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The Perfect Consultation (Ep.154)

Hello, and welcome to Beauty and the Biz where we talk about the business and marketing side of plastic surgery and how to conduct the perfect consultation. I’m your host, Catherine Maley, author of Your Aesthetic Practice – What your patients, are saying as well as consultant to plastic surgeons, to get them more patients and more profits. Now, today’s episode is called “The perfect consultation”.

It’s imperative to know what your patients want, what they think about you and your staff and how to set expectations for the greatest amount of patient satisfaction.

⬇️ Click below to hear “The Perfect Consultation”

So, using a survey, I researched consumers personally to learn, first-hand, what they were looking for when searching for a surgeon to perform cosmetic enhancements.  The survey statistics and responses can be found in my book Your Aesthetic Practice/What Your Patients Are Saying”.

My objective was to determine trends and commonalities on how to conduct the perfect consultation, so here are some of my findings:

how to conduct the perfect consultation

The main reason both genders were considering cosmetic procedures was to improve their looks so they felt better about themselves and that gave them increased confidence

  • 90% of the time, confidence in the surgeon’s ability and staff interaction were more important than price
  • 86% of them referred at least two other people to that practice
  • 40% researched their procedure on the Internet ahead of time so they felt well-informed
  • 75% went on multiple consultations before deciding
  • Long waiting times were a reoccurring complaint
  • The better the staff, the less time the surgeon had to spend with the patient during the consultation

Listen in as I discuss how you can easily conduct the perfect consultation for increased conversions and have happier patients who will become raving fans!

Enjoy and I look forward to your feedback –

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How to Conduct the Perfect Consultation

Hello, and welcome to Beauty and the Biz where we talk about the business and marketing side of plastic surgery and how to conduct the perfect consultation. I’m your host, Catherine Maley, author of Your Aesthetic Practice – What your patients, are saying as well as consultant to plastic surgeons, to get them more patients and more profits. Now, today’s episode is called “The perfect consultation”.

It’s imperative to know what your patients want, what they think about you and your staff and how to set expectations for the greatest amount of patient satisfaction.

So, using a survey, I researched consumers personally to learn, first-hand, what they were looking for when searching for a surgeon to perform cosmetic enhancements.  The survey statistics and responses can be found in my book Your Aesthetic Practice/What Your Patients Are Saying”.

My objective was to determine trends and commonalities on how to conduct the perfect consultation, so here are some of my findings:

The main reason both genders were considering cosmetic procedures was to improve their looks so they felt better about themselves and that gave them increased confidence

  • 90% of the time, confidence in the surgeon’s ability and staff interaction were more important than price
  • 86% of them referred at least two other people to that practice
  • 40% researched their procedure on the Internet ahead of time so they felt well-informed
  • 75% went on multiple consultations before deciding
  • Long waiting times were a reoccurring complaint
  • The better the staff, the less time the surgeon had to spend with the patient during the consultation

Survey Conclusion/Findings

While this was interesting, it was apparent that I could not generalize about patient relations in terms of how to conduct the perfect consultation, especially when it pertained to people’s preferences.  Everybody was so different and their perceptions were so varied such as:

  1. While some thought an aesthetically gorgeous office indicated pride and success; others thought it was over the top and intimidating
  2. While some thought the doctors did not spend enough time with them and felt rushed; other patients thought too much time with them made them wonder why the doctor wasn’t busier
  3. and, while some thought the doctor was so thorough explaining the various procedures available, others felt oversold and confused with so many options

I probed further and asked, bottom line, why they chose that particular doctor over the others.  The consistent answer over and over was that the patient felt a “connection” with that doctor. Their “gut” feeling or intuition was telling them this was the right surgeon for them.  They had developed rapport and trusted that that particular surgeon understood them and would give them the best possible result. In short, they had experienced “the perfect consultation”.

So, What is Rapport?

Because if rapport is so vital in conducting the perfect consultation, it’s important to understand it. It’s difficult to define and you either have it with your patient or you don’t.  Rapport is that bond you build with your prospective patient.  It’s the single most important personality skill an aesthetic physician needs to be successful.  You build rapport through words, tone and gestures as well as commonalities since:

  • 7% of what is communicated is through your words
  • 38% through your tone of voice
  • 55% through your body language including facial expressions and gestures

Ok, so How do you Create Rapport?

First of all, the aesthetic patient wants to feel significant – period.  When a patient is spending their own money and time on elective cosmetic enhancement, they want to be treated respectfully, professionally and kindly by every person they encounter in the practice – leading up to their perfect consultation.  They also need to be heard and understood.  There is an old saying that says before you can be understood, you must work to understand and that is truly the case here.                                  

When we’re conducting the perfect consultation, we build rapport by creating or discovering things in common with the patient.  That can be as simple as talking with the patient about who referred them to your practice or learning more about their profession and their family.  The point is to show interest in the prospective patient as a person first; patient second.  You can easily get this information from the patient information form sitting right in front of you.  Just glance at it before entering the exam room.

