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Dentists Who Invest

The Power Of Sales Copy with Dr. Sugz Maha

Dr. James: 

Welcome back to Dentistry Invest Podcast everybody. We’ve been doing quite a few entrepreneurial podcasts of late and in that spirit, got another gentleman with me here today. His name is Soogs, and Soogs has a really interesting story with regards to his dentistry and how he now is in the process of reducing his clinical commitment to dentistry because of his obsession with written copy, which is something that we’re going to talk about during the course of the podcast. What that is but in essence what it is is the skill and the craft of writing words, writing letters in such a way as they’re convincing and they can allow other people to understand the value of certain products. So some might you know, in a sense they’re adverts. They’re a little bit. They’re not maybe as in your face, as that really is what people would generally associate with that word.

Dr. James: 

Written copy is an incredibly powerful thing. If you’ve ever seen an email that describes a product, chances are it’s copy. We’re going to be delving into the many facets of what that is and how it can be used in the business and how interesting it is in just a moment. But before we do that Suge, how are you today?

Dr. Suganthan: 

Yeah, I’m good. I’m good man. It’s good to be on this podcast, actually. Thanks for having me on. I listen to a lot of your episodes on the way to work, so it’s nice to be a guest.

Dr. James: 

Hey man, this is life on the other side of the camera. Now, bro, you’ve hit. Yeah, yeah, we’re both in the big leagues. Now, bro, here we go. Awesome man, top stuff. Well, sigs, you know what I know? You and I have been catching up with each other a little bit just before we hit record on the camera. Maybe it might be nice for you to stare, share your story with the listeners in the dentist invest podcast today yeah, definitely so.

Dr. Suganthan: 

I qualified in 2018 um and I’ve been practicing in mixed practice three to four days a week and right now I’m in Hertfordshire. And basically, when I started doing clinical dentistry, I always knew I wanted to start a business. I knew that like from the outset, but I thought the idea of owning a practice it just seemed it wasn’t quite creative. It didn’t scratch that creative itch and I’ve always been quite a creative person. So before I did this, I did music, did music for a number of years, and then I thought, ok, cool, like, how can I monetize creativity? Basically and writing was always something that I was quite good at from a young age. So what was this? This is probably about the pandemic time, so 2021, around. So what was this? This was probably about the pandemic time, so 2021.

Dr. Suganthan: 

Around that time I was like, okay, how can I monetize writing? So there was like novels and you could write books and stuff like that, sure. But then I came across this thing called copywriting and you hit the nail on the head in terms of your description of it. It’s writing words to persuade people. It’s it’s um, it’s salesmanship in print. Basically, it’s it’s how you can sell something in the using the written word you know what?

Dr. James: 

I’m actually really glad you say that, because I I wasn’t actually entirely sure if I did what copy is justice with that ad hoc description that I came up with just then. So to hear you say that is reassuring, which is awesome and you certainly put it a lot more concisely than me and yeah, that’s what it is, and it doesn’t actually sound that remarkable when we both describe it, but actually it’s fascinating and there’s many layers to it and extremely powerful yeah, yeah, yeah, it definitely is.

Dr. Suganthan: 

It’s, um, I’d say, out of any skill, it’s probably one of the most transferable skills in all aspects of your life. So not only myself as a clinician. Obviously, it’s something that I offer as a service in my business, but as a clinician, it allows me to be a better communicator in my personal life. You know, just everywhere, in every facet of life. It allows you to communicate more concisely, it allows you to get to the point and it just allows you to connect with people on a deeper level, and I think that’s the power of copy from you know, when I started to now. That’s the skill that you’re ultimately trying to sharpen is how can I connect to this person deeper and get to their deepest desires and their wants so that I can align what I’m trying to sell with what they desire?

Dr. James: 

Because that’s the thing. That’s basically sales in a nutshell. You know, if you feel you have a product that can get someone to their goals much, much faster, then you need to be able to clearly articulate that and relate that to the issues that they have identified or that they feel they are having trouble with. The problems that they feel they’re having trouble with how they’re they’re perceived. They’re perceived to have is a really good way of saying it. It’s their perception of the matter. You have to connect with that, because what the problem actually is versus their perception might be two different things. So you kind of have to look past that and connect with them on a psychological level, which is all about what copy is effectively. So tell me this. Let’s talk about copy a little bit more as the podcast transpires.

