To celebrate 200 episodes of the Beauty and the Biz Podcast, I pulled out 10 Top Cosmetic Practice Pearls I learned from my plastic surgeon guests talking about the business and marketing of their practices.
It’s fascinating to hear how every practice is unique and runs differently because each surgeon is different in their beliefs, perceptions, understandings, and past experiences.
The majority of surgeons I interview are in solo practice, so they have the freedom to build and control their practice as they see fit.
However, there’s a flip side. It can be a lonely existence. You live in your own myopic world with no one to bounce ideas off of, so you can easily lose perspective and waste time and money guessing what to do next to grow your practice.
There’s also a lot of fear around financial failure. Even though you’ve had years of training to be a surgeon, you have not had equal amounts of training on running a business, leading a team, managing staff, working with fickle cosmetic patients, and marketing yourself in an uber competitive marketplace.
That’s why the Beauty and the Biz Podcast came about. It’s a resource for you to learn from others who have been there and done that. Their challenges, opportunities, insights, mistakes, and wins.
I did the Top 10 Take-a-Ways from the FIRST 100 podcasts on episode #100, that you may want to go back and listen to since it’s full of good stuff, so I went through the last 100 podcasts and pulled out 10 more Top Practice Pearls and here they are:
Top Cosmetic Practice Pearls
#1: Build a Brand You Are Proud Of
Branding is how you present your practice to the world. It’s how you build a connection with prospective cosmetic patients and the way you’re seen through their eyes.
It’s your persona. It tells prospective patients what to expect from you in terms of quality, service, results, and price.
Branding is more than just your logo and website.
It’s your story. Who you are, where you came from, why you became a surgeon, what you stand for, as well as your core beliefs and values.
It’s your vision and your mission statement on your website that you and your team actually live by consistently.
Your reviews, social media, before/after photos and your streamlined processes.
It’s all facets of your practice representing you including your location, office, furniture and details count: It’s Your hair, clothes, shoes, as well as your staff’s hair, clothes, shoes and so on.
The point is to be who you want to attract. If you don’t want price-shoppers who haggle with you, invest in your own high-end brand to attract high-end patients. It’s that simple.
Top Practice Pearl #2: Don’t Hope for New Patients – Market for New Patients!
A successful cosmetic practice is not happening by accident or by luck. They are doing something to make that happen. In today’s competitive world, top practices execute many strategies to attract new patients. For example…
They enhance their online presence by updating their website look, making it mobile friendly, adding social media buttons and B/A photos and videos. Consistently add fresh, updated content that is informative, entertaining, and compelling because that’s how you increase your digital footprint on the Internet.
They open their mind and embrace new marketing strategies such as Instagram Reels, YouTube Shorts and Facebook Lives since video is hot!
Have a marketing team of 1 or an agency with a good video editor they meet with regularly to plan and create content, so they are active on social media.
They may even start a podcast and/or patient webinar to educate consumer patients on their services.
And reviews, B/A photos and referrals are a priority. They focus on their patient relationships and the journey the patient has with them because they realize that’s where reviews and referrals come from.
BTW, the surgeons who have thousands of before/after photos on their website got them because they asked the patients themselves. Typically, 1/3 said yes, 1/3 said yes with restrictions such as don’t show their face or only show them in the office and 1/3 declined.
The top practices typically have an ad budget and plan since organic SEO has become more challenging, so they need to advertise. However, they watch those numbers carefully to be sure they are at least breaking even, since they can make it back with valuable patients returning, referring, and reviewing.
Top Practice Pearl #3: Automatic Marketing System
The top practices use marketing automation to map out automatic marketing plans with funnels, email automation, SEO, landing pages, opt-in forms and follow-up sequences to handle incoming leads more efficiently.
They realize this is a numbers game and not all leads are equal, so they get help setting up technology to triage and respond accordingly.
And they also train their staff and hold them accountable on their lead gen process, so staff is clear where they fit into the system. This also frees up their staff to focus on priority leads and great customer service.
Before I go on, I want to comment on these first 3 pearls. Branding, advertising and marketing cost money. Hiring enough staff and the right staff costs money. But surgeons hate to lose money. So, they skimp in these areas and wonder why their competitors are doing better. The answer is because the top practices invest in their growth and hire the best they can afford. It’s a mindset shift worth considering.
Top Practice Pearl #4: Get Good at the Fundamentals
The biggest problem holding you back might be your narrow focus on “getting more leads”. You might be throwing a ton of money at SEO, Google AdWords, social advertising and directories OR you’re spending a ton of time creating content for your Instagram and Facebook followers.
Yes, it’s exciting to get lots of leads and comments but here’s the kicker … Leads are only one part of it.
These leads need to be converted because if you can’t monetize these leads, then you’re throwing money down the drain.
The top practices know this and focus on all 5 key areas to attract and convert patients. That includes:
- Lead Generation
- Converting callers into appointments
- Converting appointments into procedures
- Ensuring the patient is comfortable throughout the process and gets a good result
- So they become a raving fan who refers, reviews, returns and shares you on social media
That’s how you build a practice flywheel that keeps your practice humming along, so instead of buying a new $150K laser and hoping new patients flock to it, you fix your phones and train your coordinator to convert consultation to give yourself a $500K+ raise because you are not losing high value patients trying to give you money.
