In this blog post, you will discover the biggest reason cosmetic patients choose you over your competitors so
you can attract more of them.
You and your staff spend up to an hour with a prospective patient talking with them and showing them what
they can expect. You explain the procedure and then your coordinator goes over the quote and then what
The majority of the time you get the dreaded, “I gotta think about it.” Ugh!
It makes you feel like you’re spinning your wheels and wasting your time, doesn’t it?
To help you understand the inner workings of the aesthetic patient’s mind, I did research
for my book, Your Aesthetic Practice: What Your Patients are Saying, where I personally
interviewed many cosmetic patients to figure out why they say yes to one surgeon and no
to the others.
My objective was to determine trends and commonalities of cosmetic patients to you better
Here are some of my key findings:
- 90% of the time, the confidence in the surgeon’s ability and positive staff
interaction were more important than price;
- 75% went on multiple consultations before deciding (the majority of those who
went on one consultation did so after a glowing recommendation from their friend, family member or
- Long waiting times and feeling hurried were a reoccurring complaint that
hurt the relationship; and
- The better the staff, the less time the surgeon had to spend with the patient
during the consultation.
Aesthetic Practice Book Survey Conclusion/Findings
While the above responses were interesting, it was apparent I needed to probe further to see if I could come up
with some generalities that could define what made up a good practice that prospective patients said YES to,
however, this is what I learned instead. ….
The aesthetic patients’ preferences varied greatly.
These aesthetic patients are consumers who think very differently.
And, their perceptions were so varied such as:
- While some thought an aesthetically gorgeous office indicated pride and success; others thought it was
over the top, intimidating and made them feel uncomfortable;
- While some thought the surgeons did not spend enough time with them and felt rushed; other patients
thought too much time with them made them wonder why the surgeon wasn’t busier; and
- While some thought the surgeon was so thorough explaining the various procedures available, others
felt overwhelmed and confused with so many options.
So, I probed further and asked, bottom line, why they chose that particular surgeon over the others, there was a
consistent answer that came up again and again….
The biggest reason cosmetic patients chose you over your competitors was that the patient felt a “connection” with
you, your staff and the overall vibe of the practice atmosphere.
It was the FEELING they got when interacting with everyone at the practice.
Their “intuition” was telling them this was the right surgeon, staff and practice for them.
They had developed rapport with people in the practice and trusted that that particular surgeon understood them
and would give them the best possible result.
So, what is Rapport?
If rapport is so vital, it’s important to understand it. It’s difficult to define and you either have it with your patient
or you don’t.
Rapport is that bond you build with your prospective patient. It’s the single most important personality skill plastic
surgeons and staff need to be successful.
You build rapport through words, tone and gestures as well as commonalities since:
- 7% of what is communicated is through your words
- 38% through your tone of voice
- 55% through your body language
How do you Create Rapport with Cosmetic Patients?
The aesthetic patient wants to feel special – period. When a patient is spending their own money and time on elective
cosmetic enhancement, they want to be treated respectfully, professionally and kindly by every person they encounter
in the practice.
They also want to be heard and understood. There is an old saying that says “Before you can be understood, you must
work to understand” and that is truly the case here.
You build rapport by giving a cosmetic patient your undivided attention.
They have to feel like you are interested in them and what they have to say. That starts with a smile and good eye
contact. The key is to look at the patient more than at the computer or your paperwork.
The point is to show interest in the prospective patient as a person first; patient second.
Find something on the patient intake form you have in common that helps break the ice. Perhaps it’s the referring
patient you both know or maybe your kids go to the same school.
Another way to build rapport is to ask questions and then listen to the answers.
There’s a study that says surgeons interrupt patients within 16 seconds and that cannot happen if you are trying to
connect with a cosmetic patient who’s trying to determine if you are “the one”.
Let them talk. Not only will the patient give you vital information you need to know to decipher if they are a good fit
for you, the patients will feel like you understand them.
That’s when you have developed rapport and bonded with the patient who now sees you as the best choice.
The point is to look at the consultation as a 2-way dialogue rather than as a 1-way presentation so you build rapport
with the prospective patient who says YES to you!
If you want to learn more about what cosmetic patients want from you, for a limited time, you can get a free copy of
my book called, “Your Aesthetic Practice: What Your Patients are Saying”.
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.