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Capturing the moment of initial interest through immediate trial

Updated: Apr 8, 2019

If a patient becomes initially interested in a procedure during an office visit, you want to do everything you can to capture that moment.


But patients are often unwilling to commit to expensive procedures without time to reflect, and without being 100% sure in their own mind about what the experience and the outcome will be.


Since dermatologists are so busy, and so scheduled, you may not even have time to fulfill a spontaneous request, let alone take time to give the patient the detailed personal explanation they may need in order to make a spontaneous decision.

The standard approach would be to give them some information to take home (e.g., before and after pictures) and some time to think about it (e.g., “Let’s schedule a follow up in a few weeks.”).


Dr. Shawna Flanagan has a better approach:

I do this a lot with laser procedures— I don’t have time to do the whole procedure but we do a “test spot” which gives a patient a feel for what it’s like. They pay a test spot fee which is credited to the full treatment if they do it. I would say 90 percent come back for full treatment.


It may not work for all procedures, but it does work well for laser treatments of rosacea, facial or leg veins, benign lentigines, or hair removal.


In his classic work Diffusion of Innovation, Everett Rogers identified trialability as one of 6 factors that reduce barriers to adoption of technologies.


Finding efficient ways to provide trial experiences for your patients is one good way to capture those initial moments of interest before they slip away into procrastination or distraction or forgotten intentions.


And if you know that you have this tactic in your back pocket, you may feel more comfortable being proactive in recommending effective procedures to patients who had not been actively considering them.

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