Patients on a budget: How to adapt your treatment portfolio
We have established that patients are feeling the squeeze financially and have a lower budget in the current economic climate. There are ways that you can accommodate patients who have affordability concerns without lowering your prices – see our first blog on patients on a budget: how to meet their needs without cutting your prices.
In this blog, Dr Tim Pearce considers how you can adapt your treatments, or modify your approach and techniques to achieve the best outcomes from reduced quantities of aesthetic injectables or by changing the focus of the aesthetic result.
Do you feel anxious about causing complications? Many clinicians feel so overwhelmed with the thought of causing a vascular occlusion that it stops them growing their aesthetics business. Dr Tim is currently hosting a webinar series to help you overcome your fear of complications so that you can uplevel your knowledge, and increase your CPD-certified learning to build a successful aesthetics business. Sign up here >>
What can you achieve with less volume?
If your patient cannot afford as many millilitres of dermal filler as you would recommend for achieving a desired outcome, treatment becomes tailored to focusing versus augmenting.
Dr Tim notes that a lot of what we do with dermal filler is revealing a good bone structure. In certain patients, it does make a difference to simply highlight the angles of the face, for example, you could highlight the angle of the chin, the gonial angle, or the cheek without performing any augmentation, volumisation, or changing large amounts of detail.
Look for small details that together will achieve a subtle transformation – ensure your patient is aware of them and perceives that treatment will make them look more attractive in a subtle way, without over augmenting, but also without using large amounts of product (which makes it within budget).
Find the area with the highest possible psychological effect
Spend time with your patient, during the consultation, to find this crucial information. The perfect example for illustration is when treating very old patients.
Dr Tim explains that he quite often has appointments with ladies in their 80s and 90s. These patients are unlikely to spend thousands of pounds on multiple syringes of dermal filler, but they wish to look younger and fresher. His advice, gleaned over many years, is that there is seldom a treatment that achieves this aim better than a lip treatment. Adding 0.5ml into the lips of a lady who has not seen her lips for 10-20 years to reveal them again, so she can enjoy applying lip stick. This can produce an extremely happy patient, and you have used very little product. This represents a high leverage treatment that can give you the largest psychological impact for the smallest intervention, and a small cost.
Put all your attention on their major pain point
Another major pain point would be something that represents a distraction for your patient, a line or crease that is near to a major facial feature and they just cannot stop seeing it, for example, something near the lip or the eye. If you can improve this distraction with a small amount of product, you can resolve a major pain point for them, solving the thing that they hate most of all about their looks, which goes above and beyond all the other things that may have come up with in the consultation.
Maintain treatments that have already brought joy and made them happy
As aesthetic clinicians, we are always trying to make sure patients get value out of treatments that we perform; the more uncertain you are about the value they may get from new or additional interventions, the more you can lean on experiences with previous treatments. Something that they have previously enjoyed, but which has now run out and needs maintaining.
This solution makes a good suggestion when you are unsure if they have the budget to make a significant difference with additional interventions or by treating a new area that has come up for discussion.
Provide a ‘menu’ with a breakdown of treatment costs
Once you have performed your facial assessment, you will have drawn up a menu of different treatments and given the patient an idea of which one you think is most likely to meet their needs.
However, there is often a huge degree of subjectivity. You are presenting them with their ‘menu’, with a cost associated to each option, and then allowing them to choose from that menu, with your guidance. With this option, you give a series of costs that are within their budget and see which one they lean towards.
This is often followed by a mini consultation to remind them about the benefit they would get from the chosen treatment(s) and obtain their validation again to make sure it is worth proceeding. This approach is useful when the patient’s problem is more nuanced and there is no single treatment that dramatically stands out as a solution, so you give them a series of options and let them choose.
Talk to them about their patient journey
This is a way of turning their immediate budgetary concerns into a discussion about the longer term. Instead of talking about ‘today’, you think about what their budget is over the next year because most patients are already spending a regular amount on skincare and treatments, so once you think of their budget over a year, as opposed to in one treatment session, you can design a treatment plan (and solution) that maximises their needs but over the next three or four treatment sessions.
This represents a good business strategy but is also a solid option from the patient’s perspective – they can build on what they have already had and move towards their ideal goal in a much more financially attractive and affordable way.
How do patients decide what they spend?
There are two elements that govern how your patients decide what they spend – the first is affordability, how much money do they have to spend, and the second is the value that they attribute to that treatment.
As aesthetic clinicians, we cannot change affordability for our patients – they will have a fixed amount of money available – but we do influence the value in everything that we do for our patients. This is where we have control, you can increase your value to your patients in all sorts of ways.
This is what makes for a great aesthetic practitioner, great communication skills, good experience, the ability to deliver on what you say you can do; all those things will increase your value to your patients. Dr Tim concludes that your ability to explain the impact, and to justify your treatments based on what the patient is truly seeking, rather than being a vending machine for treatments, will increase your value to patients, and they will necessarily allocate more funds to something that they believe in; this is the bit where we have control. He recommends that if we do go into a recession, aesthetic clinicians should put a large proportion of their effort into becoming a more valuable practitioner.
You can find Dr Tim Pearce on Instagram if you have a question that you want him to answer on running an aesthetic practice.
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Aesthetics Mastery Show
For more insight, watch the latest episode of the Aesthetics Mastery Show, where Dr Tim shares his expert advice on how you can meet the needs of your patients on a budget, retain business, and why cutting your prices is the WORST move strategically..
Aesthetics marketing and business resources
You may find the following resources helpful – they’re free to download on our website
- 5 Steps to Create a Successful Aesthetics Business
- Annual Profit Calculator
- Value Audit Template: Price-per-1ml
Dr Tim Pearce eLearning
Dr Tim Pearce MBChB BSc (Hons) MRCGP founded his eLearning concept in 2016 in order to provide readily accessible BOTOX® and dermal filler online courses for fellow Medical Aesthetics practitioners. His objective was to raise standards within the industry – a principle which remains just as relevant today.
Thousands of delegates have benefited from the courses and we’re highly rated on Trustpilot. For more information or to discuss which course is right for you, please get in touch with our friendly team.