Discover effective strategies and tips to accelerate your journey in learning dentistry.
In this engaging podcast episode, host Shawn Zajas interviews Dr. Len Tau, a prominent figure in the dental industry known for his innovative approach and contributions. Dr. Tau’s multifaceted career spans dentistry, sales, and education, making him a valuable resource in the field.
The conversation kicks off with Dr. Tau recounting his early years, highlighting how his initial interest in dentistry blossomed during high school. He credits a dental technician who mentored him and sparked his fascination with the profession. This pivotal encounter set him on a path towards dental school.
Upon graduation, Dr. Len Tau embarked on his dental career, eventually establishing a thriving private practice. Early on, he recognized the importance of incorporating technology into dentistry, particularly in marketing strategies. Dr. Tau was an early adopter of digital platforms and recognized their potential for transforming patient experiences and practice management.
The conversation takes an interesting turn as Dr. Tau delves into the world of sales, where he transitioned to working with discus Dental, a leading dental product manufacturer. This shift allowed him to gain invaluable insights into the industry from a vendor’s perspective. He honed his skills in sales and marketing, skills that would later prove crucial in his consulting endeavors.
The discussion pivots towards Dr. Tau’s pioneering role in online reputation management for dentists. He recognized the significance of online reviews and testimonials, leading him to create “Raving Patients,” a Facebook group dedicated to the subject. Dr. Tau’s expertise in this area has become invaluable to dentists seeking guidance on handling reviews and building a positive online presence.
As the conversation evolves, Dr. Tau shares a pivotal moment in his career, attending a lecture by Roger Levin that introduced him to the concept of the “98% Decision Factor.” This principle emphasizes making swift decisions for matters of lesser consequence, a philosophy that Dr. Tau has wholeheartedly embraced. This mindset has played a crucial role in propelling his career forward.
Looking ahead, Dr. Tau expresses his current focus on education. He relishes the opportunity to share his knowledge and unique perspective with audiences, drawing from his diverse background. Dr. Tau announces an exciting new venture, Tau Dental Seminars, and reveals his plans to host a live event, “Supercharge Your Dental Practice,” in Delray Beach, Florida. This marks a significant transition for him, as he envisions evolving from a clinical dentist to a world-class educator.
Listeners interested in connecting with Dr. Tau are encouraged to reach out through various social media channels or contact him directly via phone or email. He emphasizes his commitment to responsiveness, affirming that he values timely communication with those seeking his expertise.
In closing, Shawn Zajas commends Dr. Tau for his innovative contributions to the dental industry and expresses enthusiasm for his upcoming seminars and future ventures. Dr. Tau, in turn, appreciates the opportunity to share his life’s journey, thanking Shawn for the insightful interview. This podcast episode provides a compelling narrative of Dr. Len Tau’s remarkable career and the valuable insights he offers to the dental community.
Connect with Dr. Len Tau:
LI: @ Leonard Tau DMD
Dr. Len Tau 00:00
So 35 years old, I knew that I wasn’t going to make it till 60 or 65 or 70 years old as a dentist, it just wasn’t in the cards. And I know I look I met dentists in my that were 18, still practicing. And I said I was not going to be that person. So I knew that I needed to potentially have an option to exit dentistry earlier than expected. So that’s why a lot of these things happened the way they did.
Shawn Zajas 00:20
The future of dentistry belongs to the innovators. Welcome to innovation in dentistry. I’m your host, Shawn Zajas. And I believe that the future of dentistry is going to be unbelievably great over the next decade in two decades. But the question isn’t that the question is, are you going to be part of what makes dentistry great?
Shawn Zajas Okay, so I could not be more excited today to be with Dr. Len Tao. Now, Len, Your reputation precedes you. I don’t know how you became known as the review doctor. But we’re gonna dive into all of that. So before we do, let me just welcome you. Thank you so much for letting me interview you today.
Dr. Len Tau 01:11
Thank you so much for having me and allowing me to be interviewed. So I appreciate it. appreciate the invite.
Shawn Zajas 01:17
It’s always a little weird and strange when a podcaster interviews another podcaster, especially when you have been doing it for so long. Like you said, you’re going on episode number, what 300 And something?
Dr. Len Tau 01:31
Yes, six years. So we started in April of 2018. And we’re at over I think we’re over at over 300 episodes at this point. So we’re in season. We’re currently in season six right now. And it comes out weeklies on weekly on Fridays. And it’s amazing. Like I told you, when I first started it, I didn’t know if anybody would want to speak with me. And I did it really just to create content. I love educating I love talking about things. I thought it’d be a great avenue for me to do that. And here we are. Um, I mean, I’m my next step was what I record doesn’t come out until, like September 30. So I mean, we are so I’m so heavily booked out, and I have a waiting list of people. So it’s been a, it’s been a really interesting and fun time for me, I look forward to doing it. Because I’m able to network with people I learn more about what they do. They learn remember what I do, and it’s really opened the doors for a lot of other things. So I can’t complain.
Shawn Zajas 02:21
Well, we’re gonna dive into a little bit more about how that started. But first off, innovation in dentistry, Len, like, it could be a lot of different things, right? We could be talking about clinical dentistry here. We could be talking about technological innovations. But what really fascinates me is what mindset and what belief set actually allows someone to just step up and say, Hey, like, why not me? Why can’t I pioneer some positive change? In for us? We’re talking about dentistry. So with you, I’m so curious, like, here you are, you’re a dentist, which is more than enough in its own, like you could be content fulfilled, happy, just doing great dentistry. But yet, there’s something inside of you that’s like, well, there’s more. And my whole thing is like, there’s never that guarantee, when all of a sudden that light bulb comes on, or there’s that, that urging inside of man why don’t I why don’t I step up and do something different? Why don’t I be the solution to this problem that I’m seeing, or lead. So my encouragement always to the listeners here is they know what they’re hearing between the lines, that stirring inside of them. And my whole thing is, that’s why I want to interview people like you that can provide that encouragement and inspiration. So I want to know, first of all, how did you even get into dentistry and then we’ll just take it from there.
