If you are like most aesthetic practices, you will be spending a considerable amount of money on advertising to try to get people through your doors. As we have already discussed, you need to make sure you are spending your advertising effectively and that your receptionist is skillful in getting a consultation booked. The next critical step is to conduct a quality consultation and that your client moves forward with treatment and pays you money.
You are doing our clients a HUGE disservice if you do not give them a thorough, quality consultation. In addition, the quality of your services is judged during the initial consultation. If you perform a poor consult, how can people expect that you provide exceptional service or results? This step is what separates you from other aesthetic practices and establishes your credibility as a skin care expert. It can also be the difference between having a profitable practice and failing miserably.
Tracking Data and Holding Employees Accountable
Employees conducting consultations should be held accountable for their performance and be rewarded if they do well. Every practice should track consultation closing percentages and the average dollar collected per consultation booked. If you aren’t tracking this information, the old adage holds true, “If you don’t know where you’re going, any road will get you there.” You should hold regular meetings with your consultants to review their performance and help them establish future goals for improving along with training in areas of weakness they may have demonstrated.
The Right Person with the Right Skills
A quality consultation establishes a strong relationship that can pay large dividends for many years to come and requires significant positive energy and work. You can’t delegate this responsibility to just anyone in your practice. You need to make sure the right person with the right people skills is performing this critical step and that you incentivize him or her appropriately. This person must find great personal satisfaction in helping the client achieve her aesthetic goals. They should also be motivated by money and you need to provide proper incentives to make sure they commit the appropriate amount of energy during the consultation. Aesthetic consultations is a sales process, plain and simple and you need to hire good salespeople. This shouldn’t come as a surprise to anyone.
What skills do top consultants possess?
- They have presence (energy, conviction, interest when speaking & listening)
- They are good at relating to other people
- They use good questions to uncover needs
- They understand what the customer communicates in words, tone, and body language
- They are good at customizing their products to the needs of the customer
- They ask follow up questions to make sure the customer understands what they are saying
- Understand and present the appropriate procedures with before/after benefits
Develop a Consultation Certification Program
To be a good consultant, you must become well-educated in the following areas: skin anatomy, cosmetic skin diseases, current aesthetic treatments & technologies, light-based treatments (ablative & non – ablative), botox & cosmetic fillers, laser lipolysis, radio frequency technology (tightening, fat & cellulite), fractional skin resurfacing. Even if you clinic does not perform all of these treatments, you need to be knowledgeable because chances are the client will be. Most prospective clients have done their research in advance through the internet and if you’re not careful, they could very well have more knowledge than you. If you aren’t knowledgeable in these areas, this will become very clear to the prospective client and will hurt your consultation performance.
There are plenty of good books out there that you can use as your curriculum and you can also have your staff develop quizzes and tests and hold regular meetings to get your entire staff knowledgeable regarding all of these areas.
Focus on High Dollar / High Margin Procedures
You have a limited time to spend with each client during a consultation. You can easily spend one hour per consultation or more. To maximize your time during these consultations, you need to make sure you understand your sources of greatest revenue. You must focus on HIGH DOLLAR / HIGH MARGIN treatments. Selling larger packages typically means combination therapy which results in happier clients. It is important that you understand that your goal of increased revenue is aligned with the client wanting the best results possible Small packages or single treatments typically do not yield good results and the client walks away dissatisfied – never to return!!!
Do not pre-judge what the client wants, needs or how much she can spend. Do not judge a book by its cover. As a consultant, do not impose your project your value system onto the client. Personally, I would rather spend $3,000 on a new HD TV, not on a package of facial rejuvenation treatments, however I am not the prospective client! Give the client what her or she wants, not what you want.
Where to focus your energies
People are willing to spend big dollars to rejuvenate their face and sculpt their body. Your skin analysis and consultations are designed to generate COMBO PACKAGES / HIGH DOLLAR SALES. The amount of quality time you spend with clients is proportionate to the size of packages you sell them. You want to spend at least one hour on facial consultations – if not more
Conduct a Quality Skin Analysis
Conducting a skin analysis is a critical step in the consultation process and it is how we get the client to open up regarding their perceived skin issues and problems. There are many different types of equipment that’s out there that you can use as tools for the skin analysis. Some of the most simple yet effective tools are the following: (1) a lighted mirror magnifier, (2) a Woods Lamp (3) a Video Skin Microscope. We use these tools to help the client reveal to us what there most important skin issues are. It is important to remember that the prospective client should be the one doing most of the talking while using these tools. The client is ultimately the one “conducting” the skin analysis. What are issues to you may not be issues to them. You need to focus on their expressed issues! After the skin analysis, we then determine the client’s hot buttons and help them prioritize their expressed issues.
Systemizing Your Consultation Process
Your chances to develop good consultants increase exponentially if you have developed a system to help your sales staff perform consultations. In addition to a system for skin analysis, we have also developed other tools in our clinics to help our salespeople succeed. We have developed PowerPoint presentations that the consultant can use to review how treatments work with the prospective client and show appropriate before and after photographs. These presentations cover the same material every time and eliminate the variability of different expectations that can arise if each consultant is promising different results. It is important to set the right expectations (number of treatments, potential side effects, good candidates for the procedure, etc.). Having a system to present strengthens our expertise in the client’s eyes.
Closing the Sale
All of your work during the consultation is for nothing unless you can close the sale. It is important that you close the sale with a timeline incentive that motivates the prospect to action. If you don’t close them during the consultation, you only have a small chance (10-15%) of closing them later. We typically give the client a free treatment if they commit to move forward on the day of their consultation. It is important to place pressure on the client without it being a “hard sell” approach.
Another important approach is to give the client a choice between “YES” commitments. An example of this would be: You can pay for the entire package today and receive a $500 free treatment, or you can opt for the 6 month payment plan at $X per month, which option would work best for you?”
Items Needed for Consultations
We use the following tools for all of our consultations: a Price Sheet, Client Profile Sheet, Skin Analysis Sheet, Suggested Treatment Plan, a Hand Calculator, Flat Screen TV or Projector, a computer to connect to TV or Projector, Consultation Power points, and Skin Analysis Equipment.
In summary, consultations require passion, energy, and intensity. If any of your employees aren’t strong in these areas, they should not be performing consultations. Consultations also require a systemized approach that ensures a certain level of consistency for each client who receives a consultation. There is TOO MUCH at stake to leave consultations to chance or to someone who doesn’t care.
"Money is made in the consultation room, and lost in the operations." Learn more by amping up sales through consultations.