Dr. James: 

But how did I remember when I had that epiphany and it was from a mentor, maybe a few years ago, and he wrote some posts for me, and I saw he wrote some posts for me I think it was on Instagram and they got so much engagement. It was crazy and I was like, wow, this is actually nuts. And then basically, I learned a lot of those skills and I was like, wow, this is actually nuts. And then, basically, I learned a lot of those skills and I was able to apply them continuously going forwards in Dentistry Invest. So that was my big epiphany, when I realized just how potent it actually can be when it’s done correctly and when you understand the formulas and the nuances of it. When did that epiphany occur for you? Because I’m sensing that a similar thing happened to yourself.

Dr. Suganthan: 

Yeah, I wouldn’t attribute it to like one specific moment. Once I figured out that copywriting was something that you could do um, it’s a business that you can grow from basically writing I was kind of went down the rabbit hole and I’ll say the book that changed the game for me was a book called cashvertising. Um, and I can’t remember the author’s name. Off the top of my head it’s drew something, but I can’t remember. I’m sure it’ll come up like as soon as you google it. Um, and that changed the game for me, because that is about the fundamentals of what’s called direct response copywriting.

Dr. Suganthan: 

So copywriting again, we like, like you said, we’re probably going to delve into it later on the episode but direct response copywriting is essentially, if you remember, like when you’re a kid and you you’d get those letters in the post that would be like invest in these three stocks and you could become billionaire in, you know, in 10, 15 years or whatever it is those were direct response copywriters.

Dr. Suganthan: 

And the reason why they’re called direct response copywriters was because they were trying to elicit a direct response from whatever it was they wrote. So in those days it was sales letters. Nowadays, like you alluded to earlier, it’s email, so you might be writing an email and it gets people to take action immediately. And I think that was the power for me was that when I realized, literally by just writing words in a certain order, in a certain manner and in a certain fashion, you, you can get people to take action, and I think that’s incredibly powerful, especially when you start applying it to different facets of your life as well and it must be said that we must add in there that this is not manipulating anybody.

Dr. James: 

This is only when you genuinely feel you can help them, otherwise you wouldn’t do it to somebody right yeah, yeah, yeah, absolutely.

Dr. Suganthan: 

I mean I think that the thing about if you go into the rabbit hole of copywriting and you want to read a lot of the books like a lot of the famous books on copywriting you’ll find a lot of what these people talk about are a little bit what people would describe as a bit sleazy. You know, a lot of it’s in the financial like biz op kind of space and supplements and stuff like that, and there are a few shady characters there, but it’s a power that can be used for good. Um, and yeah, you’re absolutely right like it’s not manipulative ultimately, I mean, it’s just like sales. You know sales people describe it as a dirty word sometimes, especially in dentistry, but ultimately you are trying to convey value in what you do and you’re trying to convey that to someone who’s going to need the services that you offer, and that’s all you’re doing really with selling. It’s not, you know, you’re not manipulating people to do what something against their will.

Dr. James: 

That’s like that’s unethical well, in addition to that, it is unethical. But in addition to that, it is unethical. But in addition to that, let’s say that you write, you’re really good at sales in some sort of medium. That might be verbal sales, as in communicating to someone on a one-to-one basis, or written sales or something along those lines. Even if they do, even if you manage to convince them to buy the product, if the product’s not actually going to help them, well then you get problems a little bit further down the line, in that people are going to say to you well, this is bad, this didn’t actually help me, you misrepresented it, everything along those lines.

Dr. James: 

So really, as well as being unethical, it will actually create problems for a business just a little further down the line rather than immediately. Because with a business that needs cash flow, well, that’s a more immediate problem. They can generate the cash flow, but they have to have the product to match up to that as well. So really, you have to have both sides Marketing or sales or whatever is just your ability to describe the product and relate it to the person in front of you’s issues. And again, as you say, it’s a power and, like any power, you have to use it responsibly and only when you genuinely feel you can help someone, because otherwise it will 100% bite you in the ass a little later, further down the line. But anyway, okay, cool. So you read Cashvertising, right, and I actually wrote that book down because that sounds fascinating. I’d love to read that book. You read Cashvertising and then you were like whoa, there’s actually something to this copy thing.

Dr. Suganthan: 

Right, there’s actually something to this copy thing, right, yeah, yeah. So it started from that book. And then I thought, with everything in life, I just find the easiest way for me personally to learn is just by doing. I read the thing or I watch a video and then I just go straight into it and do it. So I thought, okay, cool, let me try and find people that I can write copy for. And I started out on Upwork if you’re familiar with that, which is like a job board for freelancers and I started out in there and I was writing copy for you know all kinds of businesses you know we’re talking like plumbers and electricians and all kinds of businesses and I was barely getting paid anything. But it wasn’t about that at the start. It was just about proving that I could execute. And then from there it just snowballed sweet man, massive respect, okay, cool.

