And then I started to do some research on, um, opportunities, um, for the fitness world and ran into a woman at a, at a trade show. And she said, you know, you got to open a med spa. And that kind of started the whole, um, uh, foundation of spot 35. I hired a bunch of consultants out of California and some legal and regulatory experts and, um, and launched in 2006.
Wow. And interestingly enough, if you kind of look at where we are now, uh, with COVID you launched and not too long thereafter was a pretty serious financial crisis. Do you see any similarities between kind of the, the disruption back in 2008, 2009 and 2020?
No, I do. I think the difference now is back then it was truly a financial crisis. I don’t think the government support for the consumers were, were there back then, I think, and this crisis, the government has really tried to put money back in their pockets of consumers. So we’re having a much better time, uh, with this current crisis than we did back during the great recession.
Wow. And you said something interesting. So you were, let’s talk a little bit about current, right? So you’re, you were shut down for six weeks and then you’ve been open for six weeks. And what has your experience been like in terms of, so you, you obviously had a bunch of appointments in the pipeline and those appointments needed to be rescheduled. Was there, have you seen demand consumer demand and comfort coming back as, as fast as it was shut down? Or in other words, what’s the consumer sentiment like right now?
Yup. Um, you know, it’s actually kind of changed quite a bit as, um, the media messages have changed. So when we opened back up again, you know, we did, um, a lot of marketing and preparation to relaunch. We did things like we put an air filtration system in and changed all of our cleaning protocols. We really tried to make sure that the messages that we delivered to our customers were addressing customer concerns. So we actually, we saw a pretty big spike when we reopened. There’s kind of a rush to get back in and get services going again in particularly on the injectables and fat reduction side. And it helped, it helped, has held pretty steady, you know, this week, uh, Idaho Boise back and, uh, kind of hotspot status. So we’re kind of watching consumer sediment right now to see what that’s going to do to our demand.
And what does your gut tell you?
You know, my gut, let me just drive it on the streets. The streets are empty right now. So my gut tells me that people are nervous right now.
It’s interesting. And I think you hit the nail right on the head, right? There’s so much, so much of the is driven by media communication and it’s confusing. It’s confusing for right. We’re in the business and it’s confusing for us. And I’m hoping we get organized because the last thing we need is people staying home unnecessarily. And I don’t want people going out unnecessarily, but the, you know, our experience has been in talking with our customers. We have over 400 clients like yourself, um, that post COVID things came back pretty good. And to your point seemed to be going pretty steady depending upon obviously where you are in the country. Now I’m curious if you guys have mandatory mass for the patient as well as for the, uh, your employees.
Yeah. So we’re like I can, you know, completely PP heat up. We’ve got mass for our customers. We get matched to the staff. We’re doing, um, we’re doing the testing for all of our employees. We’re doing the temperature checks. We’ve changed our laundry services to make sure we’re using extra materials and temperatures. We’re going to go in full bore on that.
And how are you telegraphing that to the community? Cause I would think that’s the important thing, right. Is, Hey look what
Totally. So I’ve built a, um, I’ve made changes to my website. So I’ve built out a page with kind of appointment guidelines on, you know, please make sure you bring a bat, a mask, uh, don’t come in. If you’ve recently had a temperature and kind of outlined what things are that our customers should do. Uh, I I’ve, I do quite a bit of marketing our marketing messages or I’ll include the steps that we’ve taken to make sure that everyone’s safe staff. Uh, and that brings up one, one point I want to weave in there too, is I think it’s as critical to make sure that your staff feel safe as it does for your customers to feel safe, because if you don’t have people to come in and to work on, you’re in a tight spot,
That’s a really good point. Um, and one I’ve only heard from a few people and the, and the challenge is to, from what I understand that they might’ve extended that $600 a week unemployment piece. And so it’s almost, you know, at some level people, it, employees are scanned. They can stay home and make the same amount of money. So, you know, is that dynamic, um, happening in, you know, not necessarily your location per se, but in and around Boise where, you know, that, that 30 to $60,000 employee, whoever that is, or those folks back fully to work, or has that been an issue? Uh, it’s been an issue. Uh,
I’ve got a great team and, um, I had explained to them kind of how things work and, um, but they, they all came back and it’s worked out really effectively, but I have talked to some of my peers, I do some stuff with the chamber of commerce. I’ve got a executives round table that I run and I have my peers. They’re running into issues where people are staying home because they make more money with unemployment.
