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Ep.31: Plan Now to Make 2020 Great

Make 2020 Great

How badly do you want to reach and exceed your goals in 2020? Get some fresh tips from Catherine as she celebrates her 20th year helping aesthetic practices become more profitable.

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Episode transcript:

Plan Now to Make 2020 Great

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.

Hello and 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.

So, I want to say happy new year and I want to welcome you back or welcome me back because I took off the last two weeks for the holiday. I really needed a break. I work almost every day and I just needed to regroup and strategize for 2020 I came up with my new goals. I always have goals because I’m a little on the hyper side and I work better when I know where I’m going. So, I’ve got some great goals for 2020. I’m really excited about it and one of them is to meditate every day and I’ve tried this for years and I do okay for about 10 minutes. I do struggle with it, but I do know it’s so important. I hear about it all the time and I do need to chill.

So, I did come up with a great new solution. Number one, I have an app called Headspace and it has, I guess a monk runs the thing and he’s got hundreds and hundreds of meditations on there and now what I like about it is it keeps me focused on the meditation. So, he’s been very helpful. He has it very nice English accent that’s easy to listen to and I just need to chill. However, for Christmas I was given a latte machine. I really love lattes, but I can’t drink caffeine because I’m just too hyper. So, they did give me decaf, those little K cups that come with a latte machine. So, I’m just thrilled with it. I absolutely love it although I think there’s a little caffeine in there because I do feel a little hyper.

Anyway, here’s some more big news. 2020 is actually my 20 year anniversary for being in this industry. It really went fast. So, for 20 years I have done nothing but devote my career to helping plastic surgeons get more patients and more profits. So, to celebrate what I ended up doing over the holidays was coming up with a guide and it’s called “20 Cosmetic Patient Attraction Strategies for 2020.” So, I went through a lot of our marketing strategies that we use for our clients to get them more patients or profits and I put them together in this guidebook and it’s got 20 graphic templates and you can swipe and deploy them all you want. I use the most proven and effective but also the easiest ones for you to execute. So, please grab a copy of that guide at my website and then let’s move on.

So, today’s episode is called ” The Nine Point Practice Assessment. So, cosmetic practice growth comes from clarity, focus, discipline and the courage to see where the issues are and then fix them. So, why is this important? Well, because you can’t fix what you don’t know. You also can’t stick your head in the sand and do what you’ve always done or you’re going to get left behind. So, we need some brutal honesty here. Where are your trouble spots? Do you even know or are you just guessing or are you sure that’s what the problem is or is there something else that’s broken that you don’t know about or maybe you haven’t been willing to address? So, let’s find out in this podcast. So, a great place to start is with my nine point assessment that’s going to give you the clarity you need to focus on what’s most important for your practice and your revenues to grow.

So, simply answer yes or no to the following questions to see if you’re set up to win. Okay. So, here’s number one. Do you have a marketing plan that uses several patient attraction lead generation strategies? So, cosmetic patients today, they live on multiple media channels and they want information the way they want it. So, some prospective patients want to follow you on Facebook. Some might want to look at your pictures and videos on Instagram. Some want to watch you dance on Tik Tok. I’m actually just kidding about that. But Tik Tok, I keep hearing it’s going to be the next Instagram. So, if you want to get on early, now’s the time because if it, you know, it’ll take it a couple of years to catch up. But then some prospective patients, they want to read your blog post. Some want to read about you from other cosmetic patients. That’s why they check out all the reviews and someone who goes through your website with a fine tooth comb because those are the researcher types and they really like to read up on everything. So, you need a strategy to create and distribute content so prospective patients not only notice you, but they act by reaching out to you.

So, here’s question number two. Are you able to track where your new leads are coming from? Because it’s way too expensive to advertise today and not know what’s working. So, when I consult with practices, we always pull the reports that tell us the referral source. And quite frankly, if you don’t have a computer system or CRM that can pull reports by referral source, then you’ve got to switch gears here because this kind of data is vital for you to know in today’s world. But here’s the ying and the yang of the thing. It can be inaccurate because you know that garbage in garbage out. So, here’s what I find that happens oftentimes regarding the referral source.

