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Ep.37: Creative Pricing Strategies for Non-Surgical Services

Creative Pricing Strategies for Non-Surgical Services

Learn a multitude of ways to sell your non-surgical services for more patients and more profits. Catherine covers aspects of in-house and digital marketing, talk scripts, VIP clubs, patient events and more! Learn from Catherine’s 40+ years as a top industry advisor and start increasing your revenue today!

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Episode transcript:

Beauty and the Biz

Ep.37: Creative Pricing Strategies for Non-Surgical Services


Catherine Maley, MBA: Hello and welcome to “Beauty and the Biz” where we talk about the business and marketing side of cosmetic practices. 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. And just so you know, the background of podcasting is a trip. So, I’m really busy during the week. So, of course I’d like to do it on the weekends. Well, now it’s Sunday, and it was great. And I’m starting out, and I realized the dire helicopter tours are going around the Bay Area, because it’s absolutely gorgeous. It’s kind of spring here now. So, it’s gorgeous.

So, the helicopters are taking off and the seaplane is going to be next. So, we’ll see how this goes. So, today’s episode is called Creative Pricing Strategies for Non-Surgical Services. And this is getting very important because of how commoditized the non-surgical side of our industry is getting. And you might be the greatest plastic surgeon on the planet. Or you might have some good people working for you. But here’s what’s working against you. Every single non-core specialty out there, every non-core physician, all the med spas, they’re constantly price slashing, and so you’re trying to compete on skill and expertise, let’s say if you’re the plastic surgeon doing the injectables, per se, but they’re competing on price and convenience and service. So, there’s nothing easy about the non-surgical side of the competitive nature of all of this. So, I’m going to give you some good ideas today. Because you’ve got to deal with that when a cosmetic patient is making a decision. First of all, there’s too much information and there’s too much choice. And all they’re thinking about is what is the value to the price I’m going to pay.

And a big one in non-surgical is could anybody else do this cheaper, and I can still get the same kind of result. So, what I like to do when I’m doing value versus price, I always think adding more value before dropping the price. So, we’ll always start there first, before you start slashing prices, first think about adding value. And there’s so many ways we can do that. And I’ll show you how now in persuasive selling skills, and I’ve had a ton of that experience in education. Oh, humans, humans, because we procrastinate like crazy. And we don’t do anything until we have to do it. It’s really important you use urgency and scarcity in your pricing strategies.

And that’s why you’ve seen forever, you’ve seen things that expire on a certain day, or only while supplies last, or the first tend to respond. The reason you have seen that forever is because it works over and over and over, even when you know it, even when you see it in, like buying cars like cars are really good at that or don’t you have a neighborhood rug store that’s always going out of business. And that’s what they’re doing. They’re adding urgency and scarcity. And frankly, it works. They’ll use it if you can. Now other pricing tips and free is always better than a percentage off. So that’s why I’m going to show you some strategies. Anytime you can use the word free, that’s still the most popular word in the advertising world.

And then another one is when you’re going to use a percentage off and it better be 50% or more to be compelling. Otherwise, you’re making people do the math. Like if you say 25% off, now they’ve got to figure that out. And nobody wants to do that. And or let’s say you say 10% off. Well, that doesn’t sound very good. It just depends on compared to what 10% off of what. So anytime you confuse somebody, it’s usually a no go or it’s just not compelling enough to be a yes. And so here a couple of ideas and an easy one is buddy Botox, always, always offer something extra when they bring a friend, share with a friend, forward to a friend. So, the buddy Botox is very simple. A current patient just brings their friend with them to their next Botox appointment. And they both get an instant $50 gift card towards their Botox treatment. So now not only did your current patient come back and return to you, they also brought a friend and introduced them to your practice in your staff and you perhaps, and you just got a new patient for what $50 I mean, I would do that all day long.

You know today to get an aesthetic patient into your practice, I’m going to cost you well over 1000 typically, so I’d spend 50 every day. And here’s another tip. You always use a gift card, never a coupon or a discount. That’s when you start getting down into the drugs with you know med spas or with the lower echelon of providers. Just call it a gift card. It has a different connotation and it works very well. Now, some of you have these Botox clubs, I was just consulting with a client and they’ve got this and I’m looking at the sheets here. He’s got two pages of sheets and one of them is called the gold Botox club and it’s got three tiers and another one’s called the diamond Botox club and it’s got three tiers. And it can’t be more complicated.

