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The Art of the Consultation: Is Your Patient a Relator, Analyzer, or Dictator?

Friday, September 11, 2020  
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By Dr. Antonio Mangubat, President of the World Academy of Cosmetic Surgery

When making decisions people typically fall into one of three categories of communication: Relator, Analyzer, or Dictator. Whether purchasing a new car, deciding on a vacation spot, or when to have cosmetic surgery, recognizing your patients’ decision-making processes will help you connect with patients, understand them, and successfully conclude more consultations.

As the current president of the World Academy of Cosmetic Surgery and a long-time member of AACS, I enjoy empowering cosmetic surgeons throughout the world by sharing my personal business and surgical experiences. One of the most important aspects of being a cosmetic surgeon is communicating positively and proactively with patients.

Many surgeons employ a single style of communication. However, learning to adapt to these various scenarios will help you close the loop on more consultations and lead to more surgeries and greater success for both your practice and your patients. Keep in mind that many of your patients will demonstrate a mix of the three main qualities below.

Relators

Relators are individuals who bring personal experiences into their decisions and seek personal connection.

Scenario:

Patient: My mother complained about her big belly ever since I can remember. I have the same problem! Now that I’m 25, I have a good job and I can afford the surgery, I’d like to know what I can do.

Doctor: I know how you feel because I had successful liposuction myself and I don’t have to deal with my belly anymore. I still watch what I eat but my pudge is gone forever.

Analyzers

Analyzers want numbers, facts, and analytics. They seek structure and reassurance through facts.

Scenario:

Patient: Doctor, I work as an engineer for Boeing. I’m 45 years old, I’ve had two C-sections, three children, and I have a lot of hanging skin off my stomach. I’ve been educating myself and I understand there are a few ways to do tummy tucks. I’d like to know more. How many of these operations have you done in your career?

Doctor: I’ve been a cosmetic surgeon for 21 years and have performed over 1000 tummy tucks including the tradition procedure and the lipo-abdominoplasty procedure. Our patient satisfaction rate is 95%. Because you have already educated yourself, why don’t we start with answering your questions and then I can fill in the blanks to complete your knowledge.

Dictator

Dictators are patients who have already decided what they want and will dictate their terms to you. They want control and do not need to be convinced.

Scenario:

Patient: I’ve been wanting a facelift for five years. I know there are several ways to do them and I have researched facelifts online. I know that the S-Lift is the right procedure for me because it’s the least invasive, gives the maximum results, and has the lowest complication rates. And I want my surgery done by the end of the month. Can you do this for me?

Doctor: The short answer is yes. I have performed the S-Lift facelift for 15 years and I personally know its innovator, Dr. Ziya Saylan. But without first examining you, I cannot tell you if the S-Lift you are requesting will actually produce the maximum results you are expecting. I perform virtually every facelift technique and I usually recommend the procedure that will give maximum results based on your physical exam. Of course, you will make the final decision.

Summary

Understanding your patients’ decision-making languages will help you connect with them and lead to more successful consultations and more surgery. Just like breast implants, consultation communication is not one size-fits-all.

Have fun and practice! Customize your approach to your patients and meet them with their own communication language. Your ability to recognize the Relator, Analyzer, and Dictator will be a powerful addition to the success for your practice and enhance patient trust and connection.

I hope you find this approach useful and I look forward to hearing your experiences applying this advice to your patient experiences.

Find me at Tony@Mangubat.com or Instagram @DrTonyMangubat

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