Hey you! Yes, you!
If you’re a small business owner or a medical practitioner who is interested in growing your business, you can benefit from dermatologist, Dr. Janice DaValio’s experience. She’s the co-owner of Huntington Dermatology in Pasadena, California.
Amidst the pre-pandemic world, Dr. DaValio and her business partner, Dr. Seth Vaccaro took stock of their incredibly successful business and medical practice. It’s noteworthy that their practice had been blooming for 30 years and yet they couldn’t answer the quintessential question- what’s next?
Together Dr. Vaccaro, Dr. DaValio, and I came up with a vision for both their professional and personal lives. They came up with A-Ten-Year-Plan when they might be ready to sell their practice or not. And that was step one of this crazy and very fruitful ride.
1. REVAMP YOUR WEBSITE
You may be a top-quality dermatologist or other medical professional, but unless people know how and where to find you… that quality is not translating into sales- the ultimate goal of any business.
In Dr. DaValio’s case, her practice was great with multiple staff, celebrity clients, and received multiple awards and achievements, yet they could never focus on building their business. So we decided to use the Huntington Dermatology website as a tool to modernize their practice.
Their website helped them communicate to people who they really are and convey that to the community as well as let them know they were open and accepting patients during the pandemic.
During the pandemic, it became even more important for all of us to reach out to more people and convert every lead into a sale. Businesses had responsibilities like employees and insurance and rent to pay for. There’s no better time than during the pandemic to update and revise your website to better reflect who you are, your expertise AND adapting your website for mobile device use.
2. EXPAND YOUR SOCIAL MEDIA PRESENCE
It’s a no-brainer that the best publicity for your business is positive feedback from your customer. Use this time to encourage positive feedback on Yelp and Google and other platforms just like the doctors at Huntington Dermatology did at the peak of the pandemic. Dr. DaValio says that the positive feedback from her patients alerted prospective new patients that their practice was open for business.
3. REACH OUT TO YOUR EXISTING CLIENTS
Reaching out to existing clients is the fastest way to increase your sales because people who have already bought from you have experienced who you are and they already like and trust you.
Dr. DaValio contacted existing patients through robocalls to communicate that their office was open and running through the pandemic.
Often, advertising and sales are as simple as just showing up, telling people what you do, and offering to help them. It doesn’t have to be grumpy or gritty; it’s just offering help. And if you come at it with that perspective when you’re sending out an email or following up with people, it will be received that way. And that can increase sales and benefit the people as it did for Huntington dermatology.
4. RUN WITH THE TIMES
The pandemic is a unique period for everyone. Businesses that transformed themselves and moved with this uncommon time are the ones that came out as winners.
The whole idea of regular work going online in the pandemic stricken world was a bit crazy in the beginning but as people broadened their minds it opened up newer avenues such as telemedicine and video visits with medical practitioners.
As Dr. DaValio says, “We became more available by offering TELEMEDICINE: This became acceptable in the pandemic as insurers and medicare would reimburse for it. Patients appreciated knowing we could still care for them. And we were ready and prepared and had the mental attitude of we’re here at work Monday through Friday, eight to five because we’re paying the rent anyway.”
This truly shows that showing up in whichever way you can is part of the game in advertising your business and creating sales.
5. ADVERTISE YOUR AVAILABILITY TO YOUR COLLEAGUES
Not all your colleagues are a competition, some are merely in a parallel business that if required could intersect. So try connecting with those people that are not your competition. They wouldn’t mind passing business to you in a completely non-threatening way or even partnering up with you!
For example, Huntington Dermatology’s office was large enough and also had the procedures in place to be safe while several of the other practices were not operational during the pandemic. They called around and explained that any procedure that is skin-related such as an infection, a cut, or bruise could be taken care of by them. They just broadened their appeal within the same scope of work and sought help from their colleagues, so patients could avoid urgent care and ER which were high-risk areas.
6. MODERNIZE AND USE TECHNOLOGY TO YOUR ADVANTAGE
Try modernizing your business. Buy that new software or just the latest version of the one you are already using. In the pandemic stricken world, technology seems to be our only rescuer. We are wary of social contact with fellow humans for good reason and therefore making the switch is all the more important. Dr. DaValio switched to Electronic Medical Records (EMR). They chose dermatology-specific software that made everything much smoother. They could do telemedicine with it, they could prescribe with it and it helped them to be available all the time.
Dr. DaValio says that the entire process wasn’t as difficult as she thought and the process sent out the message to their clients and employees that they were moving forward and the pandemic had not slowed them down. That kind of message sets trust in your business and reaffirms to the customers of your availability and quality.
So if you are on the edge about modernizing, quit thinking and get moving!
7. OFFER SERVICES THAT YOU PREVIOUSLY DIDN’T
One of the sure-shot ways of expanding your business is by offering services and procedures you haven’t before but are capable of. Invest in it even if it requires you to buy new equipment or invest in staff.
For example, Dr. DaValio invested in a device called the Optimus along with a radiofrequency device called the Morpheus. It allowed them to offer a skin tightening procedure. So as the economy opened up after the Covid numbers reduced and people got vaccinated Huntington dermatology was ready to offer a brand new procedure to its clients.
8. OFFER TO SELL IN-OFFICE OR ONSITE
Anybody who is availing of your services is trusting in your expertise and deliverance of quality. So if you offer to sell products that go along with your business such as supplements for a doctor’s office, or art supplies at an art studio or hair products at a salon, etc then you might end up increasing your profits and helping your clients all in one go.
By doing so, your clients get what they need at a trusted source and you expand your business.
Dr. DaValio says about her in-office dispensing of vitamins and supplements related to skin that, “They’re (customers) looking to their doctor for that and so they should come to the experts and that broadened our minds because we weren’t usually like that but people appreciate it.”
9. ADVERTISING IN OFFICE
It is well established that advertising the procedures and services you offered to your existing clients is the easiest way of increasing sales. A poster or a sign at your office will inform your customers first and foremost about the services you offer. That way you can get queries right away while they visit and you can convert those into quick sales.
10. BROADEN THE SCOPE OF YOUR SERVICES
So we come to the final step in the transformation. Expanding the scope of the services you offer by allowing newer experts or staff to join your practice is yet another way to help your sales. This setup can be mutually beneficial to multiple experts or just something you do to help your sales.
For example, Huntington Dermatology began to offer something they had not offered earlier. They hired a surgeon on board to perform procedures and used their office space to treat the patients. It was financially beneficial for both the surgeon and the practice and also to the patients.
Dr. DaValio says, “We hired somebody who can do something that we can’t, and that’s a surgeon that has an area of expertise we don’t have but offers something that patients need. And so it was beneficial to both of us, to both of us doctors or all of us doctors, it was beneficial. And that surgeon could do the surgery and then patients could be treated in our office, which they really appreciated, especially during the pandemic. They know us and so again, offering something we didn’t normally offer, making it mutually beneficial financially for the two doctors and then making it beneficial to the patient.”
So there it is! A list of ten ways you could grow your medical practice/ business with expert tips from the experience of the very successful Dr. DaValio. Do share your feedback with us!
Watch my interview is Janice DaValio here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s_7GbUyE-ZI&t=1s
Dr. Janice DaValio is a passionate Dermatologist, Business Owner, and Clinical Associate Professor of medicine at the University of Southern California (USC). She has been an entrepreneur and partner at the Huntington Dermatology Group, in Pasadena, California for 30 years.
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