So, it’s got like you can get one area of Botox every three months or two areas or three areas. But then you can along with that you also get some skincare and appeal and then 10% off of all other treatments. And then if you go to the second tier, it’s same thing, you get the peel, you get some products and then 15% off the treatments and then the third one is you get appeal you get some more products you get 20% off the treatments, but if you’re in the diamond Botox club, then Instead, you get the one area Botox two areas every three months, three areas every three months, but then he’s added some laser treatments, and then those are 15% off, 20% off and 20% off. I don’t know, it’s so complicated, I would be very careful with that.

Because not only will you confuse the patients, but you’re gonna confuse the staff, they’re not gonna understand how to work this out. Another one is gift certificates. These are taken way too lightly. Again, if you can have a gift certificate that your current patient buys for their sister, their mom, their aunt, their colleagues, their best girlfriend, whomever, you just bought yourself a new patient for only like $25. So, I would make it simple, I would say buy a $100 gift certificate for a friend. And then you get a $25 gift card that literally just cost you $25 for a new patient. But here’s what happens, most of you have gift certificates, they’re hiding in the drawer somewhere, you never talk about them, you never even mentioned it.

This is such good stuff and content for social media, email marketing, your newsletter, your websites. You want to spread that word everywhere, especially during the appropriate times of the year, holidays are always good. I personally, if you’ve got an aesthetician, I would make them in charge of putting together a different monthly gift basket with a gift card every month and put it on display and make a big deal out of it and put a sign next to it that says need a quick gift. And then when your current patient also gets a $25 gift card. Now they’re going to return again, they might buy some more gift certificates for other friends and so on. Now, of course the big one when it comes to pricing creative strategies for nonsurgical bundling services always make sense. But they need to complement each other to make it compelling. Because not only are you trying to increase your like let’s say average order size, you’re also trying to give that patient the absolute best result they can get. So, they come back again and again because they’re seeing a killer result, you know in the mirror.

So easy things are by a series of micro painting treatments and then get 20 units of Botox and that’s where I’m throwing in the word free. Everybody in our industry wants free Botox. We all started on Botox. We all love Botox, so use that another one that’s worked super-duper well has been by filler and Botox, but then get free IPL because look what you’re doing talk about a one plus one equals 10. And they’ve got filler for their nasal labial folds. So, you smooth out those wrinkle folds, and they got Botox to smooth out the wrinkles. And now the IPL smooths out their complexion, that’s a while result.

Now, other packages can be sold by body part. Like for example, you could have a fun theme called for your eyes only. And in this package, they get Botox plus free eye cream. And you see how I’m using the word free. You have to get that in there somewhere because that’s what we want, especially if you’re not discounting because the patient saying well, if you’re not discounting, what am I getting? Oh, I get it, I’m getting free ice cream. And another note is anytime you offer something free, you’ve got to put in parentheses what the value is, so they understand what they’re going to save. So, for example, you would have said Botox, plus free eye cream, value $65. And now they realize whoa, I’m getting $65 eye cream for free. That’s terrific. You can also do a package by age. And this is really important when things are getting complicated. And there’s so many different solutions to a patient’s problem. And they do want your help and recommendations. So, you could have different beauty packages for women in their 20s, their 30s, their 40s, their 50s, their 60s, package it up and make it so much more attractive. So, they don’t have to shop it, they can just buy your package that you’ve already figured out for them. And by the way, this also helps them not price shop because now you have packaged it up, so they can’t pull it apart.

Also packages by profession. And this is where you want to get together with your staff and do some brainstorming and get fun and creative with this. You can have mommy packages, teacher packages, real utter packages, yoga buff packages, and it just goes on and on. And you can also have packages by gender and I’m still I get hate mail for this. But if you don’t have an unlimited budget and stick to the women just stick to the women there 85% of this market trying to go after the men is just a distraction for you quite frankly. But if you want to go after the men which you will anyway because for Father’s Day, you’re going to do it. At least do something like hair laser removal plus Botox packages, something like that to get them to get a good result and in return more often.

