Setting Appropriate Expectations with Cosmetic Patients

Aesthetic consultant Catherine MaleyThe Perfect Aesthetic Consultation in 10 Steps
By Catherine Maley, MBA

Aesthetic patients have different wants and needs from medical patients. (You can trust me on this; I literally wrote the book on this subject!)

Here is a description of the elements needed to carry out a successful aesthetic patient consultation. The following advice is from the patient’s perspective and based on my survey findings.

  1. Knock on the door gently, greet the patient by name, introduce yourself while looking him/her in the eye and shaking hands.
  2. Spend 30-60 seconds to learn more about the patient as a person.
  3. Hand them a mirror while asking, “So, tell me what’s bothering you?” or “Tell me what you would like to improve?”” or “What can I do for you today?” And then listen while they tell you. Nod, look them in the eye and take notes so they know you are listening and understanding.
  4. Qualify. Ask open ended questions to determine if the expectations are reasonable, the results can be reached safely and they are rational about the process. And determine where they are in the process. A great question to ask is, “What is most important to you when picking a cosmetic physician?” You can also ask, “Have you talked with anyone else? If so, what can I tell you that you don’t already know?” Always show respect for the patient. Even though you are the expert and know more, arrogance does not sell. If you come across as demeaning or condescending, you’ll drive the prospective patient away.
  5. Repeat back briefly to the patient the main points you heard such as intended outcomes and the patient’s concerns. Ask them if you have left anything out.
  6. Now, differentiate yourself. The prospective patient needs to know you are the best physician in comparison to the competition.
  7. Reassure them. Look them in the eye to let them know you are confident, skilled and experienced. You have performed many of these surgeries or treatments with excellent results and you will do the same for this patient.
  8. Affirm you can meet your aesthetic patient’s expectations. Let them know you understand their concerns and fears so they trust you and your recommendations and are completely comfortable to move forward.
  9. If the subject of competition comes up, remember there is no room for bad-mouthing your colleagues. It puts you in a bad light and makes you look worse than your competition. Always focus on and reiterate your own strengths.
  10. Prepare and rehearse a closing statement that sounds natural. Tell the patient you look forward to working with him/her to help them look their best and you hope to see them again soon. Then personally usher them to your staff person who handles the scheduling and pricing.

By treating every single prospective patient as a person first, patient second, you will develop rapport and gain trust. In this way, you will grow your aesthetic practice quickly – as well as your word-of-mouth referrals and closing ratios.

“Just as you try to tailor your treatment to fit the unique features of your patients, tailoring your consultation to your patient’s unique personality will increase your closing ratio.”

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Aesthetic patientsCatherine Maley, MBA, is the author of Your Aesthetic Practice: A Complete Guide: What Your Patients Are Saying. As a speaker and consultant, she helps doctors market themselves to cosmetic patients. For free tips, resources and strategies, visit or give Catherine a call at (877) 339-8833.


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