Service Over Systems

Marty Fort discusses his business building insights: build the right team, nurture constant mentorship, and prioritize service over systems.


About Marty Fort

Marty operates the largest international coaching program that is 100% for music academy owners, “Music Academy Success.” The program has over 10 years of consecutive year to year growth, business coaching methods have led small business owners to have documented increased gross profits of up to 100% in as little as twelve months. Marty helps business owners get new clients, increase client retention, and increase sales. He helps them to grow their businesses by improving their office support team and business systems.

About Alex Nottingham JD MBA

Alex is the CEO and Founder of All-Star Dental Academy®. He is a former Tony Robbins top coach and consultant, having worked with companies upwards of $100 million. His passion is to help others create personal wealth and make a positive impact on the people around them. Alex received his Juris Doctor (JD) and Master of Business Administration (MBA) from Florida International University.

Episode Transcript

Transcript performed by A.I. Please excuse the typos.


This is Dental All-Stars, where we bring you the best in dentistry on marketing, management and training.


Welcome to Dental All-Stars. We are talking about business building, and our guest is Marty Fort. Marty is a serial entrepreneur with multiple multi-million dollar businesses. He operates the largest coaching program for Music Academy owners. He operates multiple music studios himself. He provides high-end personal coaching for all businesses. And most importantly for me, he leads the mastermind group that I’ve been a part of


for nearly a decade. Please welcome Marty. Alex, how are you? I’m good. Excited to have the mastermind of masterminds here, Marty Fort. Well, I appreciate it. Oh yeah. It’s really gonna be a treat for everybody listening here because this is the guy behind the scenes that I work with and model much of All-Star around. So Marty, the topic I wanna talk to you about today is business building.


And that encompasses multiple topics like delegation and leadership. And I look at what you do. And I mean, you have multiple empires that you built. I just have one All-Star Dental Academy. You have something just like All-Star, but in music studios. That’s why we work together because it’s not competition, but we share a lot of the ideas. And then you have multiple studios. You’re also a musician. You’re also a coach.


You also do Dan Kennedy leadership stuff and operate his business. So you have so many things that you’re doing. How do you do it?


You got to build the right team. I mean, you got to have the right team and team comes with hierarchy, it comes with leadership. Um, specifically, uh, you know, for us, we have a general manager. And then under that, we have an assistant GM. Um, under that we have, um, you guys realize it’s seven companies. So I mean, it’s, it’s, it’s a lot higher as those two. And excuse me, under that there’s, um, three managers below them. Then you have team members below them.


um, you know, pay us in comparison to what I’m doing with the ClickFunnels guys. I mean, I think those guys are up to almost, I think, almost 400 employees, you know, still, but to go from being the only guy teaching the lessons and running the school to, um, you know, having a staff, but it’s all about, um, being able to build a team, um, communicate with the team, um, and put the right people in the right seats. That’s always the missing piece. I think people struggle with Alex is that, you know, the, a lot of people listening to this podcast are saying, Marty, look, I’ve got a manager, but


It’s always what they say to me is this, I say, well, I got this manager, but he or she’s not doing what I want them to do. Like, well, the joke I always tell is the joke, Alex. I say, well, it’s kind of like me saying, I love being married to Valerie. Um, if she just be faithful, it doesn’t matter that I like some things about her. I’ve got to like, most everything about her. So it’s the same with your management, your team, and that’s just a joke. But the point is, is that we can’t have people in our, in our empires that are half in.


You know what I mean? Nobody’s perfect. I make mistakes. But they got to be pretty much all in. You know what I mean? So often it’s just the matter of building your team, putting the right players together, constant mentorship. We can talk about that. But again, I think the biggest thing people struggle with to do that, Alex, is they’ve got the wrong people in the wrong seats. Maybe they’re good at sales, but they’re terrible at details. Or vice versa. Maybe they’re good at details, but they’re terrible at sales. But that’s back to the Valerie show.


You know what I mean? I mean, I’ve got to meet as many of Valerie’s needs as I can. That’s why we’ve been together for 22 years, you know? But also, you know what I think a lot of it comes out of, Alex, is as far as business building is fear that entrepreneurs, we want the dopamine, we don’t want to be slowed down. The last thing anybody listening to this podcast wants to do, which is why it’s a great asset, which you and Heather do with your hiring services, because you do great work for a lot of people, is they don’t want to hire. They don’t want to be drug into that. They want someone to just handle it for them.


