Do You Want More Clinic Sales?

Pam Underdown
By Pam Underdown

Pam Underdown is the founder and owner of Aesthetic Business Transformations, a business coach, trainer and speaker in the medical aesthetic industry.

Whenever I get talking to aesthetic practitioners and clinic owners of all sizes, a few common themes about ‘up-selling’ and ‘cross-selling’ exist.
First of all, the majority of people feel that they aren’t that great at ‘up-selling’ and ‘cross-selling’ (there are, of course, a few rare exceptions). Secondly, most have a universal fear of selling and/or being sold to (badly). As a result, these fears tend to bring out two extreme types of behaviour in a salesperson:
1. Passive: Giving customers lots of your time, too much information, sometimes with over technical and confusing details - often forgetting the all-important close. Or, if it’s too soon to close, they do not take control of the customer journey and buying process by agreeing on a logical next step, recommendation, or follow-up call. This passive behaviour can leave customers wondering what they should do next and what the point of all that information was. As the saying goes, “A confused mind doesn’t buy”.
2. Presumptive: Assuming or presuming you understand a customer’s needs without asking them any questions. You spend most of your time explaining the features and benefits of your products and services and all the reasons why they should consider purchasing them, and you spend more time telling than asking. 
So, what can we do to help us improve our sales ability and any underlying concerns around it? 
First, we help our clients overcome their fears and insecurities around up-selling and cross-selling with one simple word substitution in our common vocabulary – we replace the word ‘sell’ with the word ‘serve’.
This means that ‘up-selling’ and ‘cross-selling’ become ‘up-serving’ and ‘cross-serving’, respectively. Conversely, we all know that the opposite of ‘serve’ is to ‘hold back’ and (purposefully) be unhelpful… and none of us wants to be unhelpful. As business owners, we want to serve unconditionally.
To up-serve and cross-serve successfully, you need to ask patients powerful, high-quality questions designed to open up the conversation and uncover the full scope of their needs, wants and desires. 
Knowing and understanding the full scope of their needs totally alters the conversation and provides you with an opportunity to show them all the ways you can potentially service those needs. It is so much easier to align a patient with a solution that they have identified as needed than it is to try and sell (and tell) them on the benefits of a treatment or product that you think they need without ever actually asking them.
Key Point: Find out what your patient’s needs are before assuming or presuming that you know.
Up-serving is about establishing whether you could be better at serving the immediate needs of a patient. We see this a lot in the hospitality industry, for example, when you book a hotel online, and you are asked if you have a booking for a special occasion. They are exploring the possibility to better service your needs; perhaps they will make you a special offer designed to enhance your experience.
Cross-serving is about asking powerful questions to uncover the unmet needs of a patient. For an aesthetic clinic, this can be a game-changer.
Can you honestly say, hand on heart, that all of your existing patients are aware of all the different ways you can help them? 
Look at the size of your database.
Imagine how many of your patients have unmet needs, pains, and problems that you could easily solve – if only they all knew about them.  
The first opportunity for uncovering those unmet needs is pre-consultation. The simplest way to do this without feeling pushy or salesy is to provide easy ways that your customer can ‘signal’ to you that they have unmet needs. 
Look around your clinic. Are there enough visual, clear ‘silent selling tools’ displayed clearly that talk about concerns and conditions you can help with?  
One of the quickest ways to open up a conversation is to have an old-fashioned clipboard simply stating, “What else concerns you?” or “What else would you like to talk to Dr xx about today?” 
You list all of the concerns and conditions you can help with, and if they tick it, it’s time to open up the conversation. The key to making these simple adjustments successful is to use your patient’s language by listing the conditions and concerns, not the names of devices or treatments.
During your consultation, ask your patients a series of high-quality questions to uncover their unmet needs, or in other words, explore the future potential for up-serving and cross-serving:
1 - If you could only improve one thing about your skin, what would you choose?
This is what we call a ‘bullseye’ question as it forces the patient to dig deep and think about what really bothers them the most when it comes to their skin. Let’s say, for example, they reply ‘Rosacea’ the next step is to establish how much it is bothering them.
2 - On a scale of 1 to 10, how much does it bother you? (10 = it’s really getting you down)
Regardless of what score they give, you can move on to the next question…
3 - What is your strongest reason for that score?
Listen carefully to their reasons, taking notes. Then move on to the next question…
4 - What kinds of things have you tried so far to resolve the problem?
It is important that the patient is given an opportunity to share with you all the products they have used, and all the treatments and strategies they have tried in an attempt to address or mask the problem – things that either did not work or did not get them the desired results. This leads nicely into possible solutions…
5 - If we could find a way to resolve your rosacea permanently, what would it mean for you?
Their response will give you a very clear indicator of whether or not to ask the final question…
6 - Would you like to know about some of the ways we can help with that?
Provided they say “yes”, you now have their permission to share the full range of options available to them for treating their rosacea and make a solid recommendation based on your experience and clinical expertise. 
Do not forget to close the conversation by moving to the next logical step in the process – e.g. completing a product purchase, booking them in for treatment or scheduling a follow-up call in the diary. Make sure you are in control of the next logical step – by serving your patients ethically and unconditionally and not leaving them to wonder – “what next?”.

Many thanks to the author of this blog Pam Underdown who is the founder and owner of Aesthetic Business Transformations, a business coach, trainer and speaker working exclusively in the medical aesthetic industry. After establishing her first aesthetic business in 2005, she is uniquely placed to help aesthetic professionals understand exactly how to grow their practice, improve their marketing and increase their profits. Pam also teaches efficient strategies to help busy aesthetic professionals to eliminate any fear of sales and marketing, introduce systems and processes to improve efficiency and productivity, whilst providing the structure, support and accountability to build a sustainable and profitable practice.

Thanks to the author
This article was written for the Consulting Room Magazine.
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