69 Days Left to Reach Your 2014 Revenue Goals

Target Your Financial Goals!Ask Catherine: 69 Days Left to Reach Your 2014 Revenue Goals


Dear Catherine,

I was going through my numbers this past weekend and compared them against last year’s. The good news is that I did better the first two quarters of 2014 than I did last year; however, the 3rd quarter fell short and now I’m behind.

While 4th quarter revenues have always been good, I don’t want to be blindsided with any surprises so what can I do to ensure I reach my revenue goals for 2014?

Dr. E 


Dear Dr. E,

Thanks for a great question. The end of the year can sneak up fast and leave you scrambling to bring in the revenues you EXPECTED.

You look at your numbers for the year and may be saying to yourself, “Why would this year’s results be so much less than last year’s when I’m spending the same or even more than I did before?”

It only takes one bad quarter to get behind. A lot of cosmetic practices find the summer months can be tough and leave you with more overhead than revenues.

BUT, one great quarter can catch you up and get you on the fast track to crush 2014.

So, what can you do NOW to ensure a great 2014? 

The easiest way to make money is from your existing patients. They already know, like and trust you and they are much more open to your promotional messages than complete strangers are, isn’t that right?

However, you must approach them strategically or your efforts will fall flat. Here’s one tip: STOP sending the same message to everybody! You quickly become “a pest vs. a guest” when you communicate the wrong message to the wrong audience at the wrong time.

To see examples of what works and what doesn’t, attend my next FREE training called, “How to Reach Your 2014 Revenue Goals” on Wednesday, October 22.

At this training, you’ll discover:

– What aesthetic patients are responding to NOW;

– What’s NOT working that’s giving you false hope but will blindside you at the end of the year when you DON’T bring in the revenues you expected;

– The easiest way to boost your revenues NOW without adding new staff or complicated strategies

I will lay out the strategies, along with samples and results so you KNOW what to do to turn 2014 into a blockbuster year!

Pick the time that works best for you on Wednesday, October 22:

Option 1: 3pm PDT/ 6pm EDT

Option 2: 6pm PDT/ 9pm EDT


Are YOU on target to reach your 2014 goals?
If so, what did you do to make that happen?
If not, what is holding you back?

Reception Area Pearls

This Week’s Question:

Dear Catherine,

I wanted to see if you would like to contribute to an upcoming article talking about pearls to maximize your reception area such as:

–       3-5 Tips to Maximize the patient’s time for the practice’s benefit
–       3-5 Characteristics of a great reception area
–       3-5 Mistakes practices make in their reception area

Thanks! Dr. P

Catherine’s Answer:

Hello Dr. P,

Thank you for a great topic and asking for my input.

The reception area is often passed over for nothing more than a place for your visiting patients to “percolate”, when in reality, it’s the pivotal piece to the start of a great patient visit…or not.

Your Dermatology Times article with my quotes is great and I wanted to expand on my suggestions even more to give you detailed step-by-step of what a practice can do to turn their reception area into an educational and interactive center that leads to more patients, added-on procedures, increased referrals, and a happier patient visit.  For example….

Maximize Patient Time with Silent Sales Tools in the Reception Area

Reception Area Pearls:

  1. Digital Photo Frame

    DIgital Photo Frame for Reception Area

    Show off your best results by running a “Silent” power point presentation of before/after photos of patients of different ethnicities, age, etc. so your visitors can see themselves in the photos and ask you for more information during their consultation.



Menu of Cosmetic Services Box Frame

Menu of Cosmetic Services for Reception Area


2. There’s a good chance your patients don’t know ALL you offer so display and eye-catching aesthetically beautiful menu of services so you never hear the dreaded, “I didn’t know you did that!” and they had it done by your competitor.

3. Show new patients how much your current patients love you by displaying a high-quality photo album filled with your patients thank you notes, emails, patient surveys and reviews.

Great Characteristics of Reception Area

  1. Open space, especially at the check-in counter (that means no little window separating patients from staff).
  2. Less is more. Lose the clutter.  And, visiting patients will be more comfortable with less chairs with more space between them versus lots of chairs close together.
  1. Product displays with testers should be available if you are making patients wait (I hope not too long) and it gives the patients some time to consider the products so they are more inclined to buy at the end of their visit.

