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Ep.73: Interview with Thomas Jeneby, MD

Dr. Thomas Jeneby:

Board certified plastic surgeon with an accredited office-based surgery center with MD Anesthesiologists in San Antonio, TX since 2002.

Member and Appointed Diplomat: ASPS.
National Trainer: SmartLipo & Dot Therapy Laser Resurfacing.
International Speaker: Adjustable breast implants.

Dr. Jeneby is a board certified plastic surgeon in private practice in San Antonio, TX since 2002.

He’s a member of the American Society of Plastic Surgeons and received the honor of being appointed Diplomat for the American Board of Plastic Surgery. He’s also a national trainer for SmartLipo and Dot Therapy Laser Resurfacing, as well as international speaker on adjustable breast implants.

Thomas Jeneby, MD operates out of his accredited office-based surgery center and uses only MD Anesthesiologists ensuring 2 doctors are with the patient at all times.

Visit Dr. Jeneby’s Website

Learn the psychology behind your patient’s choices with Catherine’s FREE Book

FREE 30-Minute Strategy Session with Catherine


Beauty and the Biz

Ep.73: Interview with Thomas Jeneby, MD

Catherine Maley, MBA:  Hello everybody, it’s Beauty and the Biz where we talk about the digital marketing side of plastic surgery. I’m Catherine Maley, author of Your Aesthetic Practice: What Your Patients Are Saying, as well as consultants or plastic surgeons to get them more patients and more profit. So today I have a special guest and his name is Dr. Thomas Jeneby. Now, Dr. Jeneby is a board-certified plastic surgeon in private practice in San Antonio since 2002. And he’s a member of the American Society of Plastic Surgeons and received an honor of being appointed diplomat of the American Board of Plastic Surgery. Now he’s a national trainer for smart life Oh, as well as dot therapy, laser resurfacing, and an international speaker on adjustable breast implants. Now Dr. –operates out of his own accredited, office-based surgery center, and he uses only MD anesthesiologists and surgeons ensuring two doctors are with the patient at all times. So, Dr. Jeneby, I want to welcome you to Beauty and the Biz.

Thomas Jeneby, MD: Thank you.

Catherine Maley, MBA: Yeah. I love today’s world. All we had to do this on a Sunday because everyone’s so darn busy. So of course, he’s in his car grocery shopping with his wife. So, I’m sure all sorts of hiccups will happen. But we’re going to get through this. So, Dr. Genovese, I will tell you, I’ve been at this for 20 years hanging around with plastic surgeons and I can I can count on one hand how many of them had ponytails. And so, you win for the longest ponytail I’ve seen so far.

Thomas Jeneby, MD: Yeah.

Catherine Maley, MBA: Congratulations.

Thomas Jeneby, MD: I just added cut actually, probably are probably right around 11 inches, I was up to 16. So, I just got to cut it.

Catherine Maley, MBA: How did you become a plastic surgeon with a ponytail?

Thomas Jeneby, MD: Well, I went to Penn and Philly. And there I had to keep it cut. That was 96 to 2002. Their combined program. And you know, in the Ivy League, they don’t. You don’t get to have long air. So, after that, about 2000 just as I finished, I started to grow it out long. And then then, it’s kind of spiraled to get longer and longer. And then there’s a point and as you grow your hair, you look a little funny. And I blast through that point. And then I got it to the knowledge. It’s a you know, for me, it’s a kind of like, like a free trademark here in town.

Catherine Maley, MBA: For sure.

Thomas Jeneby, MD: Yeah.

Catherine Maley, MBA: If you ever want to differentiate, that’s one way to do it. That’s for sure. So, what’s the best way to become a plastic surgeon because they’re typically a fairly conservative group. And you can obviously see you’re a renegade. So how did you end up in this industry?

Thomas Jeneby, MD: So just like every other surgeon almost, you always come to believe that you want to be the cardiac surgeon or neurosurgeon. And when you have those, those thoughts in your head, you don’t realize how much time you need to spend in the hospital. And when I did my rotations, my third rotation in third year was surgery. And I connected with guy named Isaac born of Dr. Warner was in private practice in in Richmond, was at MTV and went to Penn. He said I think he would like plastic surgery. So, a month with him. I loved it. And he wrote me a nice letter to Dr. Winokur up in at Penn was the chairman at the time, and said, this guy’s going to be good for the program. So that’s how it started and then I got mad.

Catherine Maley, MBA: And then how do we end up in San Antonio, Texas? Are you from there?

Thomas Jeneby, MD: You’re gonna laugh but uh, I’m a huge Cowboys fan. And I’m from the East Coast.

Catherine Maley, MBA: Oh, [inaudible 04:08] East Coast be a Cowboys fan. What’s wrong with you?