Dr. James: 

And how does life look for you now? How many days a week are you in clinical dentistry?

Dr. Suganthan: 

so at the moment I’m still on four days, so I’m like stretched to the max. Uh, luckily, you know, I’ve managed to balance it thus far. But it’s getting to that kind of tipping point now where I’m kind of like, okay, I’ve literally got no other time to do anything else in my life but either dentistry or the business and copy. So, you know, it’s getting to that point where I need to cut down my clinical days.

Dr. James: 

Wow, and I know that you told me this off camera and I’m not sure if you mentioned it just now when you were talking. However, this copy journey, this realization for yourself and this move into a side gig, it really started really quite recently, at about two years ago, and you managed to craft yourself a path outside of dentistry. I’ve got that right, haven’t I?

Dr. Suganthan: 

yeah, yeah, yeah. So it was two years ago when I started and it was initially it wasn’t even I didn’t even really think it could transpire into like a actual business. But I’d say over the past year it’s really kind of taken shape. Um, I’ve got clients that retainer clients now and, you know, getting clients through referrals, and it’s kind of it’s compounding on itself. Um, so it’s just like any business. I mean, you know, I’m sure for yourself it was the same where it just kind of it was a domino effect and people just start gravitating towards you once they hear what you have to offer.

Dr. James: 

That’s right. Yeah, that’s right, and providing you’re doing a good job for them and serving them to a really high standard. Yes, that does happen with time and actually, yeah, it’s around about that time frame. I always notice like a year, two years. Then what it means is there’s less. There’s more people that come to you, right, and they’re like, oh, I’ve heard you help this person and I have exactly the same problem, can you help me? And blah, blah, blah, and then it just flows organically. Yeah, that’s really cool man. Okay, brilliant, all right, and tell me this Can you give us some examples of copywriting, maybe some campaigns that you’ve done that were really effective, or some little things that you implemented in terms of techniques when it comes to copywriting that you find really effective, just to make it really tangible for the listeners how it works?

Dr. Suganthan: 

yeah, definitely, um, so a lot of the copy that I do now is for healthcare businesses. So by that I don’t mean specifically practices, dental practices and stuff like you know, businesses like that, I mean businesses, auxiliary businesses. So we’re talking clear aligner companies, we’re talking software companies, whatever it may be, and I find the biggest problem that I encounter is we we briefly discussed this before we were live, but, um, a lot of healthcare professionals are very logical, so they, when they invent a product or a service, everything they talk about on their website or their email campaigns is very much. This is what we do. This is how good we are. These are the papers that we were published in blah blah, blah, and it’s all me, me, me, me, me.

Dr. Suganthan: 

The most effective thing that I found, um, and this was particularly, you know, uh, important for a sas company that I work with, saas is software as a service, and they basically were, you know, speeding up lead conversion processes or something like that for med spas. Anyway, that’s not important, but essentially what I did was I turned all their features into benefits. So what that means in real time and to make it more tangible, is if, for example, a feature is you know, we uh, we process transactions three times faster than the competitor, but what does that actually mean for the business? So, as a result of processing transactions three times quicker, it means that profit margins increase by x amount. So you’re, you’re you’re not just tackling what the actual feature is, you’re tackling the benefit that it has on the consumer. Um, and I think that’s one particularly powerful thing.

Dr. Suganthan: 

And two, specificity is like the most important thing. So what I mean by that is, even in my own business, I could say I write copy for businesses, right, and I could just be a copywriter, but I write copy for business to business, b2b, healthcare businesses. That’s a specific group of people that I’m talking to, and I think the rule of one is really important. So what I mean by that is you’re talking to one specific person. Whenever you’re writing copy, you’re talking to, you’re not talking to a group of people. Whenever you’re writing copy, it’s almost it should feel like a conversation. So you’re writing to a specific person who has a specific problem and a specific point of pain within their life, and I find that’s the most that moves people the most when you’re talking to them directly rather than talking to a group of people, if that makes sense.

Dr. James: 

No, it does totally like even going so far as to use their first name, right?

Dr. Suganthan: 

yeah, exactly exactly that. And say, for example, um, even if you were like dentists who invest, helps dentists do this, this and this, it could be dentists, dentists who invest, help people like you do this, this and this, and you could benefit from, um, you know, investing in your future, you could benefit from doing these things. Just the power of that one word you is is you know. I think that’s like the most powerful lesson that I’ve learned, and it sounds so small but it makes such a big impact no, it is 100.

