Learn from Catherine’s 40+ years as marketing and business advisor for top aesthetic practices around the world:
• Tried and tested easy staff strategies to boost practice revenue.
• Hone your team to increase sales without hard-sell pressure.
• Tons of staff-boosting tips and much more!
FREE practice-building content:
FREE advice call with Catherine:
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.
Welcome to “Beauty and the Biz” where we talk about the business and marketing side of the 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.
Today’s episode is called “How to Turn Your Staff Into Revenue Generators”, because here’s what we need to do – the staff can’t be overhead to you. If you would change your mindset the staff is actually an investment rather than an expense because they really can be your practice ambassadors. They are seriously your practice building secret weapon because if you think about it, if the aesthetic patient thinks that cosmetic rejuvenation procedures are a commodity the only other thing you have to go on is your staff, you, your personality, the culture of your practice, how patients feel when they interact with you and your staff. So you’ve got to do all you can to get your staff to help you attract new patients, keep them and then keep the profits coming in.
Because here’s what we know: the staff spends more time with the patients then you’re ever going to, so it’s vitally important that you’ve got the right people in place. A lot of times the staff says “I don’t know what you want me to do” and you might have that kind of staff that mopes around or just stands there waiting for somebody to help them out and obviously that’s not the best staff in the world to have, so we’ll talk about that more in a minute. When you’ve got the real staff on board, the real revenue generators, the real sales ambassadors, I shouldn’t say sales ambassadors, the practice ambassadors, you’ll know it just by your reviews. You always know when you’re hitting on all cylinders when a review says “I love the doctor and I loved his staff” and especially when they name them by name, like they really loved Barb and Kelly and Laura for their professionalism or for their caring support throughout their journey. Especially with surgery, they’ve got to get to know an awful lot of people during their journey and that means from the receptionist to the coordinator to the pre-op nurse to the surgical staff to the post-op nurse to the recovery nurse, it goes on and on. So you know you’re doing a good job when they actually named the staff by name and then you know things aren’t going well when you get those kind of reviews and sometimes the reviews will say “I absolutely love Dr. Smith but his staff was horrible.” That’s gonna be a problem for you and especially if they mention them by name.
Again, if people are naming somebody by name either good or bad, that’s a big deal so always keep an eye on your reviews and make sure you don’t have some rogue staff causing trouble for you because when you’re leading a team and running a cosmetic practice it always starts with the who, always. So you have a tendency some surgeons think all you need is a body in that chair and that can’t be farther from the truth. You need somebody who absolutely cares about you, cares about the practice, cares about growing it, cares about growing themselves, and they come in with the right attitude.
I’ll tell ya, I would hire attitude any day over experience because you can have the most experienced staff, and you know you’ve all had them, the ones that are closed to learning, closed to meeting new people, are not showing up at your meetings, they don’t contribute because they already know everything and if you ask them something they say “well that’s not how we do it, this is how we do it here” and they’re not open to growth. That’s a problem you can’t have that kind of, I’ll call it toxic behavior, because closed behavior in this industry that is ever changing, constantly growing, and you have to stay up with that or you’re gonna die like a dinosaur.
So just make sure you’ve got the right staff with the right attitude and then make sure they’re clear what the objective is. Frankly the objective is still all arrows pointing to surgery, however not all patients are ready for surgery. They have to get ready for it, this is a big deal to rearrange your face or your body, trust me I’ve done it many times and I can’t get enough of it actually. But some patients are super hesitant and apprehensive and downright scared about it so they’ll enter different doors to your practice. They may start with just a simple facial and then maybe buy a couple products and get to know your esthetician well and then maybe they’ll go to a laser treatment and then get to know your laser tech better or now they’re kind of ready they’re finally ready for Botox or a filler and now they get to know your nurse injector better. The point being your esthetician, laser tech, and then the nurse injector all of them have to know that all arrows go to surgery so they always need to be promoting you, the surgeon even though they’re not talking about surgery they’re talking about something smaller.
All roads should always go up the ladder to surgery and then of course back down the ladder back to the nurse injector, the laser tech, as well as the esthetician. So in a nutshell, you need your group to plan together and win together as a team. So how do you do that? How do you get your team running as revenue generators?
