Welcome to today’s episode of true to form with your host president and co-founder of crystal clear, highly regarded speaker. And to 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 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 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, Oh four
Podcast that connects you to the people technology and hot topics that shaped the elective community provided to you by crystal clear and brought to you by this week, sponsor Candela, the leading US-based medical aesthetic device company. I’m your host, Tim Sawyer, try returning guests welcome back. And for our first time listeners, we appreciate you joining us and encourage you to become a scriber. In the last episode, we spoke with internationally renowned plastic surgeon, dr. Stanley coral, who talked about the importance of producing more content than you consume and how he was able to increase surgery, conversion, post shutdown, to the utilization of telemedicine and some structural changes. I don’t want to give too much away. Maybe we’ll get into it with our guest today, who is a long time friend, and I’m grateful that we’ve been able to and honored that we’ve been able to get her on the program today.
You guys are going to love her. Sarah Banglesdorf is the practice manager of Franklin skin and laser just outside Nashville, Tennessee. She is also the mother of three teenagers and juggles it all like a queen. After graduating from Brown university, she obtained a master’s in social work from Simmons college. She began her career as a psychotherapist and eventually became the director of a mental health clinic in 2005, Sarah and her husband, dr. Stephen Banglesdorf built and designed a practice from the ground up. She was part of every aspect of creating a world-class experience for patients. They started with one laser, one microdermabrasion machine and one employee today. Franklin skincare has two locations over 15 energy based devices and 12 employees. Sarah, welcome to the program. Thanks
Wait. So the first question that I have to ask, cause now that I’ve, re-read your bio. I have so many questions, As I noticed it says psycho therapist. And I was going to ask you to talk a little bit about the dynamic of working with family, but clearly you’ve got a lot of training in that.
I use my psychotherapy skills every day with my husband and my employees. And of course, with the patients as well.
I bet now Brown in, in, in Providence.
That’s it? Yep. Isn’t that where you’re from in Rhode Island?
Yeah, I didn’t realize that’s great. So how did you, where was the inspiration that in 2005, you said, you know what, I’ve been doing this, but I really think I can do that. Like what, what was there some event that happened? How’d you get to that place?
Well, it was probably from deciding to have three children and three and a half years and wanting to have a business that was flexible. Um, my husband was a surgeon. He still is a surgeon, but he was on call all the time at hospitals. We couldn’t make our own schedule. He wasn’t around much. So we really wanted to create something that we could add, flexibility that was exclusively ours, um, that we could spend more time with our kids then, you know, we could make people feel good about themselves.
That’s amazing. That’s a lot to juggle. I give you a lot, a lot, a lot, a lot of credit. Did you envision, you know, thinking back in 2005, you’ve got one laser, one machine and one employee. Did you, in your mind that, you know, 15 years later you’d be in the position that you’re in?
Uh, not, not in my wildest dreams. I mean, it was very, it was very scary. It was a leap of faith. There were days when there were maybe three people on our books. Uh, nobody knew about us. We didn’t have any partners. We did it all by ourselves. You know, we were advertising in the yellow pages back then, which makes you realize how long ago that was. But, um, that actually kind of worked back then doesn’t work today. But you know, we th people just came trickling in, but now I would’ve never thought that we would be where we are today. I’m super grateful for everything that we’ve, we’ve received.
Yeah. I’ll ask you this, Sarah, obviously, to get to the place where you’re at from the place you were at, um, there, there was something, what w if you said, Hey, there’s a couple of things, Tim, that we did early on that attributed to the place that we’re at now, what would you say those are?
Well, I’m kind of a control freak. I would say I’m very obsessive compulsive. So I would say that I never left the business alone. I always knew what was happening. I always knew what was happening with my staff. Um, I, I used to sit at the desk all the time and greet every patient, every patient’s name. Um, it, you know, it was kind of a mom and pop shop and the patients really responded well to that, but I was involved in every aspect. I never left the place alone.
And are you still, is that consistent today? I assume you probably got your hands in everything, right.
I know I still do have my hands in everything that I have cannot do everything now. Um, I’ll tell you, I used to on the weekends for our office hours for my personal cell phones, this was probably like 12 years ago. And I used to make, uh, appointments in the Walmart parking lot and also at Disneyworld at times. And, uh, you know, I can tell you how much those phone calls were worth, just because I picked up the phone. I never let the phone be unanswered.
And which, which is interesting because I know you’re, you’ve got high IQ when it comes to the sales and marketing efforts in the practice. And based on what I’m hearing is that’s because you were, you were dialed in really, you were the one taking those phone calls. And so, yeah. And so talk a little bit about some of the processes that you put in place from those experiences so that you keep, because as you grow, obviously it’s tough to be consistent. And what you’re working on now in, in terms of the sales and marketing side of the house.
