The 10X Consultation Playbook will be our next course. Here's why.

The 10X Consultation Playbook - The ultimate guide to mastering patient consultations that sell. See it here >

A little while back I wrote a post about the 5 areas that I've found most closely correlated with success in the 17 years that I've been building top performing clinics.

Here's the post: 5 Lessons From 22,362 Clinics About Building A Successful Cosmetic Practice

If you leave any 1 of these 5 areas out you're hamstringing your business and and stunting your growth. If you're good at at least 3 and you'll be competitive, and if you're good at all 5 you'll own your local market... the world is your oyster. 

  1. Mastering patient consultations (sales)
  2. Replacing yourself with systems (operations)
  3. Delivering the remarkable (patient experience)
  4. Aligning your staff's perceived best-interests (leadership)
  5. Waging asymmetrical warfare against the competition (strategy)

You'll notice, and I discuss this in the post, that there's nothing on treatment results (patient outcomes), what IPL or device you're using (technology), or price (money). That's because these three areas, the areas that most clinic owners - especially those starting out - obsess over have no correlation with the success of the clinic. (Now' don't blow a gasket. I'm not saying that they're not important, especially around patient outcomes, but only that they do not contribute to how successful you are going to be in relationship to other clinics. Failure in these areas can destroy you, but success in these areas will not make you successful.)

That post obviously hit a nerve, especially around the top two areas on the list; mastering patient consultations and using systems to automate your clinic operations. And that's understandable. The consultation room is where the money is made, and clinic operations is where the money is lost. 

In fact, we received so many questions and inquires around improving consultations - more than 8 times what we normally receive - that we changed up the training course roadmap.

Our roadmap had been to systematically build a set of comprehensive trainings to teach you (#1) how to implement systems in your clinic (The Ultimate Clinic Operations Blueprint) so that you could make your clinic run more efficiently, then to launch a course (#2) on marketing that taught you how to bring in hundreds or thousands of new patients a year, and then to launch a course (#3) teaching you systems for consultations that convert (selling).

But in seeing the questions coming in we're switching that up a little.

The next Training Academy course we're launching will not be The Ultimate Clinic Marketing Plan, it will be The 10X Consultation Playbook.

Here's why: The single most important determining your sales success is how well you do one thing; consultations

Poor consultations destroy your reputation and waste every dollar you spend on bringing new patients in to your clinic. And they're not uncommon. It's simple math; 49% of clinicians are performing consults that are below average. Poor consultations will put you right on the edge of going out of business, and will force you to try to compete on price. If you're having thoughts around pricing, or if you're using terminology like "loss leader", or if you're just at the lower end of the pricing wars in your local market, it's likely - more than that, it's probable - that your consultations are below average.

Average consultations generate some sales and leave you bumping along and quasi-satisfied with your business - where you can't quite figure out what's missing. You know that you're leaving money on the table but don't exactly know why.

Heads up: The maddening thing about average consultations is that you won't see them as being average. You'll see them as way above average, just like every other person when asked to compare themselves to others. It's called illusory superiority and there are almost endless examples:

  • In Kruger and Dunning's experiments participants were given specific tasks (such as solving logic problems, analyzing grammar questions, and determining whether jokes were funny), and were asked to evaluate their performance on these tasks relative to the rest of the group, enabling a direct comparison of their actual and perceived performance.

    Results were divided into four groups depending on actual performance and it was found that all four groups evaluated their performance as above average, meaning that the lowest-scoring group (the bottom 25%) showed a very large illusory superiority bias. The researchers attributed this to the fact that the individuals who were worst at performing the tasks were also worst at recognizing skill in those tasks. This was supported by the fact that, given training, the worst subjects improved their estimate of their rank as well as getting better at the tasks. The paper, titled "Unskilled and Unaware of It: How Difficulties in Recognizing One's Own Incompetence Lead to Inflated Self-Assessments", won a Nobel Prize in 2000.
  • In a survey of faculty at the University of Nebraska–Lincoln, 68% of professors rated themselves in the top 25% for teaching ability, and more than 90% rated themselves as above average.
  • In a similar survey, 87% of Master of Business Administration students at Stanford University rated their academic performance as above the median.

Don't think that's you? 

Everyone describes themselves in positive terms compared to other people, and this includes thinking that they're less susceptible to bias than other people. This effect is called the "bias blind spot" and has been demonstrated independently.

We sent a survey to cosmetic clinicians (some of our Members) and asked them to score their consultations against their competitors on a scale of 1 to 10.

The results of that survey fit right in with every other study on how humans perceive themselves. Almost every clinician rated their consultative skills between 5 and 9. So, if you think that you'd rank your consultations as a 7 or 8, you're right at the top of the bell curve of average.

Consultation Survey Results

Consultation Survey Results

(One interesting note; In speaking with two different clinicians who had rated themselves as a 7 and an 8 in this survey I brought up the fact that their self-rating put them in the 'average' column. Both of them immediately re-calibrated and added another point or two to their rating in order to remain above average.) 