Dr. James: 

I totally, totally, totally agree with that. Awesome, okay, cool. Let’s pull it back to dentistry. How has this skill that you’ve developed and nurtured helped you whenever it comes to your clinical dentistry?

Dr. Suganthan: 

so, as we were kind of saying, is you know, it’s copywriting is essentially salesmanship, it’s salesmanship in the written word, so all of the principles that exist there you can kind of transfer it into into the surgery. So now, when it comes to kind of converting big treatment plans, um, even just explaining complex things to patients, it’s easier to articulate that when you’re coming from a perspective of how can I help you and you know what’s in it for you. That’s the question I try and answer now, whereas before, I think when I qualified and this is how we were all taught you just list out benefits, you know risks and costs and you’re just reeling off a bunch of facts rather than being like what’s in it for me? Like you know, if a patient is missing a tooth, I used to just be, you know, I used to reel off the spiel about what you got the option of a bridge, a denture and an implant or you can do nothing.

Dr. Suganthan: 

But it’s like you missed out the fact that the patient said to you they wore a denture five years ago and it was the worst thing they ever experienced and they lisped and it kept falling out when they were out to dinner and things like that you know it. By covering that point in your, in your explanation, you’re essentially ignoring everything that you heard before you got to that point and, um, yeah, I found that that is really important. Um, when communicating with patients in a clinical level, and then I’d say, the other thing that’s helped with is, um, treatment letters, so like when you’re sending big treatment plans to patients, you want to kind of be as concise as you possibly can, and I think the trap that a lot of dentists fall into is, again, they’re just listing out a bunch of risks and, you know, a bunch of features that the patient doesn’t really care about, and I think being concise has really, really helped me in that regard.

Dr. James: 

Amazing man and you know what. You know what breaks my heart Whenever the dentist has a patient along to a, let’s say, an exam, and then they come up with this big treatment plan, these treatment plans, to send it off to the patient and possibly the patient has serious intent and does want to see it in writing. However, probably what happens about 80% of the time in my experiences it’s a delay tactic and the patients maybe they haven’t really fully recognized the value of how it will help them and it’s just a way of them, can we say, terminating the conversation. But the downside of the dentist is you’re literally going to spend 30 minutes making a treatment plan, which is a lot of your time, yeah, particularly if you’re doing it a few times a day, and it can be very ineffective if we’re making these huge logical treatment plans you were talking about just a second ago yeah, yeah, exactly that, exactly that, I think you.

Dr. Suganthan: 

Just sometimes I think it’s easy for us to forget how it is to be a patient because we’re so deeply entrenched in this profession where it’s, you know, so logical and we we learn so much. A lot of us are passionate about what we do, and it’s good to be passionate, but not in a way that is going to repel a patient you know, cool man, all right, awesome.

Dr. James: 

So what’s the game plan then? Are you planning to step away from clinical dentistry entirely, or maybe just reduce your commitments a little bit and have more balance?

Dr. Suganthan: 

yeah, I think that that’s ultimately the goal I think I want. I don’t want to step away from clinical dentistry because it’s not like a thing where I feel like I don’t enjoy dentistry anymore and I absolutely hate it and I’m you know I’m dreading going in on a monday morning, but it’s just more a sense of how can I create more balance, and the aim right now is to try and cut down my clinical days rather than leave it completely respect man and you know what, what an interesting story for people who are listening out.

Dr. James: 

There’s so many guests that we’ve had on recently who’ve managed to carve their way out of clinical dentistry. And it’s not that we’re saying, right, this is what everybody needs to do. It’s not like we’re idolizing that mindset or that path and saying, right, this is what everybody should do. They should all exit dentistry. But what we are saying is do what you need to do to make you happy on this short time on this earth. However the hell that looks. Is that less dentistry? Is it more dentistry? Is it precisely the same amount of dentistry? But maybe you just want to develop another skill which generates you some income and revenue around that? Well, that’s more the angle that we’re coming at from this content that we create on the dentist who invest podcast. So would you agree?

Dr. Suganthan: 

yeah, yeah, yeah, absolutely. I mean, I think it’s it. You you kind of get to a point where every dentist knows their limit and I knew my limit when I, you know, I did five days a week to start out with and it was even that was too much for me and it, when it starts to take away your enjoyment from the job, what’s the point of doing it? You know, you know, yeah, money is a great driver and you could be, as you said earlier. You know you could be married to the money and just be like, okay, cool, I’m just going to do this for like a lot, then say, you know, do this till I’m 50 and then I’m gonna, and then I’m gonna enjoy my life.