Mistakes Made in Reception Area

  1. Greeting patients with a clipboard full of forms that are redundant. With today’s technology, the repetitive information (name, address, phone, etc.) should be pre-populated so the patient only fills out what is necessary.
  2. Need a balance between educating the public about the services you offer and pummeling them with vendor brochures and promotional materials so they feel overwhelmed or deluged.
  3. Running non-stop talking videos that are repetitive and annoying to not only the staff who has to listen to it all day, but also the patient who thinks, “Once is enough!”

Better yet, ask your visiting patients what they think of your reception area. They’ll have great ideas for you to consider.

Need Help?  The How-To Library contains a module called “Make the Most of Your In-House Marketing” along with 11 other Patient-Attraction and Staff-Training Ready-Made Modules, How to Series Library seen below.

To get ½ Off + Free Shipping during October, use PROMO CODE:  BLOG 


How-To Library










What educational tools have worked well in your reception area?

Do you find your patients want more of your services when they are educated using those tools?



Ask Catherine

…is a weekly post where I select and personally respond to one question received from my consults, Webinars, emails or talks that I believe will help the most practices. Please provide your feedback!

This Week’s Question:

Dear Catherine,

I have been in practice for 20 years. I have a nice office, great staff and we like our patients. The problem is it’s getting more difficult to get a YES from a patient consultation. After I spend up to an hour with a patient and then my coordinator spends time with them, they still don’t book.

More and more, I will have a full day of consults, back-to-back, and NOT book surgeries or other big-ticket procedures. What a waste of time and energy.

My consult conversion rate used to be in the high 70’s for years and now it’s fallen to 25-40%.

Is it me? Is it my coordinator? Is it the patient? What’s going on?

What can we do to convert more consultations?

Dr. W

Catherine’s Answer:

Dear Dr. W,

Thanks for a great question. Low consultation conversion rates are affecting more and more practices.

Isn’t it frustrating to put so much effort into the consultation and get nothing back in return? For example, if you have 8 consults per day and they are worth, on average, $6,000 per surgery, that’s a possible $48,000 in revenues per day. Not bad.

But what if only 2 out of the 8 say yes? That dramatically cuts your revenues down from $48,000 to only $12,000 or 25%. And, if you see consults twice a week that adds up to possible revenues of $499,000 but you only close 25% so you lose $374,000 from non-converted consultations. Yikes!

The reality is your efforts don’t count until the patient says YES and PAYS for your services, right?

So, how can your coordinator get more of them to say YES rather than, “I gotta think about it” or “I need to talk to my husband”?  HINT:  95% of the time, they really just told you that they are NOT convinced you are the BEST CHOICE for them. Ugh!

Your coordinator can be a game-changer for your practice revenues…in a good or bad way.  This position should never be taken lightly or your revenues will suffer.

Click Here for Better Consult Conversions

Here’s what you do to get your conversion rates up:

#1) Get the right Patient Coordinator in the position of “Consultation Closer”

Your coordinator must believe in YOU, your skills and be open to aesthetic rejuvenation. If your patient coordinator would never succumb to this world of vanity, how in the heck are they supposed to praise and promote you and your services?

However, that does not mean you are looking for an aggressive, loud-mouthed sales person who can’t relate to your patients (or maybe it does if your patients DO relate to that type of personality.) Different parts of the country have different “styles” of communicating so just be sure your coordinator fits well with your type of patient demographics.

You are looking for certain personality traits MORE than you are looking for experience. The aesthetic industry can be learned easily. Powerful people skills cannot.  Be sure you have the right coordinator representing you who looks, acts and feels the part.

#2) Give your Patient Coordinator the tools needed to bond with the patient

Consider what a difficult conversation this is to have with a complete stranger. The cosmetic patient is uncomfortable with their appearance so they are feeling vulnerable and anxious.

The coordinator’s job is to put them at ease and reassure them they are in the right place and will be happy with their result when they decide to move forward.

Your coordinator must have a process set up and powerful questions to ask, as well as tools, to help the patient articulate what they want, why they want it and what it will take for them to say YES.

