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 aesthetic, anti-aging and elective 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. 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’s sponsor, The SaltFacial. A unique three step system that combines the beauty of pure natural sea salt with cutting edge science, aesthetic ultrasound, high powered LED phototherapy to deliver treatment unlike any other for every patient, every day. I’m your host Tim Sawyer to our returning guests, welcome back, and for our first time listeners, we appreciate you joining us.
We encourage you to become a subscribing. In the last episode we spoke with Kristy Murrow, who shared her experience opening her Oklahoma City based practice, Mariposa Aesthetics & Laser Center back in May 1st. If you missed it, check it out. She was actually in the Inc 5,000, one of the fastest growing privately held companies in the US. With all that said, today is the culmination of a year of podcasts leading up to this moment. You guys are going to be pumped. I’m totally pumped. We’ve got real aesthetic royalty in the house today. Peerless royalty. It is my pleasure to introduce Dr. Michael Salzhauer, aka Dr. Miami.
He’s an American celebrity doctor. Board-certified Miami plastic surgeon who runs a plastic surgery practice in Bal Harbour, Florida. He is extremely well known on social media and around the world as Dr. Miami, with more than 1.4 million followers on Instagram alone more than-
Correction, that’s 1.5 today. We just went over.
1.5… One of the most actionable and reconstructive surgeon, Dr. Miami. Michael Salzhauer has utilized [inaudible 00:02:23]… What’s that?
Your introduction almost covered everything. I’m actually sitting on a throne right now. You said royalty. I’m literally sitting on a throne with a cape behind me and a scepter in my hand. I think everything else you’re about to say is all good, but I think people get the picture. I’m a plastic surgeon. I practice in Miami. I specialize mainly in mommy makeovers, Brazilian butt lifts and that sort of thing. I had a reality TV show on WE TV. I wrote a children’s book that got a lot of controversy about plastic surgery that women read to their kids before surgery. Had a documentary made about me, that premiere at the… What’s it called? At one of the film festivals, Miami Film Festival and the Great Docs Festival last month. And what else have I done? And I got five kids, I’m married for 25 years. I’ve been in private practice here for almost 18 years, in Miami.
Amen, amen. Not to be lost in all this. I knew that I was bumping into something special when I had mentioned to my 19 year old that I was going to be talking with Dr. Miami, and he started playing in our backyard next to the pool rap songs. He’s like, “Dad this is Two Chains singing about Dr. Miami.” He had a whole… So we have to ask you, what’s your favorite rap song or rapper? If you don’t mind telling me.
Oh, I’m a big fan of Fetty Wap. It’s a couple of years since he’s had a major hit, but I’m a huge fan of Fetty Wap. I like all rap at all. I like all Hip hop. I’m friends with a lot of artists, and when they come through Miami, they come to the office and hang out, and that’s just a side effect of promoting their music on my social media. So it’s just a real nice side benefit. And you’re right, a lot of rappers use my name as a synonym for plastic surgery in their rap songs. There’s actually a few rap songs called Dr. Miami that are out there and you can check out on YouTube. Some of them with millions of views and stuff, so that’s kind of cool.
Listen, you’re on top of the-
I sound a little braggy, but I’m trying to just get the listeners a picture of who I am, if they had never heard of me, so they can understand where I’m coming from. And hopefully, I can give you my two cents on this business.
I personal love it. And I know you’ve got a lot of range in your interests and talents. And one of the things that I was most impressed by was I had the pleasure, for our listeners, to speak with Dr. Miami and his team last week about some projects. Full disclosure, he is a client of Crystal Clear, just so everybody knows. But what was interesting to me, two things that you had mentioned that I want to talk about today, and I think your colleagues will be really interested in these two concepts. One is the idea of essentially a salespersonless process from inquiry to procedure. And then the other is that people have to qualify, essentially, apply to get treatment with you. Talk a little-
As I enter, hopefully, with the last 10, 15 years of my practice, those are the two goals that I’ve set for myself, that I think could move the plastic surgery practice and profession to the next level. I’ll just start off by saying this, whatever success I’ve had in my practice is due to me focusing on doing the operations that I like to do the most. In other words, that make me happiest, that gives me the most emotional bang for my buck. So the kinds of procedures that are dramatic transformations that patients are the most grateful for, and that I do at least competently well enough that people think I’m okay at it.
