Ep.14: How Would You Rate Your Practice?
Do you dream of being in the OR all day where you can hide from the pressures of staff issues, pushy vendors and never-ending decision-making?
In this podcast, we’ll do an assessment of your practice to see if you are set up for success or if you could use some help.
Welcome to “Beauty and the Biz.” Discover how to grow your practice with effective cosmetic patient attraction, conversion and retention advice from author, speaker, trainer and cosmetic practice business and marketing coach, Catherine Maley MBA.
We talk about the business and marketing side of cosmetic practice. I’m your host Catherine Maley, author of “Your Aesthetic Practice – What Your Patients are Saying” as well as consultant to cosmetic practices to get them more patients and more profits.
So today’s episode is called “How Would You Rate Your Practice?” I’ve been consulting with surgeons all over the world for the last 19 years, and there are many different reasons why they would call me or some other consultant in. Now there’s a few of the super successful and I always find that ironic, like the most successful, are the ones that want to better their best. They have that growth mindset, they want to keep learning and growing. They know they’re good, but they’re always looking for that razor’s edge of how can we make this even better, and I really appreciate working with them. Quite frankly, they’re the ones that always hear me speak at the meetings and they’ve got their staff there and there’s a clue, they’re the most successful because they actually invest in themselves and their staff to make them that way. It doesn’t just happen by accident.
And then on the other side of the spectrum, there are the newbies, and they’re the ones who they realize that they don’t know everything. They might be in practice for several years and realize it’s not as easy as it looks. They’re trying to figure out how you enter this marketplace, and I love that they look for help because they need help. They need to shortcut this. You know in the old days, you had ten years to grow a practice and in today’s world you’ve got about six months it seems like, so the newbies are trying to set up their foundation so they can grow for the rest of their career. And what a good move on their part because the best thing you can do is hang around with somebody who already has been where you are and knows how to get you to the next level. But then it’s like the Pareto’s law – that’s about 20% the super-successful and then the newbies but then there’s everybody in between. They typically start looking for help when problems are brewing and you’re not sure what to do about them; you’re feeling uneasy, you probably have some uncertainty about things that are happening in your practice, and frankly, you’re just not satisfied. It’s things like your revenues are falling and you’re not sure why or what to do about it, or perhaps your conversions are decreasing and you’re so fed up with spending all this time with patients who end up saying I have to think about it and never to be heard from again, or maybe your marketing is not working. Maybe you’re just throwing a ton of money at it and you’re just not seeing the results you want. You’re so frustrated because you don’t know what to do about it. Also high turnover rate with the staff.
Let’s be serious, you have spent so many years learning how to be a gifted surgeon and no curriculum that I’ve ever heard of has talked about how to manage staff, how to run a business, how to build a business. You don’t get that so the reason you hang around with consultants like me is while you’re in medical school, others were in business school learning that part, so the secret is to combine your expertise with my expertise and that becomes a really well-run practice. Now you can also be experiencing infighting within your staff, you know the morale is not where you want it to be, you know your staffs not on their game you don’t feel like they’re supporting you, or worse you might suspect that somebody’s stealing from you something’s off and you know it your gut will tell you all of that. And then overall you feel like you’re losing control because you don’t know where exactly the problem is or what to do about it and just trying to figure out how to manage staff is probably a lesson unto itself. It’s never-ending, improving on how to be a leader.
I’m going to do some podcasts on leadership because it’s everything. If you don’t have a plan in place or your staff doesn’t have clarity, that’s where the leadership comes in. Your staff is looking to you for the plan, like “where are we going, what do you want us to do?” And if they don’t have that, you’re just hoping that it all works out and that’s not good because often times surgeons when I work with them they just want to do surgery and they want to ignore the rest; they just want somebody else to handle the business side of surgery and I get that. So you have two choices – you either learn it yourself, or you get the best right-hand man on the planet and I mean right-hand man or woman who actually wants to do the business side; run the office, run the numbers, run the staff, manage them, that’s your best alternative if you don’t want to do it yourself. However, you still have to know the fundamentals to even know if you’ve got the right right-hand man or person with you, right? Because one of the biggest issues with surgeons is you just live on an island as your own boss, you get to do it your way good or bad and you don’t have anybody to turn to because oftentimes your spouse has no idea the pressures that go into running your own practice and it’s not just the surgical side, it’s also the marketing side, and again managing the staff. And to add more insult to injury, now you’ve got to deal with finicky patients who want the world. They expect perfection and you’ve got to get through those waters so you’ve need somebody to talk to who understands where you’re at, but it’s so hard to trust people because you don’t know who you can turn to for help. So that’s why a lot of people in general get coaches and consultants because they realize they they’re they need more perspective than they have right now to get out of what they’re in. You know that saying “you can’t use the same mindset that got you where you are right now”? I’m sure there’s a better way to say that, but the point is you’ve already gotten where you are with what you know. Now to turn things around or uplevel, you’ve got to get a different perspective in there.