Dr. Len Tau 03:44
So my dad, who unfortunately passed away in June of 2021, so it’s two years now. He was a dentist. He practiced in the lower level, he liked me to call it even though it was the basement. It was the lower level of our home, and he had a home office, and I grew up watching him transform people’s smiles and he was really good at it. He took tons of CEE was proud of his accomplishments. He had two locations, one in our home, and one in Manhattan. And I just decided that I loved what he did. And I loved my dad, and he was a, you know, a big mentor of mine and a big, you know, rah, rah, us celebrating what I did, and I just felt it would be a really good mix to go into dentistry because he was a dentist and I looked up to him. That’s really the impetus behind me, choosing to go to dentistry. To begin with, though, I actually thought I would be an accountant or a lawyer. And I took accounting classes in high school and I said, this is boring. I can’t do this. And I thought I would do law. And I still remember the exact moment I decided I was not doing law. I was sitting at my apartment. I went to Tulane and it was 90 was the year 2000 Okay, to me, it was a year Sorry 1992 too, I was a sophomore in college, and I was watching headline news. And there was a fun fact that came up and said by the year 2025, there’ll be 200% more lawyers than there currently are right now. And it was that moment that I, that something went off in my brain said,” You’re not going to be a lawyer.” So I called my parents and said, I made a decision on what I want to do when I grow up, as I call it. And I said, I’m going to be a dentist. My dad was really, that’s awesome. I mean, obviously, you sure. And I was like, yeah, she goes, you’re selling yourself to the devil. That’s my mom said. I still remember the exact conversation. And, and I was like, I understand that. So the whole intention was for us to work together, at least join practices, whether it was most likely going to be Manhattan at that point. But things change soon afterwards, when my dad developed cancer, and he had to sell one of his practices, the New York location, the New York City location, and then he was out of dentistry for almost a year recovering from a cancer that they thought would kill him. And he lived 27 years with with that type of cancer, and he got another cancer and that killed him, unfortunately. But yeah, plant seems very quickly after doing that, and I wasn’t even in dental school at that point. So there were it was not in the cards to join my dad at any point. So I ended up on my own route of dentistry after that.
Shawn Zajas 06:22
So now growing up seeing your dad, looking up to him, you know, having that great relationship, which I think is just uncommon to begin with. So like, that’s amazing that you had parents and a dad that I don’t know, that you could respect and that you had that connection with. I had amazing parents as well. And I’m super thankful for them. My dad ended up going into like starting a dental supply company. So that’s why I have a dental supply company. And that’s why I do what I do. But I had a brother and sister that kind of wanted to go their own way. And, and there’s nothing wrong with that. Right? That’s a pretty popular sentiment of like, hey, I need to live my own life. do my own thing. What was it? Was it kind of special getting to honor your dad in that way? And and really just, I don’t know, follow his footsteps and become a dentist.
Dr. Len Tau 07:14
Yeah, I mean, look, I I loved. I love doing dentistry. I mean, I was excited to initially join him in practice, it just wasn’t in the cards. And, you know, I so that was that was a problem. In that sense. It just kind of screwed up the the plan that we had had kind of the path we had designed when we first talked about it. But yeah, I mean, my dad was thrilled that I went into his field, obviously, he knew that I had a lot of other interests in life. I was I had a very big computer background, and I like doing a lot of other things. But he was he was obviously very happy that I chose his profession.
Shawn Zajas 07:51
Now was was there like a big gap between like, you know, you’re going through dental school, and you’re talking to him about what he went through? Then guessing what, maybe 20/25 years later? Was it relatable? Or was it like a shock, because it’s like, things have changed so much.
Dr. Len Tau 08:07
Things have changed a lot. I mean, it’s interesting. My so my dad graduated Tufts where I went to school, we went to the same school, he graduated tufts in 1970. I graduated 1989. So it was a, there was a 30, almost a 30 year difference in when we finished school together. And so my dad knew some of my professors, okay, and my dad ended up becoming a faculty member at Tufts when I was in school as well. And it was always that, you know, I still remember, I was not very good at doing wax ups. So what they do is they give you a tooth, and they give you half the tooth, and you have to wax up the other half, and I just wasn’t good at it. And it didn’t mean I wouldn’t be a good dentist. But people said to me, like, literally, it’s like, I’m going to tell your dad that you’re just not doing well. I’m like, maybe you want to consider another professional like, tell my dad, it doesn’t matter to me. But it had no effect on me becoming a good dentist. But yeah, I mean, it was very interesting, because a lot of people knew my dad, because he worked there. You know, I was a good students. And it was just interesting to see how how things were different. And I look, my dad and I communicated a lot about school at the time. And he would always relate, relate things to when he was in school, but it was times was very different than so times are very different.
Shawn Zajas 09:20
So hearing about, like you said different options. You know, I think you said something about computing, and you’re possibly interested in originally and accounting and then becoming a lawyer. Like it’s clear to me that you like intellectually, are brilliant and incredibly smart. When did you know that you were entrepreneurial because seeing where you’re at now, and the way that you’re leading and the vision that you have? I don’t necessarily feel like that is implied in someone that that could be a great lawyer or be a great accountant or even be a great dentist. So when did you realize you know what, I’m not just excellent at this. There’s there’s more to the way that I’m, I don’t know that I’m wired. And I’m just hungry for more.
