Is Discounting Helping or Hurting Your Practice?
Plastic surgery advertising is out of control and everywhere you look, you see offerings for deep discounted procedures.
Extreme competition is forcing some practices to lead with
price to attract new cosmetic patients.
This “Groupon Discount mindset” not only cheapens the surgeon’s image, but also our entire industry.
Quick update on what’s happening around the US int ernas of PS
95% of surgeons I’ve spoken to are still enjoying the post-covid shut down surge
Here are a couple of thoughts
PS pts seem to have turned PS into essential
And most of them are saying I finally have the time for recovery
which is interesting since practices tell me regularly about price objections but if it’s really about time, then I would spend a whole lot more of your time figuring out how to cut down the patients downtime and more on that coming up.
So today’s Beatuy of the bix podcast is called:
Is Discounting Helping or Hurting Your Practice?
I want to start this episode with a story about my experience that is appropro to this episode talking about discounting.
I recently decided to get contact lenses since I’ve been doing so much on-line zoom conferencing.
Fumbling with my reading glasses was not the look I was going for so I needed contacts.
However, I remembered years ago searching for contacts. I ended up at one of those national chain eye shops. They advertised a lot and it was a free eye exam and they were conveniently located in a shopping center I frequented so I chose them.
It took me weeks to get in and then the eye exam was fast which I actually like since I’m busy but then I had to come back for another visit to pick up the contacts since they had to order them, along with reading glasses I ordered.
I remember them being busy and I had to wait, which I dislike when I have scheduled an appointment.
And, I remember the staff being very average in customer service.
When it was my turn, I received training from a woman who was pleasant enough and she showed me how to put the contacts in and then take them out.
I actually could not leave with the contact lenses until I did it.
I struggled with this since I wasn’t used to putting my fingers in my eyes and she ended up just signing off and telling me to practice at home.
Needless to say, I tried a couple of more times at home and just gave up so I never used the contacts even though they were an extra $200’ish
So overall, the experience on a 1-5 scale was about a 3. It wasn’t awful but it wasn’t great and I only received ½ of what I wanted since I never used the contacts.
Now let’s fast forward to my recent experience at a boutique Sausalito eye practice.
Everything about this experience was superior to the chain. There was limited waiting for my appointment and no waiting when I arrived. They actually greeted me by name and said they were expecting me.
The eye doctor was friendly and asked lots of questions to figure out the best solution since I wanted to wear these contacts all day while reading or being in front of a huge computer screen that is 3 feet away but I also wanted to be able to drive so these contacts needed to be adaptable.
The equipment they used was new and they used a lot more technology to test my eyes. It all felt very updated and professional. The optometrist was super knowledgeable and efficient at coming up with the right prescriptions for each eye.
She even had the disposable contacts in house and gave me a 5-day supply to test them out to be sure they were right for me. If they weren’t, I could come back as often as I wanted to get them tweaked.
Now I had to learn to put the contacts in and take them out.
She had an excellent assistant who was a great teacher and very patient and I did it after many tries.
I now am a proud contact lense wearer, thanks to paying extra and choosing the right eye care provider who was more expensive but well worth it.
Here’s the point, I got so much more value and a much better experience when I paid more.
And I was happy to pay for it and wished I had the first time around.
So what does this have to do with our industry? Plenty.
As you know, plastic surgery advertising is out of control and everywhere you look, you see ads, banners, and Websites offering deep discounted surgical and non-surgical procedures.
That’s not happening by accident. Extreme competition is forcing some practices to lead with price to attract new cosmetic patients.
However, this heavy emphasis on discounts creates the “Groupon Discount mindset” in consumers. But that not only cheapens the surgeon’s image, but also our entire industry.
And, on the other hand, you have to address it with prospective patients because they are bombarded with it. They start believing price is the only variable to consider when shopping around for a service provider.
But then, that puts you in a position to play “Let’s Make a Deal” with prospective patients who want to negotiate with you.
OR NOT, but then you lose to these discounters more often than you want to admit so what do you do?
First, get your own mindset straight.
It’s never ALL about price. If it is, you didn’t do a thorough enough job promoting your value OVER price.
It’s imperative you show prospective patients why you are worth what you charge, and I’ll give you examples coming up.
And here’s something else to consider…
Like attracts like. That means, you attract who you are.
If you verbally wrestle vendors to the ground to get a great deal, you will attract patients who do the same.
If you make buying decisions based on quality, credibility and excellent customer service at a fair price, you will attract patients who do the same.
Be the quality decision-maker you want your patients to be.
And here’s the biggest tip to avoid discounting your services…
Promote Value, Benefits and results of Your Services rather than price.
The value of your services is the difference between the price you charge and the benefits the patient perceives they will get.
If the patient perceives they will get a lot of benefit for the price they pay, then their perception of your value is very high.
The good news is, you can control that more than you realize.
Spend the time teaching prospective patients how much they will benefit, how much your expertise and skill will help them get what they want and solve their problems.
The more you focus on these values, the less important price becomes.
