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Medical Spa Success Build and Maintain a Patient Base

March 2, 2009 |

In this third installment of the “7 Keys to a Successful Aesthetic Practice / Medical Spa”, I’m going to discuss tips on how to build and maintain a patient base.  One thing we have certainly learned over the years is that getting and keeping patients is one of the keys to successful aesthetic practices and medical spas. Getting existing patient referrals is another item you need to be focused on.  Do you know who your biggest cheerleaders are?  Do you know why someone chose to come to your medical spa? The answers to these questions are critical for your long term success. Lets here from some of our industry experts….

“Take a walk around your business, observe each area: Enter through the front door, sit in the waiting room, check the bathrooms, sit and observe the front desk staff greeting your clients on the telephone and in person, your clinicians, the treatment rooms, how clients check out.” (Cindy Graf, author of “Building a Successful Cosmetic Medical Business”).

Dr. Richard Foxx of the Medical and Skin Spa in Palm Springs recommends that doctors, “address the patients’ concerns, not [their own], and don’t interject [oneself] into the equation unless clearly invited  Always ask, “What do you see?”

Another key way to build one’s business is through, what Catherine Maley coined as, the “Refer a Friend Program”.

“How great would it be if each of your current patients referred just one friend, colleague or family member to you?  OK, it’s not reasonable to expect 100% but 30-40% is reasonable if you set up a program.

First of all, every practice has a group of cheerleaders.  They are your loyal advocates.  They talk about you in social settings every chance they get.  They memorize and give your number to their friends who ask.  They attend your events, read your emails and respond to your promotional efforts.  But most of the time, you don’t even know who they are – unless you track.

Developing a referral program will help you identify your true advocates.  The first rule is to keep it simple.

•    Tell them you would like more patients just like them,
•    Send them a handwritten note card with business cards enclosed,
•    Add “bring a friend” to your invitations,
•    Add “forward this to a friend” in your email messages, and
•    Add “pass this on to a friend” in your gift cards.

Then when they do send a friend your way, personally thank them with a handwritten note, a telephone call, send a small gift or have your staff invite them in for a complimentary service.  Everyone wants to feel appreciated and acknowledged when they do something nice for someone else.  And, rewarding good behavior will beget more good behavior.”

I hope these items have given you some food for thought, and will help you get profitable in these tough times! Of course I know the importance of building and maintaining a patient base and you will find these items, along with many more covered in both the IAPAM Aesthetic Medicine Symposium and Aesthetic Practice Startup Workshop held in Scottsdale, Arizona.

Jeff Russell
Executive-Director, IAPAM

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