Kaeli Consulting

How long is too long? The Waitlist Sweet Spot

Today we are going to talk about a very spicy, slightly controversial topic. There are many differing opinions out there on how to grow demand for your aesthetic practice and reach medspa mastery. Let’s talk about one tactic that likely feels pretty familiar — the waitlist. 

The waitlist is a loaded subject for many aesthetic entrepreneurs. No matter what you’re doing, many of you feel like your waitlist strategy isn’t quite right. 

Providers with no waitlist feel under-booked. They often feel like they’re leaving money on the table, because they don’t have pent-up demand for their services.  

But practices who have long waitlists don’t feel great either. They may worry that they’re risking patient bookings or increasing cancellations. They often wonder, will clients get fed up with waiting and get treated elsewhere?  

Between these two extremes is a happy medium between genius and insanity. A place I call the sweet spot! To get to the sweet spot, you’ll need to understand waitlists. Why create one? What makes a waitlist work well? At what point can a waitlist backfire, and start harming your business?

I’ll walk you through all of that in this blog post. Let’s go! 


What is a waitlist? Why should I use one at my aesthetic practice? 

Let’s start with the basics. A waitlist, of course, is a list of people! Specifically, people who’ve asked for something that isn’t available, and agreed to wait until it is. 

Global mega-brands like Louis Vuitton, Tesla, and Apple have all used waitlists to build hype and generate pent-up demand. This strategy works. These lists represent thousands of eager customers and billions of dollars in sales.  

I understand why so many entrepreneurs seeking medspa mastery are interested in this method. It has incredible potential. But like I mentioned, there is a downside to the long, drawn-out waitlist.  

A client recently asked me why so many injectors were publicizing their long waitlists, sharing messages on social media like: 

  • “Not accepting new patients”
  • “Booked through January 2024”
  • “Now booking appointments 6 months out”

There’s a limited amount of space on any Instagram profile. If someone displays this information, it’s a carefully calculated choice. It means they’ve seen success (or believe they can achieve success) by portraying their services as being in high demand. 


Will a waitlist work for you?

Broadcasting your waitlist is a fair aesthetic practice or spa business development strategy. But don’t just log onto Instagram and tell everyone you aren’t booking for months! First, ask yourself:

  • Does this level of inaccessibility fit my brand — or will it actually repel my ideal customer? Will my audience perceive me as in-demand, or just as stuck-up or unapproachable?  
  • Does a waitlist actually fit my business model? Do my patients have another option or pathway to get their needs met?


When to use a waitlist

Waitlists aren’t for everyone. But there are a few scenarios where a waitlist really does work. In fact, it can even help you achieve medspa mastery!

  • When there’s pent-up demand in your market that’s growing, not fading. If people on your waitlist are canceling, you may be pushing the boundaries of a healthy waiting period. 
  • If the wait time is reasonable for the services you’re offering. For example, a facelift candidate will be willing to wait much longer than someone interested in lasers, injectables, or fillers. 
  • When you use a waitlist strategically, as a brand positioning tactic. One aesthetician told me that when she opened her business, she trained her staff to tell every new client the same message. ‘We are fully booked, but let me see if I can move anything around for you!’ This tactic portrays her service as being in high demand. But it also demonstrates her flexibility and commitment to customer service. 

If you find yourself relating to any of these scenarios, a (reasonable) waitlist might be the right strategy for your aesthetic practice. 


Waitlists for medspa mastery

Here are 5 powerful ways you can use a waitlist as part of your spa business development strategy:

1. To build a long-term care plan

Create a habit of discussing a 6-month to 1-year care plan with your patients that’s designed to help them achieve their desired results. This can be a beautiful strategy for two reasons. It helps you build predictability in your revenue cycle, while optimizing the results your patients are able to achieve. 

Try saying something like: ‘My schedule books 3 months out. Let’s get your appointments on the calendar now to make sure we optimize your timeline in alignment with this plan.’  


2. To promote your team and encourage clients to book with them

This plays into one of my core principles. By credentialing your team, you allow yourself to step into your role as CEO. The idea is to gently encourage patients to trust your well-credentialed team, who will administer your proprietary method or technique.  


3. To build short term demand as a new or growing business

During the checkout process, try this. Instead of asking clients when they’d like to come in for an appointment, ask them when their next two available times would be to come in for an appointment. 


4. Offering a shorter, or no, waitlist as a perk for VIP members 

If you’re already offering a VIP membership, try offering access to appointments during reserved, VIP-only windows of time.


5. As a strategic part of the relationship marketing process

You can use the waitlist period as an opportunity to send educational videos, emails, or testimonials to patients. Target this information to procedures that patients are interested in! This increases the likelihood of upsells, cross-sells, and referrals.


When your waitlist is out of control

The benefits of the waitlist are real — but there are serious risks, too. 

An entrepreneur who advertises being booked for 6 months is playing a risky game. That’s because their audience may see an aesthetic practice that is poorly staffed, disorganized, and unprepared for growth.  

It’s one thing to have many eager customers. But ideally, your business should be able to support clients at their time of need. 

So, what should you do if your waitlist has gotten out of hand or you’re starting to get booked further and further out? How do you anticipate that and take action before it’s too late?  

There are two main ways to respond: 

  • Look at your most valuable buyers, and create boundaries around your time and service delivery for them.
  • Start thinking about your scale strategy.  

If you’re unsure about scaling, you’re not alone. Great injectors are in high demand, but they often find it difficult to service that demand at scale. 

To help you break past that barrier, I’d like to invite you to apply to join ‘Confidence to Scale: The business growth certification program for In-Demand Aesthetic Injectors.’

In this 6-week certification program, we’ll be taking a deep dive into this powerful inflection point, and how you can build scalability in your business. That means making more money, without exerting more of your time or precious energy. 

Apply to join Confidence to Scale today. I’d love to meet you and help you reach your business dreams through this program! You’ll be on your way to waitlist mastery in no time.

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