Right. But proper hiring, constant mentorship, communication, training, all that I just told you, you know, we do a we don’t do anything near what you do. We’re not competitors. But I do do training for like schools, you know, not dentists. And as I was telling you on the warm up for today, you know, we had 100% of people renew for next year’s event 12 years out because we focus on having a happy workplace, high energy and then again, because you know me for 10 years. So it’s all the things you’ve seen me do. But I could go on for hours, basically,


Reader’s Digest is the right person in the right seat to do what we need them to do. And they got the majority of it on lock.


Yeah, what I think about as well, and again, we can go multiple ways, but I’m on this kind of journey where you, you know, there are different types of business people, let’s just say. Okay. So dentists and a lot of your music studios as well, right, they’re not necessarily business people. They’re not the natural. You are natural, I have to say. It’s rare. And there are some dentists that are naturals. And what I would call this a visionary.


I’ve been talking about that in my MBA program for over a decade and other systems out there, EOS, scaling up and others, I talk about the visionary. And visionaries are rare. There are true visionaries like myself and you that I see. Now dentists still and music studio owners still need to take ownership of the visionary role in the business. And often they are doing too much. They’re doing the visionary role and they’re doing all the management, all the leadership, everything that needs to be done.


go in that and going down not just from strategic, but operational and tactical. And you can’t do that. I know you’re capable of doing all of that, but you can’t when you have all these empires, all these, these, these programs or all these businesses that you go. So I kind of have this, this model where you have, and you’re familiar with the EMF, right? You have the tactician. So these are people that are really good at one thing. So dentists, they’re really good at producing an assistant, really good at supporting the dentist, hygienist.


a front office person, they are artists, they are tacticians, and that’s as far as they’re going to go. The biggest problem people get into, they promote these tacticians into managerial roles that they’re not capable of. They may not have the talent and then they don’t have the support to do it. That’s a whole other thing that you were mentioning. The next level is what I call like an implementer. That’s somebody that you give them a task, they’ll take it through to completion. That could be a manager to some extent.


The highest level that I see are what are called integrators. And these are people that are basically right next to the visionary. And they’re like, the visionary says, this is what I want. And they take care of all the details. And you have, I know, at least for your MASS program, you have two integrators. And I think they also work in your schools that you talk about, Alexis. And who is the other? Marissa. And Marissa. Tell me about, because you work with them for a long time, what do they do in your business? And kind of using this framework, right?


You have people that do the specific jobs, like your webmaster, you have your implementers, you have your integrators. How were you able to cultivate those positions? Did you just find them? Were they just talented like that or you kind of poured into them and built them to be like that? How did that happen over the years for you? Well, I still am pouring in. Yeah. I think that’s the whole thing. The way I view the flow, Alex, of an entrepreneur that’s listening to this podcast.


Um, is this, you know, what we, the way we want it to work is, is the way we want it to go. Any entrepreneur or true entrepreneurial DNA, we want to be able to place the indeed ad hire, let’s say it’s you hire Alex, right? Put Alex in the seat, train you for like a day or two. And then you’re on a good luck Alex. You’ll bring me some money. And that’s like what we want. And I would like that too.


But that’s not how it works in my experience. In my experience, that’s not how it works. The way it works is, I think one of the big things is when you’re, I think it starts with hiring and again, I’m under your training. So you may have some different opinion and, and, and, um, well, there’s actually one step. There’s one step before hiring. Okay. You better be very clear on what you want, right? Cause we’re just hiring, but you have to have clear intention. What am I looking to build? What do I want?


and then you’re hiring and that’s even before the job posting or description. You have to know in your mind what you’re looking to attract. So then you’re right. Then you go hire them and you’re, you’re, you’re right in the sense that, and that’s a big fallacy from a lot of entrepreneurs. If I just hire this position or this description, they’re going to make everything. Okay. It doesn’t work that way. No. So go through the hiring, get them in. Um, but the thing I always look for is when I’m looking at resumes.


Let’s say I’m looking at yours, not now, but a fictitious resume. Um, I’m looking for the Alex from Chili’s Fort Lauderdale. That’s working his tail off and he’s working in the restaurant and he’s handling details and he’s handling a lot of stuff and he’s on his feet and he’s around food or is working at the American airlines counter at the Fort Lauderdale airport. And you just, man, you’re just, I can’t imagine that life, you know, of going to work in an airline every day. Right? I mean, seriously, I just couldn’t, you know, or a vet ER or something like that, you know, which ironically.


for the podcast, you guys should know that Alexis came from a vet ER. Alexis is one of your integrators. Yeah. One of your managers. Yeah. And, and Marissa the other, and she came from a country club and, um, Boy Scout camps and I wouldn’t want to work in either one of them. So totally, uh, fields that have nothing to do with what you’re doing. Essentially. No, correct. But the difference is one, I think we have to ask ourselves as employers, are we a step up for people?