Now if you think about it in football terms, if I’m not mistaken Bill Parsons was like a great coach and he had all those assistant coaches and then I know basketball a little better, I’ve just read a ton of John Wooden stuff and he’s like the best coach of all time, and if you haven’t read his books I highly recommend it. He’s just so full of integrity and I mean he’s passed away now, but what a great man. And then you know people like Tiger Woods for golf, he had his dad, he wasn’t just born like that, he had his dad coaching him and now if I’m not mistaken he’s got several coaches for each element of golf. That’s how much I know about golf, but here’s somebody I know much, much better. The personal coach to the world is Tony Robbins and he’s more like a coach on how to be a better person, let’s say. So he’s generic in that, but boy when I was younger, I was what 21? Oh my gosh I wanted to be in sales so bad! I just love sales and marketing and I would have my Tony Robbins CD’s in my Walkman – does anyone remember a Walkman? And I was jogging up and down the marina in San Francisco, it’s called the marina green, and I would run down to the Golden Gate Bridge, it was a six mile jaunt from my apartment. I don’t know how I did that every morning! I’m surprised I’m able to walk. I was, I’ve been relentless like for decades I’ve been running, well now it’s more like a flight dog or a hefty hike, I’ve definitely slowed down. But anyway, I would jog down there and the surfers were already out at you know 5:30, 6:00 in the morning and boy I was listening to him, oh I couldn’t get enough of him. I really had that growth mindset, and I think that’s why I’ve been helpful also with others. I’m very inspiring and enthusiastic about growth.
I really think we’re here to grow, and how do we grow? Well we grow through pain typically, but there are people to help you out of that. By the way, did you know the business coaching industry is a 1 billion dollar industry? Isn’t that insane? But if you think about it, doesn’t that make sense? Anybody who wants to better their best, wouldn’t you get a coach or a consultant to help you because you can’t see what you can’t see and you don’t know what you don’t know. What you know got you here, but now you need to know something else to get you to the next level. The issue is you’re so deep in the weeds and you’re so emotional about your own practice, as you should be, you’ve put your blood, sweat and tears into that, but now you’re so ingrained in your beliefs about it, about the people, about what you can do and can’t do, those beliefs can be a big barrier for you.
And frankly, it’s time for self-reflection because if your practice isn’t the way you want it to be, that’s good and bad all arrows point to you because you’re the captain of the ship. You are the leader, good or bad or right or wrong, it all comes back to you. And it’s so easy for us to lie to ourselves and say it’s not me, I’m doing what I’m supposed to be doing it’s the staff, it’s the marketing, it’s the vendors. We all want to blame somebody else because it’s difficult; our ego gets in the way. We don’t want to be wrong so we so we point the finger. However, how’s that working out for you? As Dr. Phil would say, if you take complete responsibility for the good stuff, then please take full responsibility for the trouble spots, because the good news there is if you take responsibility then you can fix it, if you don’t take responsibility, now you have to go fix everyone else and they have their own issues so it’s better to fix you and then move on. It really is, so I’ll tell you the barriers that you’re not willing to look at our the exact thing that are holding you back and they’re keeping you from focusing on the actions that you do need to take to achieve what you want.