Thomas Jeneby, MD: I don’t know. Ever since I was a kid, I like Randy white and those guys and I had cowboys gear and I kept getting blacked out in Philly and New York and DC. as a Cowboys fan. I thought Texas would be a great place to go.

Catherine Maley, MBA: Now, you know, did you end up in private practice right away? Or did you first do what a lot do which is join another practice. Get a partner not that they’ll finally realize you need to be on your own. Like how did that journey happen for you?

Thomas Jeneby, MD: I went with what they call a hospital guarantee. And I did that twice. The first place I went to was Arkansas Little Rock and I got a hospital guarantee. I lived there from 2002 to 2000 And kind of got tired of it, and then thought to myself, I’m gonna live in the south, I’m gonna live in Texas, then I leapfrog into San Antonio with another hospital guarantee. I never joined anyone. I know I’ve never had a partner. I like it like that. Sometimes in this industry, and most of the times more than not, partnerships don’t survive in plastic surgery. I don’t know why. I mean, I have I have thought, why, but who knows?

Catherine Maley, MBA: All right. So, in your practice, are you the sole revenue producer? Are you kind of like that one and done mentality where you just do surgery and nastic? Or do you have a med spa situation, how do you set up?

Thomas Jeneby, MD: So, since 2004, I’ve been acquiring property of buildings, and my first building was Oh, seven. And that building, I built my office space, which is a plastic surgery side. And then I created a med spa upstairs, in 2010. And by 2009, and by 2010, I created a surgery center all in one building. And right now, I have about Oh, 12 to 13, Med Spa staff. And in 2017, I acquired a building in San Antonio, kind of in the wealthier section of town. And from there, I split into two med spas. So, I have about 12 to 13 girls who’ve been to med spas, I have a total staff of about 23.

Catherine Maley, MBA: Well, okay. So, let’s talk about the business side of that, because nowadays, you have to be a surgeon and a manager and a leader and a visionary, and a marketer and everything else. Um, how’s that going? How do you like running the business side of your practice?

Thomas Jeneby, MD: I really do. I’m I but I love marketing, I guess it would be my hobby when I’m done. Maybe you and I can work right or whatever. But right now, we are branching out and helping other practices with their marketing. But doing a little bit more than that we’re actually going in hiring staff for them, and monitoring the staff for lead closures. And I’m very, very interested in the psychology of closing a lead. And how many of you need to close for this amount of income. So, you have to break it down to like, likely closures for example, we use a software called Red Spot. And I have no financial, you know, financial wherewithal with red spot. But it sounds like first of all leads to closure, we should be doing about 6% to 7%. That’s talking 12,000 leads or some you know what I mean? It’s not just one, it’s all the leads combined in your efforts. And I know when we sent the 4% or 3%, we won’t pay the bill. But I know it’s 6% will pay the bills, you have to get that granular with your lead acquisition, and lead tracking, it’s not so much that you and I can drive traffic to anyone by overspending on sem. But then it’s not using the SEM fault. It’s your fault for not training the staff or having external people, put them in the thing. And then finding financing.

Catherine Maley, MBA: 

Right, there’s a great pearl that you’re seeing there. Because right now most of the audience says six to 7%. And what you don’t realize is it’s the fundamentals of getting a stranger through your processes to a yes. So, I always hear in fact, this database Oh, yeah. conversion rate is 50%. No, it’s not. You thought you started with 100 leads. And now you’re down to maybe you got one out of that you didn’t convert the phone, you didn’t convert the consult, you didn’t convert the retention. Like there’s so much more to it than just that one piece of it. So, I’m so glad to get that. Yeah.

Thomas Jeneby, MD: Yeah, like 50% means they got into your office and somehow could make payments. Okay, so what we did is, about five years ago, I started lending money to patients, I make them put 65% to 75% down, and then I finance 25 to 35%. And that’s that and the loss rate on that is about 3% with how many people we keep up with. So that’s better than care credit 13%. You know what I mean?

Catherine Maley, MBA: So, you’re literally you’re having them put 65% cash down or credit card or something, and then you’re giving them another paid plan to finish off that last?

Thomas Jeneby, MD: Yes, and it works. We probably do that with 30% of the clients. And if it wasn’t for that 30% of our clients wouldn’t be able to afford $20,000 surgery or 15,000 $1,000 surgery or something, but you just find out your sweet spot where you’ve already made your money. And then how to do these flags and what software to use? And then some softwares have automatic payments, whether you collect or not, or extra fee. It’s kind of fun. It’s fun to figure that stuff out.

Catherine Maley, MBA: Wow. And do you now have an accounting department that’s acting as your internal bank?

