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This Week’s Question:
Cosmetic patients today are so price-focused; it’s driving me crazy. We get several calls every week from prospective patients that ask one thing:
“How much is …?”
Or, during their consultation, they attempt to negotiate with me or my staff by telling us they can get the same thing cheaper elsewhere.
While I know not to speak badly about others, I believe I offer more experience and skills than competitors in my area and I do it at a fair price.
But I also know we lose some patients because I won’t budge on my prices and I refuse to negotiate.
What can I do to stay out of the “Name Your Price” game?
Dear Dr. F,
This is a great question felt by many others in the same situation so thanks for asking.
On the one hand, you want to be fairly compensated for your skills, expertise and the years you’ve put into building your practice and great reputation.
But, on the other hand, you don’t want to lose to your discounting competitors. It’s so frustrating to have to decide how to deal with these price-shoppers, isn’t it?
You have several pricing choices:
- Slash your prices to match the discounters in your area
- DO better, BE better and charge more than your competitors
- Strategically offer a balance of price, results and service
The first option is not a good one. If you lead with price, you set the tone for your relationship with that new patient forever. We all know how difficult it is to upsell a discount-minded cosmetic patient who came to you initially for price (because they will also leave for price just as fast) so this is NOT a good strategy.
The second option is to BE better by charging more than your competitors because you are seen as the expert in the media.
You get that expert status by building a name in your community through active community involvement as well as PR. Just know, PR is great when you can get it but it doesn’t usually just fall into your lap. It’s typically takes time, money and effort to get that kind of coverage.
I believe your best strategy is the last one, which is to offer a balance of price, results and service. That means be congruent. You have to back up your higher prices with better service, results and the experience the new patient has with you.
Details count since the patient is looking for clues to justify spending more with you than the discounting competitor. That includes the quality of your:
- Website “look and feel”
- Videos on YouTube
- Positive online reviews
- Receptionist’s phone voice
- Office location, furnishings, etc.
- You and your staff’s hair, makeup, clothes, shoes, etc.
Since you indicated you don’t want the cheap cosmetic patients, don’t cater to them. Start attracting a better quality cosmetic patient by stepping up your game so you attract the cosmetic patients who care more about your skill, expertise and reputation than they do about the cheapest price.
Want More? Meet Me in Vegas.
I’ll be speaking on this topic and several other practice management topics at this year’s Vegas Cosmetic Surgery Conference so I hope to see you there.
Have you felt pressure to lower your prices or negotiate?
If not, how do you justify your higher prices with your patients?
She is a business/marketing consultant to plastic surgeons. She speaks at medical conferences all over the world on cash practice building and trains staff to be converting rock stars.