Another way to build rapport during a perfect consultation is to mirror them.  That means mimicking your patient’s breathing patterns, posture, tonality and gestures in a discreet way.  People feel comfortable with people they believe are like them and mirroring will make that happen.

So, if the patient talks fast, you talk fast.  If the patient talks loudly, you talk loudly; if the patient is meek and quiet, you slow things down. Use the same terms and phrases the patient uses and be sure to avoid any jargon that the patient won’t understand.

If done correctly, the patient will feel as if they have found their soul mate, someone who understands and who can relate to them.  That’s when you have developed rapport and the patient feels that connection with you.

Let’s move onto Educating Your Patient and Setting Expectations

When I asked the patients in my survey how they knew their expectations were being met, their concerns were being addressed and recommendations were explained, I got different answers. Why?

Because there are three different learning styles – visual, auditory and kinesthetic. Visual people want to see the results; Auditory people want to hear about the results; and, Kinesthetic people want to touch and feel the results. All of us have elements of all three modes but usually one mode dominates our decision and learning processes and how we perceive things.  So, in a perfect consultation, you want to present your message in a way that gets through to the patient in the way they understand the best.

The easiest way for that to happen is to include all three modes of learning for everyone – something visual, something auditory and something kinesthetic.  You should show them things, let them hear things and you should attach feelings and emotions to them.

Some suggestions to use to help in this process during the perfect consultation with the patient is to use your hand, your mirror and a Q-tip to show patients facial skin lifting procedural results, show them before and after photo albums of patients who were striving for similar results; especially those who share the same age, gender and ethnicity.

Computer imaging was overwhelmingly desired for illustrating results specific to the patient and videos of procedures and taped patient testimonials on an iPad or on your computer in your consult room can be well received, especially when explaining complex procedures.

Now let’s go over The Perfect Consultation

Here is a description of the elements needed to carry out a successful and perfect consultation. The following is from the patient’s perspective and based on my survey findings:

  1. knock on the door gently, greet the patient by name, introduce yourself while looking him/her in the eye and shaking hands
  2. spend 30-60 seconds learning more about the patient as a person. Comment on their occupation, or perhaps the person who referred them and you can get that information from your patient information form
  3. Ask an open-ended question to get the ball rolling such as “So, tell me what’s bothering you?” or “Tell me what you would like to improve?”” or “What can I do for you today?”
  4. Listen – while they tell you – nod, look them in the eye and take notes so they know you are listening and understanding.
  5. Now, ask open ended questions to determine if the expectations are reasonable, the results can be reached safely and they are rational about the process.
  6. Determine where they are in the process. A great question to ask is “What is most       important to you when picking a surgeon?”  Or “What are you looking for in a cosmetic physician?”. 
  7. You can also ask, “Have you talked with anyone else and, if so, what can I tell you that you don’t already know?” However, there is no room for bad-mouthing your colleagues.  It puts you in a bad light and makes you look worse than your competition.
  8. Be sure they have completely and thoroughly relayed their concerns to you before you respond to them. It can be very tempting to interrupt with your recommendations, but you’ll get their attention much faster if you first give them your undivided attention.
  9. Always show respect for the patient. Even though you are the expert and know more, arrogance does not sell. If you come across as demeaning or condescending, you’ll drive the prospective patient away.
  10. Use words a layperson understands, be concise and keep it simple.
  11. Repeat back briefly to the patient the main points you heard such as intended outcomes and the patient’s concerns. Ask them if you have left anything out.
  12. Look them in the eye to let them know you are confident, skilled and experienced. You have performed many of these surgeries or treatments with excellent results and you will do the same for this patient. A golden statement the patient wants to hear from you is, “Sara, you are an excellent candidate for this procedure.”
  13. Reassure them that you can meet their expectations. Let them know you understand their concerns and fears so they trust you and your recommendations.
  14. Prepare and rehears a closing statement that sounds natural. Tell the patient you look forward to working with him/her to help them look their best and you look forward to seeing them soon.

By treating every single prospective patient as a person first, patient second and taking the time to develop rapport and gain trust, you will get a lot more yeses, but only if you perform your consultation as perfectly as possible.

Because “Just as you try to tailor your treatment to fit the unique features of your patients, tailoring your perfect consultation to your patient’s unique personality will increase your closing ratio.”

Thank you so much for your time on learning how you too can conduct the perfect consultation.

That’s going to wrap it up for us at Beauty and the Biz. So, if you enjoyed it, please head over to Apple Podcasts and give me a review and subscribe to Beauty and the Biz so you don’t miss any episodes. And of course, please share this with your staff and colleagues.

And if you’ve got any questions or feedback, you can go ahead and leave them at my website at www.CatherineMaley.com, or you can certainly DM me on Instagram @CatherineMaleyMBA.

Thanks so much. And we’ll talk again soon.

-End transcript for “The perfect consultation”

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#theperfectconsultation #howtoconducttheperfectconsultation #perfectconsultation

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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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