Take Your Reception Area to the Next Level
The next focus for your booming dermatology practice may be where you least expect. Here are simple steps to increase retail sales in your reception area.
The skincare retail industry produced in excess of $17 billion in revenue last year in the United States. This tells us our patients are investing their money in at-home skincare. Retail sales should be eight to 15 percent of your practice’s overall revenue. Allergan Practice Consulting benchmarking data says the median is seven percent of total revenue. If your reception room isn’t meeting or surpassing the seven percent mark in retail sales, then this article is for you.
This article is to ensure that the retail business opportunity is not lost. Even more importantly, medical practice owners and physicians are responsible to ensure that patients are using the best possible skincare products for the results we want them to have. If they’re not buying medical grade skincare products from you, they could be buying unproductive skincare products elsewhere.
WAYS TO INTRODUCE SKINCARE IN THE RECEPTION AREA
Compliment Your Patient Every Time. Saying something like “your skin is glowing! What have you been using?” not only makes your patients feel good about themselves, but allows you and your staff to open the conversation about what patients are using in their daily skincare regimen.
Get Up From the Reception Desk! It’s difficult to sell products without a personal touch. Have your staff stand with the patient every time someone is looking at or inquiring about products in the reception area. This will help your patients feel comfortable navigating your retail space with you by their side. They need to see, touch, smell, and feel the products in order to fall in love with them.THE BOTTOM LINE
Retail sales should be eight to 15 percent of your practice’s overall revenue. Do not miss retail business opportunities. Even more importantly, medical practice owners and physicians are responsible to ensure that patients are using the best possible skincare products for the results we want them to have. If they’re not buying medical grade skincare products from you, they could be buying unproductive skincare products elsewhere. A personal touch goes a long way to improving sales.
Find the “Hero” Product. Get your patients hooked on a hero product. The job of your reception staff is not to recommend a full skincare regimen; the board-certified providers and medical staff have that covered. But helping your patient find one product s/he can’t live without is not only beneficial to the patient, but also sets up the provider to discuss further components of a complete skincare regimen. This will in turn establish trust and loyalty to drive the success of future skincare sales.
SKINCARE FACTS AND FIGURES
- Retail sales should be eight to 15 percent of a practice’s overall revenue; median is seven percent, per Allergan Practice Consulting benchmarking data.
- Patients spend $1,000 per year on skincare products.
- Practices within the 90th percentile of retail sales had about $1.4 million dollars in retail revenue per year in 2017 (Allergan Practice Consultants). In 2016, that number was $600,000.
Conduct Regular Staff Training. Is your front-office staff as knowledgeable as your back-office staff about skincare? If not, it’s time for staff training. There’s nothing more embarrassing than when a staff member cannot accurately speak to a product. This not only affects your sales, but also the reputation you’ve worked so hard to build. Have your local pharmaceutical and skincare representatives host monthly lunch-and-learns to equip staff with the knowledge and strategies they need to confidently speak with patients about the products you carry. This is usually no cost in time or money to you, but an excellent investment in your staff.
Tip: Have your staff complete quizzes on the products you offer. Then, have them earn one product for every quiz they complete at 100 percent. Not only does this help build staff competency, but when your staff uses a product, they’re more likely to recommend the product.
MAKE A LASTING IMPACT
Before your patient leaves your office, remind her/him that they came to the right place. Say something like, “Stacey, we hope you have a great time in the Bahamas… We can’t wait for you to use your new sunscreen!” Let them know that you’re excited and look forward to seeing how their new products will improve their skin.
And while reception area sales have the potential to help your office generate a great deal of additional revenue, it should never feel “salesy.” It’s part of your overall mission to educate your patients on how to help their skin look its very best.
Kim Nichols, MD, FAAD
Kim Nichols, MD is a board-certified dermatologist and cosmetic surgeon in Greenwich, CT where she owns her own practice, NicholsMD of Greenwich. She is a graduate of Harvard University as well as the NYU Medical School.
Emily Anne Scalise, MA
Emily Anne Scalise, MA is the Director at NicholsMD of Greenwich. She received her master’s degree in psychology from Columbia University and is a member of the Association of Dermatology Administrators and Managers (ADAM) organization.
Usha Latif is a Medical Assistant at NicholsMD of Greenwich. She received her bachelor’s degree at the University of Connecticut with a background in Psychology and Neuroscience in 2017.