Well, I obviously, I can’t answer every phone call today, but I do train my staff extensively on salary training. I don’t even allow new employees to answer the phone. So probably about a good six weeks until they really are able to speak about our procedures, uh, know about how our office works. They’re still really comfortable. Um, they, they have to know what they’re talking about on the phone, because it is really the first point where people decide to book. So it’s the most important position by far,
And it is my sense that sometimes people underestimate the importance of that. Um, you know, the biggest thing to me. And do you also spend much time, um, listening to phone calls? I know you captured a quarter, but you get a chance to listen to some of the phone calls with the practice and what’s that been like?
Yeah, I, I do. I listen to a song called recordings, thanks to crystal clear. Um, I go on and I listen to them and I use it as a training experience. If I, and I talk to my staff and I say, Hey, you know, I don’t think that we look that patient because you know, you a little unsure on this. And then I use it as a way to educate our staff. So it’s been invaluable, the phone call recording.
And how, how does staff, because I know there’s people listening to this saying what you talked to your staff about what they said on the phone. How does staff have to treat everybody like a baby? Um, how does the staff react to that? And culturally, how have you been able to implement that?
Well, you know, we do have, we do have monthly all staff meetings. I meet with my administrative staff weekly, but what I’ll do is I’ll play some phone calls from different staff person, you know, and say, this is a great phone call and do shout outs to people. And so everybody knows that they may be heard in front of everybody on the recording. So it just becomes common culture. You know, they know that we listen to phone calls, they know how much we value them. So they kind of get used to it. They don’t love it, but no, I don’t like listening to myself either.
I had a funny experience with, you know, we, we do the same thing. This was in a previous iteration of this business. We were capturing and recording on our calls and like you, it was early on and I took one of the calls and it was recorded. I botched the whole thing. And one of my sales guys got the call and his move was, he kept that call in his phone for probably five years. And any time he’s like, don’t listen to his . And then he went, literally played a phone call for them. And I’m like, yeah, just watching everything.
I love that. I have to remember that. Absolutely. I’ve, I’ve played phone calls that I’ve bought for my staff too. You have to, you have to be humble.
Yeah. And they respect that though. Right? They do. I think what kills, what you’ve been able to accomplish many times in a practice is the gut. Ya, like, it can’t, they can’t feel like I got ya. Right? Yeah. It’s about education. And then doing that better. Right. Exactly. Yeah. Course our listeners are getting great insight all over the country. Um, and one of the things that we’ve been talking about over the past, gosh, can you believe going on six months is the impact of COVID and, uh, it’s different, obviously every, in every part of the country, you’re just outside of Nashville. Where are you? Where is Nashville at? Where are you at with COVID and what’s the schedule, like, sorry, go ahead.
So we were down for about seven weeks. We weren’t really allowed to see anyone that wasn’t essential. Um, when we came back on May 1st, uh, we came in like gangbusters, people were chomping the bit to get in. We had the busiest may and June, you know, we’ve had in years just because, you know, people were waiting a couple months for their Botox or for other treatments, they would call me every day, say, when are you opening? I have this one woman who would call me to make sure that she really had her appointment on may. First. She called me about, I think she called me every day. So I did answer the phone while we were closed every day.
That’s good. And so did, did, so you’re fully open and fully functioning. Now
We are. Yep. Since May 1st.
And what’s been the reaction of the typical patient, are you, how are you communicating to them that they’re going to be safe? Have you made changes in protocols? And what are the, are you getting a lot of that from the consumer saying, Hey, what am I going to be? Okay.
So we sent out a, you know, a couple of preliminary emails saying what we have in place, you know, but honestly we already had these mechanisms in place. You know, when your, your office is run by a surgeon, everything is sterile and clean and, you know, we have air filters. And so a lot of our patients said, I feel great about coming back to you guys. And or they say things like, you’re the only place I’m going. So they, they know how careful we are.
And that’s great. And obviously you’ve had to I’m sure communicate that through the site and through social and
Yeah, I’ve added it to my site. You know, we sent out a bunch of emails prior to opening reassuring patients. Um, but also saying that, you know, we didn’t want our elderly patients to come back too soon.
Got it. Now, are you doing temperature testing or anything like that?
Absolutely. Temperature testing. Um, we only allow two people in our reception area at one time they call before they come in and we let them know when it’s okay to come in. Um, you know, we’ve, we’ve made some small changes. We do have two offices, so we kind of spread people out a little bit more between the two offices.
Yeah. And how, in terms of sustainability, you had those, those couple of months that were just gang busters, I’m sure. Like you said, there was some pent up demand. Has it remained relatively consistent as you head into June, July and August kind of thing?
Yeah. Yeah, it has. I mean, especially in this industry where the summer months are typically a little bit slower, people are always traveling. You know, people didn’t go to many places in summer. So we had that advantage, which definitely made up for the two months that we were down.
