What is a Consultation?
Consultations are a tool to help you better understand your client’s needs in order to formulate a personalized treatment plan. A well-rounded consultation can allow providers to go beyond a single targeted solution to develop a more long-term, well-rounded treatment plan. In addition, consultations are the first point of contact with new clients; this initial interaction can help dictate the nature of the relationship between the provider and the clients and help nurture a long-term relationship based on trust. During consultations, it is necessary to ensure providers effectively communicate with the client at every stage in order to ensure they understand all the treatment options available to them.
Why are Consultations Important?
Consultations are meant to ensure that the most appropriate treatments are prescribed to new clients. Consultations will give you the ability to individually assess each client’s needs and understand what they want and need.
An important element in the aesthetics industry is having effective advertising to attract customers to your practice. This is where consultations come in. Consultations give you the opportunity to show how your practice is differentiated from others. Having a high-quality consultation can make all the difference. It can help begin the process of gaining your client’s trust and allows them to move forward with the treatment they are looking for.
One of the main challenges nurses face today is managing client expectations. With the rise of social media, photoshop, and celebrity culture, many clients feel pressured to fit society’s expectations of how they should look. A consultation is important in order to manage these expectations. Consultations can help ensure that clients have a realistic and clear understanding of what treatment would be the best fit for them. By doing so, the chance of an optimal outcome increases, thus increasing client satisfaction.
Lastly, consultations are important to ensure that you, the provider, feel confident in the procedures and treatments you have deemed the best fit for your client. Consultations can help you feel better prepared when the time to do the procedure arrives, ensuring that the treatment plan will run smoothly.
Key Elements of an Amazing Consultation
We talked to the providers at Portrait, and they have given their insights into what they think are the key elements of an amazing consultation.
“During my client consultations, I make sure that I sit at the client’s eye level and leave my electronics (phone, iPad, and laptop) far away from myself. I also always make sure to block enough time for the client during the consultation; I recommend scheduling your appointment to ideally 30 minutes for a consultation. During the consultation, you, of course, want to have time to discuss their medical history, skincare routine, goals, but it is also important to get to know them! Clients always appreciate when you take the time to get to know them and don't rush the consultation.”
- Nicole Brustkern, DNP (@letstoxaboutit)
“Sit down and talk to someone face to face. Look them in the eyes and ask them what they want. Even if they get off-topic and start telling you about their kids. You can be making mental notes about their treatment plan just by watching them talk.”
- Jackie Ropp-Bischmann, BSN, RN (@beautynursejackie)
“LISTEN. I know this may sound counterintuitive because we are the experts. But, for example, a client will come in and say, "I want my lips done.” If you really listen to the conversation and learn to ask the right questions, you might actually find out that they are a new mom and concerned with how tired they look. They think lips will make them feel better, but we as the experts can offer them a true solution to the problem–maybe that looks like botox and cheek filler! They will be so much happier, and you will have built trust with them because they know you are committed to giving the treatment most appropriate for them.”
- Kristen Doezie RN, MSN, Psy-M (@beauty.nurse.kristen)
How to Take Notes During a Consultation
- Choose a consistent format. It may be beneficial to create a template for your consultations; that way, all you have to do is print it out before each consultation.
- Make sure to start every page with the date, time, and client’s name so it will be easier for you to find specific client information when looking back at your consultation notes.
- Use abbreviations whenever possible! You can always make up your own shorthand in order to better be able to listen to your client while simultaneously taking notes.
- Follow a regular pattern of questions so your notes will develop in a common sequence. This can help you find information much more quickly when reviewing your notes.
- Make sure to keep all your notes in one place. Ensure to keep extra copies of your written notes electronically if you happen to lose the physical copy. For notes written on your computer, always ensure you have a backup plan in case of computer failure.
- If you are taking notes on a specific software, make sure to get to know the software, with the help of an administrative staff member if necessary, before trying it out with a client in order for the consultation to run smoothly.
- Keep your notes objective and clear during the consultation, without personal interpretation. You should analyze your observations afterward in order to ensure you are actively listening to the client.
Why is it Important to Create Long-Term Treatment Plans?
Developing a long-term treatment plan helps to demonstrate to clients that their provider is invested in informing them of the different treatment plans while simultaneously working with them for long-term results and support.
Additionally, developing a long-term treatment plan will help signal to clients that their satisfaction in their treatment outcome is of the utmost importance and a priority, further building trust between the provider and their client.
Furthermore, creating a long-term treatment plan with clients will help them be more educated on the various types of aesthetic treatments, which can empower them to work alongside their provider to ensure they reach their idea of the optimal results.
Red Flags to Look for During Consultations
Consulting a prospective client can be a positive sign that your business is growing, but it is crucial to manage your own expectations as not every client may be the best fit. The following are some red flags to look out for during your consultation.
- Some prospective clients may have high standards or be generally impossible to please. During the consultation, be cautious if the client badmouths other medical spas or providers as it is a significant indicator that the client might never be happy with the treatment plan you provide.
- Mental health is intertwined with medical aesthetics because a client’s appearance can play a key function in their overall confidence and quality of life. Sometimes a client’s concerns may go beyond what you, or your practice, can offer, so it is more beneficial to refer them to a better-equipped professional.
- Another red flag is if a client wants to receive treatment for someone other than themselves. For example, if a client brings up another person’s name when discussing their treatment goals, it may be a warning sign that the treatment is not to improve their confidence or quality of life but to please someone else. Be sure to confirm whether this is true by politely asking the client about the topic before deciding your course of action.
How to Say “No” to a client
Sometimes you may have to say no to unreasonable client requests. While this may be a tricky situation to navigate, know to trust your gut and that you have every right to draw the line.
When saying no to a client, be upfront and not vague. Help the client understand that your decision is firm and why you are making this decision. Explaining why you are saying no to the client will allow them to understand your point of view better and trust your expertise. Once you say no to a client, it is essential to offer alternatives to signal that you are still committed to reaching their aesthetic goals. Lastly, make sure to be kind when saying no to a client and don’t argue with them; it is the provider’s duty to be empathetic–while staying firm–and allow the client to vent their frustrations.
The field of aesthetics is becoming more and more popular. Thus, it is essential that your aesthetic consultation signals to the client that you are the provider best suited for them to achieve their desired results. Mastering the art of conducting a consultation will allow you to attract more potential clients and increase client retention.