There Will Always Be Someone Cheaper …
A few weeks ago a friend of mine posted this image to Facebook. I have no idea if the image is authentic or not, and I’m guessing that, if this did happen in real life, the tattoo artist isn’t breathing today given how tough his client looks! But the message is evergreen. Like most doctors in aesthetic medicine, you likely hear the price objection on a fairly regular basis. Why is this? Is it that your patients genuinely can’t afford your services? Or is it that they don’t quite understand the value of what you’re offering. I’m willing to bet that ninety times out of one hundred, it’s the latter and, if that’s the case, your issue is simple to fix. You have a messaging problem with your marketing.
Here’s the golden rule for buying products and services. People always fall back on price as a way to differentiate one service from another when they have no other information to go on. In its simplest terms, this means that if all you provide to your patients is a quote for a breast augmentation, then expect them to make a price comparison between your quote and the quotes they received from the three other plastic surgeons in your town. Without realizing it, you’ve turned breast augmentation into a commodity.
To avoid being price shopped, you have to make it impossible for your patients to make that apples-to-apples comparison with your colleagues. In my book 67 Marketing Secrets, I talk about making an apples-to-artichokes comparison instead. You can’t compare an apple to an artichoke. They both might be green and they’re a food group, but that’s where the comparison ends. And so it must be with your procedures and treatments. You need to do everything possible to prevent a patient from being able to make that direct comparison between what you’re offering and what your competitors are offering.
How can you do this effectively?
There are a number of ways. Here are three of the best ways to accomplish this.
1) Write a patient guide or a book that educates patients about everything they need to know about breast augmentations. Walk them through every possible step, tell them what questions to ask, point out the potholes along the way, and show them what “success” looks like. By educating your patients about how to make the best possible decision (which they will conclude is choosing you, since you will come across as an expert now that you’ve taken the time to educate them) they will NO LONGER RELY ON PRICE as a way to differentiate physicians. You are teaching them how to judge value. Now they will understand why you charge more than your competitors (if you choose to).
2) Bundle procedures and treatments. This is one of my favorite ways to “price proof” your procedures. By bundling your products and services there is no direct comparison to what others are offering. Think of buying a basic car, maybe a Ford Focus or Kia. Arguably a car is a car. It takes us from point A to point B. The message is fuel economy and reliability. Now think of buying a luxury car. It still takes us from point A to point B, but there’s a laundry list of additional luxury features – heated Oxford leather seats, LCD infotainment centers – that establish value and help justify a MUCH bigger price tag.
3) Don’t ever give patients just a written sheet of paper with a price on it. Provide them with an impressive package, a beautifully curated folder of materials that showcases your expertise as a surgeon and your exceptional clinic. Think big. Consider including an autobiographical documentary about who you are – as a person, not just as a doctor – and your philosophy on beauty and cosmetic surgery. Include a book you’ve authored, copies of all the media articles you’ve been featured in, and an impressive “mini-book” that showcases your work with glossy before and after photos and lots of patient testimonials. Your patients are making a HUGE leap of faith in selecting you. For many, this might be the single biggest investment they have ever made in themselves (or likely will ever make again.) Honor that by showing them who you are and what an excellent choice they’ll make if they select you.
If you only remember one thing from this article, it’s this. Never, ever compete on price. Change the game. If you have a particularly prickly patient who clearly has the money but keeps insisting on trying to beat you down on price, get your office manager to walk in with a picture of the very sad tattoo above as a sage warning about choosing the cheapest!