In my last blog post, I urged readers to consider “WHY DISCOUNTING BOTOX DOESN’T WORK!” We explored the perceived risk of a lower priced drug, discussed the type of clients that seek out cheaper priced Botox and highlighted the necessity that injections remain a luxury service.
Discounting not only hurts your bottom line but also degrades your business and if you are considering switching to an alternative neurotoxin, keep aware that the same principals remain true. Just because you purchase the neurotoxin at a less expensive price, does not mean deep discounts will benefit your business.
There are numerous reasons that clinics decide to discount injectables and these are varied. Many times, the idea of discounting is to reap in the rewards of a spike in sales, build a bigger patient population, or merely because the nearest competition has dropped their price. This last reason being the WORST reason of all!
For clinics who want increased sales and a larger patient population, I suggest you keep on reading – don't miss the last point when I discuss promotions. There are many ways to achieve these goals without discounting, regardless of the neurotoxin product you are using. In fact, these practical strategies work for many different services and in many different industries. These are sound marketing theories that have been proven repeatedly to increase clients and profits, all without major financial hits to your clinic.
Discounting erodes the value of a service and so instead of offering what you may believe is that enticing “20% off” discount this year, make it a priority to incorporate one or more of the following strategies into your business plan and see the difference.
#1 – CREDENTIAL YOURSELF
This is a phrase that has been floating around the medical cosmetic industry forever but it’s here to stay and for good reason. Clients looking for injectable services want to know about WHO it is that will be sticking needles into their face. In fact, it’s a major factor to their decision on who treats them in the end… Some may even say more than price (gasp!).
Ensure your clients and potential clients know why they are choosing your clinic. Pick 2-3 reasons that would intrigue them. If you are stuck, start asking your current clients why they chose you. I’ve heard many great credentialing statements including:
“We have been injecting patients for over 10 years”
“At our clinic, all injections are done by a trained physician”
“I have injected over 3000 patients”
“Our patients LOVE the results of the lip augments by our experienced RN” – go a step further with this one and create a photobook of the RN’s patients who consent to you using their before and afters.
Find something that works and allows your clients to understand the credentials that you are offering. Ensure the credential is always something interesting and convincing to someone that would be considering injections for the first time. Once you have decided on your unique credentialing statement, use it repetitively and encourage your clinic staff to start repeating it to all clients and potential clients. Be sure to include it in all external and internal marketing as well.
#2 – ADD VALUE
Have you heard of the guy that got a $310 haircut? Does that price shock you? Do you wonder how that hair stylist stays in business while charging such high prices? You should. While consulting with medical cosmetic clinics, I constantly hear, “patients won’t pay those prices”. Guess what!?! I’m here to tell you, they will. But not without seeing the clear value of those prices. Selling injectables on price alone equates this luxury service to a mere commodity. It is only when the value of the service and specifically, the value of the service your clinic offers is conveyed, that your clients will believe having that service at your clinic is worth every penny. Let me say this again, create VALUE and your patients will pay your prices! By creating value, you will also create loyalty and referrals and this is how to grow your medical cosmetic practice!
So how do you create value? Start here:
Create an experience for your client. The guy who paid $310 for his haircut explains the “experience” of visiting the salon. It was all the small details and little extras that created this experience. The robe he was given and extra time the stylist spent consulting with him before the cut, in addition to the beautiful setting, free hand massage and premium coffee. It was more than what he felt he was given from other salons. Find a way to create this in your clinic. Think of the most recent experience you have had that impressed you and use this as your inspiration.
Wow them with customer service. The hairstylist in NYC that charges up to $800 for a cut says he will cut hair for a client anytime, 24/7… but he charges accordingly. People will pay for customer service and expect customer service when they pay. Consider the opposite. I walked into a dermatologist office the other day I had never been to before. I was dressed well and carried only a purse (no briefcase). Upon entering the clinic, the person at the front desk looked up, saw me, and then looked back down and continued to type at her computer. After about 3 minutes of waiting she looked up and said, “yes…?”. In a universal healthcare system that is overworked and underpaid, this has come to be the norm of customer service. The problem is that this is unacceptable customer service at an office that charges clients out-of-pocket for luxury products and services. Spend the time and do an internal audit of the customer service at your clinic and find at least 5 ways you can improve it – make a prompt, friendly greeting one of them. I have helped clinics implement these small changes and seen amazing results in client loyalty and referral because of it.
Personalize it. If there is a sure way to convey value it’s through personalization -- Think, your name on a custom-made Starbucks coffee. Highlighting birthdays and rewarding loyalty to your clinic are a good start but find things that will differentiate you from your competition. Let's go back to the guy with the $310 haircut: The thing he liked most about the experience was the fact that the stylist could “tailor his cut to flatter his head and face shape”. Essentially, selling “attractiveness” through personalization. Making your clients feel as though this is an experience specifically for them will ensure a value they can’t get elsewhere.
#3 – CREATE PROMOTIONS THAT WORK!
I never said don’t run promotions. I did say to stop discounting Botox. These are vastly different concepts that will yield wildly different results. I don’t know of a clinic that I’ve meet that hasn’t run a “20% off” promotion. As very few clinics measure the success of these promotions, I am unsure of their exact success but based on testimonials, it’s less than desired. But more so, there are way better options!
Let’s look at the 20% off Botox sale where the clinic’s regularly priced Botox is $10/unit (again, apply these rules to all neurotoxin products and other services).
If a patient gets a single treatment using the sale price of $8/unit and gets a 40 unit dose their savings (and YOUR COST) is $80. Unless you show them the savings on the receipt they may not calculate this number but understand they paid less.
Now let’s say the promotion is changed to this: Buy 40 units of Botox or more and receive a FREE vitamin C Serum. They pay the $10/unit on the Botox and now receive a product that is worth $150*! And although it will appear as though they are getting a better savings value, the markup on the product is 100% so it costs you $75 to offer the free product.
Or, take it one step further. New Promotion: Buy 40 units of Botox or more and receive a FREE Medical Peel. They pay the $10/unit on the Botox and now receive a full service that is worth $150*! This time if we calculate the cost of consumables ($20*) and medical aesthetician’s time ($20), it only costs you $40 to offer the free peel.
The best part in all of this is, the client is likely to feel as though the last promotion holds the most value. In an economic market where retail stores like The Bay offer 60-70% off, 20% doesn’t feel very enticing because it isn’t. On top of that, with the last two promotions, you have now exposed your clients to a product or service you offer. Although impossible to calculate without data, there is an increased likelihood that you will now get repeat business of serum and peel purchases.
I hope most of you have made it to the end of this post. It’s important for cosmetic clinics to understand that discounting erodes value and that there are other ways to increase sales and clients. If I have left you interested in more information, please SUBSCRIBE to my blog. Or CALL ME to discuss how I can help your clinic through my consulting services.
*these are prices based on actual products in the Canadian medical aesthetic market