One helpful tool is the initial Cosmetic Questionnaire that helps get the conversation started. It’s a check-off list of “concerns” the patient has rather than a list of procedures you offer.

TIP:  Patients are much more driven to a solution to their problem vs. the solution you have to fix their problem. Think:  Problem First – Then Solution.

Cosmetic Questionnaire

Cosmetic Questionnaire







Click Here for Better Consult Conversions

#3) Script your Patient Coordinator so they know how to ask for a decision

So many practices have patient coordinators who are nice and look the part but have no idea how to ASK FOR A DECISION. This one skill makes the difference between 25% conversions and 75% conversions.

But like anything else in life, it’s a learned skill. It takes proven strategies and practice. For example, a trained and skilled patient coordinator is never pushy or aggressive. They have the words and scripts and processes they follow to “lead” the patient to a decision that is comfortable for the patient.

For example, a simple closing strategy is the “Choice Close”. That means rather than the patient deciding a YES/NO question, they choose EITHER/OR and YES is assumed…

“Sara, Dr. Smith’s surgery days are Wednesdays and Fridays. Which works better for you?”

Now Sara has most likely moved from IF she is going to book to WHEN she is going to book. It’s a small nuance with a big effect. Try it.

Click Here for Better Consult Conversions

Have you seen your own consultation conversion rates change throughout the years?
What do you do to improve your conversions?

Hiring Great Staff

This Week’s Question:

Dear Catherine,

I have two great staff people who have been with me for more than 10 years. They are loyal and trustworthy and have been terrific with administrative work and assisting me in the OR.

However, the rest of the staff turns over often.  I need great staff that is good at patient relations, phones, marketing, and converting consultations.  When I interview people for these positions, they talk a good game but rarely deliver what they promise.

This staff turnover is costing me time and money. Where do I find productive staff and how do I know they are a great fit for my practice?

Dr. C

Catherine’s Answer:

Hello Dr. C,

That’s a great question that every practice has grappled with at one time or another.

Your staff can make or break your practice – period! They are spending more time with your patients than you are so how do you ensure you have great staff representing you?

First, you need to find the A-players that make up your Patient-Attraction Team.

Second, you need to ask the right questions during the interview to learn who these people are and if they would be a good fit for you.  These are powerful questions you ask during your initial phone interview as well as follow-up questions you ask during their in-person interview. They are thought provoking and will get the applicant to “think on their feet”.

I’ve listed the interviewing questions in my recent article published in Surgical Aesthetics to help you identify A-Players you need in your practice.

Hiring Great Staff for Cosmetic Practices Hiring Great Staff for Cosmetic Practices Hiring Great Staff for Cosmetic Practices







































































What has worked well for you to find your own great staff?


Weekly Q&A Topic: September Slump Quick-Fix Patient Strategies

Ask Catherine

…is a weekly post where I select and personally respond to one question received from my consults, Webinars, emails or talks that I believe will help the most practices. Please provide your feedback!

This Week’s Question:

Dear Catherine,

Every year at this time, we slow down. It makes me nervous because the phones are quiet and the schedule has openings.

I don’t really care WHY this happens at this point. I just need to know what to do about it.

What do you suggest?

Dr. W

Catherine’s Answer:

Hello Dr. W,

Thanks for the great question. You might be happy (relieved) to know that you’re not the only one experiencing this slump right now, so read on.

September has proven to be a slow month for aesthetic rejuvenation in general.  However, it’s NOT slow for those practices willing to put in the extra effort to encourage cosmetic patients to make time for themselves.

These cosmetic patients may have busy lives BUT life is still changing all around them. By that I mean… the aging process continues, they still have yearly events they want to look great for and social/emotional trends are in play ALL year such as divorce, dating, job hunting, etc.

Here are quick and easy ways to encourage these patients to visit you NOW so you stay busy and get over the September Slump…


Put Your Vendors to Work

Your vendors care a lot about you growing your practice using their products and services so let them help you.

They can orchestrate an event showing off their “stuff,” demonstrating results, and oftentimes, they can use their own resources to financially back up the marketing and costs of an event.  Call them today!