Yeah. That’s a tough one. That’s a, that’s a tough one.
And they’re even starting to gain the system a little bit. So there’s, there’s some game playing going on too.
Yeah, it’s um, I’ve heard that in it. And I’m in Rhode Island, I’m up in the Northeast same issues, you know, it’s tough to, um, tough to motivate people when the it’s more profitable for them to stay home. Definitely a challenge. One of the things that I’m curious about Warren is you, at some level of, since you’ve been in this in 2006, you’re kind of like an original gangster, right? I mean, I like that the people who started in 2006, you know, made it through the 28, 2010 crisis for our listeners who are, you know, they’ve been in this for a year or two, maybe they’re just thinking about starting. We have a lot of folks who listen, who had just thinking about starting, how, how is it different and how is it similar back to 2006?
Um, I think from, um, how’s it same, I think the core fundamental services, um, are primarily the same. I mean, injectables continue to be a mainstay of the business. Um, you know, um, fat removal and circumstances or, um, you know, body sculpting, um, has really been a mainstay. Um, we’re making some advances in technology. Like, you know, picosecond lasers are really been a change, uh, on the marketing side, just huge changes on the marketing side. So I think that is the biggest Delta I’ve seen between 2006.
They give us, give us some little insight on what do you mean by that?
When I, when I started the business, um, it was kind of old school, traditional media. So you went and, um, had an ad in the yellow pages and you tried to get your name to have an a in it. So you’d be at the top of the yellow pages ad. Um, you know, there were no smartphone apps, there was no Facebook, there was no LinkedIn. Um, you know, there was no Google, right? So now from a, from a capabilities perspective, um, you know, I look at the core skills. You have to have to run a med spa in 2006 versus today. And today I think you have to have a much broader set of skills that include really heavy duty, um, technology and, um, social media skills as opposed to 2006.
Right. That’s, it’s a big difference. Right. And it does, I wouldn’t think the consumer has changed a little bit in the sense of, you know, it wasn’t, you know, cosmetic procedures weren’t necessarily out front and center back in 2006. Right. It was kind of like, Hey, do you have a back door to get out of this place? Um, right. And then you have the, you know, the Kim Kardashians comes along and goes, Hey, look at my boobs. Look at my butt. Look at my lips, look at my, and look what I did. And now everybody seems to, um, in other words, it’s, it’s front and center. Now everybody, nobody can write about their Botox. They talk about it publicly. And so that’s, that, that feels different for me. And what about competition levels? Have you seen, so, you know, you go back 20 2007, 2008, has competition sprung up big time in and around Boise.
So I think, um, you know, I listened to you speak with Tara and then you guys are talking about this a little bit. Um, there are a lot of people that are tired of working in the hospital that think that there’s easy money to be made in the med spa space. And so there seems to be fluctuations between, you know, the tougher the hospital environment gets, or the regulatory environment gets you see a pop up in competitors and then they fade away until the next group comes through.
Yeah. That’s um, I, I think what feels like it’s going to happen is new startups are gonna slow down and we, we even see it in our own customer portfolio, right. There’s going to be a percentage of people, um, five to 10% who just are not coming back. Um, you know, if you couldn’t take advantage of the PPP money, there’s not a lot of what we’re discovering is in the med spa space. There’s not a lot of med spas that can go eight weeks without revenue. It’s just, can’t do it. Right. They’re not set up that way. And, um, and that’s my big fear is I don’t want for my customer safe. Right? I don’t want another, Hey, you got to close down for a bit. That would be the absolute freaking, you know, that that would be not, not great for anyone. Now, I’m doing a little survey.