Thomas Jeneby, MD: Yeah, I have one person in the office, that when we get a hit that says, this person didn’t pay, he goes back and fix the other form, we have two forms of payment of a checking in a, some kind of a credit card, we switch to the other form, and we have software to automatically switches. And then if that doesn’t work, we send them to collections. That’s pretty. So, it’s like a business, like a regular business.

Catherine Maley, MBA: Okay, so departments different about you are, you get both sides to that number. All their patient, or all the doctors are saying right now is I’m not going to be the bank, they’re going to default, I have to pay staff to do this. But look, what you did you grab that 30% that you never would have gotten had you not done this. So, you have to do that check and balance of value. What do you get out of this? versus what’s it costing you to get out of this?

Thomas Jeneby, MD: Yeah, and I know, we lose only 3% actually, with my, with the way I structured the banking in my admin fees. I’m currently making 2%. So, what you do is you look at what care credit there, they have these two years thing. I think it’s two years, 24 months, no interest. Well, that’s not no interest to you, you pay 13%. So, if you have a $10,000, surgery, care, credit charges give you 8700. So, you’re talking like you’re talking saving 10% a year by being your own bank actually making one to 3% of here on that, and there’s no credit check was nothing we don’t we don’t check anything. No, we have 65 to 75% down.

Catherine Maley, MBA: Then at least you know you’ve recouped your cost and the rest is gravy. Is that how you look at it?

Thomas Jeneby, MD: That’s pretty much. Yeah, and so we get checks every month that are basically like an annuity, you get a you know, you get some money, months that you weren’t really expecting, but they’ve been surgeries from years ago. But they just keep coming in and the guy has taught me that was the guy. So, when I look at something for business, I don’t talk to other doctors, I talk to others. So, these are payroll services like those fast check, you know, you can get free money if you payroll advance. So that guy said one day, he drove up in like this Rolls Royce, and I’m like, What the hell do you do? And he said, I have 7000 people giving me 100 bucks a month. Wow. Oh, man, that makes sense. So that’s how I got into it.

Catherine Maley, MBA: Wow, all right, very good. And by the way, that’s how I’ve always marketed you never look in your own industry, you look at other industries who do very well, and you pull it apart, that’s all I’ve done in my whole career, I keep pulling it apart from another, like, what do the whatever do and then I bring it to our industry, and then I know, you know, plug for the plastic surgeons, good for you. Um, so regarding a staff, now most of the surgeon say staff and managing staff and motivating them has been probably the biggest challenge of being in business, how’s it going for you?

Thomas Jeneby, MD: So, I’ve done different formulas, I have individual bonuses, and then I have seen bonuses. And so, what we found was, there’s a sweet spot for every employee, they might not be bringing 50 to $70,000 a week, they may be a 30,000 per day, $1,000 week person, but they may have other sides to that loop. And so, what you do is you make a sort of a goal that you think in that month, in that time of the year that they could make those goals. And you switch a little bit by having some team goals. And what I found was they don’t ratchet themselves. And they don’t stand back for the next week. So, but there’s a little nobody’s right? Nobody’s wrong. It’s and some staff want recognition. Some people want a plaque. Some people want a toothbrush, I don’t know what they whatever they want, we figured their sweet spot. And there are some basic formulas though, to this and nothing. we’ve mastered it. But every staff is different. Your staff now will be different than it is three to four years from now. They’re just going to be natural turnover. And so, you’ll have to find some sweet spots for them and continuously test and fail. You have to fail. There’s a growth and comfort you’re not broken coexist. You’re gonna have to fail along.

Catherine Maley, MBA: With growth, as you grow, your staff has to grow with you. And a lot of staff don’t have that growth mindset or they be doing something else. So, if that is such a thing, touchy area because I’ve had players, I’ve seen a players and practices, but they don’t play well with others. And this is such a team sport in our industry that it all counts. Maybe you’re a great revenue producer, but a pain in the butt to work with to know all that is taken into account. So, there’s nothing easy about that. So, but you’re saying, you know, pretty good job with it? And are there any pearls that you have found, like one thing that you’ve done to hire the right players? How are you finding them or motivating them.?

Thomas Jeneby, MD: So, that’s always difficult, I do use a service called a PEO. So, they’re kind of an outsourced HR. So, we have a problem with somebody, we call them and they help us remove them or write them off or something that it’s totally worth it, because, you know, in their contracts are binding arbitration. There’s some You don’t even know that’s coming if you’re new. But like me at 19 years, it was nice to have some binding arbitration clauses. Nice to have a PE, oh, I think they only cost one to 2% of your total payroll mandate, they are just great with helping that they will also interview for you first see, so they’ll check references. The big thing about us is about three or four of us do the interviewing. And the last one later actually converted to a 90 day they only get a 90-day job. And then we reevaluate their temporary for 90 days. And then you’re like, Okay, now we’re gonna make you permanent. So, it makes them either bring out their good side, or at least listen in the first 90 days to what we have to say.