You may have a competitor that is not using technology as good as yours, is not as technical skilled, does not deliver outcomes that are as good as yours, who is charging more (or less) than you do, but is still taking patients away from you. It's maddening, but there's a reason. They're delivering great consults. They're building empathy and trust with their patients. They're guiding along the journey that patient is asking for. There's no way you can compete with that based on having a newer IPL and - if you're going to be competitive - you're going to have to get better at consultations.

But there is good news. Mastering patient consultations is a skill set you can learn.

The money is made in the consultation room.

Great consultations are the secret of incredibly profitable clinics. They almost print money. Great consultations fill your schedule and treatment rooms and create fanatically loyal patients and they boost your revenue faster and easier than any other thing you can do as an individual. And great consultations come in all sorts of flavors.

It doesn't matter what your 'shtick' is. You may be rolling old school as a luminary plastic surgeon with a hundred degrees on your wall and a staff of 40, or you may be a family practice doc who's just learning Botox, or you might be setting up a new clinic and going through some sleepless nights wondering how you're going to pay for everything. Your consultations are something that you can improve that makes an immediate difference.

I've seen a lot of clinicians who are fantastic in the consultation room.

  • A plastic surgeon from Brazil who was all air kisses and theatricality. He looked and acted every bit of the Hollywood cliche plastic surgeon from his slicked back hair to his designer suits, but when he walked into the consultation room he stepped off his pedestal and patients knew they could trust him.
  • A Ukrainian physician who was working in the US as an esthetician with movie-star looks and fashion sense who literally sold three times as much as the physician in the clinic.
  • A goof-ball dermatologist who could barely dress himself and looked half the age of his patients open a brand new clinic and destroy the entrenched local competitors by being a boy-next-door.
  • An internist who was completely new to aesthetics pull a clinic out of foreclosure and make it insanely profitable by sitting down with patients and talking girlfriend-to-girlfriend.

All of these clinicians were different, but they all killed it in the consultation room, not because they were consultation savants, but because they understood that consultations are critical to success and they worked hard to improve. Their tactics and personalities varied dramatically and the way they presented to the patient were completely different, but the formula they followed was the same every time.

That structure, that system, that repeatable formula is what the 10x Consultation Playbook delivers.

Hope is not a strategy.

It's not going to happen by itself. You weren't trained in sales. In fact, some of the things you were taught are actively hampering you. You're not going to suddenly understand everything you need to know and do to improve your sales and neither is your team.

I can not tell you the number of times when I've asked clinicians how they start a consultation and it's some form of "tell me what you'd like done", or they hand the patient a mirror with something along the lines of "tell me what you see that you don't like". Worse still are the clinicians who actually just launch in to a litany of all the things they can see that they could "fix", oblivious to the frozen smile on the patient sitting their horrified and embarrassed to find out that they're such a wreck. 

The fact is that great businesses aren't built on luck or chance. The're built on repeatable rules and proven processes and reliable frameworks.

It may not sound too exciting, but I'm okay with that.

Because you know what is exciting? Implementing your new systems and finding that your conversion rates, and revenue spike. That is sexy. The best parts of business always are - without fail - the measurable parts. Everything else is just guesswork. And you can't build a business that wins by just relying on your guesses.

Systems help you pre-decide what’s important to you — ONCE — and then force you to stay focused. Instead of your clinic staff wondering what they should do… or making it up on the fly… you’ll have a clear system to follow that is both structured, and flexible, so you’re not working with so many variables that you have no clear idea what's working and what's not.

Once you integrate these systems into your clinic, you’ll feel the freedom of being able to make decisions and see their effects rather than just hoping that you're headed in the right direction.

Think of a simple system you already use — where you put your keys. Maybe it’s by the door, or in the kitchen. Yet it’s become a habit and you never think about it. You don’t have to “try harder” to put the keys where they should be… it just works. It’s mindless. And it does what it needs to do.

Now think about your consultations and the way they work.

You already have a 'system' that you're using. You're beginning the same way, you ask the same questions, and you give the same answers to the same questions each time. That's something of a system, but is it the best you could do? Couldn't it be improved if you actually had a structured system and formula that ensured that every consult was perfect?

That's why we're moving the Playbook up to be the next course we publish; because the money really is made in the consultation room and improving your consultations is the single easiest thing you can do with your existing clientele to bring in more revenue.

You don't have to spend money on advertising, or buy a new fractional laser. You just have to spend some time starting with the basics and building on your existing skill set. you don't have to get a new license or insurance rider.  You don't have to travel or take on inventory. You just have to learn and use some new skills that you can put to use immediately.

That's why I know that when you improve your consultations, you're going to see results.

Small differences in your [system] performance can lead to large differences in your results
— Brian Tracy

 Top performers know how to sell. Average performers don't.

The Playbook is not being built around hard selling or gimmicks or unethical practices. It's not about talking people in to treatments they don't need or being pushy. It's not about pressure. In fact, it's probably not at all what you think of as "sales training".

It's about guiding your patients along the journey they want to take.