And the second thing is to operate on the kinds of patients that I like to operate on. In other words, demographic wise, personality wise, emotional wise. Those two things has been what I’ve been focusing on for the last… I kind of stumbled upon that formula about five years into my practice. You just focus on the operations that you’d like to do that make you happy, and operate on only the kinds of patients you like to operate on, you will see it’s like a flywheel. You get like a dynamo effect where it just kind of spins around. You just get more and more successful, more and more happy when you come to work. Because, again, you’re doing the things you like to do with the people you like to do it.
And it sounds so simple, but for the first five years of my practice, I was operating on pretty much anybody that came in the door from a facelift, blepharoplasty, tummy tuck. “You want that? We got that. You want this? We got that.” And the marketing was kind of geared towards every human being alive. The whole world is pre-op, and anybody could have plastic… But no, the truth is that… I mean, yeah, it’s true, you could do that. But I found myself taking two steps forwards and one step back, by either doing an operation that really just didn’t bring me joy. I forget that lady’s name that says you have to organize your house and throw everything out just to get new joy. It’s the same kind of thing.
You’ve got to organize your practice and try to get rid of the things that don’t give you joy. And it’s a slow, steady thing, but thank God we managed to get there. And again, when [crosstalk 00:07:54] I say the marketing is a side effect of that, or it’s a byproduct of it. In other words, starting with the why. The why I do it is to make people feel better about their bodies, what operations I do, who I want to do them on, and then I market to just those people, and just those operations and just focus like that. And everything else that you see around the Dr. Miami brand or whatever is just a function of that.
Because I know what our listeners are asking themselves right now, it’s two things. One, many of them do know you and know about you, but they’re saying “Oh, right, like I could actually choose or select. I’m just doing everything I can to hold this together. What do you mean? Pick the patients you want.”
Okay. So, again, it’s not something you turn on like a faucet, but it’s something that you work towards. If you never start working towards that idea, you’ll never get there. But what you’ll find is if you just take the first step, like I said, it’s like a flywheel, and you get this exponential change. I’m just pulling this out of the hat, let’s say you only like operating on a 20 year old South Beach models. By the way, that’s not my demographic that I market towards, and that’s not a big part of my practice.
But let’s just say you only want to operate on 20 year old female models from South Beach. Okay. If you put yourself from the perspective of a 20 year old South Beach model, what music does she listen to? Where does she shop? Where does she dress? What does she like? What does she wear? Okay. Then if you market just to her, you will eventually find that one [inaudible 00:09:34] and you do a good job. Guess what? She’s got 14 model friends, and at least one of them is going to want surgery by you. You get this viral effect. If you focused on that, you would wake up a year from now, two years from now, and your waiting room would be filled with just 20 year olds South Beach models and nothing else.
That’s actually very insightful.
And you can insert whatever… You like doing eyelifts on 65 year old Medicare recipients, that’s cool too. You can make a killing if you’re waiting room’s full, and if those are pleasant people to you, you relate with them, you like them, so just market to them. Again, the beginning is tough because you don’t want to turn away business all the time, but at some point you want to get busy enough with just the things you want to do, that you don’t mind turning away the other stuff. So like the person who wants the 65 year old blepharoplasties, because that’s easy money for them, they will turn away the 20 year old South Beach model. “You’re just not right for my practice.”
Now, how you do that and how you finesse that is… Obviously, you can set up the marketing of your practice and the feel of your practice, such that when the 20 year old south Beach model walks in, and she sees 65 year old blepharoplasty patients in the waiting room, she’s like, “I don’t like this.” She’s out of there. You know what I mean? She goes across the street to the guy who’s like, oo, all fancy South Beach model guy.
So two questions then I want to talk about simpler is more, and actually the two are tied together. So you had made the comment the other day, and I thought it was also very insightful, but simpler is actually more. So I was on the site today and there were two things I noticed. You literally defined, these are the five things we do, essentially.
This is what they cost, and then see if you qualify.
That’s it, and that’s all.
That’s the freaking most ingenious idea in the world. “Hey, I do these five things. This is what they cost. I may take you. I might not.” And who wouldn’t want to be, “Shit, how do I qualify for that?” You know what I’m saying?
That’s exactly it. But let me tell you, it wasn’t like some genius reverse psychology thing. It’s just, like I said, you figured out where the center of the target is, you put your arrow in the target, and then you paint the circles around it, and oh, look, bullseye. But you have to start with where you want to be. You have to think about where you want to go. What do you want your practice to look like? What do you want your days to look like? What kinds of surgeries and patients do you want to be operating on? But yeah, it’s a very deliberate plan.