“On the Fence” Patient Follow-Up

Send a heart-felt letter to any patient who came in for a consultation but didn’t book. Show you understand what a big decision it is to spend time and money to look their best and reiterate how other patients felt the same; however, they loved their result when they decided to move forward. Now include a gift card for them to come back in to talk again or to experience a smaller procedure.  Have it expire September 30th to add a sense of urgency.

cosmetic patient marketing

Letter to “On-the-Fence” Patient











“We Miss You” Phone Call

Go through your patient records of those patients you loved but haven’t seen for awhile.  Let them know you welcome them back to your practice and offer them a special “We Miss You” procedure of a new treatment you offer or one they would most likely be interested in – this month only.


Sharpen Your Staff’s Skills – ½ Off + Free Shipping

When you’re slow, it’s more important than ever to sharper your skills so you don’t lose any potential cosmetic patients on the phone when they call you or in person when they visit you for a consultation.

Need Help? Get Patient-Attraction and Staff-Training Ready-Made Tools below since the hard work has been done for you.

To get ½ Off + Free Shipping during September, use PROMO CODE:  BLOG











What has worked well for you to stay busy during September?

If you already own the How To Library above, what kind of results have you gotten that others practices could get?



How Often is Too Often?

Ask Catherine

…is a weekly post where I select and personally respond to one question received from my consults, Webinars, emails or talks that I believe will help the most practices. Please provide your feedback!

This Week’s Question:

Dear Catherine,

I’ve been in practice over 21 years. My staff has done a great job collecting emails from our patients so we can stay in touch. We have an email list of over 5,000 and we currently send out a quarterly e-newsletter to let them know what’s new in our office but my staff tells me we should send email more often than quarterly.

I don’t want to bombard my cosmetic patients with email so how often should we send out our messages?

– Dr. B

Catherine’s Answer:

Dear Dr. B,

I don’t have a perfect answer to this question.

It all depends on the relationship you’ve built with your cosmetic patients. Do they want to hear from you? You can easily tell that by reviewing the statistics available from your email carrier. In particular you want to track:

–   How many emails you sent out

–   How many got opened

–   How many responses you got

–   How many opt-outs or complaints you got

–   The revenues produced

Email Stats:

The latest email stats suggest you’re lucky to get an “open rate” of 25-30% so use that as your barometer. That means the other 70-75% of your patients are NOT opening your email. 98% of the responses will come in within 48 hours of you sending out the message so this is a very impulsive medium. And, of those who open your email, the response rate could be 1-2% IF the message is interesting and compelling.  Compelling means you are giving them a reason to call you now. And, here’s something important to remember, even though your patients may NOT be responding, they could be watching what you’re up to so you are staying top of mind so when they are ready for cosmetic procedures, they call you.

It’s all about content.

As long as the message is of value to the patient, they want to hear from you.  I personally would keep them short and sweet, interesting and compelling. Here are elements that work the best:

–  Introducing a new cosmetic procedure along with an introductory offer to try it

–  What’s new in your office with you, the staff, your family, your pets – personal stuff

–  Invitation to your upcoming events

–  Videos of you in the news or explaining a rejuvenation procedure

–  Cosmetic Patient Case Studies

However, the question is….How often is too often? 

Test it. Ask your list how often they want to hear from you. Even if only 2% of the 5,000 give you an answer, that’s a better gauge than guessing. In my own experience after sending tens of thousands of patient emails out for cosmetic practices, every two weeks seems to be the sweet spot. Less than that is too long and you’re not developing a relationship with your patients and more often can look like a nuisance to your patients especially if it’s just a barrage of discounts.

How often do YOU send out cosmetic patient emails?

What’s working best in your practice?

Weekly Q&A Topic: Charging Consultation Fees


Ask Catherine

…is a weekly post where I select and personally respond to one question received from my consults, Webinars, emails or talks that I believe will help the most practices. Please provide your feedback!

This Week’s Question:

Dear Catherine, I don’t charge for my consults and it was not a big deal before but this past year, it’s become an issue. Some of these patients aren’t showing up and it’s wasting my time since I could have been doing something else instead. It’s also wasting my staff’s time when we have these holes in the schedule. Should I start charging for my consults?

– Dr. B

Catherine’s Answer:

Dear Dr. B,

No-shows can wreak havoc on your day, as well as your staff’s. It can be frustrating to watch your staff stand around waiting for a patient who is not showing up and you are also left in a “holding pattern” which isn’t good for your mood or your pocketbook.