And then you can do a package by procedure. Those are always really popular for some of these non-surgical that you can sell in multiple treatments because they’re going to need multiple anyway to get a good result. So of course, buy three get one free is always good. Bogo is always good buy one, get one free, and there’s that word free again. Now another idea is using patient beauty books. And you would have beauty books customized and branded for your look and feel. And they would have different denominations. You could have $25 $50 $100 and you’re using them at your discretion but you decide ahead of time who can get one and who shouldn’t and then the staff will have the power to give these out. For example, your front desk can have $25 beauty books and when a patient books their next appointment now, they hand them a beauty buck and say, Karen, oh, by the way, I can give you our beauty bucks for scheduling your appointment.

Now are you interested? Because here’s the thing about aesthetics, you never want a patient to walk out the door of your practice without having a return plan of action. Because a cosmetic patient who wants to look good, needs to see you more regularly, then, once a year, they need to see you often. And I’m not I’m talking to non-surgical here, you need to give them a reason to come back again and again. And just like the dentist, you know how they book you six months ahead of time, there’s no reason we can’t do this in our industry. But give them a little carrot to return and booking book now to get them psychologically prepared to return. Again, it’s just too easy for them to wander off to your competitor. If you don’t, you can also offer beauty books if they upload Google review from their phone while they’re in your office.

And I was at a meeting and somebody mentioned this, and I have a pro and con to this. And the one thing they said was oh my god, we’re getting so many more Google reviews, by the way, you care more about Google reviews than any other review, because Google owns the world. So just those are the most important. They were getting a lot more because they were prompting the patient to just google them from their own cell phone while they were in the office. But some of them said, Oh, I don’t really want to show my name or my picture. Did you know you can go to your cell phone and temporarily change your identification and like change your name or something. And then but the problem with that is you have to go You have to wait 24 hours. So now you can’t do it from the office. But quite frankly, in today’s world, I think we’re so into authenticity and transparency,

quite a few of the patients could care less. And they’ll say, yeah, sure, I’ll Google you. And they’ll do it from their cell phone. And you can also give them 50 bucks to post and share during their visit. And you’ll see this on Facebook and Instagram where the patients are literally– half of these patients now have started vlogs or they take pictures of everything they’re eating and where they’re going and what they’re wearing that day. I mean, it’s gotten really crazy. So, you can use that to your advantage. So, make sure the patient is posting and sharing while they’re visiting with you, offered to be in the photos with them, offered to do a little video with them, I mean anything to help you get in front of their followers, that’s the way to do it.

You can also get beauty books to shoot a video testimonial while they’re in the office. And that’s one way or the other, either they shoot it from their own cell phone, or better yet, you have a particular corner in your office where you have them sit and then you have them do a video testimonial while you ask them questions, or unless they’re really good at ad [inaudible 12:23]. All they’re trying to do is tell their story or their journey with you and how great you are and how they’re how great their results are. And then another really good idea that has worked well to increase the non-surgical side of the practice, by using a creative pricing strategy is to use a survey. And most of the practices I consult with don’t want to do a survey, they really don’t want to know, they don’t want to know they know it’s trouble. They know they’re not looking for any more trouble. But if you’re open minded and you do a survey, we’ve done it many, many times for our clients, and it’s got so many advantages to it.

Number one, the technology is super easy in today’s world. I mean, we do it for you, but we charge like 497 to do it. You can easily go to survey, monkey calm and try your own survey. But here’s where you go wrong. You ask too many questions, and they’re too vague. So, here’s one thing I would do when I do a survey. I think we only go with eight or nine questions. But then we have a field for notes. We really want the handwriting, we want the real story, not just the yes or no or I agree or disagree. We want to hear their thoughts. So, we have a box and the question is what’s one thing we could do to improve and then that’s been super great feedback. But here’s what you do with the survey. Everybody who completes the survey gets a $50 gift certificate to thank them for taking the survey. And so, here’s the tip. You always want to have a timely reason for offering a special price. You’re not just offering a special price because you’re not busy because that’s not good branding, you’re offering it for a very special reason.