The receptionist never even asked caller how they heard about you or the receptionist just clicked on the first dropdown referral source in her computer because it wouldn’t let her continue without choosing something. So, she just chose the quickest one she could to keep moving along or maybe the patient left a blank on the patient intake forms and then nobody asked them to fill it in or the patient said the internet when they’re asked on the phone but then once they visit and they get more comfortable with you, you find out the prospective patient actually it was a friend of hers who referred her. So, then she Googled you and went to your website and then your Instagram account to check you out and that’s how she ended up saying the internet. But that’s not really true. She first found you through a word of mouth referral.

So, here’s question number three. Does your staff respond to new leads immediately? I have said this before, that the stats show that 48% of offices don’t follow up on internet leads because the staff said they’re too busy or they don’t think they’re good quality leads so why bother? Or some practice staff follow up days later, but by then lead has grown so cold or their competitors have already reached out because whomever follows up first has the first responder advantage. So, do you have a system to jump on these leads immediately while they’re hot? And to make it even more complicated do you have a system like a 24/7 365 system to respond to a prospective cosmetic patient when they want to talk about it not when your office is open, but what do you do if they’re responding to you before you open, after you open on weekends? You really have to figure that out.

Then here’s answering a question number four. Does your phone staff convert at least 60% of the callers to appointments? The phone experience a prospective patient has with your practice, it’s taken way too lightly and most practices. So, keep in mind, new patients are never even going to meet you if they can’t get past your receptionist. So, most surgeons have spent a fortune on their website to be seen as the best, but not nearly enough on the phone skills of their receptionist who represents them. So, the prospective patient has checked out your website and is excited to connect with you, but then changes her mind when she calls your office. Now they could have gotten an answering machine or an annoying phone tree which drives me crazy, or an indifferent receptionist who didn’t even bother bringing her a game and bonding with the color.

Now, I’ve been doing mystery shopping for 20 years and here’s what I know for sure. Every single practice can use help in this area and just because you trained your staff once doesn’t mean they stay trained. I have worked with practices and call centers often for weeks, months or years because you have to monitor calls, you have to give them scripts to follow. You have to hold them accountable because every single call has to be handled professionally or if you get lax about that, so do your phone staff and they start going back to their other bad habits.

So, here’s question number five. Does your coordinator converted at least 60% of the consultations to book procedures? Now this is where the rubber meets the road, as they say, all of the money, time and effort you have expended to attract new cosmetic patients to you begins and ends here. Please remember, leads are just leads until the prospective patient says yes and gives you money. So, are you sure you have the right person in this position who can professionally represent you? Go over the quote and then the big one ask for a decision. Because too many cosmetic practices have hired a nice coordinator who’s friendly and they’re easy to work with, yet they don’t know how to close. Either they haven’t been trained to or they have resistance to it, or they just don’t have the right stomach or personality for it. But either way it’s costing you a fortune in wasted time and lost resources.

So, here’s question number six. Does your staff follow up professionally on leads that do not convert? So, let’s say you do have a great coordinator, but for some reason she drops the ball as she can’t convert them at that consultation. I get that one a lot. You have to know that, and you don’t know that if you don’t watch the numbers. But there are some coordinators who just literally, as far as they’re concerned, they gave it a shot and that’s it for them. So, maybe they assume that the prospective patients just going to call them back if they have any questions or when they’re ready to book, or maybe she thinks they’re just lost causes. But what usually happens is your coordinator may email or call them once and ask the standard, so did you have any more questions? Which is so lame, and when the prospective patient says, no, I’m still thinking about it, then your coordinator just drops them in a dead lead file and then they’re gone forever. The decision making process for a plastic surgery patient has gotten so darn confusing with so many choices and so much competition and so much going on with technology, they often do need to think about it, but that’s why you need to be there helping them think about it, not you, your coordinator. Now that takes skills and scripts and strategies to move that thinking patient to a yes patient. Now I guarantee you’re losing at least 15% of your revenues if you don’t have a solid plan in place for following up on these leads.

Now, here’s question number seven. Do you systematically ask for referrals, reviews, and retain your patients? Now, here’s where the most money is left on the table. You have a tendency to see the patient as a one hit wonder rather than as a raving fan who returns, refers and reviews. When you shift your mindset and you consider the lifetime value of a cosmetic patient, you make more money in less time by working a lot easier and a whole lot smarter, and you already did the hard part. When you attracted a new cosmetic patient to your practice. With minimal effort, you encourage them to return more often, give you great reviews, and then brag about you to their friends and family.

