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.

Convincing the Cosmetic Patient

Aesthetic consultant Catherine Maley Successful Aesthetic Patient Consultations
By Catherine Maley, MBA

It’s imperative to know what your patients want, what they think about you and your staff, and how to set expectations for the greatest amount of patient satisfaction. So I decided to research aesthetic patient consumers personally to learn, first-hand, what they were looking for when searching for an office and physician to perform cosmetic enhancements.

Know Your Target Patient

The 75 aesthetic patients I interviewed had had both surgical and non-surgical cosmetic procedures. The median age was 44 years old. Respondents were 97% were female and were located throughout the US.

My objective was to determine trends and commonalities. Here are some of my findings:

  • The main reason both genders were considering cosmetic procedures was to feel better about themselves and improve their looks.
  • 90% of the time, confidence in the physician’s ability and staff interaction were more important than price.
  • 86% of them referred at least two other people to that practice.
  • 40% researched their procedure on the Internet ahead of time so they felt well-informed.
  • 75% went for multiple consultations before making a decision.
  • 80% felt they knew what to expect from having watched Extreme Makeover, Dr. 90210 and live surgeries and treatments on TV.
  • Long waiting times were a recurring complaint .

Variation Among Aesthetic Patients

While the data was interesting, it was also apparent that I could not generalize about patient relations. This is especially true as pertains to people’s preferences; everybody is so different and their perceptions are so varied. For example:

  • While some thought an aesthetically gorgeous office indicated pride and success, others found it was over the top and intimidating.
  • While some thought the doctors did not spend enough time with them and felt rushed, other patients thought too much time with the doctor made them wonder why the doctor wasn’t busier.
  • While some thought the physician thoroughly explained the various procedures available, others felt oversold and confused with so many options presented to them at one time.

The Deciding Factor

Probing further, I asked patients the bottom-line question: why did they choose that particular physician over the others?

The consistent answer, over and over, was that the aesthetic patient felt a “connection” with that physician. Their “gut feeling” or intuition was telling them this was the right physician for them. They had developed rapport. They trusted that particular physician to understand them and give them the best possible result.

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 Cosmetic Image Marketing or give Catherine a call at (877) 339-8833.

Dental Practices Can Offer Cosmetic Services, Too!

Introducing Botox to Your Dental PatientsAesthetic consultant Catherine Maley
By Catherine Maley, MBA

By thinking outside of the box, dentists can reach a valuable target demographic: aesthetic patients looking for treatments such as Botox, Restylane, or cosmetic facial lasers. I’ve got some easy marketing strategies that will help you reach these patients.

Last week, I discussed how to prepare your staff and prepare your office for offering Botox to dental patients. Now, let’s examine some simple marketing strategies.

Prepare Your Patients

Creative marketing strategies will help spread the word about the aesthetic services you offer.

  • Mention Botox in your on-hold phone message.
  • Mail out an introductory letter explaining what Botox is and why you are offering it.
  • Include an “invoice stuffer” when you send out invoices.
  • Keep existing patients in the loop with a quarterly postcard.
  • A niche-segmented database can help you target the right audience.
  • Tempt patients with special offers. Use tight expiration dates to entice them in right away.

Leverage Email Communication

Email marketing is by far the cheapest and fastest way to communicate with your patients today. Thanks to advanced technology and streamlined processes, you can literally send out a message and, within minutes, have your telephone ringing with eager patients.

Email marketing is not a “nice” thing to offer your patients. It’s becoming mandatory if you want your patients to remember you when they are ready for aesthetic enhancement. In today’s competitive environment, it’s vital to keep in touch with patients on a regular basis. This will help ensure their loyalty to you and keep them coming back throughout the year. You also want to “market through education” since a true aesthetic patient wants to know what’s new in the world of cosmetic enhancement.

Be sure you are asking your patients for their email address so they can receive your very exclusive web offers and event announcements. And, your email messages must be brief, eye-catching and include very special promotions so they continue to want to receive communications from you.

There are certain times of the year that are more emotional than others for the aesthetic patient and you want to capitalize on that. Since aesthetic medicine is based on emotion and perceived need, develop a marketing plan around holidays. You will get a much better response when you promote your services around these themes:

Email Promotions at the Right Time of Year

  • New Year: New You
  • Valentine’s Day: Love Your Looks
  • Spring is Coming: Rejuvenate
  • Mother’s Day: Do Something Special Just for You
  • Summer is Coming: Are You Ready?
  • Holidays: Sparkle This Season

Start a “Botox Beauty Club”

Offer patients a Botox Card after their first treatment. They might receive $25 off their next visit and $50 off all visits after that. Really, it’s just like at the coffee house or the car wash. Your Botox vendor may help you with it as well.

