Today’s aesthetic patients do not want to look good . . . they expect to look fantastic! These patients have high treatment expectations and are willing to pay for great results even in a difficult economic climate. Let’s echo that again: patients are willing to pay for great results. But, the results and the experience must be extraordinary. This all begins with the critical aesthetic consult. The consult is the single differentiating factor between thriving practices and those that struggle. You would be amazed at the lack of time and effort that many practices dedicate to the art of the consult.
Understanding a patient’s cosmetic goals goes a long way to achieving complete patient satisfaction and long-term loyalty or what we call Raving Fans. The main purpose of all aesthetic consults is to find the “Real Reason” why your patient wants to look better — it almost always has very little to do with the initial stated reason. When in fact you find this reason, it yields a raw emotional response from the patient. If you can evoke that emotional response, you are on the threshold creating a loyal patient for life, but this takes time, effort, and good listening skills. It’s about paying attention to the details. Remember, people don’t buy products or services. They buy emotions; they buy an identity; they buy an experience. A well-designed, genuine consult should contain all three of these elements.
Always try to avoid the temptation to pre-judge the patient. It is important to understand that it’s not their hormone level or the size of their wallet. It’s the wiring of their DNA; some patients are just wired for aesthetics. Those that are will seek your services and, if satisfied beyond their expectations, will pay happily for them.
Key to every consult is building trust. Building trust takes time, effort and yes, persuasion or what is called “Flipnosis.” For more on the art of persuasion, read Split-Second Persuasion: The Ancient Art and New Science of Changing Minds by Kevin Dutton, PhD and Influence: The Art of Persuasion by Robert Cialdini, PhD.
In every patient consult, first, ask the patient to identify the facial features that they like. This sets a positive tone to the consult, with focus on the outcome and not the process (or cost). Tastefully point out what you see as their positive features and congratulate them on these great genetics. Then, with their permission, honestly and carefully show them the issues that need to be addressed.
Patients often have a specific cosmetic concern but rarely see other areas in need of treatment: mono- or selective focus. To fully engage the patient in a successful discussion on full-face reflation that will yield the best result, you must first convince the patient to look beyond their single concern and describe the face in a three-dimensional way.
As part of a blueprint for the consult, showing patients their baseline photographs is very effective in gaining their confidence. Consider creating a dedicated camera room to show patients their baseline photos from all views, enabling them to see their whole face. In addition, request that patients search for and bring a youthful picture of themselves, say in their early twenties. Comparing this youthful photo with their baseline creates the opportunity to discuss harmony, balance, and symmetry, and identify areas that require attention. It is important to tell patients that the goal is not to make them look “20 again,” rather to restore some of their natural features to look great for their age. This whole exercise helps patients understand why we look at and treat the whole face.
Simply put, the consult is integral to the success of your practice. If you truly want to take your practice to the next level, improve your patient consultation style; dedicate more focused time to your patient in order to understand his/her expectations and desires; carefully transition them to focus on the whole face; make their experience with your practice special; and finally, incorporate the most innovative products and techniques available to create an outstanding result. Earn their trust and the right to treat them, create an extraordinary result, and watch the barrier of price disappear.