Taking 100% responsibility I think is one of the keys to successfully living our life and frankly I have counted up everything I’ve spent. I’ve personally spent over 100 grand myself on coaches throughout the years, and I continue to spend that because I don’t know everything and people say, “Oh you do what you do so easily” and I think no I don’t, I’ve studied that for decades and I’ve hung around with so many surgeons who definitely think big, big, big. I just have so many different perspectives on how you run a practice and manage your practice and quite frankly, there’s no one way to do this. The fundamentals though, you’ve got to get down but otherwise you use your own personality, your belief system, your persona and you build and create a practice of your dreams. And anyone can do it, but you need help usually doing that so I do know a lot of surgeons who are in coaching clubs.
The three that I can think of that are the most popular for our industry are like, strategic coach – I think he charges twenty or thirty grand per year. Not all coaching programs I think are helpful to you, however I would probably pick the ones that are more involved in our industry. Here’s what I don’t love about coaching programs – in general, they are generic. They’re giving you the fundamentals of running a business, which are for sure okay, but then you have to be smart enough or creative enough to take those strategies and then tweak them to our industry and then your practice in particular and that takes a lot of effort and a lot of you just don’t think like that. You just want somebody to tell you okay, how do I take this idea and make this get me more patients? And that’s where somebody like me comes in. I just I know the industry so well, I know your practice so well, I know you so well in general that I can connect those dots for you quite easily.
So when we work together, I love to follow a structure and the easiest way to begin is where are you now, and where do you want to go? I’ll tell you that clarity alone will make a huge difference. A lot of surgeons are a little murky on where they’re headed, like some of them say “I just want to make more money” or they’ll say something like, “I want to bring on a partner” or “I need to work on my exit strategy”. By the way, I’ll give you a secret on the exit strategy, you better have thought about that 10 years before you’re ready to retire, it’s not something you think about the last year. You really want to plan for it.
So when we work together, we look over your vision, like where are you going and then we want to look at your image and in that I look at your website, your reviews, your before-and-after photos, your PR, your social presence. We’re trying to figure out from the patient’s perspective what are they getting from you? What picture are they getting from you, because if your image isn’t solid we’ve got to fix that, but then we have to look at the infrastructure because it doesn’t matter if your image is brilliant but your staff can’t answer the phone, can’t greet a patient, can’t do a consultation, can’t close then it’s for naught. Then what’s the point? Because everybody’s got to be on their game to run a smooth process that a cosmetic patient flows through, and says yes to, and comes back again and again, and refers their friends, and all of that. So that means we have to look at the people, the processes, and the marketing.
Now here’s one thing I don’t love about consultants – they often give you a report and they tell you, well that was interesting and they tell you their findings and that’s it. There’s nothing else that happens. Well now you’re stuck with what? You don’t know what to do. So I personally like progress reports. I like weekly progress calls so you know wherever we’re heading with this. I love benchmarking and I love an action plan, like a real to-do list, a checkoff list that says here’s what you need to do to uplevel your practice. And then we spend the rest of our time together executing that, because no good idea counts until it’s executed right.
So here’s the question – could a consultant help you improve your practice so you stay competitive and relevant? Let’s find out now. Here’s what I do – I have a very simple, 10 question practice assessment to help you figure out if indeed you could use some help here. It’s very simple, just answer yes or no to the following questions:
- We have a system in place to respond to leads immediately
- We convert at least 70% of leads because we have a system to attract referred patients
- We follow-up systematically and professionally on all leads that do not convert
- Staff is friendly and well trained to professionally convert callers and consults
- We systematically ask for referrals, reviews, and we retain our patients
- We have a system to take lots of great before-and-after photos
- We have a solid social media plan that is effective because results are tracked
- We track promotional efforts to justify the expense
- We can easily pull reports to help us make better decisions
- I’m on track to reach my financial goals this year
Okay, so how’d you do? Now if you weren’t able to answer yes most of the time and you heard yourself saying no quite often and you’re not satisfied with those answers, we’ve got to talk because I just know I can help you. But then you’re gonna wonder, “okay so how much is this?” How much is it to work with somebody like me? Well some of the groups are charging like I said, 20 to 30 grand per year. Some charge a monthly fee forever. I have a 60-day consulting program because we can get a lot done in 60 days, but then a lot of practices like to keep me around for a lot longer kind of like in their back pocket as a coach because I’m helpful to them. So obviously it depends on your own situation, on your breadth of issues. Some practices just need a little tweaking and some need a full overhaul, but just please remember this really is an investment in your practice and in your future, so think of it this way – if you brought me in and I can identify ways to decrease your cost or increase the number of leads you get, or increase your conversions or increase the lifetime value of your patients, or train your staff to professionally represent you, what would that be worth to you? I guarantee I’m well worth that investment because here’s what other surgeons have said about working with me …
