5 Ways Aestheticians can build relationships with Medical Professionals
Recently I have shared about one of the best strategies I adopted early on to grow my professionalism, client trust, and business.
What strategy you ask? Building strong relationships with Medical Professionals!
I have always been a strong supporter of surrounding yourself with people who know more than you do, in order to grow (thank you for that profound impression left upon be Sir Richard Branson). I don’t mean that they're better than you; I mean they know more about a particular topic. You likely know more than them in other areas, so don’t interpret this strategy as putting someone on a pedestal. Instead, think of it as choosing to own your mastery and create strategic and beneficial relationships with other respectable professionals, for the overall benefit of the client!
My dad is a physician, and a man I truly admire. He and my equally amazing mother have instilled in me a strong work ethic, and I have no problem with hard work. He set a great example of human kindness to me (still does). He always goes the extra mile, and he lives the oath he took (the Hippocratic Oath, an oath of ethics historically taken by physicians), always willing to help and give medical assistance when needed. He is truly a hero of mine, but I regress.
Early on, I realized that I want to help people too. However, I also knew I that I didn’t want to be a doctor. I admire doctors greatly (naturally), but as the daughter of one, I know all too well, it takes tremendous dedication, hard work with insane hours, and a great responsibility. Now, I am not opposed to any of that. I do know that it takes someone special to undertake the training necessary, and I am just not that disciplined. So in my own way, I fulfill my ambitions of helping others through a different lens.
One area that I am super disciplined in is building those relationships I mentioned earlier, paired with understanding my scope of practice and when to refer, and ultimately how to also get referrals, so my clients (their patients) get the ultimate in outcomes!
Recently when I shared an interview that I did for publication in Thrive Global, I received questions asking me how I do this, so as requested, here's my 5 step strategy to building referral relationships with the best of the best. You have to start with one person and go from there!
Make a connection with a few doctors or nurses to get the ball rolling.
What about your doctor? Do they have an open practice (taking new patients)? Alternatively, do they work in an environment at times where the client (patient to them) can see them?
Details on how to approach this is a bit different from country to country. In Canada, patients typically have to see their primary physician first and then get referred further, however in other countries, clients often choose whom they see and when; even specialists.
Do you have a client who is a physician or that is married to one? That is also an excellent starting point. Focus on helping those individuals, and you will see it grow.
Demonstrate results in the patients they refer to you.
My physician is pretty impressive, I won’t name her because that would be wrong, but she is probably reading this (special thank you, Dr. C ). I struck up further conversation with her, be respectful and try not to this at your appointment, and your poor physician is probably running late already, invite them for a coffee of offer to bring in a coffee and some information for them to read when they have a moment and keep it short.
Over time she knew what I did and had some of her patients who were also my clients, and she could see the results they were getting. When I noticed one of her patients in my care had a challenge that needed her (medical) input, I took an image or wrote a note and asked my client to discuss it with her next time, they see her and give her the picture or note to help explain what it is I noted. Later, when she noticed other patients of hers with the same skin conditions, she began to refer them to me. So when she feels it is appropriate, she will recommend her patients come and see me, and it is a win-win.
I have to confess that yes, there are a few other physicians I knew in social circles. That was extra easy because I asked: If one of your patients happened to be on my treatment couch and I noted something that in my professional opinion needs medical consideration, would you be ok I asked them to bring to your attention at their next visit?
Of course, the answer is yes, and I then ask how they prefer to receive the information — a note with the patient, a documented photo, or another way such as an email. The point is to HELP, not make it more work.
Make it easy for them. Offer to give them a referral sheet.
To receive referrals. Don’t expect favors. Seriously, these guys, whether they are a family physician, nurse practitioner, nurse, or dermatologist don’t have the time to write you an essay. Once a few good relationships were established, I then asked a few of my medical professional go-to’s if it would be helpful to them if I prepared something similar to a prescription pad for them with my contact details already on it with checkboxes for the conditions that I can assist their patients with. So they then simply checked the necessary boxes and gave it to their patients.
I have to give a special thanks to a physician who’s Medi-Spa I managed for years. When we discussed this idea further, he like my go to pro’s, thought it was a great idea and helped to make these ‘treatment prescription pads’ come to life. I still use a version of it eight years later (thank you, Dr. P)!
Ask them what they would like help with.
Many medical professionals desire to move more into cosmetic medicine, and while some aestheticians might not love that, I do. The more the merrier, and I for one KNOW I have much to learn about their viewpoint. Will I lose clients? Possibly, but unlikely because I am pretty solid in my belief related to my own skill set, so I’m just fine with it. If I do lose a client to them, then that is on me, it highlights something essential to my client I missed.
So ask, what do they need help with? Some would like help with building a client base for injectable services (I started somewhere too - if you read my bio, you know there was too much waxing for my liking)! Others want to hone in on things like vein sclerotherapy or excisions of moles and other skin lesions etc. Open your mind and open your world; you will be happy you did. (yes guilty pleasure - Dr. Pimple Popper. Thank you, Dr. Sandra Lee, you are fabulous!)
Always send a thank you.
This is the most critical step. Make sure you send a thank you when these fantastic professionals who do take time to send people your way. In my case, I have to because, at times, my clients need medical intervention and are my professional obligation to refer out when it falls outside my scope of practice. My medical professionals, on the other hand, does not HAVE TO refer their patients to me for acne, rosacea, or anything else. They do, however, know that their patients are likely seeking treatment anyway, and I am so grateful when they do take the time and help their patients find the right skin care professional. This demonstrates care above and beyond the duty of care.
While I don’t have to see proof that my referral process works or is appreciated, it is nice when validation trickles in. I am, after all, only human and to me, receiving a referral is pretty great validation that I am doing something right.
The best form of that was when I started to get referrals from the dermatologist in town at the time (since retired) for treatment of acne and rosacea of these patients. His patients told me that he said; “Go see René at ‘clinic xyz,’ she will take care of this for you.” Moreover, what did the clients hand over? The treatment ‘prescription’ slip!
I never got to meet him face to face, but we had an AMAZING system going despite the fact all my clients had to be referred to their primary physician and then referred to the specialist.
Yes, no excuses, you can do this too!
I’d LOVE to hear which one of these points you are going to try first. Please share with me in the comments (I read them all).
Written by: René Serbon (Skin Expert)
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- ABOUT RENé -
René Serbon is an International Skin-Expert. She started her education focusing on business studies (marketing) and then moved to aesthetics. She began studying in New Zealand and completed training in Beauty Therapy (called Aesthetics in Canada and the US) as well as Electrolysis through the New Zealand Institute of Electrolysis and Beauty Therapy. Serbon sat for international exams and is a Diplomat of CIBTAC, and a CIDESCO diplomat as well. She completed post graduate training in Laser, IPL, and the Pastiche Method of Advanced Skin Analysis, for which Serbon was later an honoree as a Pastiche recognized educator. She also serves on the board of education for the International Association For Applied Corneotherapy. Find her at www.reneserbon.com
Originally published on https://www.reneserbon.com