The Vital Role of Consultation in Growing an Aesthetic Practice

Posted By Madilyn Moeller, Friday, June 14, 2024

Consultation with laptop visual aid

By Ashley James, CEO, DermAesthetic Consulting Group

In the world of aesthetic practices, where the goal is to enhance beauty and boost confidence, the consultation process stands out as the cornerstone of success. A successful aesthetic practice goes far beyond just providing treatments; it involves building strong relationships with patients, understanding their needs and desires and, ultimately, delivering exceptional results that exceed expectations. The consultation process plays a pivotal role in achieving all these aspects and is, in fact, the most important element in earning business and growing an aesthetic practice.

Value your patients by spending time better understanding your customers.

A comprehensive and thorough consultation sets the foundation for creating full treatment plans tailored to each individual patient's needs. When a customer is making time to visit your practice, most likely the customer has already decided if they are going to be investing in treatments. The question is, will they be investing in your practice?

Essentially, the consultation process is your interview to earn a new customer, and you have just one opportunity to make an outstanding impression. The consultation process is a vital part of developing long-lasting relationships with your customers, earning trust and meeting the customers' expectations. Therefore, you must spend quality time with your patient to learn what their expectations are pertaining to results, budget and overall experience while also accommodating the time needed to educate your patient and provide guidance on the solutions and treatment plan to achieve their personal goals. Your initial consultations with your patients should last anywhere from 45 minutes to an hour; this provides adequate time to show the customer why doing business with your practice is the best way to achieve their goals.

Building solid relationships with patients

The consultation process is not just about discussing treatment options—it is also an opportunity to build a strong rapport and trust with the patient. Building solid relationships with patients is essential in establishing a long-term connection and fostering loyalty. In the aesthetic industry, people purchase with people—most patients are going to decide to do business with you based on how you make them feel. Patients are more likely to return to a practice where they feel valued, understood and cared for. By taking the time to listen to their concerns, answering their questions, and providing honest and transparent recommendations, practitioners can create a positive and supportive environment that encourages open communication and, most importantly, trust.

Ensuring you are meeting the client's expectations

One of the key objectives of the consultation process is to ensure that the practitioner and patient are on the same page in terms of expectations. There are two expectations that you must meet:

  1. You must be able to ensure that you can provide treatments that will achieve their desired results and fit into their lifestyle.
  2. You must be able to develop a treatment plan that fits into their budget.

If you are unable to close a consultation that results in a sale, you most likely have failed at one or both of these expectations.

Clear communication is crucial in managing and aligning patient expectations with achievable outcomes. By discussing the treatments' potential results, risks and limitations during the consultation, the practitioner can help the patient make an informed decision and have realistic expectations about the results.

Furthermore, the consultation process allows for open dialogue between the practitioner and patient, enabling the patient to express their concerns, ask questions and voice any uncertainties. This is also important when evaluating the investment needed to achieve desired results and working through payment options that best fit the patient's lifestyle. This proactive approach helps to address any misunderstandings or misconceptions early on, ensuring that the patient feels confident and comfortable moving forward with the treatment.

Don’t be afraid to talk about the money

One of the biggest rebuttals providers offer is that they are not salespeople. However, sales is really just education. As an aesthetic provider, it is your job to outline all of the available solutions that will reach your client's goals while also ensuring that you are making recommendations that align with your customer's lifestyle or budget. Asking your customers if they have a budget in mind that they are willing to invest in themselves is a great way to open the lines of communication pertaining to the sale.

When you know what your customer's financial expectations are, you are then able to develop a treatment plan that works for their lifestyle. Having this conversation early on in the consultation process will ensure that you are not making recommendations that far exceed the patient’s financial budget. If a patient only has $500 to spend, recommending a $2000 treatment will immediately discourage them. However, if your treatment plan is $3500 and you offer a payment plan that is only $291 a month, you have met their financial expectations. From there, it is a matter of educating the patient on the treatment plan you are suggesting that will ultimately achieve their goals.

The consultation process is the foundation of a successful aesthetic practice. By developing full treatment plans, building solid relationships with patients, and ensuring that expectations are met, practitioners can create a positive and rewarding experience for their patients. Investing time and effort in the consultation process not only leads to better treatment outcomes but also fosters patient satisfaction, loyalty and referrals, ultimately contributing to the growth and success of the aesthetic practice.

If your practice is not closing seven out of 10 consultations that result in a purchase of a full treatment plan, your practice and team could benefit from sales training to learn how to navigate the consultation process properly, overcome objections, and work through budget and pricing conversations.

Ashley James (AJ) offers a full suite of aesthetic practice consulting and training services to assist with your practice's start-up or growth. James has substantial firsthand ownership experience, successfully establishing and expanding multiple aesthetic practices over a span of 25 years while opening more than 30 new aesthetic practices across the nation. She is also the founder of the National Medspa Training Institute and co-founder of MedSPA Mobile Solutions.

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