Dr. Suganthan: 

Yes, that, exactly that. And I just I don’t know. I think the problem with that mentality is you get to 50 and especially when you’re doing that many years of dentistry at a high level and you’re doing it so frequently, you’re going to end up with a lot of health problems and are you really going to enjoy your life at 50, having burned yourself out up until that point?

Dr. James: 

yeah, well, listen, you know, I mean that’s the thing you know. I think, like it’s, what is really easy to do is not make today you accountable for your own happiness, and what I mean by that is this it’s very easy to pass that accountability of you being happy onto a future version of yourself and never actually quite getting there and never actually quite living in the moment, or never actually quite hitting a zone where you’re content and present in the moment because you’re thinking to yourself okay, cool, when I just achieve this goal or I hit this milestone, then I’ll be happy. And that’s fine that I think that way, because I wasn’t actually meant to be happy in the here and now. You’re only supposed to be happy whenever you retire and you’re totally free. Well, that’s based on two things. It’s that presumption is based on two things it’s based on the assumption that you will indeed be happy whenever you hit that age, and it’s also based on the assumption that you will make it to that age, because there’s actually no guarantee that that will happen. And you know, the saddest thing in the whole wide world one of my friends uh, he had a another friend whose father basically worked overtime for like 30 years, got to like 55, uh, retired from his job. His plan was to spend loads of time with his kids and four weeks later he was not alive anymore. Because he realized, two weeks after he retired, that he actually had the terminal form of an illness, effectively. So that was really sad, that really got me and I was like right. So it’s so easy to fall into that trap where you’re delegating your happiness to a future version of yourself and not taking accountability in the moment.

Dr. James: 

How does accountability look in the here and now? It looks like this. It looks like, first of all, accepting that there is some sort of balance that we can have in terms of work. Life or life work as the new age people like to call it, the coaches like to call it. They put the life first and the prioritize the work second, which is why they frame it that way around.

Dr. James: 

But anyway, not to digress. Basically, if we accept that in the here and now, then what it means is that we have to challenge ourselves, to look outside of dentistry or look beyond what’s currently in front of us, or mix things up and change. And change is not a comfortable process for everybody. There’s some discomfort associated with it and I feel it’s that discomfort and not recognizing that that is actually a healthy thing to do which will usually mean that we can get closer and closer to the reality that we desire and dream for. If we basically just accept that that’s part of the process and start to mix things up, then all of a sudden we can realize that actually the whole happiness in the future thing is literally just a total mirage and it’s something that’s made up and we need to prioritize it in the here and now.

Dr. Suganthan: 

However that looks yeah, yeah, completely agree, completely agree, and I think I don’t know.

Dr. Suganthan: 

I feel like, um, you kind of get to a point and this is a bit cliche but you kind of get to a point where you feel like I, you, you want to discover your purpose a bit. You want to discover, you know, without getting too spiritual, but why you’re here on this earth, like you want to discover that, and for everyone. I don’t mean it needs to be some you know crazy purpose in life, but whatever it is, it needs to be something that impacts everyone, you know, and it leaves a legacy, and that’s that’s like a thing for me, um, and I feel like, in my, in my perspective, creativity and creating a business and things like that, it impacts so many people around me and I think that’s the greatest impact that I can create and it might not stop here, like there’s still a whole journey to go ahead of me, um, and I’m still figuring things out, as I’m sure you are. So it’s like you know, it’s a never-ending journey really aren’t we all still trying to figure stuff out?

Dr. James: 

There’s I don’t think there’s ever an age or a place that you hit that you’re never still trying to figure stuff out. Even more, because there’s always more to learn in this earth. And you know what, when we have that belief, we have that mindset, Well, guess what, Then? We’re always eternal students, we’re always learning, we’re always ref, and that means that obviously, well, we’re welcoming so much more good stuff into our life, more information that we can use to create the reality that we want in the here and now, which is flipping cool. All right Suggs, well, listen. Thanks so much for your time today on the Dentistry Invest podcast. Anybody wants to reach out to you or get in touch? How might they do that?

Dr. Suganthan: 

What’s the best way? Best way to contact me is probably through LinkedIn. That’s the social network that I pretty much exclusively use. I don’t really use any other social network. Um, so you can reach out to me, dr sugs maha. Um, that’s, yeah, I think that’s the easiest way to get get in contact boom, my man.

Dr. James: 

So thank you so much for your time again, once again today on the denison invest podcast. I’m sure that you and I will speak once again very, very, very soon, in a bit, definitely. Thanks.

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