We started years ago. I would say it started like 10 years ago, at least with this concept. And it took about four or five years for it to really kick in. But since then, and we’re talking 2014, 2015, it’s been really blessed. Really, really blessed.
You stuck to it. I want to see if we can get 45 seconds of your brain on the fact, when you say, you know what, Tim, I actually think there is a… Obviously you need a patient coordinator for pre-op and stuff, but this is how I think the process should work. The person should go to the website, and then how do you want to interact with that patient? If you’re okay to sharing.
It should be a fundamentally doctor/patient interaction. In other words, with the internet, with smartphones, with social media, patients are able to find out a little bit about you online. What kind of practice you have, what kind of patients you operate on, they can see your work. I’m a big proponent, obviously, of showing your work on social media. Obviously, get consents from your patients first, that’s a no brainer. And then the more you show your work, patients should be able to compare surgeons in their area or other areas they’re kind of… They want to do a tummy tuck. They can watch 10 different surgeons do tummy tucks, pick one or two they like, go to their website or on their phone, and send in a little form, send in some pictures, fill out their stuff.
And then the doctor should look at it, say, “Okay, this sounds like a good candidate.” And that whole interaction from that point on should be with the doctor and the patient getting on the phone, reviewing… That’s what I do. I get on the phone and review their pictures. We talk for 15, 20, half an hour, whatever. And then I say, “You know what? I think you’d be a great candidate for a tummy tuck.” Click, send them an email. The email says, “This is what it costs. This is the dates that are available. Make your own schedule, click in here, pay your deposit right there.” Boom. There should not be as much salesmanship in plastic surgery and all elective procedures as possible.
Because in the old days, it might’ve been necessary before the internet and social media people were like, what is Botox? What is a tummy tuck? You need somebody to explain all that, pop in a video. Now patients are so educated in this stuff. I have patients that come in, I’m telling you they could do a tummy tuck on their own. They’ve seen me do it so many times on Snapchat or Twitter or social media. They could do a breast lift. They’ve seen the steps. So the basic point is that if you take the salesmanship out of it, you don’t need a coordinator to sell surgery.
The surgery itself, and the surgeon should sell itself. And the patients just have to click a button, make a deposit, schedule, and the rest is just the logistics of getting them medically cleared and getting in and so forth. Now, obviously, before COVID-19, we saw some patients in the office, for in person consultations. But since COVID-19, I’ve done maybe two in person consultations, all the rest of them through the internet, through phones and pictures. And you know what, I’m not planning on going back to doing in person consultations, if I don’t have to. Because I find it to be… this is a much more efficient way, and patients are super happy with it. They don’t have to waste any time.
Do you find, Dr. Miami, that price transparency probably takes a little bit of the need away, also, for a salesperson?
Of course. Starting in 2010, we posted our prices online, full menu, whatever we offered. And we didn’t offer that much. We offered like maybe 12 different combinations of different things. Tummy tuck, breast lift, breast augmentation by itself, Brazilian butt lifts, Tummy tuck, a number seven, which is a tummy tuck, breast lift with implants. Just 12 variations of four or five different surgeries and the different prices on a menu. So patients would go online, they’d see what the price is. If it’s too high, they’re like, “I’m out of here. I’m going someplace else.” And they go someplace cheaper or forget about surgery for now. But you don’t have any of these shoppers that are coming in, like, “Oo, I want to find out what the price is.” “Okay. And they’re just right there online.” There’s no wasted time with phone calls. Like I said, the more power you give to the patients to make the decision, the less time you will be wasting.
Not to irritate you on my podcast, so I was about to do a little research before we hopped on today. And I noticed there were a couple ding-dongs who literally take your pricing, they put it on their website, and they say, “Compare.”
Okay. You know what? Let me tell you that’s a great sign.
Listen, I’d love to… I hope I was higher. I hope I was more expensive.
Well, the funny thing is across the categories of five, four you were over and one you were under, and that was almost like the guy showing the insurance pricing like progressive.
We’ll show you higher or lower.
Listen, I told you this before we got on the phone. Thank God the social media, internet marketing is to the point where literally this past weekend, just Friday, Saturday, Sunday, my website got 1100 leads, 1100 patient leads with pictures, forms filled out and everything. I’m one guy in a solo practice. There’s no way I’m going to be able to operate on all those people. So like I said, [foreign language 00:18:01], they should be happy and healthy. They should put my prices and their prices and maybe mind are less or more, whatever. To me, when I look back at my career, the thing that makes me the proudest is the thought that I might have expanded the pie for everybody in the plastic surgery business.