Dr. Len Tau 10:05
So it’s interesting you asked that question, because when I was 13 years old, I started a baseball card business. So my I was a tennis player and my tennis coach sold baseball cards on the side. And I was a huge baseball fan. I mean, I love sports, but I was a huge baseball fan. And I was a baseball card collector myself on my own. And I was like, what does that mean you’re a baseball card dealer? He goes, Well, do you want to come with me? You know, to one of the shows, I’m like, Sure, why not? So when I was really intrigued by what he what he was doing, and I went home to my parents, I said, I need some money. And they said, for what I’m like, I want to start a baseball card business. They look listen what I’m like, No, I want to start a baseball card business. I know baseball. I have a good mind. I have a good idea of what to invest in. Can I have $50,000? And my, and my dad said, really? I’m like, yeah, so they I signed a promissory note. They gave me $50,000. And within a year, I paid him back the full $50,000. And I was making $60,000 a year. Well,
Shawn Zajas 11:08
how old are you?
Dr. Len Tau 11:10
13 years old. 13 years old. So at 13 years old, I was making about $60,000 a year selling baseball cards. The initial name of the company was called the L and M. ‘s lineup. Lenny Llanddwyn. already called me Lenny back then. But LAN and Lenny, and Morton’s lineup. Well, after I bought it out, I changed the name to Lenny’s lineup. So Lenny’s lineup wasn’t even my baseball card company. I would travel from trade show to trade show. And sell and invest in baseball cards. And, you know, I, I really enjoyed it. And I had a feeling though in in 2007 2000. So sorry, this was 1991. Okay, so this was thinking anyone that the baseball card business would start to flounder and I was going to college anyway. So I sold the business and the the literally the whole economy tanked with baseball cards, and I would have lost a lot of money if I stayed in. But I luckily sold everything. And that was the end of the baseball cards. But I’ve always I’ve been an entrepreneur since I was very young.
Shawn Zajas 12:15
And this is just blowing my mind because a you have, I don’t know what other way to say you have the colonies to ask your parents for $50,000 as a 13 year old. And then you have enough maturity and intelligence to actually like successfully make money, pay it back. And then you have the vision to understand where the industry is going. And realize I probably need to plan an exit
Dr. Len Tau 12:44
at a college is really the exit I had. So I knew that I was going to college and I couldn’t do it in college. So it was a good time. But I had a feeling that the market would be become an issue. And it did. So I had the wherewithal and it’s like it’s similar to what happened with the reviews and how I kind of got involved outside of things in dentistry. So it’s kind of like I replicated things just later in life.
Shawn Zajas 13:04
Okay, so tell me, tell me about that. So, so then you go to college, you know, you choose dentistry. You think you’re gonna be working with your dad now. So did you take over his practice? Because he needed some help?
Dr. Len Tau 13:14
No, I went this was many years before. So this was this was a in the year 1995. I finished college, my dad in 93 and 94. I went through his cancer struggles. So I went to dental school in 95. And I graduated in 99. And so my dad was clear of cancer that in his practice, he had sold the practice that it was kind of earmarked for me. So it was really interesting. When I graduated in school and 99 we I chose to do I knew I wanted to be in private practice. So I chose to do what’s called an AEG D It’s called an advanced education, general dentistry where you can do that or you can do a GPR. A general practice residency GPR isn’t normally done in the hospital. I didn’t want to do it in the hospital setting. I wanted to do it in like a clinical setting. So my goal at the time was to attend the University of Connecticut’s a GED program. I was in Massachusetts for dental school, and I was gonna go to Connecticut, and they have a match program in the industry. So my whole intention was, hey, let’s go to CONNECTICUT, Connecticut told me that I was their top choice. I was their top choice, which means you match. Okay. When I got the match, I was sent to southern jersey, which was my second choice. And I called up and said what happened and there happened to have been a clerical error. And they left me off the list accidentally and I was sent to a second location. So that took me away from the northeast and took me to the Philadelphia area. So if that clerical error didn’t happen, my life would be totally different. I mean, I would never ended up in Philadelphia. So I ended up going to Philadelphia I was the residency program was in southern jersey, but I didn’t want to be a single guy living In southern jersey, so I chose to live in Philadelphia, and ended up meeting a woman on vacation right when I graduated from dental school, and I ended up marrying her. So that kind of kept me in, in the Philadelphia area. Unfortunately, that marriage didn’t last very long. We were only married about two years. And I ended up meeting another woman in Philadelphia, I was already established in Philly and wasn’t planning to go back to New York at that point. And then I ended up getting married, settling in Philadelphia permanently, you know, buying a practice and the rest is history at that point.
Shawn Zajas 15:34
Man. Okay, so you have this early success, though, with business with something different, even then, as a 13 year old are your peers kind of like, Len you’re crazy. Like, are they in awe of what you’re doing? Are you not even thinking this is weird? Like, what are you going normally? He was just normal me. i
Dr. Len Tau 15:58
It was, it was like I was living like, I didn’t live your normal average childhood, I would say I mean, I wasn’t into going to the prom. I wasn’t into socializing. I was making money. I mean, it was just what it was about. I enjoyed what I did. And I so I didn’t have an I would say your normal high school educational timeline. I still finished in four years, but I I was doing other things. So to me, it was just normal. Because it wasn’t, I wasn’t I look, I even on that I worked I worked at I worked electronics boutique, which was a software store selling computer software. When I went to college, I worked in college I I worked at CompUSA. And I was the top salesman at a computer store. I mean, so even though I didn’t have to I was in school, I enjoyed working. So I’ve always had that knack for keeping busy and being a hustler. That’s what I was known as.
