Onboarding a prospective patient for an initial consultation can be a positive sign that your clinic is on the right track. At the same time, it’s best to keep your own expectations in check. Don’t consider every person who enters your clinic a good candidate. As you move through the consultation process with your prospective patient, stay alert for signs that an individual may not be suitable for treatment.
To help you identify patients who aren’t a good fit for your clinic and services, watch for the following red flags, and be honest—but always polite—if you feel the patient is not a positive match for the treatment or your clinic.
There are two areas in which a prospective patient’s expectations may miss the mark: time and outcome. Some patients will want results yesterday; others will acknowledge that results may be gradual, yet still want a significant or permanent fix.
If a patient’s expectations seem too high, try to steer them toward a more realistic picture. If they continue to express the same message, be honest and suggest alternative methods that may be more in line with their expectations.
Often celebrity photos and unrealistic expectations go hand in hand during the consultation process. It may be useful for patients to bring images to better explain their target outcome, but if the expectations are too high, it’s best to acknowledge that during the consultation.
If necessary, bring your prospective patient back to reality. Explain what you may be able to achieve through the treatments, and explain that variables like lighting, clothing, and makeup can often enhance features in photos—suggesting that the celebrity photos might not even be realistic representations.
Some prospective patients may just have high standards, while others may be impossible to please. During the consultation interview, be cautious if the prospective patient speaks poorly of multiple other medical aesthetics professionals or clinics. This is a big indication that the patient might never be pleased with non-surgical aesthetics outcomes.
Ask for details on past treatments to get a better idea of whether the patient’s disappointment is warranted, or if they are embellishing. Depending on the patient’s attitude, it may be best to refer them to a practice that offers alternative services that may better meet their aesthetic goals.
Mental health is often intertwined with medical aesthetics, as a person’s pride in their appearance can play a key role in overall confidence and quality of life. Your prospective patient’s fears, hopes, and vulnerabilities will be on display during the consultation process.
Serving these patients, and your practice, requires compassionate listening. If you suspect that the patient’s concerns go beyond what your practice can offer, it might be more appropriate to suggest referring them to a better-equipped professional before beginning any treatment.
If your prospective patient often brings up another person’s name when discussing their aesthetics goals or how they perceive the area they’re hoping to have treated, this is a warning sign they might not be in this consultation for themselves.
For ethical and business reasons, it’s important to confirm that your prospective patient is seeking treatment for themselves, to improve their confidence or quality of life, rather than to please someone else. To do so, politely ask the patient how they feel about the topic. If they keep redirecting the conversation back to the third party, it may be best to recommend the patient hold off on treatment until they are sure of their own feelings before proceeding.
While it might be tempting to take on as many patients as possible, using your discretion will prove essential in protecting your business from unexpected risks in the form of problem patients. Carefully reviewing all prospective patients, and providing them with as much relevant information as possible on potential treatments, will always be the best policy.
To discover more tips on how to perfect the consultation process and boost conversions, download our invaluable eBook, “Mastering the Art of the Aesthetic Consult.”