You’re the first person I’m going to ask, but I’m going to be asking this of all the folks that we interview over the next few months. So what’s going on and Candela is a perfect example. They’re doing an amazing job. Um, what we’re trying to figure out is as the big box company, they call them the big box companies, the people who sell devices and that type of thing. Um, what would you be if you were contemplating buying a device and this isn’t just a message to Kendale it’s really anybody you were contemplating buying a device. What, what can they do in your eyes better or more of, or less of to improve the way they serve the elective medical community?
We can talk all day about that one. Um, but here’s the message. I, I,
We got some time I’d love to hear it.
Um, you know, from my perspective, one of the things I talked to my team about is, um, Botox is not enough. And, and here’s the context I put it in. You know, our, our customers are getting older every single day. So I see every person is a potential customer. And I see the biggest challenge that we’ve got is communicating to our potential customers about the technology and the advantages that we’ve got in our business that can prevent the signs of aging, that almost all everyone wants to prevent. And the challenge that we have is that the average consumer knows the word Botox, and they know that Botox removes wrinkles, but they don’t know anything else that they should be doing to look their best. And particularly in times like today, when we got, I call it a zoom face, right? I mean, people are on zoom all day and they’re just looking at how terrible they look and they have knees, right? And we’re here to fulfill those emotional needs, but from a vendor, the big box perspective, there’s, there’s a, um, and probably driven by regulatory requirements. There’s a habit of speaking about clinical outcomes. And as consumers, consumers want to look better, right? They want to get a swipe right on Tinder. They want our promotion, um, over zoom are our customer’s needs are different than the messages that we get out of the industry.
Interesting. And so what do you think they could do more effectively to combat that or, you know, to lessen the impact of that?
I think, I think, um, from a marketing support perspective, I think we can do things like, um, it’s kinda the feature benefit from, you know, kind of traditional sales training. You know, we, we talk a lot about features of different services and products and devices. We don’t really talk about the benefits and in particularly not the emotional benefits. So, um, one of the stories I share with my team is, you know, I’ve got, um, customers have been coming to me for 14 years now. And, you know, we talked to them about doing things besides Botox and a very small percent will get them to go to fillers. And even a smaller percent we’ll get them to go into energy based devices. And one of the constant frustrations got is how do I improve my communication so that people realize before it’s too late, the services they should be doing to get the outcomes they want.
Right. Right. So there’s this. And I talk a lot about from the podium. Um, the mistake, I think that happens is so you get, and they’re well-intended right. And this is why I’m asking these questions to people I’m interviewing. Cause I really do help bridge this gap that I know exists. So they’re, well-intended you get canned content, like you said, they’ll support you with that. Maybe a couple of social media posts, but it’s not it’s nobody knows what Candela is. Nobody knows what seitan is. Nobody knows what, you know, maybe you get a little recognition with, um, CoolSculpting, right? Because they run ads on TV. But even that, you know, it’s, it’s you’re right. You just said something that’s very prophetic. It it’s focused on the science, the features, not the emotional benefits. And I think the laser companies could really help if they could tie those two things together.
And so what we’re trying to do is improve that, you know, 10 seconds about crystal clear so that when we’re trying to build relationships so that when someone buys a device, it comes packaged with 20 social media posts that proven, you know, 10 emails that are proven, they’ve been AB tested. It comes with texts that you can send and then the technology to deliver all that. Right. So that as soon as you buy that device, all that messaging goes out, the right messaging goes out at the right time to both the consumer, to, to the new, your prospect base, but also your existing patients saying, Hey, we’ve got this new device, but you’re going to feel better, look better last, longer, enjoy life more, you know, that kind of stuff. And with the right coordinator. So I appreciate your feedback. And for anyone listening, that was not preplanned, but uh, glad clearly, you know, you’re on it.