Catherine Maley, MBA: I agree with the revolutionary period, I’ve often said 30, because I think you’re really spot so up pretty quickly if you’re there every day. But I think you always have to have a way out because especially nowadays, people can interview so well. And then they even really good on social media. And then they’re bombed, they’re just they’re not the right fit, let’s just say and you’ve got to have an ounce. And also, on at the end, if you let somebody go or freedom to be elsewhere, it’s so easy for them to, you know, trash you on social media. So, do you have that built into your contract with them?

Thomas Jeneby, MD: Yeah, there’s– you have to have NDA and confidentiality. And you’ve got to like hit it hard. When somebody starts doing that, you have to have the lawyers in place. You can’t let it you can’t, you can get let a lot of things go. But there’s some things you can’t let go. And we have all kinds of neat things that are contracted bonuses, if you, you know, give us at least four weeks’ notice that kind of stuff. But that’s taken like 19 years to figure out, you know that nothing. I mean, either you get somebody like you or somebody you know, to help you through these things. But you’re going to make mistakes, but it’s okay. It’s okay to fail. Because, you know, all gems require friction to be polished. And you’re not going to be you’re not going to learn from being a successful person. You’re going to learn from being from failing a lot. And that’s what we are we felt, I felt a ton. Yeah. And, but I’m pretty confident that we have about a formula that works 80% of the time. I’m pretty confident for that. Who knows?

Catherine Maley, MBA: Right? All right, we have to move on to marketing, because you’re so good at it. I did do some research on you. You’ve got that Superbowl ad, you didn’t then Sonia, is there any way you’re going to tell us how much that cost?

Thomas Jeneby, MD: No. Maybe when I’m getting close to retirement, we work together, I’ll give you all the secrets. But it’s not as much as you think, especially if you’re not in. I’ll give you one secret. Do it before the Superbowl starts like 456 or 450 to five o’clock. Don’t do it after five o’clock. It’s kind of part of symbols. That’s all I’m gonna say on that.

Catherine Maley, MBA: Gotcha. And then how did you do the video production and the scripting and like, where did all that come from? Because that’s a big deal.

Thomas Jeneby, MD: Actually, that really only costs about that cost about 10-grand to get the scripting and somebody to film it. And you just hire a really, really high end, high end or medium end player to help you. And don’t count out some of the newer progressive marketing agency firms that wants to young kid. They have some really funny ideas and above all, make your Superbowl ad funny and charming. And don’t get really serious with it.

Catherine Maley, MBA: You don’t care what your colleagues think about you, do you?

Thomas Jeneby, MD: No, not really. I was the president of our society for two years. And I used to bring in my own complication. And I used to ask everybody to bring in complications, so we can throw eggs at each other. So, I brought in my own complication and let everybody throw eggs at me. And they said that was the best yet, two years of a presidential rain event in a while, because you kind of have to laugh at yourself. And you have to be willing to take some criticism.

Catherine Maley, MBA: And not care what others think as long as you’re okay. And you sleep well at night. Whatever.

Thomas Jeneby, MD: Yeah, I mean, to all the new people out there, you’re going to get hammered. Yes. And just smile, and success, the best revenge, you don’t have to say a thing actually, raise your hand, you know, as Marcus really would say, when somebody angers you just be silent. It’s not going to fit your personality. Well, if you’re out there, chopping everyone’s heads off this chop you off, right? It’s not going to work like that. It just takes time to think about that, though. Like, you want to kill someone. But it’s better off, you just enjoy your own moment. And no, this is going to pass. And all negative publicity passes, and all positive verbosely passes. And you just have to keep working every day.

Catherine Maley, MBA: I learned a long time ago, I was told as a marketer 98% of what you do is going to fall on deaf ears. But the 2% that hear you can make you a fortune. So, I just always remember that. Because you can get pounded by trying things trying, trying like you and I’m sure you’ve done this a million times. But you’ve tried. As you’ve tried billboard you try, try, try. And then you think none of this works. But that’s not true. In your mind. It doesn’t work. But the numbers will tell you it is if you’re tracking, you’ve got to track everything. Okay, so you’re also a very good PR guy. I’m assuming there’s a PR agency backing you up, because you have really worked that PR angle very well.