So, in this case it is because of the survey. I’ll tell you what we’ve sent this out and they have been booked for the next two weeks solid because of that $50 gift card because it makes sense that the patient did something for you and you did something back for them. And now they want to come back and see you again. You also want to use fun themes and again, you’ve got to be creative with this and the first one is always the birthday. A lot of you are getting this wrong. Here’s the thing about the birthday and you say happy birthday to somebody on their birthday, but they want it to look good on their birthday. So, I personally send it out, wait like two weeks before that saying Hey, your birthdays come in. You know don’t want to look great on your special day. Come on in for your birthday treat and you’ve got to send it ahead of time that’s the secret not on their birthday. Okay. And then also just think about monthly themes like December we have had very good luck with glam up for the holidays, January New Year new you kind of stuff or you know introducing you know this year in February tissue wrinkles goodbye. I mean, these never end there. They’re all over the internet too.

So, there are plenty of monthly themes that you can be creative with. Another really good pricing strategy is to offer a get to know a skin evaluation offer. This is for the patient who’s going to dip their toe into the pool of cosmetic rejuvenation rather than jump right in with surgery. So on your website, I would make a big deal out of this, and you call it your get to know us skin evaluation offer. And what it includes is a skin analysis photo session with your aesthetician Peggy, and then show pictures of Peggy working on we’re working with clients and also a wonderful exfoliating and moisturizing facial treatment, and a free makeup session. And then and that includes one sample product of your choice. One of the reasons you’re doing that is when people come in for facials, especially during the day, they get to get their face back on and a lot of you don’t have any makeup. I’m not saying have a big makeup counter. But if you do sell makeup or at least this, make sure you put sunscreen back on their face and make a tinted or do some sunscreen powder to help them get back out into the world again, after having you know a skin treatment by you.

Now, when you offer all of this, you package it up and then you say now the entire package retails for $300. However, as a new patient to get to know us, it’s yours for only $97. So do you see how you took down all the price resistance and you Built it up with all these services. And then you offered a really great price after you first told them what it retails for. And then you drop the price down to 97. So that’s a really attractive offer. And, of course, you’ve got to work with your vendors. And this can be a double-edged sword. Working with defenders is fantastic. They are great, they have everything you need, they’ve got the tchotchkes that they’re not allowed to give you any more.

They’ve got all sorts of rebates and all of that. They’re doing their darndest to make sure you use their products, and they’re all competing with each other. So, I personally would work with them. They’re fantastic. They’ve got great ideas, and they’ll often do things for you for free. But watch what they do for you regarding external marketing and their emails are typically so boring. And they’re so bureaucratic, because they’re pharma companies. So, I don’t know if I would use their stuff, I would take some of their ideas, but then make them your own. Because it’s got to be more compelling than the way they’re going to the way they’re allowed to do it. But one of our clients did a buy 40 units of something and then get 20 units for free. And that worked beautifully. But usually, their offers are not that great, like buy three sculptor and get one for free. It’s like really, that’s not a great offer, especially when you find out sculpture costs as what it costs, what it costs on sometimes they get it right, like sometimes you cannot buy it to filler and get free Botox, but even then how old is this patient when you need two syringes, a filler. I would go back to like putting together in the age packages, so people are more clear about do I need one on one to serve enjoy it too. And now, the downside also with the vendors is that they’re offering the same things to your competitors. So, you’re all doing the same things at the same time. So that hurts your result. But I would I do you like working with them, I just like to customize it to your own. And then you want to do social media, big time with non-surgical procedures. And not just Instagram, but Facebook, Instagram, all of them if you can. And your social posts need to have a lot of urgency in them. And you’re not supposed to– supposedly social media, we don’t sell on social media, because it’s social. But the reality is, we’re all-in business to make money. And nobody makes money until they sell something to somebody else. And that’s just how the marketplace works. And so, you have to figure out how do you promote your services in a compelling way that gets somebody to stop and notice an act. And the only way you can do that is with urgency, or some kind of special thing that’s happening that they don’t want to miss out on.

