You and your staff spend up to an hour with a prospective patient talking
with them and showing them your social proof. You explain the procedure
and then go over the quote and then what happens?
The majority of the time you get the dreaded, “I gotta think about it.” Ugh!
It makes you feel like you’re spinning your wheels and wasting your time, doesn’t it?
To help you understand the inner workings of the aesthetic patient’s mind,
I did research for my book, Your Aesthetic Practice: What Your Patients Say About You,
where I personally interviewed many cosmetic patients to figure out why they say yes to
one surgeon and no to the others.
The majority of those interviewed were female with the medium age being 44 years
old and they were scattered throughout the US.
My objective was to determine trends and commonalities so here
are some of my key findings:
- 90% of the time, the confidence in the surgeon’s ability and positive staff
interaction were more important than price;
- 75% went on multiple consultations before deciding (the majority of those who
went on one consultation did so after a glowing recommendation from their friend,
family member or colleague;
- Long waiting times and feeling hurried were a reoccurring complaint that
hurt the relationship; and
- The better the staff, the less time the surgeon had to spend with the patient
during the consultation.
While the above responses were interesting, it was apparent I needed to probe further
to see if I could come up with some generalities that could define what made up a good
practice that prospective patients said YES to.
But, this is what I learned instead. The aesthetic patients’ preferences varied greatly.
These aesthetic patients are consumers who think very differently.
And, their perceptions were so varied such as:
- While some thought an aesthetically gorgeous office indicated
pride and success; others thought it was over the top, intimidating
and made them feel uncomfortable;
- While some thought the surgeons did not spend enough time with
them and felt rushed; other patients thought too much time with them
made them wonder why the surgeonwasn’t busier; and
- While some thought the surgeon was so thorough explaining the various
procedures available, others felt oversold and confused with so many options.
So I probed further and asked, bottom line, why they chose that particular surgeon
over the others, there was a consistent answer that came up again and again….
The #1 reason the aesthetic patient chose you was that the patient felt a “connection”
with you, your staff and the overall vibe of the practice atmosphere.
It was the FEELING they got when interacting with everyone at the practice.
Their “intuition” was telling them this was the right surgeon, staff and practice for them.
They had developed rapport with people in the practice and trusted that
that particular surgeon understood them and would give them the best possible result.
What is Rapport?
If rapport is so vital, 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 cosmetic surgeons and staff need 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 (facial expressions and gestures)
How do you Create Rapport?
The aesthetic patient wants to feel special – 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.
They also want 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.
You build rapport by giving a cosmetic patient your undivided attention.
They have to feel like you are interested in them and what they have to say. That starts with
good eye contact. The key is to look at the patient more than at the computer or your paperwork.
The point is to show interest in the prospective patient as a person first;
patient second. Find something on the patient intake form you have in common
that helps break the ice. Perhaps it’s the referring patient you both know or maybe
your kids go to the same school.
Another way to build rapport is to ask questions and then listen
to the answers. There’s a study that says surgeons interrupt patients within
16 seconds and that cannot happen if you are trying to connect with a cosmetic
patient who’s trying to determine if you are “the one”.
Let them talk. Not only will the patient give you vital information you need
to know to decipher if they are a good fit for you, the patients will feel like you
understand them. That’s when you have developed rapport and bonded with
the patient who now sees you as the best choice.
The point is to look at this meeting as a 2-way dialogue rather than as a 1-way presentation.
That’s how you build rapport with the prospective patient who says YES to you!
Dedicated to getting you more patients and more profits –
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. | View Author Profile | Get a Free Copy of her popular book, Your Aesthetic Practice: What Your Patients Are Saying