Thomas Jeneby, MD: I’m really a kind of flabbergasted, you sick guy. I mean, with your experience, I’m just gonna and I’m of course honored. But again, a mediocre media plan done consistently will be it will be a high expensive plan done inconsistently. So, the worst thing you can do is stop. So, no matter what, however tired you are, you’ve got to get video, you’ve got to spend maybe half a day with your PR group, and make videos for TikTok and Snapchat and Instagram. And there’s days, I just don’t want to do any of that. But you just have to make time and, and again, I always say just keep at it. And you don’t have to have like a $10,000 crew. You can have like, you know, a $100 crew do it. And but people will know that you’re trying. And like that’s a sec in my office. I tried to speak as much Spanish as possible to my Spanish patient. And even though I screw it up, they appreciate it.

Catherine Maley, MBA: Yeah. for Instagram, you’re like, very, very well known. I’ve seen you at the conferences, they invite you to talk about your Instagram presence, because you’ve done a killer job there. And from a patient’s point of view, you’re showing social proof. And its authentic social proof, and you’re being authentic. And it doesn’t need to be Steven Spielberg, perfect. It’s supposed to be authentic. You’re supposed to have staff with an iPad and a cell phone. And it’s rugged, and it’s natural, and it’s what’s really happening. And patients so gravitate towards that. But again, you have to get out of your own way and say it doesn’t need to be perfect. They want to see what you’re doing.

Thomas Jeneby, MD: Yeah, they like to sort of homegrown not perfect, you have to make a lot of fun of yourself. You can’t be it can’t have a lot of hubris; you have to just sort of like what I like to see is funny things of other people. So, you got to do that. Sure, you can be serious about things, but you know, show some funny side of yourself a price. People are gonna like that about you.

Catherine Maley, MBA: How much time are you spending on social media?

Thomas Jeneby, MD: I’d say cutting videos, doing my TikTok videos. Well, my social media girls come into the O R and we do five surgeries a day, five days a week. So, they’re there. Oh, man, I don’t know how many hours. So anyway, back to what we said. I think your question was how many hours I would say when we’re talking, If I’m in the award 12 to 14 hours a day and then they’re with me, they’re spending with me about 50 hours a week. Plus, they do we do some things called behind the map where I answer common questions Plus, I do some Tiktok. Plus, I do some Snapchat. And then I do some duets. I think the passive social media is sometimes 50 hours a week, the act of social media is three to four hours a week.

Catherine Maley, MBA: Do you see how– I hope the audience is hearing? None of this is magic. It’s work. It’s time, it’s effort. It’s work. It’s money. It’s you. That’s the reality of it. There’s no magic about it.

Thomas Jeneby, MD: You work very hard at what you do. I’ve read all your stuff. One day, we’re gonna work together very soon when I could get my act together and a few other things. But guys will come to you and hire you, and be like, I’m going to be an instant success. But you’re going to put them to tasks be like, no, I need 10 hours a week of you filming, I need five hours a week of some quotes, I need whatever. And you’re going to find that anybody out there that’s going to hire somebody, like you should be ready to do some work, because that’s going to be all you.

Catherine Maley, MBA: I try to say, you know, the minimal if you would just have a staff person follow you around, and videotape you in the day in the life of a plastic surgeon, at least do that because a lot of the surgeons are very uncomfortable on film. And it’s okay, just be yourself. Like I, I have a content creating machine. And I always say, just do what you do naturally. And that is consultations with patients. So, have yourself videotaped that, there’s your FAQs, and then cut them up and turn them into little clips all over the internet, on different platform.

Thomas Jeneby, MD: Yeah.

Catherine Maley, MBA: Yeah, it doesn’t have. Because what’s happening right now is, they’re gonna say, I’m not like him. I’m not like this. So, what would you is? What would you advise to anybody, anybody who knows that social media is where it’s at? And they’ve got to somehow participate in it? Because that’s where we went. So, you got to adapt? And, how did you get started?

Thomas Jeneby, MD: So, first of all, the people who don’t say I can’t do what he does, right? Yes, I would reference in 1969, we got a rocket, the biggest rocket ever made. And it went 20 times the speed of a bullet. And we landed on the moon Three days later, with a two-kilobyte computer, where right now, your iPhone is 30 billion times faster. So, there’s a lot of things we can do. And, and there’s a lot of things that you think you can’t do. So, I would tell everybody, look at history, and see what people actually did. And then you won’t feel so sorry for yourself. You gotta get it done. If you have a content creation and use to your, your customer, your client is not as fast, well, then you’ll dial back and you’ll scale it for them, but definitely have somebody like you. And by the way, everybody out there, I don’t have a financial interest in Catherine, but I’ve known her for many years in the industry, but she can scale it back. And another thing is, you can hire somebody right out of college in the US who’s done a Mass com or mass media, and you need that person in your office, I have two people like that one for spa, one for like plastic. And all they do is full time. All they do is full time marketing. And you’re not going to be able to do it with your front desk, or your whatever pay that person that faces. If you’ll get one extra mommy makeover, a boob. That’s well worth the effort. And that person can talk to you all the time and get things done.

