It's that time of year. You've attended a number of Aesthetic Congresses, walked through the Exhibition Hall, left your contact details with Company Reps who want to sell you shiny new devices and now you're trying to shortlist what devices you should look at. You 'think' you know what you need, but they all look so similar? Follow this guide and avoid the most common mistakes made when investing in new equipment.
1. It Doesn't Meet A Business Need.
It doesn't matter how amazing the deal is, or how many things the device can do, if it doesn't meet a business need and fill a gap in your treatment menu then YOU DO NOT NEED IT!
Look through your current treatment menu and see where the gaps are. What aren't you offering to your patients? Perhaps you do lots of facial treatments yet don't have anything for the body? Maybe you only offer treatments that medical practitioners can carry out and you want something that's delegable to a therapist? Once you have your list, start to examine it. Why don't you offer these treatments? Is there a demand? Why not do a quick survey for existing patients and see if there is any interest in particular treatments you are considering introducing?
2. Not Doing Your Due Diligence.
Taking the word of the Company who are selling you the device and not researching things for yourself is a common mistake. Of course they will tell you it is the best in class. They may namedrop other clinics or doctors who have the device in the hope it may impress you? They will talk about clinical studies and CE/FDA approval. It all sounds great. STOP! It is your responsibility to research further. Ask for the clinical studies in full and not just the abstracts. Read them and evaluate the results. Is the study specific to the named device or is it a generic study for the type of technology used? You should always request studies that are specific to the actual device. Check to see if they have double-blind studies. Ask for peer-review papers. Check the FDA. Is it specific for the intended use or do they have an FDA for something wider-ranging? Once you have checked all of this, you can narrow down your shortlist further.
3. Forgetting About The Running Costs.
Think about it, we've all been taken in by an amazing deal on a computer printer. It's an incredible price and we dash home with it and marvel at the quality of printing and the money we saved. Then after 30 pages the 'low ink' sign pops up and we suddenly realise that the cost of the ink cartridges is extortionate. So now that 'bargain' is costing you a fortune every time you use it. The same can happen with Capital Equipment. Don't forget to research the true running costs. Keep pushing until you get the real figure from your sales consultant. What are the consumables costs? What does that work out as a 'cost-per-treatment'? How does that fair against what you can realistically charge per treatment? Is that a good ROI? If it's a treatment that can only be carried out by a medical professional, don't forget to factor in the expense of their time too. Do any of the applicators have a lifespan? If so, what is the cost of replacing those? The device may be amazing, and it may also give spectacular results, but if the 'treatment' cost to you is high you have to decide if it's worth your time.
4. Making Assumptions About What's Included.
'Never assume as it makes an ASS out of U and ME'. That's the old saying. So why assume things are included as part of the package deal? You could be in for a nasty surprise. Get everything in writing. Ask about delivery and installation costs (they don't always offer free delivery). Check what type of warranty you get with the device, what it covers and how long it lasts for. Is there a Service Package? What staff training is included, is it free or do you have to pay? Is it limited to a set number of days or is it ongoing? What consumables do you get with the device? What marketing materials do you receive? Who will be your Account Manager? Will they host an Open Day/Launch? What about PR?
5. Thinking That Aftercare Is Standard.
Now in a perfect world we would ALL like to think that after investing heavily in a new device that you automatically receive aftercare. Sadly it's not always the case. Aftercare varies massively from company to company and even from Account Manager to Account Manager within the same company. Who do you call if there's a problem? How easy is it to order marketing materials? Will your Account Manager keep in touch or will they lose interest once the deal is signed? What kind of service package is available and what is the response time should you need to call them out? Will you get a loan device if yours is being repaired or will you be left without? Poor aftercare really can impact your business and if you cannot get hold of someone if you have a problem then do you really want to invest so much in their technology?
6. Not Asking your Industry Peers.
Sometimes if you're looking at new technology you don't think to ask Industry Peers or friends about their thoughts/experiences. It's worth getting their opinion too. Have they had similar choices to make? Perhaps they've bought something else from the company you're considering buying from and can give you feedback on aftercare etc? Sometimes they know someone else they can put you in touch with so you can speak off-the-record to about the device, it's results and the actual day-to-day use. Speaking to other users can save you a headache further down the line, especially if you discover that the treatment is labour-intensive, or causes arm-ache for your therapists, or has significant downtime (especially if you know your patients hate downtime).
7. Failing To Prepare For The Demo.
You've shortlisted the devices so now you want to arrange a few demos. You book in some dates. However, demos require preparation on your part. Firstly, ask how long the demo is and how long you should book out in the clinic diary. Allow extra time for set-up, questions and possible over-running. Ensure everyone you want attending is available. This sounds straightforward but the amount of times I've been carrying out a demo only to find one or two staff members running in and out of the room to 'start off other treatments' or 'answer the phone' is too many to mention. This is an important part of the process and you NEED to invest your full attention in it. Models: do you need any and if so, do you need to provide them or do they? What are the requirements? There's no point arranging for a patient with facial hair to come in if the treatment being demo'd requires them to be clean-shaven.
8. Not Enquiring About Finance Options or Special Offers.
Your sales consultant may have told you that they are giving you their best price or that the package on offer is the best available, but do not take their word for it. If you like the system, be prepared to negotiate on the package. Sometimes, especially if you are buying at the end of a quarter (March, June, September, December) your sale may be the difference between the sales consultant hitting or missing their target so they will be more open to negotiation rather than lose the deal. If they cannot move on price, ask if they can include extra training days or more consumables with the system. If there's a 1 year warranty, ask if they can extend it to 2 years. Is there a smaller system or skincare product that they could include free as part of the package? Will they throw in a launch event or marketing campaign for you? If you don't ask you don't get. Once you have your deal, start exploring finance options. Speak to a number of finance brokers and ask about 0% interest rates, 3 month payment holidays, zero deposit options etc.
9. Expecting The Device To Sell Itself.
You've done your due diligence, shortlisted the devices that would bring the most to your business and had the demos. You've made your decision, negotiated the best possible deal and you've signed on the dotted line. You're really excited about the new system and you add it to your website and put the brochures in the waiting area... and then interest wanes. A few people book in but it hasn't had the explosive start your sales consultant promise you it would have. Why? You expected it to sell itself without you having to do any work, that's why. Unless your USP is treating the Telepathic Community, people won't know about your new device unless you tell them. Post on social media platforms. Send out eShots to your patient base offering them an introductory offer. Add it to your newsletter. Download and play the promotional video in clinic. Add it to your website. Plan an open event to launch the device. Invite Influencers who can help promote the new exciting device for you. Get in touch with journalists and invite them to try the treatment. Do not sit back and wait.
Avoid all these mistakes and you should find you select the right device for your business, get the best package and price possible and see that ROI roll in.