Are we a sidestep? Are we a step down? And we always, in my opinion, want to be the step up. Are we taking them to a better place? Are we taking them to a better life? It’s not just about pay, lifestyle hours. Um, can they bring their kids around? Can they bring their, their pets around? Is it, is it getting them out of the kitchen? Is it taking them? You know, so if you can find somebody to step up, then get them in. And again,


The next steps would be for success. Um, the initial onboarding and training.


But again, even high level thinkers think, well, Marty, man, I trained him for 90 days and I don’t know what happened. I’m like, well, that’s because we’re not done. I mean, um, you know, I’m a big NFL guy. I mean, even Tom Brady is no longer playing, but the top athletes always go to practice and have 20 coaches per team for every conceivable position. And they tape everything and they review tape and they practice and practice. And you would think they know how to throw and run by now.


But it’s that constant reinforcement. If I gave your listeners a couple of things, constant reinforcement of a regimen and clarity, but realizing that training is forever. Why do you and I mastermind? You would think by now we’re successful. We’ve got business down, but there’s always more to do. And often, and you know, when we come to mastermind together, it’s more of just that one thing we need to be reminded of.


One thing we used to do that we stopped doing. One thing we’ve been meaning to get around to. And all of that adds up to a lot of money and a lot of success. And it’s the same with our people that, I talk to my managers each day briefly. The most successful people do. That’s not a long talk, but it’s brief. So again, I can go for a long time, but it’s constant mentorship, always step up. And as you said, clarity, not only who I want,


But I would add to that Alex, what I want from them. And one of my favorite sayings is the whole, like the sharing of brain. Can they share my brain? Can they complete my sentences? Yeah, it’s interesting how what you do in music academy, what we do at All-Star, what you do in operating your own business, as well as what we’re both teaching our constituencies. I said that correctly, our peoples, right? The dentist and the musicians who run the studios.


And it’s that congruency that you got to always be training. And it’s being, you know, and like you said, you made a great point. Even if we know it, we got to be reminded of it. And we have to be, so that’s just a baseline. Then it’s the mentorship, it’s the coaching. And it’s so cool how your business mass and All-Star, even before we started working together, we’re so similar. And, and now that we work together for nearly a decade, they’re even more similar. But these are.


I always say that any business can benefit from either of our topics what we teach. They’re all relatable there. So in summary, congruency, that we have to continue that training on multiple levels, and the mentorship. And that’s the fallacy that many business people have. And I’m sure we’ve had it too at one point. Once I hire this person…


once I maybe train them once they’re done, they’re great. I can let them loose. It doesn’t work that way. You have to constantly be coaching them. And I love how you use sports analogies. It’s the same thing. I mean, you mentioned Tom Brady. I mean, you think at this point, yes, he’s retired, but when he was playing, you think he knew more than any other coach in the NFL. Yet he has a quarterback coach and the other coach. And it’s that reinforcement you’re not seeing when you’re a player. You’re not seeing things that a coach might see or somebody else might see.


And that’s why coaching, that’s why the training is so important. Again, it’s, it’s that, yes, we do coaching for our members, but we’re also being coached. We do mass, we provide them with mastermind, but we’re in mastermind. So we have to, um, basically do what we’re preaching. So, you know, I, I love the congruency with respect to that, Marty. Makes a lot of sense. Absolutely.


And shameless plug, that’s why I’m excited you’re coming to be our keynote speaker to my group in Las Vegas this April. They’re gonna love you. They love working with you on the Zoom. So, but absolutely. And it’s just the whole thing. If we’re going to be fair to them, I mean, I want to, you made me think of something that I talked about in a recent training, which is, I mean, there’s not an exact number and entrepreneurs always want that. Like, what’s the percentage? What’s the number? You know, whatever. But I would just say that, in my opinion, people have to hear things like at least 12 times.


to really implement it. True. There’s an episode of Undercover Boss, the TV show, from years back. And it was like a Chipotle kind of concept restaurant. And so the CEO’s undercover and the manager doesn’t know he’s talking to the CEO, he’s in the costume. They always had silly costumes, but whatever. And the manager literally said to the guy, Alex, he said, all right, I’m gonna show you how to do this burrito once and never again. So don’t ask me.


