Do you recognize this character? You have likely met them at every trade show…
All they want to do is talk about their business and what they sell. They can’t wait to show you a demo and capture your email address so they can continue selling to you later. If they ask you questions about yourself, it’s only because it helps them sell to you. They are not really interested in you.
Just like Alec Baldwin in Glengarry Glen Ross, their motto is “ABC”: Always Be Closing.
It is pretty aggressive, and unless you are very interested in what they sell, it is also off putting and pressurizing.
When it comes to selling to your patients in your practice, you would never use such an approach because you know it would drive patients away. Instead, you are careful to listen to your patients, show them empathy and build long-term relationships.
The problem is how most clinics sell to patients over email.
Over the years, we have subscribed to the email lists of hundreds of clinics, big and small, and the vast majority of emails look and feel exactly the same.
Each one promotes a specific treatment aggressively. There is a big banner with a picture of a beautiful woman, and the name of the treatment that is being sold.
There is very little information about what the treatment does, who it is for, or any attempt to persuade readers that this might help them.
I get these emails every day. It is all sell, sell, sell, with subject lines and banners shouting:
“November Special Offers! Botox Flash Sale! Time-limited offer! Tell a friend and save $100! Buy 2, get 3rd treatment free! Enquire now!”
This ABC approach is fine if your patients are already deeply familiar with the treatment and already know they want it, but are simply looking for a good deal. However, it is a disaster for everyone else, even if they are theoretically great candidates.
You see, most people don’t get up in the morning and decide, out of the blue, that they want CoolSculpting, PRP or miraDry.
They are aware they have a problem – for example, they’re unhappy about their love handles – but they haven’t necessarily decided to do anything about it yet.
Buyers go through a psychological process, called a “buyer’s journey”, in which an awareness of their problem and their desire to fix it gradually increases.
The good news is, you can move them along.
To get them interested in body sculpting (for example), you first have to explain why stubborn fat is so difficult to get rid of, tap into their frustration and make sure they want to do something about it.
They will then compare and evaluate potential solutions. From a marketing standpoint, you need to help them understand why yours will be best, actually making a case and not simply shouting about price. Finally, you have to make sure they want this solution from you, not from another provider.
For buyers at the early and middle stages of this process, it is too early to be pushing offers. Nobody likes to be sold to (even if they want to buy), and salesy emails hold zero interest to people who are great prospects but are not yet ready to take out their wallets. It can even alienate them.
So how can you sell more effectively over email?
Start treating your email marketing like Yin and Yang: Two forces, which on the surface appear to contradict each other, but actually work together to form one dynamic process (in this case your email marketing).
On one half, you have your Marketing emails.
These don’t sell anything directly but rather walk readers through the earlier stages of the “buyer’s journey”.
They help readers understand why they are experiencing a particular problem, why they need your treatment and how their lives will be transformed. These emails create desire for your treatments, so that when they get the opportunity to buy – they’ll jump on it.
So, going back to the love handles example, your emails might explain why love handles occur and are so difficult to get rid of, compare treatment options and provide case studies of people who have treated their love handles, and are much happier as a result.
The other half of your emails are Sales emails, which give readers the chance to buy from you directly or take a step closer to the sale (for example, requesting more information or attending an open house). This is about closing the deal and turning readers into patients. However, these emails still should not look like the ABC/sales pushing emails most clinics send out. They have to be interesting and valuable even to those who are not yet ready to buy.
The trick is to alternate between the sales and marketing halves regularly.
So, for example, when someone subscribes to your email list, push an offer they can’t refuse. After all, they’ll never be as enthusiastic as when they’re a new subscriber.
If they show no interest, back off. Give them a breather – and market.
Answer questions that come up frequently about one of your treatments or help them overcome their objection.
Include emails that do not relate directly to your treatments, but instead offer helpful advice around skincare and looking and feeling your best. You want readers to feel you offer value and are not always selling to them!
Once you have spent some time relationship-building, try for the sale again. If your nurture campaign was structured properly, you will be able to ask for the sale directly without outrageous discounts.
The truth is, you need both marketing and sales to acquire new patients. And although many clinics confuse the two, and treat them as they same thing, they are not.
It might feel counter-intuitive, but the best way to maximize your sales over email is to sell a little less, and market a lot more.
Or in other words, forget AB” – and use the Yin-Yang method instead.
About the author
Mr. Bermant is director of Brainstorm Digital, which helps aesthetic clinics get patients through their doors again and again, so you can quickly grow your revenue without the headache of online advertising. One practice generated an additional $183,000 from an email database of just 3,000 people using Brainstorm’s methods. Learn more at https://www.brainstormaesthetics.com/