The mistakes plastic surgeons make cause confusion, chaos and frustration but it doesn’t have to be
When running your plastic surgery practice, oftentimes the simplest things are the most overlooked. However, those simple things can make a BIG impact on your bottom line.
You are so busy running your practice, attracting new patients and keeping everyone happy, that it’s easy to miss what’s NOT working.
See if you are making any of these mistakes that can derail you and your revenues:
Mistake #1: Not Knowing Who’s Really On Your Team
The team you surround yourself with can make or break your aesthetic practice – period.
Getting the right team players on board is difficult and ever-changing but vital to your success.
So, do you have the right team in place? And, do they know their main job is to promote you and your services and that starts with impeccable customer service?
Is your staff helping or hurting your practice?
In my travels as a business and marketing consultant to cosmetic practices, I’ve seen a lot….
Staff is charming to the doctor and witchy to everyone else;
Patient care coordinators refer the patient to the competitor because she thought they did a better job with that procedure;
The receptionist sends the patients to the internet to buy products since they’re cheaper than those sold in their office and it goes on an on.
It’s imperative every staff person who works for you knows exactly what is expected of them. So, I ask again, do you know you have the right team in place?
If you’re not sure, here’s one thing you can do to find out…
Hold a friendly staff referral contest.
Keep it short and simple. Give your staff refer-a-friend cards with their name on them so you can track their efforts. Use business-size cards since they are inexpensive to print and your staff can conveniently carry them with them during their daily lives.
Now for the next 30 days, they refer their family, friends, hair salon stylist, gym buddies, club members, etc.
Whoever has the most referrals come in for an appointment within the 30 days wins the grand prize which should have been on display in the lunchroom the entire month to keep them motivated. You want to make this a great prize such as an iPad, flat screen TV or whatever.
But here’s the point. You’ll find out who the team players are and if you have staff that didn’t bother to participate, I suggest you find new staff.
Mistake #2: Ignoring Your Current Patients
Do you know the #1 reason patients never return to your practice?
It’s not that they didn’t like you.
It’s not that they didn’t get a good result.
It’s your indifference! Since you didn’t stay in touch they most likely wandered off to your competitor who did keep in touch.
Persistent and consistent communications keeps your name in front of your patients so when they’re ready, they call you! How do you keep in touch, you ask?
Use direct mail and email marketing to let your cosmetic patients know what’s new with you, your office and the world of aesthetic enhancement.
Now before you close your mind to direct mail because you believe it’s way too expensive, consider this. The world is getting fragmented today with so many new media outlets for your patients. They get their information from a huge variety of internet sites, cable TV stations and satellite radio. That means you can’t count on one newspaper ad anymore to reach them. You need to be more strategic.
Direct mail is making a comeback and can be the cheapest form of advertising today because it’s so targeted. Since the patient receiving it knows you already, it’s more likely to get opened and responded to.
The point is that it is always easier, cheaper and more productive to stay in touch with patients who already know, like and trust you then it is to constantly attempt to convert total strangers to your practice.
And, here is another way to keep in touch with valuable patients who have given you money….
Use patient seminars and events to build relationships.
The more face-to-face time a patient has with you, the more likely they are to stay loyal to you.
Holding in-house seminars and events where your patients discover new information and get to interact with you one-on-one is what really solidifies your relationship and their loyalty.
It also gets them talking about you to their friends and family so be sure you always encourage them to invite a friend to your office.
Let’s see what other mistakes plastic surgeons make that is hurting them…
Mistake #3: Assuming Your Patients Will Refer
Let’s consider the value of just one of your patients.
Every one of your patients has, on average, 150-250 people in their circle of influence.
That includes family, friends, colleagues, neighbors, hair stylists, gym buddies, etc.
Can you image if every one of your current patients referred only one of them to you? That would double your patient database and, hopefully, revenues very quickly!
So how to you get referrals? You set up systems that happen automatically as part of your processes.
Give your patients their photos!
That means you have a process in place where you are actually taking photos every time and making them
available to your patients. I guarantee they want them because I asked them in my book and I learned that:
82% wanted their before/after photos
76% would have shown them to others, if only they were made available to them.