And the CEO is horrified and I’m horrified because like, that’s not what you want. You want like the constant, not only make the burrito day one, but by day 20, 10, it’s better. And by day 30, it’s awesome. And they, and the evolution. So if we’re going to be, it really have all stars, the pun intended, uh, mass stars, whatever, I mean, we’ve got to build them up in the same way that, you know, Brady played what Alex 25 years, 20 years in the NFL, something like that. You know what I mean? And, um,


Just kept getting better at better our game as you get better at your game as a coach. And I try to get better as my game as a coach. So, um, and that’s the thing too, is that with my, my team, we’re in it together to all evolve and improve. Um, but it’s, it goes against the grain of what we want. As I said earlier, what we want is easy hire, easy solutions. They go back to fixing teeth and we can go back to playing music, but that’s not how it works that he constant reinforcement. Dan Kennedy always tells the story of probably restaurant in Cleveland where, um,


Every night before dinner service, Alex, they do a 90 minute training with the, um, the team. To go over the menu, to go over changes, to go over whatever 90 minutes every day before the first customer walks in.


So what I teach our dentists are the five steps to an all-star practice. And I’m gonna teach your students the five steps to an all-star business, same thing. What is your model, Marty? Because I’m curious for math and what you teach your music studios. What is the model for a successful business in general? So what are the elements? We’re talking about business building. What would you, what’s the model in your mind?


I think math is number one. I mean, the math’s gotta be there. The math, and I will also say that in my experience, and I got a new book coming out, which is finally coming out, I’ve been working on it forever. I’m very slow in that process. I’m not like you and our friend Ken and others that can like get up books quickly. It’s slow for me. But I think number one is that if you, I’m sure you’ve seen this Alex, but most entrepreneurs to me, you know, we’re always just wondering, we’re gonna create, create, go, go, go, dopamine, fine.


And we really hate numbers. We don’t like numbers. We’re kind of allergic to numbers. And I know that from coaching for a long time, because I’ll say to someone, Hey, when your tax return last year, what’d you do? I don’t know. Well, okay. Well, we’re the gross sales for the month. I don’t know. I mean, it’s like, so, no, you’re not successful business. You got to know your numbers. Um, number two, uh, would be, um, everybody goes to the EMF thing, but I’m going to take it in a different direction.


I truly believe Alex that service is more important than systems. Service is more important than systems. Tell me. Well, I mean, if you go to any business, I mean, you could care less about what POS they’re using, what software they’re using, what training they’re using, but how do they make you feel? How did you feel when you went to the dentist practice? How did you feel when you encountered the staff? How did you feel when you went to the music lesson? So how did you feel when you went to the restaurant?


And when you guys as a family go out and do stuff, how do they make you feel? So I’m the big believer in energy and that service is more important than systems because my other thing challenges systems. Alex says, systems come and go. And I was talking about the training I just did, which I’ve done. I’m going on 10 years for that particular product. And it’s a lot different than it was year one, you know, but service is forever. So, you know, take care of the client, high energy, um, you know, making sure they’re happy, but service, service, service, so math.


service, clarity on what we’re here to do. Which the big thing in my industry is we’re here to get students and to keep students. I don’t know if you ever knew Bill Glazer? Yup. Got that from him. You know, Bill would always talk about, you know, we’re here to get a customer and keep a customer. So, this would be the big three. Math, service and clarity.


on what we’re here to do in whatever the business is. And Randy Zuckerberg, she was our keynote speaker in Dallas, has an awesome book called Pick Three. She’s the inventor of Facebook Live, Mark Zuckerberg’s sister, also a producer. She was one of the producers for Dear Evan Hansen, when she was actually on Broadway for Rock of Ages. But her book Pick Three is like really cool because it focuses on, okay, in a certain day, just pick three things to get done. And I think that’s so applicable to this podcast.


in our co-genealics, if we can get them to improve their math, improve their service, and improve their clarity, the business will improve. Makes a lot of sense. Yeah, it’s interesting listening to how you lay out those three, definitely visionary, in terms of how you view things. And I thought it was remarkable what you said about service over system. So we always say service over sales.


because we’re not big on sales per se. Yes, you have to have sales, but we’re not closing people. We’re educating people. And I know you’re big on that with education-based marketing. But interesting service over systems. And I think that’s very astute, the way you brought that up. Because again, often business owners are like, give me the system, give me the script, which is a type of system. And if I have the system, it will make everything OK.