Like the coffee house and the car wash, you can also give patients a Botox card that you punch each time they have it done. This way, after a certain number of treatments, they can get one for free.

The point is to keep them loyal to you.

Send Patients Birthday Cards

There is something about a looming birthday that will send the aesthetic patient into a tales spin. And, that makes sense. The aesthetic patient who cares about their looks will really care when their birthday is approaching.

To take advantage of this special time in the year for them, send them a fun birthday card that says, “Come Celebrate with Us” and offer $50 off any rejuvenation procedure listed. This is important – handwrite your signature and the address on the outside envelope. Use a stamp on a plain white envelope with no return address. You want this to look like very personal mail so it is well received and opened.

In addition, you might send the upcoming birthday month on the 15th of the previous month and have it expire two weeks after their birthday to add a sense of urgency so they pick up the telephone the minute they receive it.

Push Your Refer-a-Friend Program

We all know your best patient is the referred patient. They are not as price conscious and are already pre-sold on you. You do not want to take these referrals lightly. Every practice has their group of cheerleaders, and you do too.

Go through your database and pick out any patient who referred someone to you in the past year. Now, send them a personal letter telling them how much you appreciate them and how much you would like more patients just like them. Handwrite your signature and add a personal note such as, “Thanks for all your support, Patty!” Include two “$25 off your next aesthetic visit” cards: one for them and one for a friend. You can even give them multiple cards for multiple referrals. After all, the value of the referral is far greater than $25.

Ready To Jump In?

The above strategies are geared to setting up a winning team and bonding with your patients so they think of only you when they think of aesthetic enhancement. I promise you success if you implement these proven strategies.

And, I know I covered a lot! If you want to know more, check out my free marketing checklist…

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.

Dentists: Don’t Be Afraid of Botox!

Aesthetic consultant Catherine MaleyIntroducing Botox in Your Dental Practice
By Catherine Maley, MBA

More and more dental practices are offering Botox and other aesthetic services to their patients. But introducing Botox demands more than just clinical training; it also requires some marketing know-how.

I’ve made a career of examining the unique needs and desires of aesthetic patients. Offering Botox is not the same as offering root canals, and you shouldn’t approach the two in the same way!

This week, I’ll tell you how to prepare your staff and prepare your office. Next week, we’ll talk about how to reach patients with easy marketing strategies.

Prepare Your Staff: Turn Them into Rock Stars!

Be sure your staff is on board and committed to your success with this new addition to your practice. They can make or break the success of this venture, so you need their 100% support.

Meeting with Your Team

  • Let your staff know what your vision is and where they fit into it.
  • Get their commitment to help you make this successful.

Your staff will perform better when they have quantifiable numbers to strive for. It’s important these be individual goals with numbers and time lines attached to them so the staff person knows what is expected of them and when. The more specific the goal, the better able they will be to obtain it.

Examples of Goals

  • Book 10 Botox appointments per week
  • Sell $5,000 of aesthetic services per week

It’s human nature to perform better when there is a “carrot” at the end of the stick. The easiest way to get your staff to be at their best when they are on the job is to reward them for a job well done and then reward them even more for going the extra mile.

  • Incentives keep your staff motivated and on top of their game.
  • Offer them free Botox or Botox at cost so they will be your front line walking/talking testimonials.
  • They could wear lapel pins that say “Ask Me About Botox.”

And be sure your staff knows you appreciate them. Thank them often. Hold regular staff meetings. Discuss what’s going on and what’s new. Get your staff’s input on what’s working and what needs to change so they feel they are part of the team. They will be more receptive to helping you reach your goals when they feel respected and valued by you.

Prepare Your Office: Signage Is a Beautiful Thing

Will someone who walks by or steps into your office know what sort of services you offer? In-house signage helps spread the word and will ensure that every single patient who walks through your door knows you now offer Botox.

Make Patients Aware of the Services You Offer

  • Clear signage
  • Digital photo albums in reception area and exam room
  • Framed eye-catching posters in restrooms and strategic places on the wall

Overwhelmed Yet?

Don’t be! In addition to being rewarding and profitable, it also doesn’t have to be that hard! I’ll be back next week to discuss strategies for attracting cosmetic patients.

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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