In the movie “Field of Dreams”, Kevin Costner’s character repeatedly hears the phrase, “If you build it, they will come.” Some physicians seem to think purchasing a laser for hair removal translates into, “If I buy it, they will come.” This may work in the movies for attracting deceased baseball players, but it’s not a great attitude for generating maximum profitability from laser hair removal.
The most successful physicians tend to view this as a cash-based profit center. According to Dr. Steve Finder, MD, President of Smooth Solutions (210-493-0422), in San Antonio, Texas, “You need to learn to treat laser hair removal as a retail business. Decide if you’re really serious about it, determine what makes you different, and focus on where you can excel. Do one thing well, be able to sell it, and don’t be afraid to compete for market share outside your practice. It’s also very important to keep a close watch on your labor and maintenance costs. When you’re ready to expand, do so carefully and thoughtfully.”
Hair removal addresses a want and not a need. Patients need to get an ulcer treated, but they’ll choose to have laser hair removal performed because they’ve decided it’s time. When they’re ready to take action, they should want to come to you because they feel comfortable and confident that you’ll provide better results, service, and value than they’ll find anywhere else.
Consider the following for maximizing your success:
Write a personalized description of your services along with the benefits of being treated with your specific laser. Place this, along with any other related brochures, in highly visible locations around your office and exam rooms. Be ready to talk to patients about what you can do for them with a “soft sell” approach. Don’t rely on brochures or posters alone to convince prospective patients. You can have the best hair removal program in the world but if its not talked about, it won’t go anywhere.
Educate the entire staff about your laser. Make sure they understand how and why it works. Write out a script for them to follow when talking about it over the phone. Consider an incentive program for your employees. This could mean paying them a one-time bonus for each patient they bring to the table, or a quarterly bonus for the entire staff based on a percentage of the profits.
It’s usually best to have one or two people specifically trained as your “laser specialists” to handle your consults. Anyone who inquires should be referred to them for a detailed explanation on how the laser works, what to expect, and pricing. Some physicians who develop a busy laser hair removal business hire a person who does nothing but consultations.
Create a separate database for your laser hair patients. Be sure to have someone follow up with each patient to thank them for their business and see if they have any concerns. After all the time and effort it can take to get a new patient, make sure you do what it takes to keep them.
Consider creating your own video highlighting your specific services to play in the waiting room or a private viewing area. You can also lend these to prospective patients and offer a discount on their first treatment if they (or a friend) return the video.
Many of your existing patients are probably candidates for laser hair removal and would just as readily have you treat them as someone they don’t know. If you see a small number of patients, decide where to spend your marketing dollars very carefully. Clearly define why someone should consider you over anyone else. Finally, make sure your office staff is fully prepared to make each potential new hair removal patient so comfortable and informed that they won’t consider having it done anywhere else.