There are a number of career pathways in aesthetic medicine, one of the most popular being setting up as a solo practitioner. But how do you go about acquiring aesthetics patients as a new injector?
We asked members of our faculty who each run their own aesthetics business, for advice. Read on to learn from their real world experiences…
“My friends’ support was fundamental”
Dr Carol Mastropierro is an aesthetic doctor and clinical trainer who moved to the UK from her native Italy. She is also a Harley Academy Level 7 graduate.
“When I started, I began by setting up a website,” advises Dr Carol. “I also made gift cards that my friends spread around to friends who are personal trainers, their families and their clients. I didn’t know anybody in the UK at the time, so my friends’ support in acquiring patients was fundamental for me to get started.”
“When I started I also worked for another clinic, which had pros and cons,” she says. “It definitely gave me more experience and understanding of the industry outside of Harley Academy.”
“Referrals are the easiest and most organic way to grow”
Dr Jessica Srivastava is a cosmetic doctor with her own facial aesthetics practice. She is also a clinical trainer and Harley Academy Fast Track Level 7 Diploma graduate.
“Around 90% of my patients are referrals,” explains Dr Jess. “These started off with friends and family and gradually grew. I think referrals are the easiest and most organic way to grow as so much of what we do relies on trust.”
“Your patients will be your best adverts”
You may recall cosmetic nurse prescriber, Lorraine Guinnan recently told us how she acquired patients both as a new injector and now. Lorraine, who runs her own practice and is a senior clinical trainer at Harley Academy, continues to benefit from patient referrals without using other forms of advertising or marketing.
“When I first started out aesthetics my business grew purely on word-of-mouth referrals and it still does. Many years later I have still never advertised my business,” Lorraine confirms.
“It’s extremely important that patients are completely satisfied with their treatment results and the service they receive,” she notes. “Then they refer friends and colleagues.”
“This is how I grew my business from the first few patients to hundreds. Initially, I think it’s important to have longer appointments, review all patients and spend time building rapport. These key elements will ensure they are happy and then your business will grow by itself. Your patients will be your best adverts!”
“Build a good, strong relationship with existing aesthetics patients”
Dr Mariam Michail is a cosmetic doctor who works for private clinics in addition to seeing her own patients. She is also a Level 7 qualified clinical trainer at Harley Academy.
“When starting out, almost all of my patients came to me via word-of-mouth,” she recalls.
“Build a good, strong relationship with your existing aesthetics patients,” advises Dr Mariam. “Do this by being honest and transparent about treatments. This will set you apart and patients will feel happy to recommend you to friends and family!”
“Ensure you book in hour-long consultations”
Natalie Haswell is an aesthetic nurse prescriber and one of our first Level 7 graduates. She runs her Colchester-based clinic in addition to being a senior clinical trainer at Harley Academy and an Allergan Institute board member.
Nat recommends, “Ensure you book in hour-long consultations to properly assess, consult and manage expectations.”
“We still do them now,” she adds. “I find building this hopefully trusting rapport in the first instance helps to achieve more desired outcomes and minimise inappropriate treatments, side effects and complications.”
“It also helps to have this time to educate patients on the safety aspects of medical aesthetic treatments.”
“Refer a friend policy”
Shantel Noble is a cosmetic nurse prescriber with her own practice. She is also a Harley Academy Level 7 graduate and now one of our clinical trainers.
“Having a refer a friend policy whereby both parties get a small discount has been very effective for me, very useful when starting out,” says Shantel.
Whilst we generally advise all injectors to refrain from offering discounts, especially when first starting out, this kind of promotion can be worthwhile.
Remember that, if you offer skincare or skin treatments in addition to injectables, offering a referral discount on these, rather than injectables, can be a good way of encouraging your patients to explore the full scope of your practice.
“You need to be patient”
Dr Stephanie Damalis is a cosmetic doctor with her own practice and Harley Academy clinical trainer.
“Acquiring patients is not easy and it certainly doesn’t happen overnight so you need to be patient,” she advises.
“New clients need to be able to trust you, so developing a relationship with them is important during your consultation. When I started out, I got new clients by word of mouth only. I encouraged my friends to spread the word and, after treating enough clients, it snowballed from there.”
“I now have an instagram page where I do get new business from,” she says. “But it does involve a lot of time and effort to post content regularly.”
Ensure your injecting skills speak for themselves
As you can see, word of mouth referrals are by far the most effective way our aesthetics specialists have found for starting and building their practices.
In order to gain this kind of trust and loyalty from your patients, to the point where they will recommend you, you need to ensure your injecting skills are on point.
Learning how to be a safe, ethical and effective aesthetics practitioner requires dedication and practice. We believe it also requires as much one-on-one mentored learning as possible.
At Harley Academy we offer doctors, dentists, nurses and midwives, a range of aesthetics training courses based on skill level.
From Foundation Training for beginners, to our more advanced, Master’s level course, the Level 7 Diploma in Botox & Dermal Fillers.
We also offer highly targeted one-on-one aesthetics mentoring sessions to help you perfect your techniques in specific areas. This expert-led training is frequently used by injectors wanting to perfect their technique or refresh their skills as part of their professional development.
For personalised recommendations on the best aesthetics training options for you, book a call with Christine Slater, our courses advisor.
Additionally, for more advice on how to acquire patients as a new injector, check out our aesthetics marketing series: 10 Tips for Marketing Your Aesthetics Practice.