So, for social posts, you can do things like oh, like on Monday heads up, we only have three openings left this week, call now, first three get in or always, when you get a new nurse injector or new esthetician, make a big deal out of it and call it the meet Kim and then with Kim comes a $50 gift card for your first treatment with her. And you can also do an introductory price for new technology. This is one of those logical things that makes so much sense, you get brand new technology, you’ve got to market it because otherwise it sits in the corner and then you complain that they oversold you. But that’s because you didn’t market it. So, this is the perfect time to start in. I personally would start a waitlist, hey, we’re getting in the new da da da, you’re respond now or DM me now.

So, you can be added to the list. And I’ll let you know when it gets here. And then when it is there, if you want to say something like the first 20 who respond get half off. I mean, it needs to be a really good introductory offer. because number one, you’ll get the first 20 to respond and we’ll help get the ball rolling.

And by the way with those first 20 I would say with the caveat, when they call, I do want you to take before and after photos and share this with your friends on social, you know if you’re going to if you’re going to get the half off, but then you can also build a list of others who are interested in that treatment. So maybe they weren’t the first 20 but now you’ve got 50 on that list and you can always come back to them with some other kind of offer. And anytime you can come up with some kind of a special day or time that’s when they get a special price and so forth, for example maybe you offer like Botox happy hour or girls’ night out or filler Friday, again, come up with some fun ways to say that or walk ins welcome on certain days that are slow for you. Now, obviously you can’t offer alcohol at these kinds of events because there’s usually injectables going on. If it’s some, if it’s injectables, you better stick to some really fun, cute non alcoholic fruity drinks that look alcoholic, like my ties that don’t have any rum in them.

So, what’s in there? Tequila or whatever it is, anyway, and then offer great snacks, so make it really fun. And, and have them look forward to it. And if you have things like filler, Friday, at least it starts getting in their head, oh, I do need my Botox done. Oh, that’s right, they do it on Fridays, I’ll go there. And so that can work to your advantage if you do something consistently. And then of course, loyalty programs are fantastic. I do a full disclosure; I have my own. It’s called kiss rewards club calm, and ours is super simple. Because I’m not a pharma company, I can keep it simple. And it’s very direct. It’s every dollar you spend, you get a kiss like kisses and get free services. And that’s it, you can also get free services right away by referring a friend and giving a good review, or offering approval of your photos to be used in the marketing. So, my loyalty program is fantastic. I’d like you to check it out. If you check out anyone else’s, please do. But make sure it’s simple. Otherwise, it just crashes and burns because nobody understands it. And it’s not a fun, compelling program. And the last one is the VIP club. This is different from the loyalty club, a VIP club. And the thought behind it is in your patient list, you’ve got 20% of patients that would gladly give you more money, but you just haven’t identified them or made them feel special and treated like VIP. There’s a group of human beings, I haven’t been one of them that will pay extra for extra service.

And there are more than you think right now you’re getting clobbered because you think everyone’s about price. And there are a whole bunch of people who are not, it’s not about price. It’s about convenience, and customer service, and a friendly atmosphere, and people knowing your name and making it easy for you to do business with them. So, what I would do is identify those top 20% that spend a lot with you are a pleasure to work with, don’t complain about prices, and refer their friends and those people. Don’t you make them part of your VIP club and then decide what the perks are. It can be no waiting Botox appointments, you can have a massage chair and a private lounge that they get to go to that nobody else gets to go to, you can keep their credit card on file.

So, there’s no waiting at checkout, kind of like the Amazon one click, I think that’s brilliant, I probably spend 40% more on Amazon. Because of that one click, they have use of your makeup bar. If you have one, you could have VIP events. They can be catered with nicer food; you could have special pricing only at that you could offer a free peel or a massage every month. At the VIP events. You could even invite like a local artist or a local author as a special guest. I mean, again, be creative with that. So, I just gave you a ton of ideas. I hope that was helpful, you might need to listen to this again. So, with that, I really would appreciate it if you would subscribe to beauty in the biz. And if you would give me a great review on iTunes that would help me spread the word. If you would also share me with your friends and staff. That’d be terrific, especially this one share with your staff and do some brainstorming together. Of course, I always welcome feedback so you can leave a message for me at my website at or you can DM me on Instagram at catherinemaleymba. Thanks so much. We’ll talk again.

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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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