When I interviewed patients to learn why they didn’t show up for their appointments, the #1 reason given was…

….they didn’t know you or have a relationship with you so they didn’t feel an obligation to show up if something else came up or if they changed their mind. If the majority of your patient-attraction strategies are based on “Internet Stranger Patients,” I suggest re-thinking your consult policies. There is just too much chatter out there to “assume” these prospective patients will show up even though they said they would. Of course, there is a lot more you could do at the front end, such as send them a welcome packet, call them ahead of time to introduce yourself and send out reminders.

However, the quickest way to find out how serious that prospective patient is is to charge them a consult fee. Just know, you will lose some of these callers who refuse to pay a consult fee; but the ones who do pay it are typically serious enough to respect your time. Test it. For one month, charge a consult fee and track the following: – How many prospects called or emailed? – How many of them converted to the consult? – How many of them showed up? – How many of those consults said YES? Then check those numbers against your usual numbers when you DON’T charge a consult fee and there’s your answer!

Do you agree or disagree?

What have you found to work best in your area?


Receptionist Phone Skills: Does she have the training to convert callers?

Ask Catherine

…is a weekly post where I select and personally respond to one question received from my consults, Webinars, emails or talks that I believe will help the most practices. Please provide your feedback!

This Week’s Question:

Dear Catherine,

I can hear my receptionist on the phones and I cringe at her phone skills.  No matter how many times I tell her what to say, she will often say something random and loses the caller.

Just today I heard her say, “No, we don’t do that” and she hung up on the caller.  When I asked her which procedure the caller was asking about, she told me….

…..”The caller wanted something called [brand name skin tightening device] and I told her we don’t do that.” 

So I had to explain to my receptionist we don’t offer that particular name brand because we found something that works even better and THAT’S what she should have told the caller.

That one mistake costs us $4,500. Any suggestions for fixing my phones?  Dr. T

Catherine’s Answer:

Dear Dr. T,

Your question is a good one.  Every practice has experienced “bad phones” that cost them patients and thousands of dollars in lost revenues.

Let’s do the math:  If your receptionist loses that $4,500 caller just 1x/week, that adds up to $234,000 per year! Wow!

The solution to Fix Your Phones is simple but not easy.

Here’s what it takes to get your phones in order:

1)     Get the right person in that position

2)     Give them the phone skills training and tools your receptionist needs to represent you and your practice professionally

3)     Hold them accountable so they consistently perform well for you and BOOK Appointment

That’s how you prepare your receptionist to handle patient inquiries effectively and fill up your schedule.

Otherwise, your new patients aren’t ever going to meet you if your receptionist can’t successfully convert these callers into appointments.

Frankly, your receptionist may be unknowingly sabotaging your best practice promotional efforts simply because they don’t have the receptionist phone skills training and tools they need.

==> Click here for Receptionist Phone Skills

Think about how YOU feel when you call a business and your call is handled poorly. Certainly, that’s not the way the owner would want you to be treated. Well, it’s the same in your practice. Most doctors don’t believe this happens in their office – until they hear it for themselves.

==> Click here for Receptionist Phone Skills

I assure you, in my consulting work, I have called hundreds of practices and have been amazed at what I’ve heard on the other end of the phone. Rather than me belaboring the point – test it for yourself. Call your office as any prospective patient would and then tell me what you think.

Every call affects your bottom line and either enhances your image or destroys it. Your staff can represent you as a true professional or not – but the choice is up to you.

During my staff training sessions, I often hear, “But, I don’t know what to say when the patient says that.” Or, “What else could I have said that would have made a difference?” My answer is – plenty!

Prepare your receptionist for success. Equip them with effective responses, phrases and questions to help them not only bond with and educate your patients but actually close.

With the right words to say, your staff will be so comfortable with the process and so prepared that they’ll look forward to phone calls and patient interactions because they’re confident, trained and ready to close!

==> Click here for Receptionist Phone Skills

Are YOUR phones set up for success or sabotage?
How have YOU tackled YOUR OWN phone frustrations?
What has worked best for you to get the right staff answering your phones the right way?