The first thing you want to do is get the team together. Frankly I don’t know you can be there; sometimes though the staff will feel stifled if you’re there because you’re the boss so it might be better that they get together as a team on their own and just ask questions – why are we better than the competitors around us? That’s a really good question to get an answer to and don’t rush this, really you’ve got to get creative about it and just open that question up so why are we any better? And you can’t just say because we’re a friendlier, although friendlier is fantastic but how do you quantify friendlier? Go much deeper than that. For example, we offer hot towels, we give people really comfortable robes instead of those awful hospital gowns, and I don’t want to do the thinking for you, but really brainstorm together why are we better than the competition and always remember the one who wins is the one who can do and be and have more than the competition.
So oftentimes you do things that other competitors can’t do or won’t do or just forget to mention so the brainstorming thing is nice. It’s also nice when you have time to do it in a relaxing environment. It wouldn’t hurt to be doing it during lunch or even happy hour is not a bad idea. Also do a patient walkthrough of your own processes because your processes can make or break that patient experience, so for example when you do a walkthrough have one staff person be the eyes, have somebody else be the ears, have somebody else be the nose, because you wanna get all the senses involved in a patient experience because that’s what your patients are doing. They’re seeing, hearing, feeling, smelling, and touching things, so you want to walk through with those same eyes and you want to break it down by visit. So for example do a patient walkthrough of a simple Botox treatment from beginning to end, and then do one for a laser treatment and then do one for a surgical consultation because those are all three very different experiences in the office so you don’t want to do it for just one because they’re different experiences.
Okay and then also your staff becomes revenue generators when they are your master promoters. Now some surgeons get stingy about offering freebies to the staff, that doesn’t make any sense to me – who better can promote you than your own staff? They’re your walking, talking testimonials. First of all, you want them to be passionate about aesthetics. You want them to partake in aesthetics and if they don’t want to and they don’t even put on makeup or do their hair, that’s kind of a big deal. The reality is we’re in a vanity industry and this is this is where people want to look their best. They can want all sorts of things as well, you know they might be spiritual and all of that but they also care a lot about the aesthetics of their visual persona. Your staff should feel that same way; everybody needs to be drinking the kool-aid. So please let the staff have whatever they want; have them use the lasers, give them Botox and fillers, have them do surgical procedures (of course you can put some parameters around it because you don’t want them just coming for that and leaving, that would be silly). But when you’ve got the right team in place and the one that drinks the kool-aid and cares about their appearance, you should help them with that because what look what happens – what’s a better testimonial then patients standing right in front of them saying, “Well I had that done and you can see for yourself how my results were versus somebody online just showing some photos.” Boy there’s nothing better, so please work with your vendors.
Your vendors are always available to help you help your staff look their best so tap into them also have your staff do a lot more verbal cheerleading. I watch carefully when I go to all sorts of different places to see how they do it, I always find new ideas of what’s working and what’s not. I love to be on the patient’s side because I can see how patients would feel about that experience and one thing I catch quite often that either they’re doing it or they’re not doing it, there’s a particular staff person who will say that they’re really good at it and I don’t even think they’re consciously doing it I think you know that term you’re “unconsciously competent”, I think it’s more of that. I remember I was at a consultation for a laser treatment, nope it was for micro needling and the nurse, it was PRP micro needling and the nurse was preparing the PRP part and she said, “By the way, there’s a particular laser that you would love for around your eyes” and she just dropped that little pearl and she mentioned the laser and she just said it and then she just moved on and it was no big deal. She wasn’t pushing me, she didn’t pressure me, but boy did I remember that. I went right back online, checked out the laser she talked about and then of course I had I had it done because it was so easy. It was just that third-party little pop and that perked me up. So think about in your office when you can just drop those little recommendations so they don’t sound salesy.
So let’s say let’s say you have an aesthetician doing skin care and the patient is complaining about acne scars. The esthetician can quite easily say, “Oh sure we have lots of solutions for acne scars, now I’m helping you with the facial part like with the surface but when you’re ready we certainly can address the facial scars or we have lasers for that or injectables” and then just leave it at that and let the patient decide if they want to move forward with that. So just think about that. There are lots of little things the staff can say that actually help the patient go to the next step.
Now also for revenue generating it all starts at the phones because when a patient finally picks up the phone to call you that’s a pretty big deal. In today’s world they don’t have to pick up the phone, they can just type something, they can DM you, PM you, whatever they call it nowadays, they can text you, they can email you, so when they pick up the phone it’s a really big deal, just make sure you’ve got the right person on the phones. I’m not gonna go through all the details here, but I’ll tell you one of the big things I’ve noticed on the phones that could make a big difference is the callers are going to ask about price, and a lot of you just don’t give price. I think that might be a problem because a caller who has a question wants an answer to it, so I do think you’ve got to come up with some kind of pricing parameters. Either you can tell them the fee start or range from, but here’s the pearl that I want to cover here – a phone receptionist is a revenue generator when she can buffer that price before she says it, so if a caller says, “How much is it?” just make sure your receptionist can credential you before they give the prices. You’re doing that for a reason, because number one you want to avoid sticker shock, but number two you want to add value to why she’s gonna say the number she’s gonna say.