Shawn Zajas 16:46
So I feel like that’s not again, like the normal mold for a dentist. So here you are, you have your own practice now, in South Jersey, you said,
Dr. Len Tau 16:58
I practice my so I went into a practice as a as an associate in 2001. Sorry, wrong year again. In 2000. No, let’s see. No, I was right. In 2001. I joined a group practice in Lansdale, Pennsylvania. So I worked for somebody for five years, basically five and a half years, almost six years. And but I knew that this was only the stepping stone, I kind of needed to figure out my, the what I wanted to do. And I had to figure out where I wanted to practice. So I use this as a stepping stone. And I had an amazing I had an amazing dental mentor as my boss, he was a great dentist, which I learned a lot about dentistry. But I knew that was just a stepping stone to doing other things. So in 2007, is when I bought my practice, I actually bought a practice in Northeast Philadelphia, about 30 miles from where I was living, and but I bought it from a dentist who committed suicide. So it was bought under very extraneous extraordinary circumstances. People thought I was nuts to do that in and of itself. But it was it had the really good bones the team stayed on. He was a well known person in Philadelphia did a ton of marketing. So that was the next step after being an associate for from 1999 When I got out of school or 2000 When I got into residency to then 2007. So that was a stepping stone to the next step of my career, which was owning my own practice.
Shawn Zajas 18:24
So during your associate ship, you said you got mentored by a really great dentist. Now, was that mentorship on the business and clinical side? Or was it mainly on the clinical side?
Dr. Len Tau 18:37
It was mostly on the clinical side. I did learn some business things from him, but it was mostly clinical that I really took. I thought I could handle the business side because I already had business acumen. But
Shawn Zajas 18:47
So were there any were there any surprises, like being in dentistry and all of a sudden realizing oh, my gosh, the business side is is either messier than I thought are weirder. Like, I’m curious, because you already have like some business skills business sense. And now you’re in dentistry like was it? Was it like weirder than you thought it would be?
Dr. Len Tau 19:06
Sorry, are you talking about when I became an owner or when I was just the associate? So
Shawn Zajas 19:10
I guess either one like meaning how did it either shift with you? Initially, the first five years as an associate or when you had your own practice? Like were there some moments when you’re like, oh my gosh, dentistry just sucks, like
Dr. Len Tau 19:23
Shawn Zajas 20:00
So in those first five years of owning your own practice, what do you feel like was probably one of the main mindsets that you either needed to embrace so that you could succeed or mindset that you just had to shed so that you could succeed?
Dr. Len Tau 20:17
I had to relook at things. You know, I thought I was I thought I was very prepared to be an owner, but I was not. And I was not probably it was, I probably had to learn a lot about just interacting with people as the owner, and not just a dentist anymore. And I it was a very eye opening experience for me. I looked back and I, I’m surprised it did so well. But I, I learned I, you know, I coached I got coaches, I worked with some coaches. I mean, basically, when I bought the practice the team, and I hate to say it had me by the balls, okay, because I they knew that if they didn’t stay, that the practice was going to flounder. So I needed them to stay there, which I did. They stayed I met with them all, they were all going to leave, but they all met me and they decided to stay. They all wanted more money. Of course, I had to give them a lot to convince him to stay. But I so I hired a coach to come in and helped me run the initial part of the business. And she basically set was very frankly, he says, Listen, you don’t listen, you need to listen to your staff, you need to listen to your patients. You’re not a good listener. And I’m like, I’m a great listener, I listen to everybody. She goes, No, you’re not a good listener. So I actually took listening classes to be I took like, I was coached to listen better. So I’ve learned I learned to active listening. I do it everyday now an amazing listener now, but I really had to look myself in the mirror and say, Do you want to become a better person? And and you know, I always say I’m a New Yorker, I was in New Yorker, I practiced in Philadelphia, I brought my New York attitude in there, and a pistol out of people off. So you know, I learned a lot about myself, I learned about it, how to become a better person, a better businessman, but I was coached to be able to do all those things.
Shawn Zajas 22:00
So in the first, let’s say 5-10 years, was there a really low point where you either hit a wall or something where it’s like, you didn’t want to get out of bed in the morning? Did you ever have like that dark night of the soul in dentistry? Where you don’t want to say considered giving up or the closest to giving up?
Dr. Len Tau 22:20
No, absolutely not. And, you know, I actually was, I’ve been very fortunate. And I say this on, if you hear me on other podcasts, I say this all the time, I’ve been extremely fortunate. I’ve actually had multiple careers. I every day of my life, I wake up excited to do something, whatever is on the schedule, that they I’m excited to do those things. And I’m very fortunate because I know some people hate what they do. I absolutely love what I did, no matter what I was doing that day, I loved it. So I’ve been very fortunate to have that just that mental idea about things. So I’ve never had really been in a dark place or, or had any, you know, potential of, of, you know, prematurely exiting dentistry. But when I bought my practice, I was $18,000 in debt. You know, I bought the building, obviously paid for the practice, I bought the building, I gutted the building, I would totally rehab the building, and basically made it my own. And if you walked into that office, you would not even know is the same place. And I need you that also for the patients and the team. That was another reason why I did it. But I was at the end of all things. I was $18,000 in debt, and I had to generate new patients to pay the bills. And that’s when there was a major shift in what happened in my career because of that.
Shawn Zajas 23:31
So your backs against the wall. You’re in debt. You just decide.
Dr. Len Tau 23:37
It’s good debt business. That is good. Yes. But it’s still I had debt I had to pay back. Correct? Yes, yes.
Shawn Zajas 23:43
But even in that community, there must be some sense of tragedy because the dentist that you’re replacing literally exited this world. And, and it wasn’t a team members.
Dr. Len Tau 23:56
So just to make it clear, he had no practice issues really so.
Shawn Zajas 24:01
But but I’m just saying still like the fact that you got thrust into this unstable, insecure situation. And you were able to bring security and lead in a way to get it out. It’s like I can understand why you’re able to help other practices. At what point in your journey Did you realize like, hey, you know, I can start helping other practices like When did when did this morph into all of a sudden, I know how to get reviews. So now all of a sudden, I’m becoming known as the review doctor.