And it’s interesting because I have been talking with clients and friends and peers, and there was a couple of concepts that have shared in terms of this, this burst in activity. And I’d be curious to hear your thoughts on it. One of it, one of them is that folks haven’t been able to go anywhere really and spend their money. Right. They’ve got disposable income and they have no place to spend it. And I apologize. And, um, they’ve got no place to spend it. And then the other, I’d be curious to get your take on it is the idea of the zoom boom. So people are staring at their faces all day.
Yeah. Yeah. I mean, there’s definitely a lot of time at home in the mirror and there’s a lot of time, a lot of FaceTime calls, a lot of SIM calls. Um, I think people are really seeing their face and another advantage is with the mask. You can get a lot of lower face work done without anyone now at this time too.
What’s what’s the procedure mix like, is it, is there any one thing that people are coming back to for more at this point in time or,
Um, gosh, I mean, there’s so many different procedures that I think everybody wanted their Botox when they came back and then the body, the body sculpting as well. They weren’t able to do that in the spring to prepare for summer. So people, again, that in now in our gyms open, yes. Gyms are open here. I mean, I think there’s some social distancing guidelines, but I don’t personally go to the gym probably should, but, uh, they are open.
They are open. Cause my, my other theory was that, you know, people have been in the house haven’t been moving around much and probably putting on a little weight and then, you know, wanting to win and get there. You know, I can’t go to the gym or whatever. You’ve got to go in and get your body contouring somewhere. And so this, I have a question for you too, and I’d be really curious to hear this. I know you and dr. Banglesdorf go to some shows. You’re not the crazy, what I call my crazy friends who go to every show. But you do go to some shows. Um, w what’s your take on that with, without any shows? Are you guys missing that? And is there any, when do you think that’s going to come back?
Yeah, I don’t know when that’s going to come back. Um, I think one of the advantages of this pandemic, one of the, one of the few is that there have been so many virtual webinars, um, for our staff to continue their education and it’s free pretty much free and you don’t, you don’t have to travel. And so we have been able to educate our staff a lot more. I give them some great learning opportunities. So that’s kind the nice about that. You know, I love going to shows I love meeting and that’s how I met you, Tim. Um, you know, I’ll miss that. You don’t, you don’t get that from a virtual seminar, but the other education aspects of the seminars have been nice virtually.
Now, if shows opened up tomorrow at the same rate that they were pre COVID, would you still go to the same venues?
Uh, I like to go to a couple of different shows a year. I like going to the Vegas cosmetic show. I like, I saw you last at the Miami cosmetic show. They have some great, great, um, meetings for practice managers and manager, other managerial discussions. So I tend to go to those the most.
And you COVID would have no impact on you in terms of going
Well, I might, I might want the numbers to be a little lower before I venture out. I haven’t, I haven’t flown yet.
I, you know, what’s funny. I haven’t been in a plane in six months.
Yeah. You travel all the time.
40 weekends. I did 40 up and down trips last year. And then, um, yeah, none, none this year. So that’s been interesting. And I know that in the, in the aesthetic community, it’s like a traveling caravan of friends, right? It’s a great outlet for you. And it’s a great outlet for your husband to go and see people. And I was talking to the Metro, standing your courts. And he said, you know, the social aspect of it has been tough. And I think it’s been tough on people in a lot of ways. Um, but, but I’m encouraged at the rate at which the demand has come back. And obviously, so people are getting over their fear of whatever it is, COVID or anything else and going out and getting treatments. And I think that’s great. Now I, I do, I want to take a quick shift. What is our sponsors Candela? You’re a huge, huge Candela user, their devices.
Well, we are, we love Candela.
I love Kendall. Let’s give them a shout out. So what would you say your number one Candela devices that gets the most activity in the practice?
Oh, it’s by far the G max pro what’s it called? The G max pro. It does just about everything. Well, not everything, but you know, laser hair, laser vein, uh, sunspot treatments, things like that. It’s a power horse. That’s your big one. Yeah,
They’ve been great. And it was shout out to them. They know that, that we love them and, and, um, they’ve got great, great reputation in the industry. Great support. And the other question that I had was I’ve been asking everyone that we interview if, and this isn’t Candela per se, it’s about the, the support community. So in other words, you’re whether it’s a laser company, a skincare company, if you could say, and you’re an analytical person, if you could say to that community, this is how I think you could improve the way you serve the practice. Are there any recommendations that you would like me to pass on or say, Hey guys, if we could do more of this or less of this, you’d appreciate it. It’s kind of like a little survey I’m doing
Okay. Yeah. The vendors that, um, I have the closest relationships to come see me a lot. And of course they can’t see me so much these days, but they call me they chicken check in on me. We email, we text. I think having that personal interaction is really important and not just being sent, you know, standard email product. I think when the reps come and spend time at the offices, it makes a huge difference.
