Building a Successful Aesthetic Practice One Patient at a Time
By: Catherine Maley, MBA Author, Your Aesthetic Practice/What Your Patients are Saying
You build a successful practice one patient at a time. You really do. It’s a slow and steady growth over years rather than instant gratification. Every single encounter with a prospective patient is vital to your success and the growth of your practice.
Let’s take a look at the lifetime of one of your prospective patients:
Case Study of One Patient Named Sue
A friend tells a friend about you.
Her name is Sue.
Sue is 36 and concerned about her sun damage. She’s got wrinkles around her eyes and brown spots on her face.
Sue makes an appointment with you.
Your appointment with Sue goes well. During the consultation, you find out that Sue works for a large financial institution downtown and she comes from a big family.
You treat Sue with her first laser treatment and then introduce her to Nancy, your skin care consultant, who sells Sue sun block and a nighttime moisturizer.
Your receptionist rings up Sue’s order and books her 2nd laser treatment.
Sue has dinner with friends that evening and mentions her treatment and products.
The friends are curious and will watch Sue’s results.
Sue has now been in four times and is very friendly with you and your staff.
Since she is comfortable with you and trusts you, she also wants Botox which you inject in her crow’s feet and glabeller lines.
At work, Sue is getting compliments on her clearer-looking skin and tells her co-workers about you.
Sue attends a family reunion and her sisters and Mother want to know what she’s been doing since she looks so great. Sue tells them about you.
The following week, your office books consultations with two of Sue’s co-workers and with one of Sue’s sisters and Mother who want to come in together.
Sue’s co-workers get Botox and one of them signs up for the same laser treatments Sue is having.
One of Sue’s friends also books a consultation.
You send Sue a thank you note with business cards and that reminds her to give your number to another friend.
Sue’s sister buys a complete product line and books a liposuction procedure.
Sue’s Mother also buys products and books a bleph.
Sue attends her monthly business women’s luncheon where, again, people commented on her clear skin and, again, she told them about you. One of the ladies asks if you would be willing to talk to the entire group at next month’s luncheon. Sue says she will ask you.
Sue visits you for her last laser treatment and wants a little wrinkle filler in her nasal labial folds as well as plumper lips. She also asks you if you would speak to her women’s group next month. The attendance will be 60-80 women. You say yes!
At Sue’s women’s business lunch, your staff passes out your practice brochure and business card, as well as your latest newsletter with a special promotion on Botox.
Your talk goes well and you show many before/after photos from the simplest skin care to full surgical procedures. You are lightly funny, connect with the women, and they ask you so many questions, you have to cut them off and offer them a complimentary consultation to discuss their personal concerns.
That week, you receive more than 12 telephone calls from Sue’s business group. Your receptionist books 7 consultations. One of the attendees is a reporter and wants to interview you for your local newspaper. Another of the attendees happens to work at the local TV station and wants to talk with you about participating on a panel of experts at their upcoming health event that is attended by more than 3,000 people and videotaped and shown on TV as well as their Website. Another attendee owns two exclusive spas in your area and wants you to participate in their upcoming gala event to raise money for breast cancer. It is attended by 1,000 prominent community leaders (and the socialite, fundraising wives), the media is there and you can provide a gift basket for the silent auction as well as attend the event to network with the other powerful people in your community.
Sue visits her hair stylist for a trim and color. Sue’s stylist comments on how great she looks so they discuss you and cosmetic enhancement. Sue’s stylist wants to meet you and perhaps display your business cards in her salon so she can refer her clients to you since they ask her about this “stuff” a lot. Sue will bring your cards and your practice brochure to her stylist on her next appointment.
Fast forward ten years – Sue has since married and has two children. She returns to you for post-partum rejuvenation and books a tummy tuck, breast lift and bleph.
You keep in touch with Sue over the years with bi-annual newsletters, email messages with special promotions on products and skin care treatments, annual open houses, invitations to in-house seminars to learn what’s new as well as personalized thank you notes/complimentary skin care treatments for her referrals throughout the years.
Fast forward another ten years – Sue’s children are grown and out of the house. Sue has been running a home business but is ready to enter the work force again but it’s competitive and she wants to look and feel her best. She returns to you, yet again, for facial rejuvenation and books a face/neck lift and liposuction.
And, so on and so on and so on….
So, in Sue’s lifetime, she has been worth more than $40,000 to you personally and another $90,000 in untold referrals to your practice.
The above patient scenario speaks for itself. The aesthetic patient that feels bonded to you, your staff and your practice will become your walking/talking testimonial to people they come in contact with throughout their day and throughout their lifetime.
These patients are your practice advocates and should be treated like gold. Don’t take them for granted. Acknowledge and appreciate them for what they are – your cheerleaders who keep coming back to you again and again and bring their friends, family and colleagues.
That’s how you grow a successful aesthetic practice for the long term.
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