Dr. Len Tau 24:30
So when I when I bought the practice, I needed to generate patients, like I said, and I hired companies to do that for me. So I hired what we would call the gurus and the Guru said, Hey, we need to do this. We need to do this. We need to do this. And I was like, Okay, we tried it. It didn’t work and I was spending money on I was felt I was wasting money. So I said you know what? I think I can do things better myself and I started reading I started and I was always an internet person. So I started researching and figuring things is out and I started to do on my own marketing. And I always say I try lots of things. I was the guinea pig for lots of things. I threw lots of darts at things. And you know, some things hit really well other things didn’t I wasted a lot of money. For example, I did a I did a radio advertisements on an am radio station not far from my office. And it was called the bowl session, which was Greg Luzinski was a former Philadelphia, Philly. And he had this this session, and I sponsored the session, and I got free tickets to the Phillies. So I had a season pass of season tickets to the Phillies as well as part of the park. And it was it would cost me over 20 grand probably I can’t remember how much it was. But I literally got no patients from it, it was a complete waste of money. But the guy who sold me the ad felt so bad that I did that bad. But he came a patient of mine. And he actually ended up doing Invisalign and a couple other things. So I got at least one pay, I got one patient from that thing. So that was really a bad thing I did. But I started the the everything started to kind of rock and roll over time. And I got an I had a delusion of new patients coming in. And a lot of my colleagues were really interested in what I was, what I was doing or how I was doing it. So a very big point in my career was I went to the Academy of Aesthetic Dentistry, of cosmetic dentistry, the aesthetic dentistry meeting with my father, and I met a gentleman by the name of Joseph Greenberg, who is a cosmetic aesthetic dentist in Villanova, Pennsylvania, not far from where I practice. And he saw something in me and he said, Listen, I love your passion, I want you to give a presentation to my study club. So and I was not a good speaker, I was not very, you know, I was I didn’t like talking clinical. But he wanted me to talk about how I marketed my practice, and how as I was generating these new patients, so I was like, Sure. So put together a presentation on a Mac, got there, plugged my Mac in. And there were probably 20 people there and wasn’t working. I still remember this vividly my first presentation, plugged in, wasn’t working, take pull it out, part of it again, didn’t work. So in a room of like 20 people, I had to present my presentation on my small computer because they couldn’t get the screen working. Oh my gosh. But after I was done, people said that was amazing. You’re like a born speaker, the content you gave, which was great. And, you know, for those that know, that are listening to this, you know, and, you know, speaking to an audience, and hearing them tell you, that gives you a whole different feeling. I can’t even describe the feeling that you get after that happens. And I called my wife and I said, Oh my god, I love speaking I want to do this more. And that is kind of how it started. You know, after that I was asked by someone else in Philadelphia to speak and someone else. And I finally got to speaking at a session called the Academy of Dermatology, which is one of the oldest study clubs in in Philadelphia. And I got a call from the back of the room during the session. And it was like, Dude, I need your help. You need to help me with this, I need to hire you as a consultant. And I was like consulting, I’m a dentist, I don’t want to do consulting. But after I started speaking more and more and more and more people asked me to help them consult and I was like if people want it, I’m gonna give it to them. So I created a consulting company called Ice Social Dental Consulting. And in a matter of weeks, I had 20 clients. And I was overwhelmed, overwhelmed. And I didn’t like the consulting model, like your traditional consulting, I don’t I was too busy. I didn’t have to zoom wasn’t even a thing back then. I mean, it was it was hard to get everything I needed. And I just didn’t like that model. So I went to my business coach and said, I need to come up with another idea. And in the meantime, I realized the power of online reviews, I forgot to mention that I understood how reviews were bringing patients into my practice. And this was the very early part of of online marketing. But reviews were a huge influence to bring patients into my practice. And I want to ask them why you chose me. And they said, Oh, you’re great website, or you had amazing reviews. So I understood the power of reviews. But getting reviews was not easy. And I said to my coach, I said maybe I can develop a piece of software to help dentists with online reviews and a light went off. So I partnered with some people and we created a piece of software. And that transitioned me from consulting really on a full time basis. So I created it and this was 2012 and 13. So in January of 2013, I launched a product called Ice Social Reviews, which was a very basic manual way for a dentist and their team to get reviews from their patients. And we were using like a Chromebook to generate to do this. And this was all legal back then. And that was that started my my world of in 2013. In January of 13. I launched my product at the Yankee dental meeting and had no idea if anybody was interested in buying it was more of a test a test thing, and I left the Yankee dental meeting With nine new clients paying me a $497 setup fee at 397 a month, and I knew that I had something here. And that was the start of my my career as you know, a kind of a review guy. You know, luckily, I had about 180 dentists buy my product, in the first 18 months going from meeting to meeting or just networking on dental town and talking to people about it. Because there’s nothing of its kind, then there was a brand new product. And BirdEye came calling in in 2014. And they acquired my, they wanted my revenue, they they bought my revenue, they bought my clients, they got rid of my software, they didn’t really wants to the technology, because there was there’s really no technology, they had the technology, they wanted my my help to do that. But that’s kind of how kind of things have evolved. I got very, I was very fortunate. But I it’s also hard work and dedication that I was able to achieve what I did in that short period of time.