Catherine Maley, MBA: So, so true. You have to pay to play one way or the other, gonna cost you time, money, fast, something, but this is not magic. It’s not just happening. And I still think so many practices think that I get calls all the time. And I and so I say okay, so tell me what you’re doing right now. And it’s some typically the older surgeon who’s been around a long time and they’ve never had to advertise as a matter of it used to be you know, condemned. I mean, you would be like thought by your colleagues if you did advertise so that’s way too old school but right now on a lot of them still think social media is just a fad. How did you how did you figure that out? That it’s not because I also would find it if I if I didn’t have to put in all that time. I wouldn’t be but you have to if you want to develop a personality, be somebody an industry influencer, a patient, influencer, a patient advocate, you have got to show them who you are in today’s world. And I think it’s so blurred now between work and play. Doctors used to be on that pedestal. And like it or not, you’re now almost friends with your patients. Like, well, how does that work out to the patient show up looking at you as God because they see you so much on TV. And by the way screens don’t matter anymore. You look like a celebrity on an iPhone or an iPad or a TV. You know, you can make yourself a celebrity, but how does the patient reacting, do they think you’re God? And they sit on every word you say? Or they negotiating with you how that feeling? Like you’re their friend?

Thomas Jeneby, MD: Yeah, I mean, I’m really oddly, I’m an extroverted person by nature. But I still blush. You know, I’ll be in the room and they’re like, I’ve been watching you for 10 years. I’ve been saving my money up for 10 years. And oh my god, I finally got to meet you here on my snap my kick doc ID. I’ve been watching you on your billboards, your radio, I run a syndicated run, but I’m on a plastic surgeon for a syndicated radio talk show called The Billy Madison show, which is the number one morning show in the city. And I’m on in about seven states, once a week. And I’ve been doing that for four years, I’ve been answering funny and stupid questions about all kinds of weird things. And you just have to know that people are gonna want to take pictures with you, hang out, just do it. It’s not gonna hurt you to take pictures with you.

Catherine Maley, MBA: Do you have any idea what’s working better than something else? Or I know social media is so difficult to track, which is why I always say just be everywhere right now. Just put your content, you know, cut it up and put it everywhere. But you have any idea if TikTok is the place to be or the gram or Instagram Live?

Thomas Jeneby, MD: I know that [inaudible 31:28]. Yeah, I know exactly. Because going to surgery, I have this piece of paper that I paid 25 a week that I’m like, and they’re like the billboard, the Billy Madison show, Google and then I hand it to my marketing person. And every Tuesday, all the departments that I we have a meeting from about 630 in the morning, so about eight, and we go over marketing, we go over sales, which person is making them I mean, it’s a fairly intense meeting, the business meeting, I can tell you now Google is number one, word of mouth is number two. Facebook is tied with to Billy Madison show the radio is number three. Social media is number four. Billboard is number five. So, I know the top five off the top of my head because I see it every week.

Catherine Maley, MBA: 

And what’s one of the marketing mistakes you made or they just bomb? What didn’t work?

Thomas Jeneby, MD: Print, dot print horrible. They’ll say, hey, you’ll be on every coffee table or whatever. The problem is, somebody has to open that nobody. Very few people open a magazine unless you’re on an airplane, I guess.

Catherine Maley, MBA: I open them on the airplane, because I travel all the time I used to. And I used to think here’s how I visualize this. There you’re trying to get from A to B, you’re a patient B, how many things do you have between A and B? So, I have to be on an airplane, I have to open the magazine, which I never do, I only do because I want to see which surgeons are advertising next. And then I have to get to that page, I have to stop long enough to actually stop and read the page, I have to be in the mood to actually say, oh, maybe I’m interested in surgery, then I have to get off the plane Remember to call them it. You know what I mean? It didn’t even start yet. Like that’s a long way to be. I think social media has made it so much more direct. And I think my you’ve conquered that, you know, that’s how you do it, I think.

Thomas Jeneby, MD: I don’t think I’ve conquered anything yet. I like to learn a little bit like, I would learn from you a lot. And I’m learning from a bunch of I eventually I make my rounds, I did one and then I’m doing another one now and then you’re going to be nine and I’ll always learn something, and just don’t forget to go ahead and hire some people for two or three or four or five or 10 hours of their time. Because one little thing makes a huge difference at my level because I’ve already layered a big, big sort of cupcake. And now I’m just doing the ice thing. And you’re gonna bring a lot to the ice thing like what else can I do to make it a little bit more refresh? Or more, more viral?

