Reward your existing patients and reach out to new ones during the holidays

It is hard to believe that the holiday season is upon us! This is generally a very busy time for our patients and for our practice.

Before and during the holidays, our patients want to look their best and are contemplating what gifts to buy. This provides excellent opportunities for plastic-surgery practices. Not only is it a great time to market, it is also the perfect time to give something back to our patients. A few special promotions can serve to thank them for their support during 2005.

Plan an Open House

The holidays are a great time to have an open house. We make our open house festive and fun. No catering is allowed—my staff and I make our favorite appetizers (bok choy–cashew salad, spinach–artichoke dip, and the like) a few weeks in advance. We advertise in the event section of the local newspaper about 2 weeks before the event.

We have learned to schedule two open-house sessions. We expect about 50 people per session; when they RSVP, we ask them which session they prefer. We overbook by 20%—no-shows always happen. Sundays work well here; we live in Steeler Country, so the men are otherwise occupied.

We phone previous or current patients and invite them to be models for botulinum toxin Type A or hyaluronic acid injections. One of our sales representatives has been very generous and has allowed us to offer these services on a complimentary basis. Potential patients get to observe how easy it is to receive these treatments, and we generally offer attendees a special promotion.

We offer mircodermabrasions and lactic acid peels to those present. Sometimes we perform European facials. When we have enough protective eyewear, we can perform laser hair removal. For the first time, at this year’s open house, we will offer an anticellulite treatment. We also plan to offer Jessner peels.

Be prepared—if the doors open at 1:00 pm, the guests will arrive at 12: 40! Gift bags of skin-care products and cou­pons are always a nice touch.

Have a Gift-Certificate Sale

Another great idea is a gift-certificate sale. This has worked very well for us. We advertise it in the newspaper for about 3 weeks during gift-giving season. You can have the certificates professionally made or produce them on your computer. We order couponlike stationery and enclose the certificates in stylish envelopes.

Our hyaluronic acid representative works with us on a mailer with a holiday special that may include $100 off a second hyaluronic acid treatment or $50 off a botulinum toxin Type A treatment if it is purchased at the same time as the hyaluronic acid treatment. You can customize these postcards and time their mailing so that they are received during the holiday season.

Connect With Salons

We collaborate with two salons that do not compete with each other. At one salon, we offer a holiday in-office special for botulinum toxin Type A and filler treatments.

We visit the other salon every month, conduct an informal discussion, provide complimentary consultations, and offer treatments at special prices for that evening only.

Medical-history forms are filled out in advance when possible and, if the client is a good candidate, we proceed with the treatment. The atmosphere is very relaxing, and we can provide one-stop shopping for many salon clients. They get to choose between my office and a salon with which they are already comfortable.

Whatever you choose to do, your patients will be grateful and will remember your generous spirit during this joyous season. PSP

Beverly Carl, MD,is a board-certified plastic surgeon in private practice in Bridgewater, Pa. She can be reached at (724) 728-8840 or via her Web site,