Shawn Zajas 30:53
Okay, so there’s like probably four different times that when you were just sharing that my mind was blown. I talked to so many dentists, and they want fulfillment, they want differentiation. But at the end of the day, they look around and they just do what everybody else is doing. And at the genesis of your story, it started with you simply trying new things, and not being afraid to try new things. Knowing that there’s no guarantee knowing that you might just end up wasting money like you did in some of those instances. And it’s like the adage goes like the world will make space for your gift. You ended up doing something that took had like it worked like traction started happening, it became something that was remarkable. And then other people are like, Oh my God, look what he’s doing. Oh, my gosh, look what he’s doing. And then they’re like, Well, hey, you need to share and speak. So all of a sudden, this platform emerges. I love that. You’re saying like, you’ve never viewed yourself as a speaker to this point, you didn’t think you’re a good speaker, you probably didn’t like it, you know, there’s the natural fear of speaking. And then the first experience, even with all the technical difficulties, and it’s like, boom, there’s alignment. You like create, you realize, like, Wow, a message resonates with other people and be like, this is actually part of what I’m called to do like who I am, which is so crazy land, like, it’s, I don’t want to say I’m struggling. But it’s hard to keep track of all the different skill sets and giftings that you have. And then the story morphs into people approaching you for consulting. And then you having all these people when you’re still a dentist, and then it morphs into you being like a software startup entrepreneur that then gets acquired like, I’m officially like, Have you written a book about this yet?
Dr. Len Tau 32:48
Well, I have two books. One is called Raving Patients. So Raving Patients talks about my journey. But I haven’t written like it’s more of on the dental side. Obviously, I didn’t write it as a as a story to be told about my life, like lens autopilot biography, no, I haven’t written anything like that. But it’s encompassing, in my book, Raving Patients, which is right here. For those that are curious. That’s the book that talks about my journey. But you know, one of the things I forgot to mention to you was that I, I built a practice of my dreams. Okay. My office was brand new and had every every technology I could ever imagine in the office, and I was a tech I was a tech guy. So I had an early I was always an early adopter. And so I was the first person with an iPhone. You know, I remember standing in line when my son was literally in a in a stroller to get the first iPhone, my wife didn’t want to, they brought it home, she goes, You gotta go home and give me one now or go back to the store and get a new one. So I was always an early adopter. So I built the practice of my dreams. But I was not living the life of my dreams. And that was partially because I was I was practicing dentists only 25 hours a week. But I was running the business, it took another 40 hours a week for me to run the business. So I knew that I would not be able to I want to say I knew that I was 20. This is when I was studying. Let’s see that was 2007. So it’s 35. So I’m 35 years old, I knew that I wasn’t going to make it till 60 or 65 or 70 years old as a dentist. It just wasn’t in the cards. And I know I look I met dentists in my that were 18 still practicing, I said I was not going to be that person. So I knew that I needed to potentially have an option to exit dentistry earlier than expected. So that’s why a lot of these things happen the way they did. But I was very fortunate. I was really fortunate. One of the biggest next jumping point was in 2012, I entered the new speaker contest at the ADA meeting. They have a contest every year. And someone said you should enter I’m like, okay, so I went to San Francisco, where the ADA was. And I answered the contest and lo and behold, I won. So I won the 2012 Ada NEW SPEAKER Contest, which automatically put me on the 2013 Ada meeting docket as a speaker. I automatically got the that spot. So you know, I was not a very big speaker at that point. So usually you start off in the minor leagues, you do study clubs, you do local stuff. I automatically got sent right to the major leagues. And I really spoke very early at these big meetings, which kind of allowed me to do you speak more and more and more, you know, so it’s really interesting how these little stepping stones have really made a big dent into how my life has kind of evolved.
Shawn Zajas 35:26
So I’m curious because I look at people like Tom Brady, and I’m fascinated by the fact that he was ready when opportunity came, you know, Drew Bledsoe hammer, you know, yeah, yeah. But But even when he got drafted, he was like, quarterback number four. And he tells his agent, get a place for me. They’re like, the guys like you haven’t even made the team yet. And he’s like, no, no, don’t don’t worry. Like, like, he just bet on himself. You know, he talks to Robert Kraft and he says, I’m the best investment you’ve ever made. And I just have this like, I have what it takes, and I’m going to be ready. Yeah, Bledsoe gets hurt the Mo Lewis hit. And then the rest is literally history. Now, I I’m in all of that, because I find myself and I don’t even know if you can relate to this. battling with, do I do I have what it takes? Like, can I continue to be courageous? Can I continue to step out? Even though there’s so much unknown because I don’t like unknowns? I like comfort, predictability at any, any one of these steps line? Did you ever have those like, oh, shit, and what if I fall like straight on my face? Like, like, Are you human? Or was it something that you just had this innate resilience and trust? And you’re like, I got this.
Dr. Len Tau 36:43
Yeah. And that’s what it is. I mean, I still remember I went home to my wife one day, so I’m gonna start a review company. She was like, have fun. Go for it. You know, little did I live? Did she know that her entire life would be not turned upside down in a bad way but turned upside down. Because what ended up happening? You know, I, she, I became a I went from dentists to being a salesperson. Not that I’m, I also sell with dentistry, but I was a salesperson, and involve more travel than expected i was i miss a lot of my child, my kids childhood, because I was traveling all over the country. But that’s where you that’s the hustle in me, you know? So no, I am not a worrier in any way, shape, or form. I don’t worry about anything at all, to almost to a fault per se, because I’m not a worrier. And until something actually is they don’t think it’s bad, then, you know, then I start to worry. But I am not a worrier at all. And, you know, it’s just a need in my head not to I’m always positive, I have the you know, I’m always they have cup, the cup is half full, not half empty type of person. I’m always optimistic. That’s just how I live my life. And but I’m not a worrier, and I always have the confidence, I’m able to accomplish things.
Shawn Zajas 37:47
So you get this opportunity, and you know, you’re gonna have the stage and the limelight, and eyes are on you. You just won’t prepare hard, you know, I don’t know, higher, higher speaking coach, and then all of a sudden, you just show up and crush it.
