Patient Wants Fillers…NOT Surgery. What do I do?

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This Week’s Question: Patient Wants Fillers…NOT Surgery. What do I do?

Dear Catherine,

I’m seeing a trend where a cosmetic patient comes to me wanting a “liquid facelift” they heard about or a laser treatment that promises them the world but I KNOW they need surgery to get the result they want. I also know if I don’t give them what they want, there’s a really good chance they will go to my competitor for the cheaper treatment and I’ll lose them altogether.

Is it better to get what I can from this uninformed prospective patient who wants fillers or to push them for surgery knowing it’s in their best interest and they’ll get a longer-lasting result they are happier with?

Dr. S

Catherine’s Answer:

Thanks Dr. S for a great question. The latest technology (and hype) as well as patient preferences for less downtime, hassle and cost, will continue to work against you if you are a surgeon. Why? because if the patient believes they can get the same result with fillers and not surgery…why not?

Since it’s never a good idea to push a patient to do anything, especially if they have their mind set on fillers…not surgery, you need a strategy. Your job is to EDUCATE them. But the secret strategy is to do it in such a way as to let the patient decide rather than make them feel like you are pushing them into a decision they are not completely sold on.

So how do you do that?

#1) Build Rapport

Be sure you’ve built up enough rapport as well as credibility with the patient so they trust you and your opinion. This will help them be more open to your recommendations.

#2) Listen and Ask Questions

There’s a saying, “To be understood, you must first understand.” Listen to what the patient wants and why they want it. Then repeat their answers back to them so they know you heard them and you truly understand what they want. Now, it’s your turn to go deeper. Get the patient to prioritize their wants. For example, what’s more important to them, a little more downtime to get a better result or less downtime, less result?

#3) Let Your Patients Do the Heavy Lifting

Show them patient testimonials and before/after photos of OTHER patients who opted for the lesser treatment elsewhere and then came to you for the surgical procedure they REALLY wanted and how much happier they are with their result. This way, you are not pressuring them. You are simply relaying a similar patient’s story that benefits them in helping them make a decision.

#4) Use Visuals to Position the Treatment Plan

A picture shows a thousand words and helps the patient better understand their options so THEY choose what’s best for them and you keep the patient – no matter what. For example, design a visual like this one positioning the various treatments and procedures available today against the results they could expect.

The point is to be candid with the patient using strategies that help the patient come to the best decision for them.

 

How do YOU handle this type of patient?

What have you seen works best for YOU?

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