If you were to create a Venn diagram displaying the relationship between retail sales and medicine, the overlap would represent the medical aesthetic industry. It’s a unique business model that requires the combined efforts of physicians who are experts at treating people and salespeople who excel at getting people in the door.
However, many physicians find the sales side of the equation difficult to engage with. Typically, doctors are taught that medical treatment is not a commodity to be sold—it’s something that is provided when needed. Therefore, when sales enters the equation, as it must in the medical aesthetic business, physicians tend to feel a bit skittish about it.
But sales, at its core, is about building trust and providing education, which in and of itself is not as pernicious as many medical professionals perceive. These people should not be afraid of selling, because all they’re really doing is providing information and building trust so that a patient can make his or her own decision regarding their care. They don’t have to engage in the sort of oily salesmanship they fear if they don’t want to.
For the purposes of medical aesthetic practices, sales are vital. Successful medical spas have established ways to attract and retain patients, and they involve everyone in the practice, from the physician to the receptionist. That requires sales, and it needs processes to work as efficiently as possible.
However, doctors and nurses may be hesitant to engage in sales, because they feel that by doing so, they are in essence forcing treatments upon patients. I’ve heard physicians say that they never sell to anybody, because they don’t believe selling medical treatments is appropriate and never want to feel as though they are using their expertise to profit from a patient who doesn’t know any better.
I can see why they would feel this way, but if properly practiced, selling is not exploitation. Effective sales and marketing is not about forcing anything on anybody. In fact, it’s the opposite—it’s building trust between the provider and the patient, and providing the patient with information so that the patient can make his or her own decision. When doctors are selling most effectively, they are giving their opinions and developing trusting relationships with their patients.
The most effective sales tool at medical spas is a very sincere belief in the services being provided, and that belief must also be shared by everyone working there. Everyone must provide all the information that patients need, so that the patients develop trust and feel comfortable. In time, they’ll make the decisions that are best for them. There’s nothing underhanded about this. Sales equals trust plus education.
Physicians who are skittish about sales should consider that if you’re doing it right, you’re not really “selling” anything—you’re simply giving the clients the tools to make their own choices. It’s absolutely vital that aesthetics practices have this in their toolbox and have a structure for it, because if they don’t, another medical spa absolutely will. Successful practices understand that sales in this space is about education, and they have ways to track what is resonating with clientele and what is not.
Doctors and nurses need to get over their fear of sales by recalibrating their perception of what it means to sell. Simply suggesting a course of treatment and providing supporting information is not nefarious if the doctor doing this genuinely believes in what he or she is saying. You don’t need to get down in the muck if you don’t want to. A physician who shoots straight and tells the truth is likely going to find more success than one who always says what the patient wants to hear in order to make a buck.
AmSpa’s Medical Spa & Aesthetic Boot Camps can teach you how you and your staff can look at your services differently, and can use sales techniques to ensure your patients achieve the best possible treatment results. AmSpa’s next Boot Camp is in Denver on May 19–20.