Yeah, but if you don’t know your numbers, if you don’t have clarity and you don’t have service, systems are just as useful as your toilet paper. Well, toilet paper is more useful than your systems. If you don’t use your systems, if you don’t have heart with your systems, they mean nothing. That’s why scripts don’t work because there’s no heart in it. So that was remarkable what you said because yes, systems are important. Yes, without heart, without service. So I would rather take, I think we both agree. If I had two to choose from.


I’d rather have the service-based person that has no systems than the system-based person that has no heart in what they’re doing. Now, ideally, you can systematize, you can add systems in your process, but I do agree, Marty. You got me there. I do agree. Service is very important. I mean, you’re a dad, I’m a dad. We trust people with our kids and it’s like we want to have that connection. So, if I had to throw a fourth. Oh, we get the bonus, the fourth.


the fourth and I talked about it in my recent trainings, it’s fresh on my mind. It is the so math, you know, the service, the clarity, but the connection. And Russell Brunson talks about this. He did a podcast and talked about me on there. So I can’t claim total, but he made sense to me on this that we start about Logan Paul and I don’t really know Logan Paul. He’s on YouTube. Russell was talking about how


And I agree that because it became full circle for me when he praised phrased it this way, that people connect with people, not with, with brands. So connection, if you can make connections with your customers, first, what’s the problem? The big challenge we fight now Alex is this. Everybody’s into Netflix, tablets, devices. And when you go to a doctor’s office, music school bank branch, they’re all staring at the screens, they’re gonna look at people in the alley. True. They’re not spying. They sure are not shaking hands or fist bumping. And.


We have explicit sales choreography at our businesses to physically get up and engage the customer and engage the parent and make a connection. The fourth I would bring to the table today, no matter what business you’re in, is the power of connection with everyone that works in the company to make connection with your customers because that’s what’s going to bring them back. That’s what is going to get them to refer.


They don’t connect to systems. They don’t connect to software. They connect to people. Makes sense. It’s gotten really challenging, especially, you know, with people going more online and being introverted and not going out as much. Um, there was a recent report that came out that said, um, it was actually interviews from millennials that millennials have given up on dating. So they think it’s hard. So human interaction is definitely going through some challenges and that’s a statistical fact, but in my company.


you’re having me on today. We’re going the opposite direction. We want to focus on connection with the Nottinghams, whatever we can do to gain your trust, connect with you, and that’s a vital number four. And we’ll have to do another podcast on this. I know I have a podcast on another subject, but we should do one just on events one of these days, because I think as you, and you’ve been pushing me, of course, for that as well. Alex, you got to do it. You got to do it.


This is that every business is successful does this. This is why. And I saw, and of course, working for Tony Robbins, I should know that, but I saw what you’re talking about is if you have your systems, you have your certain things in place, right? The service element, I mean, that comes from your vision, that comes from your clarity that you talk about. But events as a way to now bring those people more into your cause. It’s that drinking the Kool-Aid. You don’t just…


And I think we can kind of include on this subject here, Marty, you don’t to compete and to compete well and to have a business you’re proud of that’s successful and you enjoy, you want everybody to want to be there, not just get a paycheck and there are models that we teach at All-Star and it’s taught as mass because we’ve worked together on these as well. And that’s the music. What is it? Music Academy of success. Okay. And.


And that’s where that’s the best training in the world for music studio is not even close. And the, well, it’s just a fact. And the, with events, now you add that component where you’re with other people that want to be there. It’s like we talk about our kids. They don’t listen to us, but if they’re around others like them and they see that this is part of their life and there is something too about the newer generation. They, they want to be.


part of something. It’s not just about the money. That’s why they’re quitting and they don’t want to work. But if they’re part of something and you can provide that purpose, then now you have it. And it’s not like we’re the ones who figured this out. You see Google has gyms and all this stuff and support and tutors to keep you working because they want you to be part of the company. When you’re in, they want you in.


And look, you look at the great religious organizations. Why are they so successful? Because people feel a part of it. And in your culture, at your office and at your music studio, it has to be the same. So man, Marty, we can go on for hours on this stuff and I’ll have you back on multiple topics, but I want everybody to listen. This is one of the great guys behind the scenes with me that we work together. Thank you, Marty, for being on the program. We appreciate you.


And remember to follow us on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, and YouTube. Get your episodes as they are released. Share with your friends. And until next time, go out there and be an All-Star.


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