Heat Up Aesthetic Profits This Summer

Ask Catherine

…is a weekly post where I select and personally respond to one question received from my consults, Webinars, emails or talks that I believe will help the most practices. Please provide your feedback!

This Week’s Question:

Dear Catherine,

Every year around this time, things slow down in my practice (but I still need to pay overhead).  I realize patients go on vacation and relax this time of year but what can I do to keep my revenues up during this slow time of year? Dr. F

Catherine’s Answer:

Hello Dr. F,

Summer is heating up but your phones don’t have to cool down IF you put creative strategies in place.

Granted, summer is not the perfect time for “some” of your cosmetic patients to clamor for invasive cosmetic procedures when they want to be outside playing in shorts and bathing suits. But then again, some patients only have the time in the summer and are willing to use it to get their body back (and their face).


The Audience

Target your audience.  One popular summer audience is teachers that have the summer off. You can also target professionals who have a major summer slowdown at work.  Another audience is single Moms whose kids stay with their exes for the summer so they have time to themselves. It’s also a great opportunity to reconnect with those who came for a cosmetic procedure consultation but didn’t book. Be creative.


The Offer

As long as you give aesthetic patients a logical reason for why you are doing something special, that could be just what they needed to jump off the fence and go for it.  However, the offer needs to be worthwhile, exciting and compelling for them to cut into their summertime.

Since honesty is always the best policy, your message could include the fact that the slow summer months give patients more 1-on-1 time with you at a special summer price.

For minimally-invasive cosmetic treatments, offer complimentary consultations along with a skin analysis session, a facial or microdermabrasion treatment and a sunscreen product. Bundle it for an attractive price and give it a theme – “Your Summer Skin Kit” or “Summer Beauty Bundle”

For cosmetic surgical procedures, offer a “Get Your Body Back” package to include a Free 3D imaging session, free post-op garment and include a lymphatic massage for faster healing  – all for one summer surgical special price.


Spread the Word

You have your offer, you have your audience, all you have to do now is create and send.  Write a thoughtful letter and email that speaks directly to your audience.  Here’s an example:

“Things slow down around here in the Summer so I have a more flexible schedule than I do any other time of the year.  If you have your surgery/procedure done this Summer or before August 31, you are entitled to (INSERT SPECIAL OFFER). “

To add a sense of urgency, you must add a tight expiration date so they know this is truly a summer special they can’t get later. Before/After photos and testimonials also help to add social proof to your message. Here’s an example:


Screen Shot 2014-07-28 at 4.35.54 PM











Let me know how your results go and what works best in your practice to get you through the dog days of summer.

Dedicated to growing your aesthetic profits –

Catherine Maley

Catherine Maley

Patient Retention Wins

Ask Catherine

…is a weekly post where I select and personally respond to one question received from my consults, Webinars, emails or talks that I believe will help the most practices. Please provide your feedback!

This Week’s Question:

Dear Catherine,

I’ve been in practice for 12 years and I’ve built up a patient database of 2,500 cosmetic patients. But my staff and I noticed many of them don’t return at all or they only return for their Botox treatment and not much else. What should I be doing to build a loyal following?  Dr. S

Catherine’s Answer:

Hello Dr. S,

Well, there’s good news and bad news. The good news is you’ve done a great job building up your patient database. I know that took a lot of money and effort to make that happen so congratulations.

The bad news is you have NOT done a very good job leveraging those relationships by building in and implementing patient retention strategies.

Did you know the majority of those patients still invest in cosmetic services; but sadly, they have moved on to your competitors?

You may be interested to know, the #1 reason patients leave your practice is…Your Indifference!

Taking these valuable patients for granted and ignoring them opens up the door for your competitors to swoop in and woo them away.

I watch so many practices spend an absolute fortune attracting new patients but put no effort into nurturing these patients who already know, like and trust them.

My recent article in Surgical Aesthetics lays out my top 3 strategies (along with graphic examples) to win back these long-lost patients:


retention, patient loyalty

patient retention strategies

patient loyalty, retention

patient retention strategies

Please share your comments below and let me know what has worked for you to keep your patients loyal to you and your practice.

Dedicated to growing your aesthetic profits –

Catherine Maley

Catherine Maley