The Word-of-Mouth Cosmetic Practice
A word-of-mouth referral is the absolute best advertisement you can incorporate into your practice. It’s also the cheapest form of advertising that you can invest in and it takes minimal time and effort.
We all know the best patient is a referred patient. When a friend tells another friend, family member or colleague about you, that’s golden. They are already pre-sold on you, they are not as price sensitive and they are more likely to stay loyal to you.
Word-of-mouth referrals will increase your closing ratios, decrease your external marketing costs and grow your practice.
But don’t leave it to chance. Sure, you will get some referrals from your core group of fans in your practice, every practice has them, but you want them from every happy patient – not just the chosen few.
Make word of mouth referrals a priority in your office, set up processes and incorporate these word-of-mouth strategies:
Talk to Your Patients
Referrals come from connecting with your patients so they feel cared about as a person first, then as a patient.
Use their name and make eye contact with your patients. Ask them questions and then let them talk. The point is to bond with them personally first so they know you care about them.
Spend two minutes on them as a person. Ask them about their family, their occupation or anything else that strikes you as interesting from their patient in-take form.
They will relax, open up to you, and talk more about themselves. You can learn so much about a person if you show you are interested in them. And, you will be surprised what you learn.
Perhaps they are a member of the media or they are part of a large company who could use your services as an employee perk. Who knows until you ask.
Think of it this way. Each of us has on average inner circle of approximately 250 people. That includes friends, family, colleagues, neighbors, etc.
If each of your patients told only one of their inner circle about you, that would DOUBLE your practice growth. How does that sound?
Remember, like-minded people hang around with other like-minded people so you want your “preferred patient” to bring their friends to you.
But don’t take that for granted. Your patients need to know you want more patients just like them and if they send you their friends, family and colleagues, you promise to take great care of them.
Use Content to Spread the Word
Content is king on the Internet so produce lots of it for different media channels so your patients can share it with their friends, family and followers.
For example, you can videotape a consultation with a prospective patient talking about liposuction (with their permission, of course) and then upload it to YouTube and Vimeo.
Break it down into small pieces and upload to Instragram video. Use the video screen shot in your Facebook banner ads that click to the full video with a “Click Here to Schedule a Complimentary Consultation”.
And there’s more. Transcribe the patient consultation and use it for your blog posts, articles and press releases. Send an email announcing it to your current patient list and add “Share this with a Friend”.
The point is to cross-purpose one piece of content to many different media channels to increase your presence online.
Social Media Booth
Make it fun and easy for your patients to share you with their friends on social media.
Order a customized popup backdrop with your logo printed on it. Have it standing in a corner of your office near check-out.
Your patients can take pictures with you and your staff and videotape a testimonial and then upload it to their Facebook, Instagram and Snapchat social media accounts.
Thank Your Patients
Don’t take referrals for granted. You want to thank your patients; however, a boring computer-generated form doesn’t cut it.
Patients want to be appreciated for their trust and acknowledged for their support so show them thanks.
- Have your staff call them immediately to thank them
- Send a personal note from you to thank them
- Call them yourself to thank them
- Send a gift of appreciation
Behavior that is rewarded is repeated so make a big deal out of how much you appreciate their referral and more will follow.
Better yet, set up an automatic rewards program that acknowledges and thanks your patients for helping you grow your practice.
The goal is to get a whole lot more of your patients sharing you with who they know. Implement a referral program but do it with caution to stay out of trouble with the medial societies and their fee-splitting rules.
Just so you know, the medical boards say you cannot pay someone that encourages another person to have a medical procedure. So there cannot be a tit-for-tat exchange of money.
That’s a big reason I came up with the KiSS Rewards Club. Your patients get KiSSes, not money, when they refer, review and return so it keeps you out of trouble while growing your practice in a fun, organic way.
You can visit www.kissbogo.com for the details.
So to wrap this up, here’s the The Golden Rule reminder…
To grow a word-of-mouth practice, patients have to be truly happy and satisfied with their result as well as the service they receive from you to brag about you to their friends and family.
Be sure every single patient has a “WOW” experience every time they are in contact with you, your staff and your practice and watch your word-of-mouth referrals grow.
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.