A cosmetic practice has always been and will continue to grow on word of mouth referrals. I don’t know why everyone forgets about that. It’s not always about brand new patients. They’re great to have, but boy, all your leverage is in that patient who comes back again and again refers their friends. So, that’s why you want to set up processes to get as much value as you can from each and every cosmetic patient. I guarantee most of you are not even coming close to getting all the value and all the disposable income from each patient, but this is the best part of our industry. Cosmetic patients have endless needs especially as the aging process and the consumer trends continue and I can vouch for that one. Holy cow!.

And then here’s question number eight. Do you hold your staff accountable, so you know processes are being followed? Now most surgeons I consult with feel if they don’t do the work, it doesn’t get done and then they complain. They have to micromanage staff and they wish they could just do their job. Isn’t that the truth? They’re frustrated with their staff and they hold a quiet resentment towards them because they’re supposed to make the surgeon’s life easier, not harder. Now if you too have felt that there is a better way. Rather than think like a surgeon, you’ve got to switch and start thinking like a business person and that means setting up protocols just like you do for surgery, but you do it also for lead generation, patient conversion, patient follow-up and so on. So, when done correctly, the staff has clarity and you have peace of mind knowing the right things are getting done to grow your practice.

Lastly, here’s our last question on our nine point assessment. Number nine, can you easily pull reports that help you make better business decisions? Now when I was in business school getting my MBA, they harped on reporting and data and how important it was and at the time I thought, why can’t we just look at the bottom line? Isn’t that enough? And I now many years later, that was very naïve on my part because by then it’s too late to do anything about it, right? You can’t fix it. It’s just too late. So, knowing your numbers through the right weekly and monthly reports tell you vital data. First it takes the guesswork and the anecdotal assumptions out of it and it tells you if you’re on track or if you need to pivot. Now the right data, good or bad, helps you make better business decisions because numbers don’t lie. They’re there to help you see what’s really going on in your practice.

I always say when I’m consulting, the answers we’re looking for are in your numbers, so let’s start there and it’s not fun usually, although it actually gets really fun because it’s almost like being a detective and I feel like a forensic kind of thing. When I go into a practice, I look at the numbers and I can see where the problem points are. It’s so easy because I’ve done it so much, but for you, maybe it’s not. But seriously, it’s really only a few key metrics that are making all the difference in your practice. The secret is to stay focused on those key metrics and not be distracted by the endless chatter promising you bliss. If you just do this one thing. Okay.

So, I think that was all a lot to handle and you’re either feel really good right now because you were able to say yes to a whole bunch of these practice fundamental questions or you don’t feel so good because you weren’t able to and just in case, just to make you feel better. The average cosmetic practice, they can only answer yes to a few of these questions and it’s usually because they don’t know how, they weren’t trained to. I mean, let’s remember while you were in medical school learning something really important the rest of us went to other kinds of schools like business school. So, you, you’re not supposed to know everything, but you are supposed to work with others who do know their part of it or otherwise you just haven’t perfected your practice fundamentals. So, the bottom line is it really is too competitive to be mediocre and only the best are going to survive and flourish because they’ve perfected their practice fundamentals. They keep their revenues flowing.

So, let’s talk. If you’re not satisfied with your current results, I guarantee you’ll have more clarity and structure to run your practice more like a well-run business when we talk. So, let’s do that and I do wish you a very successful 21. I’m super excited about it and please do let me know what I can do to help you grow.

So, if you would, I would appreciate it if you would subscribe to “Beauty and the Biz” and if you would give me a great review that would help spread the word and I’d super-duper appreciate that and if you would share me with your friends and your colleagues and your staff, that’d be terrific. Then if you’ve got any comments or feedback or questions please leave me a message on my website at or you can always DM me at Instagram @catherinemaleymba. That’s it for now and I will talk to you soon.

We hope you found valuable insight on this episode of “Beauty and the Biz.” For more episodes tools and Catherine’s free book visit that’s and be sure to subscribe to get the latest practice building strategies delivered to you and don’t forget to share this “Beauty and the Biz” podcast with your staff and colleagues.

Plan Now to Make 2020 Great!


Catherine Maley

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.


Beauty and the Biz is for Plastic Surgeons who know they don’t know everything and are open to discovering the pearls to grow and scale a sellable asset when they’re ready to exit.

Listen in as Catherine interviews surgeons who talk about the business and marketing side of plastic surgery and listen to Catherine’s pearls from consulting with plastic surgeons since Year 2000.



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