Catherine Maley, MBA: Any chance you can tell us the percentage of revenues that you’re spending on marketing because too many surgeons still think they can get away with free and not-

Thomas Jeneby, MD: Okay, so when I first started out, I will tell you, Captain, it was 40%, back when I didn’t know anything. But that means you have to pay yourself really little. I mean, I was making less than some of the plumbers for seven years. But you have to sort of prime the pump. If you’re new in an area, word of mouth, forget it. That means you have to prime the pump. Now it’s cheap ways to do that. It’s social media. But like you said, if you get a little billboard here and there, maybe go on the radio and touch people in different ways. They’ll know you’re from different ways, I think you may know better 787 to nine touches for someone that walked in usually. So, I would say, I started at 40% that caused us to cost me $1,000 to put a patient on the table. That’s per patient. That was a lot. But I was doing this back in remembering Oh, seven, there was no Facebook, really, there was no ID, nothing you had. TV, which we did a lot of TV, we did a little bit of radio, we did a bunch of what I call old school marketing. And I was 1000. A patient. Now I’m down to about 100 a patient. Wow. So, you, you have to think like, what does this mean? This is 12 years of figuring out how to get from $1,000, a patient put on your table, to $100. Now I know what my pay per clicks at, we have a meeting every month with my pay per click provider, we’re at somewhere in the realm of $32 per lead. And pay per click is up. But the only reason that’s so low is because my name is already out there. They already know Dr. Kennedy. So, it doesn’t cost us a lot. But in the beginning, you’re going to be spending a lot and I would consider 25 to 30% of my overhead gross has to go to marketing because marketing is an investment not as not an expenditure.

Catherine Maley, MBA: When you finally get back and it’s an investment, you make better decisions as well.

Thomas Jeneby, MD: Yes, all the time. When COVID came down everybody my city, most of people, my city went down by 50% or more. I knew this was an opportunity. So, I doubled my marketing, which would make me effectively four times marketing. Yeah. Because if they went down by two and you went up like both I do. And I did that in the recession of Oh, seven, and eight. And that isn’t my idea. That was Kellogg’s versus post now back in the day in the Great Depression. And I think Kellogg’s cornflakes was number one. And they thought, No, this little upstart raising thing, not going to get it for Kellogg’s. So, they reduced their marketing and post doubled it. And they became number one. So again, you got to look at, get to read about business a little bit how that works. Read your heart, your business reviews every month, talk to you, but never ever give up marketing. It’s the last thing you’ve got. Last thing.

Catherine Maley, MBA: And well, the other thing that happened with COVID was you not only doubled your marketing, but you also don’t want the audience because so many people were at home all of a sudden, what a good time to capture attention.

Thomas Jeneby, MD: Absolutely.

Catherine Maley, MBA: That you couldn’t have before.

Thomas Jeneby, MD: That’s very astute of you. We have people– I mean, from July to August, well, actually right after COVID, we had one month, where we reached 1.5 million people on Facebook. And we did that twice. It was during COVID because they were bored. Sitting there, they started to see your ad and they’re like, wait a minute, when this. When we pop out of this, we’re going to go to this guy or this girl or whatever.

Catherine Maley, MBA: So, tell me, what’s one piece of advice you would give a surgeon today in this competitive saturated marketplace, what would you tell them to do to just step it up?

Thomas Jeneby, MD: Ah, well, when I first started. I didn’t I didn’t hire anyone. But I would get a little bit of– I would probably get a little bit of direction somebody like you or somebody else. But I would say you just get some direction of cost of how much you’re going to spend. Because if you’re in Houston, and you’re in Post Oak, Houston, you’re going to spend a lot if you’re in New York City and spend the last week just remember, every dollar you spend in marketing, if you pick up like you spent 1000. But you pick up a $6,000 surgery, your ROI is six to one that beats anything in the stock market, or even in real estate that would take you decades to make this to one on a real estate usually. So just remember marketing, I see it as a stock market play is you put $1 in how much did you make from that dollar? And you could calculate that all month? Yes, I would say I would say take less salary, much less. And prime the pump for about five to 10 years. live like a resident like you did before you did it because you make it you probably could buy yourself a little bit of a new car, but try to live like a resident for five to 10 years and prime the pump.

