After talking to many medical aesthetic clinicians / practitioners just like you, I’ve learned that nearly all of them wish they NEVER had to do any marketing (let alone any selling!) and that a numerous supply of word of mouth referrals would always mean a full diary and more than enough cash in their back pocket. But the truth is that there are only a handful of ‘lucky’ medical aesthetic practitioners who find themselves in this fortunate position and they probably didn’t get there by accident.
If your goal is to enjoy a high volume clinic / practice, filled with your ideal patients whilst you earn a solid 6 or 7 figure income, then marketing is one of the main skills that will take you there. If you’re like most practitioners, you likely cringe hearing this word, as it conjures up images of aggressive sales and promotional tactics that are totally misaligned with your values and personality.
Aesthetic medicine is a lucrative business that has created a fiercely competitive industry. Doctors, Nurses, Plastic Surgeons, Dermatologists, Healthcare Clinicians, Dentists and large corporations all want to capitalise on the growing demand for medical aesthetic treatments. This means consumers have more choices now than ever. So what would make them come to you and stay with your practice? It begins with marketing.
LET’S BE HONEST, YOU ARE TRAINED TO BE A MEDICAL PROFESSIONAL AND NOT A SALES AND MARKETING EXPERT.
So if you feel completely out of your comfort zone when trying to promote yourself, you are not alone. However, the reality is, you run a business and a business – any business – needs to promote its products and services to survive and be profitable, no matter what. I am sure you set up in business because you love treating your patients and you love this amazing industry, but I also suspect it was because you wanted to make money and perhaps eventually sell your business?
Unfortunately, there are many marketers, PR agencies, advertising sales people and social media experts all very willing to exploit your situation and convince you to spend hundreds or even thousands of pounds a month to “get your name out there” and build your “brand.” But quite honestly, most of it will cause you frustration and make you feel like you’re throwing your money down the drain on expensive marketing and advertising that is NOT impacting your bottom line like you need it to.
There is, however, a way to market your business that is actually authentic, credible, enjoyable and extremely effective. Most practitioners are not marketers… so the key is educate as many people as possible about what you do and how it can help them. This approach works even if you’re an introvert and have no sales or marketing experience in the past. It isn’t awkward or uncomfortable. In fact, implementing this approach will soon begin to feel like second nature to you.
Marketing – increasing the numbers of people who know about you and your service
Sales – actively helping someone decide if they want to work with you now and how they can
The goal of effective marketing is to attract your preferred patients to you, educate them so they take advantage of all you have to offer, motivate them to return again and again and encourage them to refer their family and friends. Effective marketing is also about understanding your patients and finding ways to stimulate desire and interest in treatments and services for the right patient profile. Marketing done right attracts your preferred client to you; one who is already pre-qualified, pre-sold and ready to say yes.
The concept of ‘marketing’ extends far beyond a website or mailshot. Anything and everything that is a representation of your company, from the way your practitioners behave, to company logos, branding and brochures, is marketing. External perception is the reality of marketing in today’s competitive market-place – how is your business perceived by the public, potential patients, your team and the industry? It used to be said that “marketing is an art, not a science” – however with the increased use of technology, social media and the internet, we should really say “marketing is an art that should be based on science”.
The goal of effective selling is then to determine whether you have the right treatment or product to actually solve your patients problem(s). To do this, you have to get the patient to trust you enough to talk to you about what they want to accomplish. You must show genuine interest with intention to serve them and not just sell to them. Salespeople often get lost in “selling” their product or service. This is a mistake and a waste of everyone’s time.
Building trust is key to discovering and understanding your patients’ motives. It requires knowing every step of your sales process and sharing it with them. Start by introducing yourself with confidence, then explain your exact intentions, process and amount of time it will take. In the medical aesthetic world – this is your consultation. You must engage with your patients in a way that shows your priority is to take care of them. Ask questions and listen, don’t just try to ‘sell’ the treatment that you think they may need.