So to credential you, just stick to the basics: you’ve performed more than X number of procedures or you were voted the best by some social magazine, or you trained other physicians, or even better “well he did my surgery and I couldn’t be happier” so again if you would just look at your staff as an investment in your practice and give them the services that everybody’s calling about, doesn’t that make it easier? The receptionist can literally say, “Well I can tell you about my experience, I had it done.” That’s pretty good! Also when it comes time to converting more consultations, this is where the money really happens. Nothing is really going to happen until the consultant or your coordinator gets to a yes and they get a credit card and there’s nothing easy about that, that’s a whole world onto itself.
Here’s what I have noticed – the coordinators who are the best have an easy transitional way to get to a decision, and quite frankly a decision is either “yes I’m moving forward and here’s my credit card” or “no and here’s why”. You don’t want them saying to you “I’m gonna think about it, I’m not sure, I’ll get back to you later.” That will drive you crazy because you’ll never know what happened. So the goal is to ask for a decision and actually get an answer. I actually have a whole bunch of strategies on that if you’re interested I can train your coordinator personally. I have a training club called The Converting Club for Coordinators and you can learn more about it on my website at CatherineMaley.com. But here’s the thing that I would say is the most important, and that is when asking for this decision you do it strategically so the coordinator has already given all the details about the surgery, the breakdown, all of that and she’s good to go. What ends up happening is most coordinators just go ahead and meekly push the folder towards the patient and say, “So do you have any other questions? Okay then.” And there’s this pause and instead a well-trained coordinator goes through all the numbers and then she has a transitional question such as, “Okay Sarah, so do you have enough knowledge to make a decision?” or “Okay Sarah, that’s all everything we need to know and let me go ahead and give you some idea when you can have this done” and then she just turns over to her computer and gives the patient a couple of dates and then leaves it with the patient and says “Do either of these work for you?”
So just know that there’s a way to wrap up a consultation rather than leave it limp and hanging but if you do that and you don’t have the nerve or your coordinator doesn’t have the guts to ask for the decision now, she’s got to play follow up. There’s also an art to following up but I will give you a couple pearls here – when the coordinator can’t get to a yes at least have her schedule to follow up call now while the patient is standing right in front of them, so before they leave your office (because you know once they leave it dramatically decreases the chances of you getting to a yes) so before they leave your coordinator can say, “Sara it sounds like you’re not quite ready yet to making a decision but why don’t I go ahead and call you on Thursday?” Let’s say it’s Tuesday, “Why don’t I go ahead and call you on Thursday at the same time, does that work for you?” and then the caller or the prospective patient will say yes or here’s a different day and time. The point is at least she’s ready or waiting for your call or expecting your call so there’s a better chance that she will actually answer the call and either give you an answer or tell you why she’s not moving forward. Wouldn’t you rather know that one way or the other rather than dangling? I can’t stand indecisiveness, like you don’t even know whatever happens and that’s no good.
Now the best coordinator will actually send a handwritten thank-you note card that night and that’s to bond even further, so you’re not pushing you’re just saying it was so great to meet you, I can’t wait to talk to you again, I sure hope you know I’m here to help you on your journey. Something just really friendly and then also follow up with an email with some social proof because the best thing you can do now is once you have presented everything there’s no need for you to keep pushing or selling, let’s say now you just want to talk about urgency and social proof, just keep talking about others just like them who move forward and stop procrastinating they love their result they wish they had done it sooner.
So I would use that, I would use your social proof, but now we need some urgency because most human beings will procrastinate forever until they are forced to do something, that’s just human nature for about 70% of humans. So you have to know that and that’s why you want to add urgency and come up with some creative ideas to do that. Perhaps it’s that the doctor is going on vacation in August so if you want to get this done before you know that date you mentioned, we we’ve got to get you in and I still have two dates left do either those work for you? Do you hear me keep saying “do either those work for you?” There’s a reason for that, it is so much easier for somebody to get to pick a choice that you gave them then for them to say yes or no for some reason. For some reason yes or no equals resistance in a lot of people’s minds, it’s just easier on them and on you to keep it light and just give somebody a choice, let them pick one.
