In the aesthetic medicine marketplace, many practices believe they must keep their prices under a certain threshold to remain competitive—and I totally get it! When attempting to generate interest in a product or service, these markdowns often do the trick. While such discounts may be an easy way to drum up new business, practices are unwittingly training existing patients to expect deals on their favorite products and services. Furthermore, such promotions can result in less top-line revenue generation than that of more lucrative practices.
When I challenge this status quo by suggesting practices charge more for their services, I often hear, “Well, in this area, people don’t want to pay a lot.” In fact, I’ve received this response from nearly every urban and rural practice I’ve worked with in the past 12 years. My philosophy has evolved into a simple mantra: “Do more, charge more.” By doing more to improve the patient experience, practices become justified in charging more for their services (or at a minimum, not needing to charge less to be competitive).
Provide More Value
When a practice attempts to charge more than the competition, it is crucial that patients feel as though their providers, services, and overall practice experience are a cut above the rest. It’s the complete experience—not just the cost of goods—that constitute the price a patient is willing to pay. Ahead are ways you can create a superior customer experience (do more), and in turn, make clients more willing to pay top-dollar for your services (charge more).
Educate staff on practice and provider credentials. Staff credentialing plays an important role in patient perception, but it’s often a foundational skill that many practices fail to hone. Cultivating a highly qualified practice image begins at the front desk, with staff fielding prospective patient questions. These team members should be able to confidently assure clientele that your providers are the best to perform the treatment in question. For instance, knowing how many breast augmentations a physician has completed, how often an aesthetician performs certain facial procedures, and whether staff have recently completed advanced product training can make the difference between prospective patients choosing your practice over another. Ultimately, staff’s ability to convince clients upfront that your practice is top-of-the-line will pay off when cost is discussed.
Provide information on practice offerings. Staff knowledge should not end with provider credentials; it should extend to the services, treatments, and products the practice offers. For example, why should a patient get a specific toxin over another one? Staff who can clearly articulate the answer to such questions will ultimately be better at conveying value to patients. If team members don’t feel confident explaining the features and benefits of what you offer, speak to your sales reps and providers—they usually love teaching support staff how to differentiate practice offerings. Receiving such knowledge will help instill confidence in new patients—who are often uneasy walking in your doors for the first time—and assure them that they are in the hands of experts (because they are)!
Reinforce good salesmanship. Coach staff on how to naturally sell services. Once patients are happy with your practice, they often want to take advantage of additional products and services. I’ve found that the majority of aesthetic patients will purchase skincare treatments if their provider recommends it. Therefore, make an effort to capture this business by speaking up, rather than sending them inadvertently down the street to a pharmacy by staying silent. You’d be surprised how often patients simply don’t realize a practice offers a service or product they are purchasing elsewhere. To capture this business, let patients know what you offer!
Be aesthetically pleasing. If clients step into a practice with a clean reception area, presentable staff, and amenities, this reinforces the perception that they should be spending more for your services. Your physical space is a strength, and should be credentialed by staff when speaking to new and potential patients on the phone with statements such as, “Have you ever seen our state-of-the-art [medical spa/surgical suite/waiting room]?” If you are fortunate enough to have a beautiful space, encourage patients to walk through your doors any way you can. Events, open houses, patient appreciation parties, and “bring-a-friend” specials will do just that. Your space is an asset, so showcase it.
Offer gestures of hospitality. Leave a lasting impression on existing and new patients by going above and beyond to prove you genuinely care about them. Gestures such as welcoming patients by their first name, offering to hang their jacket, and walking them to the door can leave a lasting impression. I worked for a practice that logged the type of soda or drink each patient liked and had one at the ready for their appointment. In the long run, a dollar spent to personalize the patient experience is worth 100 times that—figurately (to the patient) and literally (to the practice).
Deliver and showcase great outcomes. Your practice must be able to consistently deliver great patient results for your words to have any credence. If you don’t feel 100 percent confident that your practice is providing excellent patient outcomes, there are myriad training opportunities that can help. With assistance available from product vendor companies to third-party trainers, there is no excuse for providing subpar client outcomes. Once your practice hits this excellence target, showcase your successes with a photo gallery of patient results in your physical and digital space. Often, the before-and-after gallery on your website is the most popular page, as it serves as a valuable resource for prospective patients who are doing investigative work before choosing a practice or procedure.
The Cost of Perception
Practices that initially balk at the idea of charging more (or at least not charging less) might be surprised by what patients are willing to pay when provided with a more valuable experience. By developing your staff and improving the patient experience from start to finish, you improve how patients perceive the quality of your practice. Use the tips above to create an atmosphere that is professional, clean, credentialed, and exclusive. This will enhance your practice’s status in the minds of current and prospective patients, and ultimately, make them willing to pay more.