Right. And I know you’re yeah, you’re, you’re on, I can tell you, and you’re a key opinion leader with Candela and, you know, so they value your opinion and, um, you know, so we’re going to continue that discussion. That’s, that’s very helpful. So what do you see if you had to predict, you know, kind of look in your little Spyglass for now, you know, we’re in July and in July, how do you, how are you feeling about, you know, July to December of this year, and are you hoping to shoot car over last year? Or do you have any visibility you think,
You know, it’s funny that, you know, the vendors with consumables were always asking me that question, how are you, how are you doing and what numbers are going to hit? And I’m kind of the spot where I’m not going to make any bets now. Um, on the personal side, I’m actually optimistic. And the reason I’m optimistic is, um, you know, business is continuing, um, the way we do businesses shifted. And for many of us in the, in the cosmetic space, I think there’s more opportunity because people are in that zoom environment. You don’t have a lot of other interpersonal communication, um, habits that are normally used in relationship building. And I’ll, I’m going to use that as an example, you know, I’m pretty, COVID people would hug to say hello, people would shake hands to say, hello, you touch someone on the shoulder to make a point. You touched someone on the elbow to make a point, et cetera, et cetera. You mean that’s gone. And now from a relationship building, you’ve got things like, um, you know, tonality of voice, um, energy level and how you look on zoom, right? And so we’re, we’re in this space to help people that more limited set of communication skills to get, to get across, um, the things they want to get across on video and other social media platforms.
Yeah. Isn’t it weird though, if, if you’re, if you were had any comfort level being on stage and in a podium and, you know, interpersonal, how weird was it to get comfortable and feel powerful at some level, looking at yourself on a screen,
Right? Yeah. Yep. And just like, from an energy feedback, respect, if you don’t get that energy that you get person to person,
I shot a little video where we just launched a series called practice power punch, and it’s only two minutes long. And I knew, you know, it’s like, uh, the, I, the iconic imagery is a boxing glove going through a wall kind of thing. And I knew I had to bring everything I had for two minutes. And it’s, it’s the hardest thing in the world. So what I’ve stopped doing is looking at myself, because what I’ve noticed, when could we interview a lot of doctors, we, we do a lot of meetings on, as you do online. And once they have the ability to see themselves on that camera, it’s like, they’ve never looked at themselves before that stuff.
Our CME show an actual show with sponsors and everything. The doctor was awesome. He had great energy, but every time it was like, it snapped his neck around every time he here.
Uh, sorry. I’ve like zoomed out and like, yeah. I’m not even doing visual, but it’s right. It’s definitely an end. The last question I’ll ask you, and we can start to wind down. Did you move towards telemedicine much at all? Is that even a thing for you?
I thought it was going to be bigger. I mean, we are doing some video based consultations and we were, we were all prepared and practiced and had vendors come in and help us and yada, yada, and then what we’re finding is I think we’ve got two, two sets of consumers in this marketplace right now. We’ve got some people that are just so worried. They are never going to leave their house. They have all their groceries delivered, yada, and then we have the other people are like, Hey, life goes on. We’ve had influence for hundreds of years. If I get it, I get it.
Right. Right. So, yeah, it’s, um, it’s going to be, we’re going to have a good time, any, um, any law. So if you were going to, so someone said something to me, very prophetic, and you seem like the perfect guy to, to fill in a gap here. Someone said the way you want to behave during COVID in such a manner that two years from now, your post COVID self will thank your COVID itself. What’s the one thing you think you did during this crisis that, you know, two, three, four years from now, you’re going to look back and say, that was, that was the right thing to do
For me. I think I would say I focused on the safety of my staff and my customers before I reopen and put a ton of energy into that. And I think that was the right thing to do.
Yeah. You’re you’re right. You, you thought the right way, right. You were here to serve the business and serve the consumers, not the other way around.
You go into it with that mindset. Usually the money takes care of itself.
