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Making a Name for Yourself

By: Keith Loria
Posted: January 28, 2010, from the November 2009 issue of
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In 2001, Renato Saltz, MD, decided to leave his job as an academic plastic surgeon, where he spent 10 years teaching residents at The University of Utah in Salt Lake City, to open up Saltz Plastic Surgery in the same town. His academic years helped him establish credibility, but he still needed to build up his practice. “You need to build your practice on a good reputation and on your solid training. Be available to discuss concerns with patients. Make your patients’ consultations a big issue and spend time with them going over the things that qualify you as better than the guy next door,” Saltz says. “Board certification, I think, is key … be sure your current patients—or patients seeing you for the first time—understand the meaning of being board-certified in plastic surgery, and why it’s so important to go through the training and to comply with all the requirements of your board.”

Communication is key

When you are branding yourself, your success depends on effectively communicating how your expertise benefits others, finding ways to share it with relevant groups and networking a great deal. “One of the things I would emphasize—and it’s something I’ve done and not for marketing purposes—is to get involved with the community,” Saltz says. “Many of my colleagues are involved in different ways. It’s amazing, not only how it’s rewarding personally, but how it comes back. It’s a way to say thanks to a community that has supported your practice.”

To succeed in branding, you must understandthe needs and wants of your clients and prospects.A good brand will:

  • Confirm your credibility
  • Deliver your message clearly
  • Motivate the buyer
  • Solidify patient loyalty

“For your personal brand, you have to set what your brand standards will be and stick with them. This includes everything from what colors you use to your communication style,” says Linder. “As you build your knowledge base, it is important to stay within your expertise. Constant changes in the areas in which you claim to be an expert—offering only the hottest new trends—lessens confidence among your patients, lowering your retention rate.”

Another valuable tip is to continue to market to your current patients because they already like and trust you. Listen carefully to their desires, understand your existing patient population, and get a sense of what procedures would best serve them. “I think setting up a medical spa connected to my aesthetic surgery practice has helped to increase the flow, to bring in patients who would go to other known plastic surgeons,” says Saltz. “They come into the spa and eventually become surgical patients.”

Tried and true