The initial cosmetic consultation with a new patient should inspire with possibilities rather than overwhelm with details, according to an expert who presented at The Cosmetic Bootcamp (CBC) this summer.
"I personally don't believe that science is as important as art in what we do," says Mary P. Lupo, M.D. She is a New Orleans-based dermatologist, clinical professor of dermatology at Tulane University School of Medicine and a CBC cofounder. Accordingly, she says it's important to lean on one's artistic skills when first meeting and outlining a treatment plan for a potential patient. To that end, Dr. Lupo offers the following pearls.
Never put technology between you and the patient.
"Do not be looking at a computer screen. Look that patient in the eye 100% of the time. Engage that patient." If your office is electronic, she says, get a scribe. If you use any computer programs during a consultation, says Dr. Lupo, they should supplement or complement what you're telling the patient. Such programs also should allow your patient coordinator or study coordinator to review the treatment plan or options discussed with the patient after the consultation.
It's never about any product — it's about your vision for the patient's face and/or body.
In this regard, Dr. Lupo recommends focusing on what you're going to do for the patient. "How you do it is irrelevant. It's not the paint — it's the painter."
No one walks into an art gallery to admire the canvas and paint, she explains.
"You pay for the final product. So do not diminish your skills and artistry by talking about units, vials and so forth. In the end, the painter is selling their art form and reputation. So are you. Own it."
Watch for negative nonverbal cues.
"The big one is leaning away from you. This could be because you're overwhelming them. Be mindful of that. Many patients come in, and all they want is one little line gone. And that's fine."
However, Dr. Lupo recommends taking patients on a top-to-bottom "tour" of their face, pointing out options that would benefit them and avoiding the word "need." For example, the most common way she convinces patients to undergo botulinum toxin injections for the masseter begins with a global evaluation.