Here’s a testimonial I got from a very well established, successful, multi surgeon practice in a very competitive area – “We engage with Catherine for several reasons. While we run a very successful cosmetic practice, we’re always open to discovering new ways to better our best in terms of staff, practice structure, and processes. Given Catherine’s years of best practice study around the world we thought her an excellent choice to help us reimagine our practice. Catherine was instrumental in setting up a new structure that made our large team of surgeons and staff work together more cohesively. She outlined a plan that put key metrics in place, gave us a clear plan to follow throughout the year, and trained our staff to increase their conversions by at least 10 percent. We immediately felt a renewed sense of optimism and enthusiasm for our growth. Since engaging with Catherine, I’m happy to report that revenues are up 15% over the last three months, 22 percent in the last month alone. I highly recommend Catherine’s consulting services to any practice looking for best practice additions to their operation. Her years of experience allow her to bring outside eyes to your practice, recognize what’s off, and recommend concrete, actionable plans for improvement.” That was Robert Steagle, he’s the president of Austin Westin in Reston, Virginia and they just have a lovely practice and boy does he have a growth mindset now. I also got a testimonial from a very successful established solo surgeon, also in a very competitive area and he said, “Your on-site practice visit was awesome and invaluable. Thanks to your strong presentation and people skills, you were able to shift the culture in our practice and that has made a significant difference in the way my staff is interacting with my patients. You also made it possible for me to figure out what to do with key staff members, and that has allowed me to grow the best team to support my vision for the future. It was money well spent, thank you.” That was Armando Soto, and he is in Orlando, Florida. Now I also worked with a very new plastic surgeon just entering the marketplace in a very competitive area and he said, “Catherine gave my staff excellent training on how to convert callers to appointments and appointments into procedures. She also showed my staff how instrumental they are in growing my practice, and gave them excellent tips on how to network and market me in the practice and the community. I highly recommend working with Catherine if you want to save time, money and hassle trying to figure out this stuff for yourself. Working with her is well worth it.” That was Dr. Vishal Kanpur and he’s in Beverly Hills.
Then lastly, another very well established, super successful surgeon again in a super competitive area and I guess they’re all pretty competitive at this point, so he said, “Catherine’s consulting services have paid for itself many times over. The investment I made engaging with her, working with her, helped change my perspective on how to run my already successful practice – one that’s more streamlined and profitable. The training she gave my staff was also fantastic. I hear my staff using Catherine’s strategies to close more calls and consultations. They’re also taking more initiative to implement the strategies Catherine customized for our practice. If you have plateaued, or if the gaps in your processes are costing you, Catherine can help. She’s worth every penny.” That was Michael Paravino in Houston, Texas.
So I just wanted you to know that I really do know what I’m talking about, and the surgeons have gotten a lot of value from it, so if you also would like some help please reach out to me I’d love to just talk to you about your own situation and tell me what’s going on and let me see what I can do to help. So you can leave me a message at my website, which is www.Catherine Maley.com, or you can email me at – my name, it’s [email protected], or you can also give me a call on my cell phone if you like and then I can text you back so we can connect. My cell phone is (415) 377-8700. I love that phone number, isn’t it great? I got it a billion years ago when Sprint was giving out phone numbers. I got that number and thankfully I got to you know when the law changed and now your cell phone number can come with you no matter which carrier you use, oh that’s great so I can keep that number.
So that is it for me for today, please subscribe if you haven’t already, please share this with your colleagues and your staff, please review me on iTunes that would certainly help me grow this thing and of course I’m always open to your questions and comments so don’t hesitate to go to CatherineMaley.com and leave me a message. I even added one of those new voice message machines so you can click a button and just talk right into your computer and that way you don’t have to type anything. And then you can always follow me on Instagram I’m CatherineMaleyMBA. Alright, I hope that was helpful! Talk soon. We hope you found valuable insight on this episode of “Beauty and the Biz”. For more episodes, tools, and Catherine’s free book, visit is www.Catherine Maley.com.