The 10X Consultation Playbook is a  system that will take you past the guesswork. You'll get the frameworks, strategy, tactics and repeatable techniques to systematically improve your consultations and conversion rates. You'll learn exactly what to do and how and when to do it, but just as importantly you'll learn WHY you're doing it. In short, 10X Consultation Playbook is a method, a system, and a proven FORMULA... that clinicians have applied successfully over and over to produce high converting consultations, increased patient loyalty, and greater revenue.

It will also come with a 30 day money back guarantee and integrates perfectly with the Ultimate Clinic Operations Blueprint.

And it's not just for you. Every member of your staff will learn these systems too.

So if increasing your conversion rates, sales and income is of interest to you, please take just a second and sign up on our early bird list to be notified when the Playbook launches. Once you're on the email list we'll be sending some early snippets  and lessons and requesting feedback. And you'll also get a one-time special discount for being on the list when we go live.


Questions? Please leave a comment or contact us directly.

Survey: The Cosmetic Clinic Consultation Blueprint

The money is a cosmetic clinic is made in the consultation room. We want you to make more of it.

Take this quick survey and help us build a blueprint of best practices for cosmetic patient consultations.

What do you say? What do you do? What tools, software, or photos do you use to educate your patients during a consultation? What's your teams process and training? What results or metrics do you track?

Patient consutations are where your clinic makes money. That's the truth. The services you then deliver are just a fulfillment of the promises and commitments you made in the consult room. So improving your patient conslultatons is something that you should be focused on as a clinician, and working to get everyone on your team behind. 

Help us build the roadmap to the perfect cosmetic patient consultation by taking this quick survey and telling us how you perform consults, what works, and what you've tried that doesn't. We'll compile all of the answers along with input from consult guru's and top performers to build a "cosmetic clinc consultation blueprint" that will be available to members to learn from and help train their team to up-level one of the most critical parts of your cosmetic business. 

Take this survey and share your thoughts. 

This survey has 10 questions and should take you just a few minutes. (We might even contact you for more info for the guide.)

Understand Your Patient's Home Run In The Consultation Room

Before you leave the consultation room ask your patient this question: What's a 'home run' for you?

Consultations are where the money gets made in a medical spa but understanding and managing expectations with your cosmetic patients will keep you out of trouble, and your patients coming back. One of the very best ways to understand where your patient's head and expectations are is to ask, 'What's going to be a home run for you?'.

You're probably already trying to set expectations and get to know what your patient's after - you're in a consultation room after all - but I'm talking about some thing other than asking about 'What are you looking for?' or 'What are you trying to change?' which are the most common types of questions.

There's a lot you can do to increase your revenue in the consultation room. Don't miss the opportunity to set up your patient for the big win.

When you ask, 'What would knock the ball out of the park for you?', you're tapping in to some triggers that give you a much better feel for where the patient is, and creates a complete buy-in if you're able to align those 'big win' thoughts with manageable expectations. This is a part of the consultation that a lot of physicians miss by just asking general expectation questions like 'What are we trying to accomplish?' or 'What are you looking for?'. These kinds of milquetoast questions don't have any teeth.

The worst kind of ham-fisted consultation - and I've seen this - is just to hand a mirror to a patient and tell them to tell you what they don't like about their face. (A perfect example of a doc that never understood the psychology of buying and though of himself as a mechanic. Lame.)

Look, no one is coming in to your clinic with 'age management' as their goal. That's a totally goofy doc-talk deal. Patients are looking to drop 20 years. Once you've gone through the consultation you'll have a pretty good feel for if you're going to be in the running for making this patient happy or not. If you're not going to make the person thrilled, give careful consideration to treating the patient at all. But if you're pretty comfortable with the treatment and feel that you can deliver, ask the patient what they would consider to be a grand slam home run and then discuss it. Don't try to talk them down too far. They'll be pretty reasonable (or you'll see that you can't make them happy) if you give them some rope here.

Drive patient happiness.

Everyone likes to have happy patients. They don't sue you and if you're lucky, they'll tell a friend or two. But how often do you think of 'patient satisfaction' as a byproduct rather than the actual aim.

Setting up your consultation with this kind of 'big win' potential gives the patient a target to aim for and a peg to hang their hat on if you come close. If you deliver, the patient feels that it wasn't just an average treatment and that you really are the cosmetic guru you're website says you are, and if you fall short you're still in the ball park and all is not lost.

Managing your patients expectations should really be around finding the buy-in point of where this 'grand slam' outcome is, NOT the base hit of finding an adequate result. (I know there's a lot of baseball analogies in here.)

Don't create more patients. Create more zealots.

Meeting expectations creates another satisfied customer. Boring, and not the way to build your business. But if you can use the consultation to define what a 'big win' is, manage expectations around that end point and then deliver on those, you're creating a zealot, and zealots build your business for you.

Yes, you already have a few zealots. Everyone else does too.

What you're looking to do here is bump up the percentage of zealots that you produce, because they'll work tirelessly to drive new patient traffic.

This tiny change in the way you think about your consultations can deliver disproportionate results.

What do you think?