People often ask how I’ve managed to build such a substantial plastic surgery practice. It doesn’t happen overnight and there isn’t just one strategy. Like anything in life, it’s about building relationships in a myriad of situations.
Here are some of the tips I have that might surprise you.
- Partner with people to create brand ambassadors. I am a big believer in strategic partnerships. I’m often on the lookout for people who would make good ambassadors for my practice: for example, doctors, personal trainers, or friends of mine. I tell them all about my business, and I do work on them for a discount. They then tell all of their patients, clients, and colleagues.
- Work on your staff. Your staff can be your best billboard whenever they’re out in the community or in the office. When they’re looking great, it’s a really effective testimonial for your services. Often, the most convincing thing for a potential client is when I call a staff member into consultation to show how good a procedure looks on a real person.
- Give something for nothing. Sometimes, if someone comes in for liposuction, I will throw in an additional procedure at no cost or little cost. So, for liposuction, I might say, “Instead of throwing away this fat, I can use it for grafts in your face, your hands, or your buttocks, and it makes your result that much better.” It takes very little extra time for me, but to them, it is worth a million dollars because nobody has ever done anything at a discount for them before. I do that pretty frequently, and it really does work—people become enthusiastic brand ambassadors and tell all their friends.
- Go to events. When I was first starting out and needed to get my name out there, I went to every event that I could. I used my network of friends and business acquaintances and went to their personal and professional events. It’s important just to get your name out there and become visible in the community.
- Connect with hair salons. I went into several hair salons and introduced myself to the owners and the staff members there. I offered discounts for certain treatments—like Botox, Juvederm. or Restylane –if they mentioned my name to their clients. I got all the products at no charge, so it didn’t cost me anything but my time.
- Build relationships with reps. I’ve built relationships with the representatives who sell the products, and I can leverage those to get some sample products or to have them pay for open houses or other events for me. Investing in those relationships didn’t cost me anything except my time. I would tell them, “Hey, I think your product’s great. You let me know how I can help you sell your product.” Because I was offering to give, rather than just being a taker, I built connections. Turns out I could help them by talking to other surgeons about their products, vouching for them. So I did, and then it was easy to say, “Do you mind helping me to grow my business?”
- Put on events in restaurants. I’ve held events at restaurants around the city. Staff at the venue and those who attend all get to see my name up on a sign as a speaker, which solidifies my brand as an expert in the community. People feel comfortable going to a nice restaurant and having a glass of wine. I don’t give a PowerPoint presentation or make a heavy sales push. My attitude is, I am here to educate you so that you can make the best decisions moving forward. I am an educator. Typically it takes about an hour and a half to two hours: somebody introduces me, I give a brief talk and a Q&A, and then there’s networking. I invite people through radio ads and on my website, and anywhere from 15-40 people show up. And reps often pay for the dinner or appetizers, or they’d give me the product at reduced rates.
There’s a common theme here: growth is all about making the extra effort and building great connections as a result. So look for opportunities to reach out and connect. Give a bit of your time and expertise at no charge. In my experience, the connections you build from this more than repay your investment of time and energy.