This Week’s Question:
I have been a plastic surgeon in solo practice for 17 years. Up until 2008, I used to be in the OR 4 days a week doing hundreds of breast augmentations every year. That number has dropped by half and keeps getting worse. Even though I spend a lot more on marketing NOW than I did back when I was busy, the return is minimal. My competitors drop their prices so much, I can’t (won’t) compete that way. What can I do to get my numbers back up?
Dear Dr. W,
Thanks so much for a question that MANY surgeons are asking. So, let me start by asking you a question:
Are you chasing the wrong crowd?
There are TWO different types of cosmetic patients:
- Cosmetic patients with only ONE need (e.g. breast aug), who are Groupon shoppers
- Cosmetic patients with ENDLESS needs (e.g. breast aug, tummy tuck, bleph, facelift, etc), who are desperately looking for ONE surgeon who they can give ALL of their business and money to.
Generally speaking, the breast aug patient can be troublesome to attract and convert for lots of reasons: relentless competition willing to drop their prices, fickle decision-making skills made by young girls, wavering loyalty from this younger generation, disregard for your skill and expertise, etc.)
To attract and convert this breast aug patient, you need to spend tens of thousands per month on Internet Marketing and then get really good at converting them on the phone, then get them to show up and then encourage them to say yes. That’s a tall order that takes time, money and killer staff.
I recommend tweaking that approach. This demographic should NOT be your ONLY focus for your practice IF you are growing a healthy, thriving practice you want to sell down the road.
Here’s what I recommend.
Expand your focus to include another demographic.
One that will give you longer and more sustainable revenues, referrals and reviews.
Here are the latest stats:
Women in their 50s and 60s are spending their money on themselves to feel better without apologies, embarrassment or hesitation. They want to nurture themselves since self-care and self-development become priorities when a woman has entered her “second spring”. They feel that, “This is MY time.” Woman over 50 know what they want, they’re open to trying something new, and their buying power has a major effect on the economy.
In a recent editorial entitled, “The Smart Money Is on the 50+ Crowd,” Robert Love, editor-in-chief of AARP: The Magazine, wrote:
“We the people over the age of 50 are 100 million strong. We will soon control more than 70% of the disposable income in this country. We buy 2/3rds of all the new cars, 50% of all the computers and a 1/3 of the movie tickets. We spend $7 Billion a year shopping online. More than 80% of all the premium travel dollars flow from our credit cards. Add it all up…The US adults who are over 50 ka-ching as the 3rd largest economy in the world, trailing only the gross national product of the US and China.”
I can vouch for that 50+ statistic since I have personally spent more than $120,000 on cosmetic rejuvenation. And I assure you, I am NOT an anomaly.
There are millions of these mature patients in your own community….Patients who are willing to pay a premium for service.
What Kind of Cosmetic Patient Do You Want?
Do you like the above patient who is “mature” with money and endless needs or the “youngster” with their iPhones who want to get their “Botox and Boobs” as cheap as possible and immediately leave a negative yelp review if they have a bad day or their expectations were unreachable?
Do you want the mature patients who don’t do Groupons? In fact, who DESPISE Groupons or do you want to fill up your practice with GROUPON JUNKIES who leave you for the next cut-throat offer?
Here’s my point….
Spend more time on Patient Selection since that will determine how you market your practice, who you cater to and how you set yourself up to win now and later.
Attend my next FREE online training called,
“Are You Chasing the Wrong Patients?”
Wednesday, October 11th
8:30pm (EAST) / 5:30pm (WEST)
At this training, you’ll discover:
– Which cosmetic patients respond best to YOU;
– What’s NOT working but is costing you a fortune;
– The easiest ways to attract specific cosmetic patients to YOUR practice.
I will lay out the strategies, along with samples and results so you, too, can attract the right patients.
Catherine Maley, MBA 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