In other words-
… by demystifying plastic surgery, by showing people the benefits of plastic surgery, how it helps people feel better and improves self-esteem, so that more people consider it, so that there’s more patients for everybody. For too many years, I think, plastic surgeons especially, we’re competing in this industry as if it was a zero sum game. Like there are only a certain number of patients that could ever want to have breast augmentation or tummy tucks. That’s just ridiculous. I would say that maybe we have barely scratched the surface in terms of marketing ourselves properly and explaining to the public what we do. We have a lot of growth to go, a lot of growth in the
I want to two more things. One, I want to talk about the squad in a minute, but you said something the other day and everybody who’s listening to this podcast can hear that it’s genuine. We were talking about your success, 1.5 million Instagram followers, just a blow up of the practice, the incredible reputation, and I said, “Wow, it’s incredible.” And we had talked about how other people can replicate that.
Yeah, they do. They can and they do.
You said something though that speaks massively to your humility. You said,” Tim, one of the things that kind of bothers me is when people say to me, ‘Yeah, but that’s you Dr. Miami, I’m not you.'”
Yeah. That bothers me a lot, because I have seen other surgeons do phenomenally well using the same exact things I just said, the principles I just told you. And everybody’s personalities a little different. The fact is all you need, in my opinion, on social media is 50,000 followers, everything beyond 50,000… If you have 50,000 followers on social media, you should be booked for at least three to six months solid, and everything beyond that is just vanity, and I’ll admit it anytime. All the followers I have beyond the first 50,000 for the business, that’s all vanity for myself, for my ego, made me feel important, made me feel like I’m special. That has nothing to do with the bottom line, nothing to do with the bottom line.
It’s only the first 50,000 account, and anybody, I mean, anybody can do it, no matter what your personality is. Don’t say, “I’m shy in front of the camera. I’m not good with…” No, just take the time, sit down one weekend, learn a little bit, get into it, and you will see… I’m a huge believer in it. You will see your practice flourish. If you do any of the things… Even a tiny step in that direction will help. You’ll see.
Yeah. And it’s like I said, though, I think your approach, it’s interesting because you have range of thought. You’re a, from what I understand, great surgically. You’re a business guy, so you understand the economics of your practice. You understand efficiency, your hands in marketing, you were on a call talking about technology the other day. So you’re involved in every aspect of the practice. We have almost 500 practices, and if I can find 10 doctors, and I mean this lovingly, who would say, “I’m going to be involved in this entire…” Everything is, “Well, talk to her, talk to him.” And then when you ask them to explain it to them, they go, “I don’t handle that.”
Well, I think it’s just because they were just overwhelmed with everything else. It’s really hard to be a surgeon. I guess that’s self-evident. But dealing with surgery and patients and pre-ops and post-ops that is a full time job, and a lot of times it burns doctors out and they don’t feel like they have any energy left over for those other parts of the practice, management or technology, things like that. But if you look at it the other way around and you think, why am I being burned out in surgery? Well, could it be that I’m operating on patients that don’t really want to operate on? Could it be that I’m doing procedures that don’t bring me joy? And then once you get to the point where you’re excited to come to work and do surgery, and obviously it’s not perfect, it’s always going to be the occasional patient that’s going to get under your skin or whatever. But as that becomes less and less, you have a lot more energy leftover to think about the other things. I think that’s why you find that.
I’m borrowing your time, so I wanted to just talk about the squad a little bit, because people have benefited, doctors, surgeons have benefited from being
Yeah, I’m online. We call it the Dr. Miami squad. Once the social media took off, when I say social media, I mean, Instagram, Snapchat, Twitter, Tiktok all that stuff. And by the way, my biggest platform, which really dwarfs my Instagram is my Snapchat. My Snapchat has over half a billion views year to date from January. So-
Yeah, my son told me you’re terrified on Snapchat.
Yeah. So I have a half a billion views. Once the Snapchat and all that took off my office manager was like, “well, maybe we should use this brand to franchise it. To like open other practices.” And we went down that route for about six months, looked into the legal aspect of it and whatever. And then I realized, I don’t want to be a franchise owner. And not only that, but surgeons it’s like the saying, it’s like trying to herd cats. It’s hard to get surgeons… Everybody wants their own brand, their own way of doing things. And so rather than trying to fight that and try to change the way surgeons have their own practices and make it a franchise, we came up with another concept, which has worked phenomenally well for close to 50 surgeons around the country.
