Plastic Surgeon Consulting Services

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Using Influence to Convert Consultations

You don’t convert consultations or “sell” anyone on cosmetic rejuvenation and you can’t force consumers to choose you. You can only offer your services to consumers who want to look and feel better.

However, if you believe in yourself, it’s your duty to influence them to make a good decision so they get a good result and NOT regret going elsewhere for a “less than stellar” result that makes them feel worse about themselves.

Look at it this way, prospective patients are already interested in your services because they searched on the internet, found you, called you, and are now visiting you. You didn’t pull them in off the street, right?

So, I’m going to lay out ways to influence patients to help them choose you over all the others because even though patients have decided they want to make a change, that’s only half the battle.

How to Use Influence Convert Consultations into Cosmetic Procedures

Now they have to decide WHO they will make that change with. And, WHO they feel a connection with and feel they will get a great result with, for the least amount of hassle and discomfort. 

By the way, the three biggest hurdles the patient has to overcome is not just the money. It’s the fear of rearranging their face and/or body, the doubt they will get a good result, as well as procrastination that keeps them stuck in indecision. 

Prospective cosmetic patients have most likely been thinking about this for years, so it’s just plain easier for them to continue to think about it than it is to actually do something about it. 

That’s why so many of the patients are emotional. Oftentimes, they have a life shift happening that has put a fire under them to act, such as an upcoming wedding, graduation or reunion, they are suddenly single, or they are re-entering the work force or changing careers. 

That puts them in an emotional state. The more you understand the decision-making process, the better equipped you’ll be to address the tough spots and help the patient get to a yes. 

Now, there are a number of techniques you can implement to influence prospective cosmetic patients to choose you vs. the many other competitors in a very ethical and professional way. 

Here they are:

1. Pre-Frame YOU as The Best Choice BEFORE the patient meets you

Consider what a difficult decision this is for the prospective cosmetic patient to choose a service provider given the intense competition, so help them out. 

Be sure your website, credentials, copy, graphics, design, social media channels and videos give prospective patients a feel for who you are and what you stand for. 

But then you want to get logical and give patients a snapshot of your highlights that answers the question, “Why should I choose you?”.

Here’s an idea…Compile your highlights into a 1-page graphic like this one. This is your brag piece summarizing your skills, education, experience, PR and so on. 

2. Set the Intention

You want the prospective patient to understand where you are going so they can relax, because they know what to expect from you.

Your goal is to remove all their defenses so they stop guarding themselves. You do that by being authentic and real.  Here’s a great overall statement you can start with:

“Sara, my job is to make sure you get all of the information you need to make a good decision so you get the result you want. I’ll give you my professional recommendation and then leave the decision making up to you.  Sound good?”

What you have done here is taken the pressure off Sara so she can relax and think straight during her consultation with you.  

3. Watch Your Body Language

Cosmetic patients are looking for clues to say yes or no to you, so all details count. For example:

  • Smiling naturally makes you seem approachable and likable
  • Eye contact shows interest and indicates trustworthiness
  • Raising your eyebrows signals you are not a threat 
  • Showing your palms indicates you are telling the full story
  • And please do not cross your arms or put your hands in your pockets since that signals you don’t feel comfortable
convert consultations by using influence

And then watch the PATIENT’s body language.

The same rules apply to your patients. If they are smiling, looking at you, open to your recommendations and at ease, you are in good shape. 

However, if they are looking down, frowning, crossing their arms, and closed up, something is off and you want to address it before continuing. 

A simple question can make all the difference such as, “Karen, you seem uncomfortable. If you’re anxious or confused about something, let’s talk about it?”

That might be just what she needed to clear the air, address her concerns and get back into the conversation.

4. Clearly Communicate to Convert Consultations

Patients are more likely to actually hear you and agree with you when you speak concisely and clearly and have a 2-way conversation with them. 

That means no big words, medical jargon or rambling so they can’t get a word in edgewise. 
In my book Your Aesthetic Practice: What Your Patients Are Saying (that you can get on my website www.catherinemaley.com) where I interviewed patients, they mentioned several times the surgeon did all the talking and they didn’t get a word in so they didn’t feel heard. That’s something to keep in mind.

5. Use Scarcity and Urgency

We humans want what we can’t have. So, creating a real need for something or a time constraint, makes patients want it all the more than if it were abundantly available. 

Example: Have your patient coordinator meet with the patient after your exam and recommendation. She presents the quote “as if” they are moving forward and then says,

“Karen, just so you know, Dr. Smith is booked out for the next 3 months; however, if you wanted in sooner, I do have one spot left on Day/Date, does that work for you or would you prefer to wait?”

I use the word “wait” strategically since most patients don’t want to wait and they are more likely to take that one date left now, rather than to wait for months.

6. Ask “Yes or Yes” Questions

convert consultations

Nobody likes to be backed into a corner with a yes or no question. It’s too aggressive and it’s uncomfortable for the patient. 

However, you need an answer that is better than “I have to think about it” so here is a way to be subtle so you sound more professional and not “salesy”, but you get a better answer.

Have your coordinator ask a choice question. For example,

“Karen, did you want to go with the Mommy Makeover or just the tummy tuck? “ or

“Are you interested in our interest-free finance plan or would you rather use your own credit cards?” or

“Our surgical days are Mondays and Fridays. Which of those works better for you?”

When the patient chooses one or the other, they are moving forward so just keep going.

There’s a lot more to using influence ethically and professionally to convert consultations, but this is a great start. Please practice these so they come naturally to you and watch how easily your prospective patients turn into paying patients.

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Catherine Maley

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. Get a Free Copy of her popular book, Your Aesthetic Practice: What Your Patients Are Saying View Author Profile.

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