The “churn and burn” practice business model is outdated, dangerous to your profits and getting evermore expensive to bankroll. A constant stream of strangers running through your practice – tying up your staff, draining your marketing budget and stealing your valuable time is not how to run an aesthetic practice today. It never was a good way to run a practice; however, you could get away with it when the marketing costs were less and the ROI was greater. Competition has reversed that equation and it’s now all about spending an appropriate amount of time and money acquiring new patients to your practice and then spending more effort, time and money keeping them there because it’s your current patients who fund your ongoing acquisition costs.
Think about it this way: How does a total stranger become a good friend of yours? Typically, you feel a connection with them, you feel safe, comfortable and interested in what they have to say. You talk and find things you have in common. You make time for them, make them a priority, take their phone calls, respond to their emails, talk fondly about them to others, invite them to events and make plans to get together. Well, that’s exactly how you should be treating your current patients. You want to take them from fickle, skeptical stranger to friendly, loyal friend.
New Economy patients have been conditioned to be more cautious and conservative. To be more skeptical so they are more difficult to obtain other than from a referral or recommendation from a family member, friend, associate or peer.
As the cost of acquiring new patients through advertising and marketing continues to rise, and the time costs of acquiring new patients through traditional prospecting rise, securing every possible referral grows exponentially in importance.
Think back what it’s like when you explain a procedure your current patient asks you about and when you explain a procedure to a total stranger who is a prospective patient sizing you up.
Isn’t it all around easier, smoother, more relaxed and effective to have a conversation with that patient who trusts you implicitly then the stranger who is questioning everything you are telling her?
I agree you need new patients but only if the majority of them come from your endless chain of referrals because if you get one patient and she/he gives you at least one referral and then that referred patient gives you at lease one referral and you keep that going, you never run out of new patients.
The second tier to that is you strategically increase the revenues-per-patient by:
- Encouraging them to return more often
- Cross-selling and up-selling them on additional procedures and products
- Keeping them loyal to you so they don’t wander off your competitor
So, do you really need new patients or do you need a steady stream of cash-paying patients? Not only that, you get a patient for a Lifetime rather than One-Time.
My advice to you is to invest a lot more of your attention and resources on what happens before, during and after each and every patient interaction than you do on finding more new prospective patients who would take time, money and effort transitioning them to loyal, returning patient.
Get Your FREE Marketing Checklist on www.CosmeticImageMarketing.com and see how you compare to top aesthetic practices. Catherine’s firm specializes in attracting cash-paying patients to a medical practice using PR, advertising and creative marketing strategies. Catherine can also be reached at (877) 339-8833.
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