But, it’s all in the presentation. At their post-op appointment when they are the happiest with you and the
most excited about their result, hand them a handwritten note card with their photos enclosed that says,
“Thank you for your trust” and be sure your name, telephone number and website address are clearly visible.
By the way, this is not just for surgical procedures. I recommend using this same process for your injectable
procedures as well.
Be sure to offer gift cards and gift certificates and make a big deal of it. So many of you offer them but it’s a big secret in your practice. How do you change that?
Simple. Using your own customized gift bags and tissue, set up a gorgeous display at checkout with an eye- catching sign that says “NEED A QUICK GIFT?”
It’s the timing that’s so important because they are standing there at check-out with their wallet out, credit card in hand and yes, they may need a quick gift.
Not only does that increase their order size for the day, it introduces a new patient to your practice.
In today’s world, trust is harder to come by than ever before. The aesthetic patient is trying to figure out if you are the right choice for them, so they need your help, but how?
The answer is to offer proof. The more proof you can provide to the patient who’s considering your services, the more likely they are to move forward.
I think we all know it’s so much better when a patient tells a prospective patient how great you are than when you tell them how great you are, so set up a process for that as well.
Whenever a patient is happy with you and gushing about their result – ask them for a testimonial right then and there. You can have them write it out a note card or, better yet, have an iPad handy and let them tell their story straight from the heart. Then be sure to add these to your testimonial books, run them on your website and use as social media posts.
And, by all means, thank them for supporting you! Everybody wants to feel appreciated when they do something nice and your patients are no different.
You don’t want to assume your patients know you appreciate their referrals; set up a system that acknowledges their efforts and make a big deal out of it, because behavior that is rewarded is repeated.
Send them a handwritten note, call them personally, and thank them again the next time you see them. You may even want to send them a small gift and or give them a little extra Botox
at their next appointment.
Mistake #4: Only Working IN Your Practice and Not ON Your Practice
In today’s crazy competitive world, it’s more important than ever to get the fundamentals right.
That means setting up predictable systems to attract the right patients to your practice, convert the callers to appointments, convert the consultations to paid procedures, collect more testimonials and increase word-of-mouth referrals.
Just like in sports, it’s getting good at the fundamentals that wins the game – not the one fancy move – isn’t that right?
So please meet with your staff regularly to hone their skills and your processes for that constant, never-ending improvement in each area of your practice.
This is what builds your credibility, your reputation and your revenues.
Mistake #5: No Plan in Place
As they say, “If you fail to plan, you plan to fail”
It costs you too much to acquire a new cosmetic patient to be sloppy about it. Here’s what I mean…
The top cosmetic practices realize it’s not one email.
It’s not one newsletter.
It’s not one event.
The secret is to regularly keep your name in front of your current as well as new cosmetic patients so they choose you over all the others when they are ready for cosmetic enhancement.
Because circumstances change, life changes and people change, that means those who said NO before were really saying NOT YET OR NOT NOW, so when they are ready, they’re going to the surgeon they are most likely familiar with and hopefully that’s you.
But how do you stay in front of prospective patients?
Annual Marketing Plan
Put a plan in place with an action date and a staff person who is accountable for seeing to it that it gets done.
You have protocols set up for everything else in your practice so do one more for the process of promoting your cosmetic services. Here’s an example:
Theme – New Year – New You
Email to Entire Patient List with Jan Specials (Karen)
Social Media Posts – 3x per week (Sandy)
Add B/A Photos and Testimonials to Website (Ken)
VIP Cards Sent to Best Patients to Use This Year (Sophia)
Coolscuplting In-House Event (Karen)
Now each practice team member owns their part of the practice promotion so they are focused on practice- building and not just their day-to-day tasks.
Once you fix the mistakes plastic surgeons make, you will see your practice run more smoothly and isn’t that
what you want?
If you could use some help fine tuning your practice to run on all cylinders, let’s talk about consulting so I can show
you how other successful practices are set up to succeed.
We can talk about where you are now, where you want to be and the road blocks in your way.