We have all experienced a consultation that made us feel engaged, excited and optimistic. Likewise, we have also had consultations that were half-hearted and seemingly designed only to sell additional products and an overcomplicated treatment plan.
A well-structured consultation is not only the fulfilling of a promise to your client, it is also an opportunity to build a relationship based on trust and mutual respect. Obviously, the style of the consultation depends on your clinic, but here are some tips on how to structure an initial consultation effectively:
Explain the Entire Process
If there is one commonality across all poorly structured consultations, it is a failure to explain the different stages of the consultation. Not knowing what to expect makes the client feel uncertain and out-of-control, not unlike the feelings experienced by a patient in a doctor’s surgery. This type of feeling is obviously not conducive to a long-term relationship based on trust, so take the time to explain exactly what the client can expect, and then answer any questions they may have.
It is often also a good idea to tell the client what the end of the appointment will look like. Many people get nervous about the impending sales pitch. You may wish to say, “at the end of the treatment I will give you a recommended treatment plan for you to take away,” Or something that better reflects your personality.
Explain Why You Are Doing Certain Things
Let’s use a skin analyser as an example. Of course, a significant percentage of people who walk into a clinic will know exactly what a skin analyser is, but some will not. A large percentage of those who know what it is won’t understand how it works, and almost all of them would prefer to have a device that is going to be closely inspecting their face explained to them.
By explaining what the device is, why you are using it and how it works, you set their mind at ease and demonstrate your own expertise.
Treat Them As If They Are Your First Appointment of the Day
Even at 5 PM. We can easily become robotic and even appear disinterested when we have completed a large number of consultations during the day. But the client has made the appointment and travelled for this, hopefully, transformative meeting with a trained professional.
Take the time to explain the findings and reasons behind recommendations. Also, remember to perform a detailed diagnosis, asking questions about their lifestyle to go along with your consultation plan.
Do not Make Everything About Treatments and Products
A fantastic way to destroy any trust built up during the consultation process is to make all your recommendations revolve around the treatment plan. When this is done there is often a “token suggestion,” such as to increase water consumption or to spend less time in the sun. If a consultation has been completed correctly, there should be several lifestyle points and holistic advice that can offer results without treatment, if the client chooses not to come back. Remember, even those who do not return will speak to their friends and family about their experience and a clumsy sales pitch can make for a terrible review.
Your consultation is how many people will first experience your business and might be the benchmark that they use to decide whether to work with you in the future or not. Put some thought behind it and create a structured, informational process that adds immediate value. It will translate into a higher conversion rate to clients, and longer, more meaningful relationships with the people who are most important to your business.