Top Practice Pearl #5: Surround Yourself with A-Players
Staffing issues will be one of your biggest challenges when running a cosmetic practice. Miss hires cost you a fortune in time, money, sleepless nights, and bad mojo in the office.
On the other hand, one A-Player will produce more than three of the mis-hires so the top practices spend more time finding, training, and retaining top producers than fiddling with those who are not up for the challenge.
They get the right people on the bus and in the right seats, give the right tools to do their job quickly and efficiently, and hold them accountable with metrics and evaluations.
They make it a priority to develop a positive culture that employees enjoy and are loyal to, because a negative culture creates angry or frustrated employees, poor communication, lack of passion, and staff feeling underpaid, overworked, and unappreciated.
Another common trait is they treat staff as a revenue-generating asset, rather than an overhead cost. Because they know their staff is their differentiator. They also acknowledge and recognize their staff with perks, bonuses, and fun.
Top Practice Pearl #6: Predictable Revenue Streams
The top practices realize the value of cosmetic patients who want to look good today, next month, next year and for years to come.
So, while surgery is their main focus, there is much money left on the table when that patient is treated as a “one and done” rather than as a “patient for life”.
It’s getting too confusing, expensive and time intensive to constantly refresh with brand new stranger patients, so the top practices offer a loyalty/rewards program to nurture their patients to return, refer, review, approve their B/A photos and share you on social media with their friends and followers.
This gives them a competitive edge because it costs a fortune to attract a new patient and almost nothing to keep that patient loyal to you without spending a dime on advertising.
BTW, I can help you with that so let me know.
Top Practice Pearl #7: Embrace Change
The top practices are not only good with change – they embrace it. They see challenges as opportunities to learn and grow. To improve their practice and better their best and learn new skills.
To take calculated risk, but plan for the unknown.
They face many challenges, but they keep their optimism that the future will be good and that gives them strength to tackle problems.
Adaptable and able to abandon their old ways in favor of where the world is moving, i.e., they go digital and embrace social media and video.
They believe they have control and the power to shape their destiny. They depend more on themselves than on the whims of the world.
Top Practice Pearl #8: Lead the Team
There’s a popular business quote from Peter Drucker that says,
“Only three things happen naturally in organizations: friction, confusion, and underperformance. Everything else requires leadership.”
The top practices know that success starts at the top. They take responsibility for their wins and their losses and look at failure as feedback and keep on going.
Have passion and love for what they do and are driven to build a successful practice.
They push themselves and their staff to excellence.
They study leadership principles and lead by example.
Are decisive and communicate clearly and meet regularly with their team to talk about their vision, values and goals.
They celebrate their wins, while acknowledging and appreciating their team.
They collaborate with their team and see this as a group effort since they can’t do it alone.
Note: Every top practice I have interviewed on Beauty and the Biz is giving back. It makes them feel good, it gives their staff a bigger “Why” and it’s also good for their brand. Just saying.
Top Practice Pearl #9: Resilience is a Skill
Resilience is defined as the capacity to withstand or to recover quickly from difficulties and challenges through mental, emotional, and behavioral flexibility and adjustment to external and internal demands.
The surgeons running the top practices have resilience. They have bounced back from all sorts of setbacks including partnerships breaking up after working together for years, having long-term office managers abruptly quit, a rogue associate causing drama in the office, embezzlement, frivolous lawsuits, illness, hurricanes, build-out permit delays, and the list goes on and on.
But no matter what, they get back up, dust themselves off and get back at it. They know this is just a part of doing business and they keep their focus on the end result and solutions. They also turn to their trust advisors, colleagues, and friends for guidance.
Top Practice Pearl #10: Streamline, Scale and/or Sell
The top practices use their business and marketing skills to set up an efficient money-making machine that runs smoothly. They streamline their processes and have others manage the practice while they lead the way and oversee the numbers.
Then they scale to have predictable revenue streams that are transferable. They set up profit centers and bring on other revenue producers to build value and revenues that are not dependent on them. Because the surgeons in the top practices are thinking ahead.
They ask early, “How do I get off this treadmill and get my equity out when it’s time?”
They plan to have enough money to retire WELL and not have to step down in their lifestyle.
But oftentimes, their income is their lifestyle. Their assets become their wealth.
But they discover you make it on equity – not on income so they find investments that build their equity that is NOT dependent on them.
The current trend is private equity coming into plastic surgery practices and consolidating administrative areas such as payroll, HR, benefits, hiring, negotiating purchasing contracts for economies of scale and so on.
The practices that join the group build up their value by decreasing their overhead costs and streamlining their processes for increased efficiency, so they build equity to secure their future.
Stay tuned since I’ll have more guests on Beauty and the Biz talking about this, so you know your options.
And there you have it! The Top 10 cosmetic practice pearls I learned from the surgeons I interviewed in the last 100 episodes.
Thank you so much for listening. I appreciate your interest and I’m working on the next 100 episodes so be sure to subscribe.
And, of course, please reach out if you could use some guidance.