Jun 23, 2019 by Kaeli Lindholm
You’re poised for invigorating growth with the addition of a new aesthetic offering to your practice and congratulations may be in short order. But wait. Before you break out the champagne glasses, please proceed with caution. Without the right plan in place, you may be risking a failed anticipated return on investment. I’d like to take a moment to share my unique perspective of sitting at “both sides” of the negotiating table when I leveraged my device sales and management experience to acquire a new technology as a partner in a plastic surgery practice. If you’re considering a new device, now is a perfect time to stop and ask yourself five crucial questions.
Take a survey of your existing active patients to find out how many of them are actually interested in paying for the procedure. If you run a booming skincare clinic, don’t assume all of your patients are going to automatically come to you for body contouring. Make sure you have an idea of actual patient demand to be able to create a ROI strategy that is accurate for patient demand and your practice’s ability to close new patient leads.
Most device reps will help you with an event. That’s awesome and absolutely embrace the support. However, what is your current history of success with events? Do you set goals for these and bring in the patient numbers needed to achieve your goals? The device company will help you close leads but will not be able to bring patients in the door for the events. Perhaps a percentage of the cost of the device should be allocated toward outbound direct online marketing? Do you have team that is able to engage patients and get them excited about the procedure? Do you have the right technician to operate the device? For example, most women prefer to have intimate procedures such as vaginal rejuvenation procedures performed by a trusted provider with whom they already have an established level of comfort.
Most of the large device manufacturers offer post-sale support programs to help you launch the new procedure. But every practice has different needs so what worked for one practice may not work for yours. Evaluate the needs of your practice (if your practice is young it may need more support with patient acquisition, if your practice is more established it may need more support with internal staff training or social media marketing) to nurture and engage existing patients. Always make sure there is a component of business and outcome measurement involved in the post-sales support program to keep your team on track.
During the sales process the device manufacturer may provide physician referrals- references of practices of the same or differing specialty who can showcase a portfolio of outstanding clinical outcomes with the device. This is an important and valuable part of the buying process. However- do not forget to speak with a practice regarding their revenue numbers. Are they on target with what was promised? How quickly did they achieve a payoff on their investment? Be sure to speak with a practice in the similar stage of the practice growth lifecycle. If you have a budding new practice, your experience will likely be dramatically different than a more established practice. Compare apples to apples.
Some devices require the use of a consumable applicator or hand piece attachment for each treatment. These costs can certainly add up, but don’t be turned off by this without running your numbers first. The consumable is usually (but not always) supported by a practice development specialist or technical support specialist who is commissioned by driving utilization. If your practice needs support getting patients in the door and marketing procedures, this may be a benefit for you. Work with a consultant or put together your own ROI calculator to know for sure if the investment you’re making is the best value for your practice versus simply grinding down the upfront cost of the device. Insider Tip: When companies lose their margins on the sale, they may first cut out the value adds like marketing support that will help make you money in the long run.
For unbiased professional assistance with determining and negotiating the right aesthetic device for your practice, KLC has a flat fee program that can take the work off your hands and set your practice up for success.
Kaeli is an Aesthetic Business Results Strategist focused on helping aesthetic physicians build 7-figure practices by implementing fortune-500 business tools and processes combined with Neiman Marcus level customer service experience.
Her scope of work has encompassed executive management and consulting roles with several of the world’s top aesthetic device manufacturers and global fortune 500 pharmaceutical companies. Kaeli served as Managing Director of a leading plastic surgery and wellness institute where she tested and refined her proven strategies firsthand. She is an expert at identifying what it takes to align business with human and capital resources to stimulate competitive and innovative growth.