Catherine Maley, MBA: It is so true. You look at your assets especially as you get older. So, you buy some real estate or you buy your home and you say okay, that’s my asset. Nobody seems to look at their business as an asset. If you If you set that up correctly, you’re a moneymaking machine that you can then cipher off some of those profits to then put in investment places. But you’re, you’re a sure bet way more than a stock market that–

Thomas Jeneby, MD: I mean, the Department of Labor clearly states that a successful business is the most profitable thing you can do. I mean, having real estate is great as a long, long hedge. But if you could make, like, let’s say on, if we spend about 200 grand a year on my marketing, we’re probably 30 to one ROI or something. I mean, you can’t do that in, you just can’t do that. Playing the stock market, like you’ve got really lucky, right? Like what’s best if you bought Tesla five years ago. But don’t even think like that. You got it, you know, you know, like, Warren Buffett used to say, don’t build a lot of shallow minds, mind your mind much deeper to make money. So, and, yeah and mind your mind, which means put money into it, what a tummy tuck is, you know, what a breast dog is, you know, to blesses. Nobody else knows that in the world. And, and if you, if you present yourself and you get some help you present yourself, you’re going to be just fine. But be prepared to live like a resident for about five to 10 years to be number one in your city.

Catherine Maley, MBA: That’s a tough one. And I know why because you guys went through hell to become a surgeon, like you already did the starving part. And so, what, 14 years of becoming a surgeon, and now you want to reap the benefits of that, and I still get that. But then there’s reality, and there’s business. You know, that’s why we talk about.

Thomas Jeneby, MD: Yeah, I mean, you have a doubt you’ve been studying these practices for a while, like I said, I’m honored you chose me, but plenty of successful practices that you can model after and the great part about you is, you’ve gone in and seen everyone, and everyone does slightly something different. And then you’ve got so much information, you can take somebody’s life, reduce their personal income, down to very little undocking. If you can live on 60 to 100 grand a year, and pump the rest into marketing, you’re going to be ahead in 10 years, you won’t be consistently putting a little bit for 20 years, you’ll start to be able to reduce your marketing and the sweet spot, which is aged 40 to 60.

Catherine Maley, MBA: Yep. And then you have a sellable asset. And we’ll talk about that next time. Right. So last question, because we’re going to wrap it up now, tell us something we don’t know about you already.

Thomas Jeneby, MD: Ah, I read a lot I read a lot about three big leaders be Alexander the Great, Hannibal, and Caesar. And I study their books and tactics. And I like Roman history. And Carthaginian history and the history of these great leaders. And they all have some few things in common, and that they were very resolute. And that they were able to lead people. And once you get that down, and you start reading these books, because you don’t have to reinvent the wheel, you can just read books and like, Oh, they didn’t like this. Okay, let me emulate that. So read a lot, a lot, a lot, a lot. Because leaders are readers. And you’re just going to, you can’t just stick their eyes down and sit in front of the two, you’re going to have to read and So, if you want to read some good books, you just email me and I have a list of terribly good books last 48 Laws of Power 33 strategies of war, Lincoln on leadership, and a bunch of other books I’ve read several times now. And they all have similar qualities.

Catherine Maley, MBA: Okay, so how can they get ahold of you? I think it’s Can they leave a message there or–?

Thomas Jeneby, MD: Oh, yeah. Or they can email me privately at my first initials T, my last name is Jeneby. [email protected]. And then, if anybody ever wants any advice, I do have a consulting arm, where we’re guaranteed to make you five to one ROI every month. Because we install people on and we make them work for us. Pretty much 16 hours a day on acquisition and on financing. So, we figured out some basic things that that are successful.

Catherine Maley, MBA: All right, that’s fantastic. Thank you so much, Dr. Jeneby, it’s always a pleasure. I hope to see you in a meeting someday soon when we go back to normal.

Thomas Jeneby, MD: I’m excited to see you again. Again, I’m touched and honored that you chose me for your V bog or whatever we call these.

Catherine Maley, MBA: Called podcast.

Thomas Jeneby, MD: And you can collaborate very soon. And I’ll tell you what we have and we’ll enjoy each other’s company.

Catherine Maley, MBA: Absolutely. All right. Thank you so much. And everybody if you’ve enjoyed this episode of Beauty and the Biz, would you please head over to iTunes and subscribe and of course we’d love a good review. And then if you have any questions for me or any feedback Please give them to me on my new website, we just put up is Or you can certainly DM me at Instagram at catherinemaleymba. Thanks so much and we’ll talk again.

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Catherine Maley

Catherine Maley

Catherine is a business/marketing consultant to plastic surgeons. She speaks at medical conferences all over the world on practice building, marketing and the business side of plastic surgery. Get a Free Copy of her popular book, Your Aesthetic Practice: What Your Patients Are Saying View Author Profile.


Beauty and the Biz is for Plastic Surgeons who know they don’t know everything and are open to discovering the pearls to grow and scale a sellable asset when they’re ready to exit.

Listen in as Catherine interviews surgeons who talk about the business and marketing side of plastic surgery and listen to Catherine’s pearls from consulting with plastic surgeons since Year 2000.



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