Dr. Len Tau 38:01
I actually never hired I’ve never worked with a speaking coach till recently. So back then I was I just went up there and did my thing. And, you know, I was always a fast talker. And I’ve always, you know, when I was in college, I went to Tulane in New Orleans, and they couldn’t understand me because I talked so fast. But from where I am now to where I was, when I first in practice, I have a much slower tone and voice than I had before. But I was a very, very fast talker, I had to learn to change things. And even at some of my feedback that I had gotten from, from Dennis, even I can still remember certain people wrote at the EDA meeting, you know, he has great content, but he has to slow down. He talks way too fast. You know, I can’t keep up with everything he talks about. But you know, I knew that I had something when it came to speaking, when I gave a seminar for discus Dental, I remember in in Philadelphia area, and people came up to me afterwards and told me that it was life changing for them. I’m like, What do you mean, I taught you how to market. You know, I wasn’t teaching, you know, any, any weird stuff. I was teaching how to market your practice. And they see what you showed me, there was a way that I can get more new patients I didn’t realize before. So you reinvigorated me to want to do some of those things. And it was it was and I’ve heard that many times over the years when I speak and it’s it. It’s very, it’s very humbling in my mind to show people comp to who your colleagues and they tell you that because of what I spoke about, that it changes their direction in life. And when I knew they had that effect, I knew that I really wanted to, to focus a lot on my my speaking. And now I speak you know, 35 to 40 times a year all over the country.
Shawn Zajas 39:37
Oh my gosh, I can see it now though. You know, people ask other dentists Hey, how you doing? Oh, I’m doing great, you know, doing good. And typically, the context is still it’s challenging to share where you’re struggling, but most dentists probably struggle with how do I actually get a constantly flow of new patients. But But Saying that like, what’s the point of saying that I’m slightly hopeless about this. So then all of a sudden they see Dr. Lentil on stage, and you actually provide a roadmap of how they can do this. And then hope can reignite hope can emerge again, like that’s, that is life changing. Because without that hope, imagine that means they’re in practice, feeling some measure of hopelessness, that maybe they’re not going to grow, maybe they’re not going to make payroll, maybe they’re not going to be able to have that dream that they’ve been making all these sacrifices for. That’s a sad place to be in.
Dr. Len Tau 40:36
Is it is and I look, I’ve had people that have come up to me and told me, Look, I get nowadays, I get texts, emails, Facebook messages every single day, asking them for advice on how to deal with negative reviews. That’s where That’s where, you know, not being known as a review Doctor really helps. Because people reach out to me people don’t even know, say to me, Hey, I heard that you. You’ve got this great Facebook group called Raving Patients, I want to join. But I’ve got a question. What do I do about this? Literally, as we’re on here, someone said to me, I got this review. That’s racist, what is what should I do about it? So that’s why I was having my phone, I was answering them telling me I was on a podcast recording. And because I am, one of the things I’ve learned in life is I need to be responsive as possible. And like, if I don’t respond right now, and once I see it, I’m not going to be able to because I’m so busy doing other things. So I try to respond as soon as possible. So people that do know me that are listening to this, they I tell people, you send me a text message, your email, I will I will respond almost immediately, unless I’m sleeping, or I’m giving a seminar and I don’t have access to my phone. Okay, so that’s just how I live my life.
Shawn Zajas 41:42
So Len if there’s a doctor out there, and they they love dentistry, yes. But there’s also something in between what we’re saying right now, where they’re like, man, there’s something that I need to step into, I need to step up and do. What do you say to that person that’s on the fence, just because maybe they’re scared of worst case scenario, or they’re, they’re just not not sure what to do? What, what would you say to them?
Dr. Len Tau 42:08
Well, one of the things I like to talk about at my seminars is something called a 98%. Decision Factor. I don’t know if you know what that is. So I don’t, okay, so when I was in a newer dentist, I took a went, I was in Boston, I went to the Yankee dental meeting, and I saw a presentation by Roger Levin. And Roger Levin talks about the 98% decision factor, that 98% of the decisions in life, you should be able to make within two minutes, that’s how fast you should be able to decide about these things. And there’s 2% of the decisions you make that will need to be, you know, that could have life altering decisions that you need to make, you’re moving to Florida, selling your practice buying a practice, you’re buying a car, that’s super expensive. Those are the decisions you need to take some time to decide on. But most decisions you make, okay, and I’ll give an example, bird eye is a $3,000 piece of software, 250 a month, if you pay annually, 300 hours a month, if you pay monthly. That decision, whether you use to decide whether you’re going to spend that amount will have such an insignificant result in how you things play out. In fact, you should make a lot of money using it. But take two, three or four weeks, a month, two months, three months, to decide whether you’re going to buy something for 250 hours a month, my right I would never live my life like that, I would never do that, to me that you can make that decision instantaneously, whether this is gonna help me or not. So when people call me and they’re like, I had a consult with a dentist that I know, she’s a brand new practice, she’s open only a few months, and she’s a fee for service practice. And she does not accept assignment of benefits. So patients pay her Okay, in full and then they send to the insurance and they pay the patient back. And she said she’s struggling getting new patients, I said you need to make some changes. But I told her these, you need to make the changes like immediately. And in 10 minutes, we had put a whole new plan together for her. I mean, that’s the that’s the people that are really successful. make decisions quickly like that, that are so insignificant in your life. So I’m a huge believer in that.
Shawn Zajas 44:08
Do you feel like that? Because this might answer the question, but like, over the arc of your professional career. What do you feel like might have been one of the I don’t know, the biggest mindsets that you had to just embrace in order to be where you’re at? Like, maybe the decision making was something that you’ve always done? Or was that something that you had to arrive at?
