Selling to the new LASIK patient

In this age of fast-moving technology and countless providers, the centers that prevail will be the ones that understand the needs and desires of the new LASIK patient. Catering to them by capitalizing on the experience economy can result in patients who become advocates for your practice, helping it grow through word-of-mouth referrals. To reach members of this new audience effectively with your marketing and advertising efforts, you will need to profile them accurately and understand their motivations and expectations.

Today's LASIK patient is noticeably different from the LASIK patient of just a few years ago. To reach members of this new audience effectively with your marketing and advertising efforts, you will need to profile them accurately and understand their motivations and expectations. Then you will be prepared to deliver a patient experience they will embrace and share with others.

Get to know your new patients

Every patient is different, but a few traits generally apply to modern vision-correction customers:

Remember, too, that technology helps word travel faster than ever, and social networking Web sites ensure that even one bad experience is broadcast to a gigantic community at the touch of a button. So delivering top care to each and every patient is essential.

They value affordability. With rates on the rise and the increased cost of living, affordability is more important than ever. You can expect patients of all income levels to consider this fact when deciding whether to have vision correction performed.

Consumers also find that it is much more acceptable to finance everything from gas to vacations to elective procedures,however. You can leverage this attitude to increase commitment by offering no-interest financing plans. Remember that consumers always are looking for the best deal, and if you are not offering competitive financing plans, you may lose patients to competitors who are doing so.

Their confidence varies. There are three main types of LASIK patients: the Assured, the Assessors, and the Anxious. The Assureds often are referred by friends and family and, therefore, are confident. They trust experience and, although they are price conscious, they easily come to a decision. The Assessors are analytical, seek hard data, and take more time to make up their minds. The Anxious need to know that "the water is safe to swim in" and will require a lot of "handholding" and explanation.

Starting with the very first point of patient contact, begin profiling your potential patients so you are well prepared to communicate with them in the most effective manner and deliver information that addresses their particular interests and concerns.

On promising perfection

Once you have a good idea who your potential LASIK patient is, and you have identified that he or she is a good candidate for the procedure, you are ready to convince him or her that LASIK is an incredible value that he or she just can't pass up-and that LASIK at your center is superior. But be careful with positive marketing. Just as you wouldn't promise perfect results, you don't want to guarantee a 100% perfect, all-around patient experience (even if you're aiming for that).

Pinpoint your strengths, and identify ways to integrate unique points of differentiation into your image campaign. For instance, if your LASIK physician has performed many more procedures than other area vision-correction surgeons, explain how this experience can translate into better LASIK results and minimized risk.