Yeah. And not, not everyone liked that. And I think one of the things about not to make this a Candela commercial, but they seem to be pretty good about that.
I have an excellent reputation with my Candela representative and he’s been with us for gosh, probably 12 years.
So they’re doing the right things and it, I’m sure you put, it’s funny because when I talk to practice managers, it’s always the best ones. They do put a lot of, um, weight, if you will, in that in vendor management. In other words, it’s more than just buying stuff, but it’s maintaining relationships. And I think, you know, that that’s, that’s a big part of success over time is having friends that you can lean on when you need help. Right.
Absolutely. And you know, some of my best reps and we’re the big that we know we’re a big account for them now. They believe in us. So we first started out and some companies did not, and they stayed with us and they encouraged us and they helped us grow. And I really thank them for that, but they definitely were with us from the beginning and want it to be, that’s great
As we start to wind down. When you think about it, go again, go back. Cause I love your story. You go back to 2005 and you look at the body of, you know, from 2005 to 2020, what were some of the, the challenges as you look back that you confronted and maybe something that you would do differently. You’re a little bit of, you know, a nugget of wisdom that we can impart to the listeners.
I would say that by far, the biggest challenge is finding good staff. Staffing is, is difficult and your business is nothing without your staff. And some, my mistakes were keeping some staff members on too long. I mean, I guess it’s, it’s kind of a therapist in me. I want to mentor them and help them grow. But we just, we just kept them too long. And you know, sometimes one bad Apple spoils the bunch, but you know, no matter how well-trained somebody is or how many patients are on their books, sometimes you really just have to let people go because they’re just not good for the clinic. Um, we’ve been very fortunate to have staff members that have been with us for 12 years and 10 years, seven years. Um, and you know, you have to treat them well, your staff are everything. You have to pay them well, and we do wine and cheese nights on Thursdays for our staff. You know, we used to pre pandemic, take them out for happy hour. You got to treat them like family.
Funny, because as you were talking, I said, it sounds like you’re creating a familial environment where, you know, people feel comfortable and they can. And a lot of times they can thrive in that. But to your point, you’ve got to know when to say when.
Absolutely. And I’ll tell you, if you do let someone and go, your staff members will really step up and they’ll realize that no one is irreplaceable, but then you’ll also see that people, people would feel that things were difficult and they become a lot happier in the workplace becomes a lot easier. Yeah.
Well you’re, you’re clearly not just talking the talk, but you’re walking the walk and I, I give you a lot of credit. I’ve always been impressed with, um, anytime that we bumped into each other shows, you’re, you’re a tough cookie and ask the right questions and you make appropriate demands. And, um, and that’s cool, right? Because you’re, you’re also, I get it. You’re managing us where we’re a vendor too. And, and it, but it’s never, you know, in a threatening or contemptuous way it’s, Hey, listen, you’re going to help me. And, um, and I get that and I absolutely respect that. And that’s why I was, um, I was grateful that you would come on and share some wisdom with our folks. And obviously we wish nothing but your, your continued success. Uh you’re in that when you start with where you were, right, you just, you, your husband, a machine and you get a business to where it is now, where you’ve got 12 employees and two locations and the things cooking. I think it’s a lot of work. It really does. And I, I respect that enormously.
Yeah. I mean, it’s, it’s definitely my fourth child, but business is my fourth child. Um, it’s, it’s a lot of work. Um, I’m constantly working, but it’s worth it well worth it.
What, what you would do without it, you’d be thinking you’d probably have started own business by now. It’d be even bigger if you didn’t have for running. But like, technically that is you’re running it. That’s what you told me. I’ve been called other things. But thank you. I always say that people with your type of personality and the level of success you’re at, there’s usually awake behind them. There’s the ones on the right. That’s the, but great things to say. The ones on the left, I’ve heard, I’ve heard vendors say it’s hard to get an appointment at our office. Hard to get through me. You’re a tough cookie, but good for you. And please, please, please say hello to dr. Banglesdorf. Let him know that we’re thinking about, we really appreciate you taking the time today. Sarah bangles and guys want to thank everyone for listening today. Also want to give a shout out to Candela. We love them. If you’re interested in learning more about crystal clear, you can pop by the website, go to crystal clear, D m.com crystal clear D m.com. Click on the sales icon or call the 800 number. The guys will be more than happy to help you and Sarah, before we let you go. If people wanted to take a peek at your site and you’re online,
What’s the website again? Franklin laser.com. Franklin laser.com. Guys, we’ve got a great online presence. We encourage you to check it out. Thank you, Sarah. And we look forward to hear, hear you again to you guys. We look forward to seeing you next week. Thank you. 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.