Dr. Len Tau 44:30
Well, after I took that class, I mean that again, I have certain instances in my life that have really played a huge role in how I live. You know, that was a very big tipping point in how I live is that hey, I’m gonna make decisions, you know, and I did I mean, I’m more I’m impulsive. People know me know, I’m impulsive. I’m smart. I don’t just throw money away. But I make decisions real quick. Just because I have so much going on if I don’t it doesn’t get done. So that was a huge impetus into kind of You know, changing my my career, my career direction moving forward because I made decisions at a faster clip mindsets, I think mindset is so important. But I think you always have to think positively, you know, people have, like, I get dentists who reach out to me, and they get one bad review when they think their career is over. I’m like, what? Like, seriously? Like, I get messages. I’m like, like, I always say to people, if you haven’t got a bad review you haven’t been in dentistry long enough, okay? Because just like, if you haven’t, you haven’t enough root canals, you haven’t broken a file yet. It’s the same thing to me. Congratulations, you’re officially a dentist. When you get your first bad review. People don’t people hate coming to see us, we’re not going to be getting everybody leave a positive review about us. So I think a lot of it has to do with just the mindset, I really do.
Shawn Zajas 45:48
Okay, so I’m curious over the next five years of your life, if that was the title of a chapter in your book of blen, what would that chapter be called?
Dr. Len Tau 46:02
What would what would the chapter be called for the next five years of my life?
Shawn Zajas: Yep.
Dr. Len Tau 46:12
Well, my focus now is on is really education. So you know, I speak a ton around I mean, I speak at a ton of meetings, I will tell you, there’s no greater joy in my life and sort of getting up in front of an audience and, and teaching them the things I know, because I have a different perspective on things. I’ve been a, I’ve been a vendor, I’ve been a dentist they’ve been, they’ve been a lot of other things I’ve been involved with. So I’m definitely giving it from a different perspective. But I have the credibility because I did it every day in my practice. Now I’ve as I told you, well, before we started recording, I’m hosting my my first live event in in Delray Beach, Florida, it’s called Supercharge your dental practice. So I created an entire LLC, called Tau Dental Seminars. So I’m going to go into that space a little bit. But I would say from practicing dentists to you know, world class educator, I mean, that would be the chapter I guess, because I feel that, you know, over the next five years, I’m going to be not that I want to initially travel more because I travel a ton already. But but you know, and I’m not a webinar fan, I don’t like doing webinars because the interaction I need the audience to, because I’m very, very, you know, I asked questions, I need the interaction, if my audience doesn’t interact, I hate speaking. So I get them rowdy up from the very beginning. And I tell them right from the get go, that they’re going to have a blast seeing my seminar. So I laid on the line. So I think that would be to kind of a title, it’d be from clinical dentists to world class educator. And what happens in between is what’s there so
Shawn Zajas 47:42
that that is amazing. Okay, so if there’s anyone listening right now, and they want to either get in touch with you, or I don’t know, if you still do consulting, but they want your services or to follow you or to be part of what you’re doing, where do you want their eyeballs to go?
Dr. Len Tau 47:54
So they I’m all over social insects, IP meet people at trade shows that I’ve never met in person, but they say they follow Me. And they they’re very intrigued by what I do. So I am available on any social channel that you want, or that you have Instagram, Facebook, I have my cell phone number I’ll give because anybody can reach out to me, it’s 215-292-2100 is my cell phone number. And my email, the best way to get a hold of me is Len le n at Dr. Le N ta u.com. Shoot me. So it’s Lana at Dr. Len tau.com. And, you know, just as I told you before, if you text me, tell me who you are. And I will respond super quick, quick. If you email me, same thing, if you call me I’ll if I can answer, I’ll send you a text and I’ll call you right back. I will be as responsive as anybody you’ve ever met before. And that people test me on that, and I am the I’m 100% truthful with that I will get right back to you.
Shawn Zajas 48:52
And that is amazing. Okay, so here’s the closing question. You’re walking down the street, and in the distance, you see a 18 year old Len. And you know, you’re just gonna have one moment to communicate a sentiment to him, What do you share to him?
Dr. Len Tau 49:08
So I’m so you’re telling me, I’m going back in time, and I’m meeting myself. So
Shawn Zajas 49:12
the 18 year old has the chance to live kind of the life over again, correct. That’s the assumption. And from everything you’ve learned in life to this point, you you can impart something to the younger version of yourself.
Dr. Len Tau 49:27
Well, that’s a great question. But you know, I’m always somebody who lives life to the fullest. I work hard. I’m fortunate, because I have not. I worked very hard throughout my career. But I’ve never been given anything in my life. Actually, I’ve been given one thing. The only thing I’ve ever been given was my parents gave me my my education. They paid for my college and my my dental school, and I didn’t realize how fortunate I was to live afterwards. But I’ve worked hard for everything else. But I live life to the fullest. I enjoy life every single day. And I would kind of relate that to my younger self is that hey, live life, enjoy it. Make make sure your family is is a huge part of your life. And just sit back and enjoy the ride because it will be a great ride.
Shawn Zajas 50:14
Len, it has been so easy to honor you as an innovator, as someone that literally is pioneering positive disruption in the industry. I love what you’re doing. I’m in your corner. I’m super excited about the seminars, and everything you’re going to be doing this year and in the upcoming years. And I just want to say thank you so much for letting me interview you today.
Dr. Len Tau 50:34
I appreciate it. I this was you know, I do a lot of web. I do a lot of podcasts. And for those that listen to this, this was kind of a different perspective on me. I think I’ve only done one or two other ones very similar to this. But this was an amazing experience. I appreciate you. And I didn’t know exactly what we were going to be talking about. So I want to thank you for allowing me to kind of share my my life with with people and kind of how things have kind of unfolded over the years. I appreciate you allowing me to do thank you
Shawn Zajas 51:02
so much Len thanks for listening, and be sure to follow so you never miss an episode. To learn more about what’s going on in dentistry. Check out innovation in dentistry.com
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