Now they’re all vetted by me, they have to meet certain qualifications and so forth, it’s not just anybody. But basically they come in, I teach them whatever tricks we have learned in social media. They have a little mini course and that here for the day. They go on my Snapchat, my Instagram, all my social media, and then we kind of brand them in their own way. Each surgeon has their own personality. And I tell them until I’m blue in the face, “Do not try to be Dr. Miami. Don’t try to be something… Be yourself. Yourself is more than good enough. You are a plastic surgeon. You do a really cool job that people are very interested in hearing more about… Let people into your life a little bit. You don’t have to overshare, but you do need to let people in, let them know who you are, let them know that you care.
And you will see that you will start to attract the kinds of people that are attracted to you, right? They-
… want your personality. They want you to be their surgeon. But if you don’t show them that on social media, they’ll never know, they’ll never be able to choose. And what I mean by that is, there are lots of people that look at my social media and say, “That guy’s crazy, I’m never surgery with that guy. He just did a TikTok dance. That is not the kind of surgeon I want.” That’s fine, because that’s not the kind of patient I want. And that’s okay. They’re okay, and I’m okay. We all have opinions and flavors that we like. But there is a surgeon that is exactly what they want. In other words, a little bit of humor, but not a TikTok dancer. More serious button down, white coat and stethoscope around his neck. That’s fine.
And that patient will find you if that’s your personality. You’ll start to attract those patients that like you. And so we have these 50 doctors, they all have their own social media accounts and they’re all doing their own thing. And they put it out there and they’re all phenomenally successful. And each and every one of them has said, “Whatever we charge, you could charge 10 times more.” That’s how much benefit they get from it, because, obviously, you get the benefit, it continues and you grow your own social media. You don’t really need us, necessarily, to continue the process.
We call them Dr. Miami squad members.
Squad members. Who wouldn’t want to become-
I think of it more like a music record label where you have individual artists, each has their own style, their own music, their own whatever, but it’s under the umbrella… they benefit from some of the group marketing power. That’s it.
Right. And if somebody was interested, we had talked about possibly them shooting Rosy an email [crosstalk 00:26:57]-
If you want. We’re booked through the year, and because we limited, obviously. We can’t have a million. We have maybe 15 guys that can be on the squad at any given time.
Well, let’s leave it at this. Guys if you want-
But the courses that we offer you can you sign up for. We do one a month or two a month, and it’s individual, it’s not a group course. But anyway- go on the website?
No. Just send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org, R-O-S-Y at balbody.com or you could shoot me an email at email@example.com. That’s easy enough, therealdrmiami@gmail, and D-R is abbreviated.
Well, I want to start to wind down with this. I want to thank you for something the other day, because when we spoke, and I don’t mean this in a pandering way, I wasn’t fully appreciating who was on the other end of the phone. What you’ve accomplished, both in the business and life and longterm marriage and all those things in life. And I proudly said, “Oh, I’ve got a podcast. We’ve got about 11,500 frequent listeners.” And you were so complimentary to me, “Wow, Tim, that’s really amazing.” And then I [inaudible 00:28:10] I’m like, this guy’s got 1.5 million followers on Instagram. I’m surprised he didn’t say, “Oh, good for you, Timmy.” [crosstalk 00:28:18]-
First of all, 11,000 podcast listeners is a big number, because a podcast requires a lot more investment in time than just swiping up through your feed on Instagram, and not only that, but the quality of your following. These are people that are real business people, that are interested in hearing what you have to say.
Of the 1.5 million people that follow me on Instagram, how many of them are actually… You know what I’m saying? It’s like that. How many actually really give a crap about me? Probably none. But on your podcast, they’re hanging on your every word. So I wasn’t trying to be complimentary or pandering or anything. I sincerely compliment you on building up that following. It’s not easy.
Thank you very much. Guys, we really want to appreciate, really say thank you to Dr. Miami. I know you’re a super busy man. I look forward to know you better and hopefully we’ll have a longterm relationship working together, and just-
Thank you very much.
… grateful for the opportunity to serve you. So you want to say thank you once again for stopping by this week to Dr. Miami. Anyone interested in learning more about Crystal Clear, just go to crystalcleardm.com, click on sales. The guy would be more than happy to answer any questions that you have. With that said, this is one in the book. We’ll see everybody next week. Thank you very much Dr. Miami.
Thanks for tuning into this week’s episode of True to Form. To learn more about your podcast sponsor Crystal Clear, visit crystalcleardm.com. Also be sure to subscribe to the show on all your favorite music apps, including iTunes, Spotify, SoundCloud, and tune into stay up to date with the newest episodes. Thank you for listening.