Here are steps to follow to help you focus on more than price:
- Who Wants Your Services?
In other words, who is most likely to choose you and pay your prices? Which procedures do they want? How old are they? What is their income level? Do they have children? What is their level of education? What zip code do they live it?
Now that you know their demographics, ONLY advertise to that targeted audience.
Not only will you save money, you’ll get better quality prospective patients who can afford your services and who want to pay a fair price for your skill and expertise.
For example, there’s a huge difference between a 20-year female who wants a breast aug and only cares about price vs. a more mature female who wants facial rejuvenation who cares a lot more about your skill and expertise than saving a few dollars.
- Identify the Patients’ Problems Clearly
You are in the business of providing solutions to problems consumers have about their appearance.
Cosmetic patients pay you to solve their problems, so your job is to find out what bothers them and why.
Here’s a secret that wins you more patients……
Not only are you looking for the positive benefits prospective patients hope to gain such as increased confidence, increased desirability to the opposite sex or a new lease on life, but you also need to address their fears.
Because they may like what they hear, but they are afraid. Afraid they will spend all of this money and time recuperating only to regret their decision.
The media loves to show plastic surgery patients who have had bad plastic surgery outcomes with distorted face and body features, awful scarring, and disfigurement of other cosmetic surgery patients who said yes.
So, the prospective patient is scared they, too, could end up with regret and have to go through hell AND spend even more money to fix it.
The surgeon who not only proves their skill, but also calms the patient’s fears AND reassures them of a great result, wins.
And that leads us to #3
- Prove It with Show and Tell
For all sorts of reasons, consumers are a skeptical group. They want proof they can see, feel and touch and they want it from all sorts of sources so provide it in abundance. For example:
Proof from You: would include:
- Your great before/after photos untouched – and lots of them
- Your videos explaining each procedure
- Your videos talking about pros/cons of a procedure; i.e., A smiley face scar vs. a flat tummy
- Your videos showing how your technique is different than your competitors and that’s why you get better results
- Tour of your private and comfortable in-house OR suite
- Your clean and updated office
- Your PR
- Your speaking engagements
- Your book and/or articles authored
- Your guest spots on others’ blogs and podcasts
- Your Voted Top Doc plaques
- Your Excellent staff professionally representing you and
- Your superb customer service
Outside 3rd party Proof: would include:
- Patient video testimonials telling their story and what you did for them
- A local celeb interviewing you and using your quote in her column
- A ton of online patient reviews talking in detail about their experience with you
- Patient comments in 3rd party forums
- Patients interacting and talking about you on your and their social media platforms as well as
- Googling your name and all good news comes up
The more benefits, value and proof you can clearly “show and tell” to perspective cosmetic patients, the more likely they will consider your value more than just price.
When done correctly, they see and appreciate your higher price is well worth it.
And That leads me to Branding
consider the top consumer brands today like Chanel and Mercedes-Benz. They have risen above all others because they deliver a really great product AND incredible 5-star service.
I did a blog post on chanel that you should check out. I ordered face powder that is easily 10X the cost of face powder from the drug store but the experience and the quality are also 10X of what you get at the drug store.
In a nutshell, their packaging is amazing and the quality of the face powder is fantastic. Its longer lasting and doesn’t blotch up so the results are visibly better.
But they and Mercedes Benz have spent hundreds of millions of dollars per year to position themselves in the consumer’s mind as THE BEST.
Their “relentless” efforts to:
– educate consumers about why they are the best,
– provide extraordinary service and experiences for their customers and
– stay front and center by repeatedly being seen in the media, have built their quality brand.
So, as a plastic surgeon, unless you pay a PR agency to get you regular media exposure or you are a regular cast member on the Housewives or you’re doing live feeds or videos every day on IG, you’ll NEVER get the regular mass exposure it takes for prospective patients to see you as a “Brand” and agree to pay you anything you ask.
And, interestingly, even these huge brands feel the pressure to offer discounts to the deal-conscious consumer of today:
For example, Mercedes Benz doesn’t have a sale.
They have a “Winter Event” Do you hear the difference? That’s a good tip.
So, here are other points about pricing to consider:
The more you focus on the VALUE of your Surgical services, the less important the price becomes.
For example, the right cosmetic patients feel strongly about convenience, experience, comfort, service, safety and trust so put together your own Signature Surgery Package. Include everything in detail for one price such as:
-Transportation to and from surgery
-post-op nurse support and cooling machine for swelling and bruising
-private and convenient easy entrance and exit from surgery
-post op-recovery kit to include robe, meds, bandages, herbal healing solutions, bariatric chamber gift card, and complimentary lympthatic massage treatments to help with healing and better results
-amazon gift card to watch videos + your customized water bottle so they stay hydrated
-Flower delivery and post-op at-home visits for suture removal
-and anything else you can think of that patients will appreciate and talk about to their friends because they were blown away with your service.
Do you see how this level of quality service takes you out of the average and puts you into a whole different class with few competitors?
It’s something to think about.
Ok, that’s it for this episode
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