That’s great. Now, so what, anything coming up for new and exciting for spot 35 in the next couple months? Are you doing anything cool?
Well, so I had a, I had, um, a couple of the thoughts I was gonna share if you’ve got like a little bit of time, I do love to hear. So, you know, I was trying to make an analogy. I I’ve, I’m doing some speaking for Kindle obviously. And, um, you know, when, when, when I look at the business and I look at the people that are coming into the business, you know, I’m in the exact opposite stage of life than many of the people coming into this business, meaning we’ve got lots of people. Who’ve got medical credentials who come into the med spa business because they get tired of the traditional medicine because I’m opposite. I’ve got a little bit, a bit of a different perspective and, um, I’ve done some it work. We have a thing called a business capability model that no one will understand, but it makes me think about owning a med spa is like playing masters championship jeopardy.
And we’ve got all these categories of things that represent the different skills that you’ve got to do to have a successful med spa. And if you’re going to be a jeopardy champion, you have to have this really broad set of knowledge to win jeopardy. And I think that’s analogous to being successful in the med spa space. I mean, it’s not just clinical skills that you’ve got to have to be successful. You’ve got to have the customer relationships and you’ve got to have the information systems and you’ve got to have the PPP stuff drove home. If you don’t have a good set of financials that you get your banker. And then in a couple of weeks, you’re in trouble. So I think that this is a great time to kind of look at what’s the suite of knowledge and skills that you have to have it to be successful and focus on the ones you’re good at and the ones you’re not good at. Make sure you’ve got great vendors to support you.
I think that’s great advice. And it reminds me of the second or third podcast we ever did with a gal by the name of Christina IMEs who owns a med spa rejuvenate. And it literally, she talked about buildings. She’s got, you know, she started from zero and got it to about 1.5, 1.7 million. And she talked the whole time about leveraging relationships with your vendor, friends and going deeper with those relationships versus trying to have a million of them. And, um, it, it’s funny to this day, it’s the number one most downloaded podcast we’ve ever done. And, um, so it sounds, yeah, you’re on it, man. You’re on it with everything. And, um, I know you’re going to be super successful. I know you said you’re, you might be headed to the back nine on, uh, this project, whatever that means, but you sound like a young guy with a ton of energy.
So, uh, and the industry right now needs to hear more voices like yours, right. That have been around a long time. Seen a lot of adversity, seen a lot of upside too. Right. Seen a lot of upset. Um, but I think that’s good Sage advice and our listeners will certainly appreciate you taking the time today and more. And I wanna thank you obviously for taking the time. Um, if somebody wanted to send you an email with a question about, Hey, I heard you on the podcast and what do you think about, is it okay to share your email?
Oh, absolutely. So it’s Warren it’s spot three, five.com and the three and the five, the numbers, not the words, uh, email is by far the easiest way to get ahold of me. So, uh, Warren as far three, five back home. Cool
Warren, I really appreciate you taking the time today. We want to thank our listeners for joining us this week. We look forward to connecting with you again next week. We want to thank Ken Della, uh, the leading us medical basis, static device company, correspond the podcast today.
Anybody interested in learning more about crystal clear digital marketing. We encourage you to go to the website, crystal clear D m.com, click on the sales button or give the guys a call to be more than happy to talk with you. And you’ve got some great specials. I want you to check out Warren. We appreciate you taking the time. Audrey, thank you for posting today. Have a great week guys. Thanks for tuning into this week’s episode of true to form brought to you by Candela a leading US-based global medical aesthetic device company engineering technology that enables practices to provide advanced solutions for a broad range of medical aesthetic applications. To learn more about this week’s podcast sponsor, visit Candela medical.com and to learn more about your podcast provider crystal clear, visit crystal clear dm.com. Be sure to subscribe to the show on all your favorite music apps, including iTunes, Spotify, SoundCloud, and tune in to stay up to date with the newest episode. Thank you for listening.