Much has been written about how to attract prospective patients to one’s aesthetic practice, but bringing consumers in the door is only the beginning. Once a consultation has been booked, medspas and cosmetic practices must be able to identify a prospective patient’s specific concerns and aesthetic goals, and be prepared to effectively communicate both recommended treatment options and why their team is qualified to help the patient achieve these goals.
Here, physicians and aesthetic business consultants share their top consultation strategies and advice to help practices improve their patient conversion rates.
The first step in a successful consultation is properly identifying the prospective patient’s aesthetic concerns and goals. In addition to cultivating good listening skills, providers often incorporate tools, such as mirrors, questionnaires and imaging technologies to help facilitate communication.
Ruth Tedaldi, MD, founder of Dermatology Partners in Wellesley, Massachusetts, hands every patient a mirror at the beginning of the consultation and asks them to point out their concerns. “I use the mirror to establish what is objective and what is subjective,” she says. “Every patient has a concept of what they don’t like, but they may not know how to correct the defects. By showing them that the area or feature they’re unhappy with is actually affected by a relationship to another feature, you can educate the patient and instill confidence in your ability to fix the problem.”
H.L. Greenberg, MD, founder of Las Vegas Dermatology in Las Vegas, finds that handing patients a mirror and asking them to explain their problem areas will often lead them to share concerns beyond the one for which they originally booked the consult. This allows you to prescribe the most effective treatments for their overall goals. “Brutal honesty is important during the evaluation,” he says. “By using the mirror, we can identify every flaw or concern in the potential treatment area before making recommendations.”
“Mirrors are the greatest silent selling tool,” says Catherine Maley, MBA, president of Cosmetic Image Marketing in Sausalito, California, and author of Your Aesthetic Practice: What Your Patients Are Saying. “Give every patient a hand mirror that they can control and have wall mirrors throughout the office. This helps prospective patients zero in on why they are here at your practice.”
Kimberly Bertrang, LPN, owner of Allure Skin Health in Sun Prairie, Wisconsin, asks new clients to complete a questionnaire prior to the consultation. Among the most important questions are “What is your concern?” and “Who referred you?” “Knowing who referred the client is helpful, as people often are compelled to come in because they have the same concerns and expectations as the person who referred them,” she says.
In contrast, Dr. Tedaldi has chosen not to use questionnaires. “I don’t want to read what the patient filled out on a piece of paper,” she says. “It is my job as a physician to assess the patient, make treatment recommendations and help them choose the best procedure—even if it’s not what they were thinking about—based on their budget, health and other factors.”