Another way to turn somebody into a revenue generator for your practice is to pick your most tech-savvy person (typically it is the younger person), somebody who loves social media and make them your social media practice ambassador. The secret to this is just focus on one or two platforms. Quite frankly, Facebook and Instagram are your best two shots at the moment in our industry so just go with that and then they’ll be like the reporter in the office. They will walk around with an iPhone or an iPad and they’re gonna catch things that are happening. This is the part I love about social media… Do you realize the content is the ins and outs and the where and the what’s going on in your practice? The content is you in your practice doing what you do every day. So for example, they can walk around and interview a staff person because it’s their anniversary or it’s their birthday or they had something done recently and they can talk about their story or what their own experience was like.
When patients are visiting they can do the same thing, they can just interview patients and off-the-cuff. Social media is all about authenticity because we’re all so sick of everything being so scripted and fake so why not interview the patients while they’re there, especially the current, let’s call them the returning patients. Interview them, find out why do they keep returning? Because they love you, because they get a great result, because you’re a fun practice to go to, like let the patients tell you that. And then somebody coming back post-op you know they’ve had things done, so “How was your experience?” Just capture stories as they’re happening in your practice and then if you ever go out together as a team, let’s say there’s a group who’s really good at this and they won best of in the local neighborhood like it’s a big deal so they just took a photo of all of them saying, “Here we are at the best of event, thanks so much for your vote” anything like that that adds more personality. Social media is all about entertaining, informing, and then a little bit of promotion so you can also do procedural videos and let’s say your staff, you know there’s an awful lot going on in the non-surgical part of your practice I hope, so why not have them do a demo on Facebook and show the patient (have a real patient they’re not a newbie though make sure this patient has had that experience before so they don’t freak out or faint or god knows what happens) and then make sure they’re completely comfortable you don’t want anybody in pain you know on in front of a camera so make sure they’re comfortable and then just talk about what you’re doing to this patient and the results they should expect and then have the patients sit up and tell people how the experience was. It’s that kind of real-time authentic that a cosmetic patient is looking for, you know, “What will this do for me, what’s the experience like and how am I going to feel afterwards?” and the best way to get that is through a patient story of their own and that’s through a demo.
So lastly, the best thing you can do is get together as a team again with or without you, that’s up to you guys and here’s my thing, when you ask a good question, you get a good answer or when you ask a better question, you get a better answer. So here’s another good question – “What else can we do to grow our practice?” I would write that in big letters in the room and that’s all you’re gonna do is answer that question. “What else can we do to grow our practice?” and then do the brainstorming again. Perhaps one of you knows a PR person or a PR agency that would help you, or maybe they have a relative who owns a PR agency. Perhaps it’s a hair salon nearby that all of you go to or somebody goes to, and they know the owner. Maybe there’s a ladies club of some sort, or a book club, or a housewives club. A long time ago when I was much younger and Sex in the City was really popular, my girlfriends and I we always got together to watch Sex in the City and looking back now, all of us have had lots of cosmetic rejuvenation so we were just in that that mindset. So if you’ve got anyone else like that on your staff or on your team, please have them tap into that. Maybe you’ve got a mommy blogger amongst you, or you know a mommy blogger because a lot of them are moms, those are always great for mommy makeovers and tummy tucks and that kind of thing. Or maybe somebody has a speaking gig that they know about, perhaps they were at a family event and they I don’t know they belong to some kind of woman’s organization or fundraiser and they’re looking for something, they’re looking for a venue or they’re looking for a speaker or whatever. That’s where you find out things like that and those are all really good opportunities for you to grow your practice through your staff. Frankly I don’t like to call them staff, I like to call them your team because a team that works together, plays together and makes money together. Sometimes when they’re called staff or employees, it takes away the team effort and they don’t feel like part of the practice, so maybe start calling them the team so they know they’re working together for the good of you and the practice.
Okay that was it I hope that was helpful. Please do me a favor and subscribe to “Beauty and the Biz”. You can go to iTunes and do that and if you would share that would be terrific. Please share me with your colleagues and your team, also please offer me any comments or questions or other topics you want to hear about, there’s always room for any suggestions I’m always open! And then if you want to follow me on Instagram, it’s CatherineMaleyMBA. Thanks so much for your time we hope you found valuable insight on this episode of “Beauty and the Biz”. For more episodes, tools and Catherine’s free book visit www.CatherineMaley.com.
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.