The Bargain Shopper

I recently received an inquiry about my training and credentials prior to someone booking a treatment.  It was in that reply that I realized the value that we give to our clients.  I actually started to wonder why more people don’t ask these same questions.

In the daily course of business in a busy practice such as ours, I often find myself in a discussion with clients bargaining over the price of procedures such as Botox.  Although I understand and sympathize with people on this matter, I always have the question in the back of my mind—“Why would you bargain shop for an aesthetic procedure?”

When buying a tangible item—one that you can see, touch, feel, and compare to other like items—it makes sense.  I get shopping for the best car price, or comparing stores on price of an item of clothing.  Nothing stings more than purchasing a comparable item only to find the exact item somewhere else for 20% less.  It seems you have been duped—taken advantage of.  You have given up more of your hard earned dollars just to make someone else richer!

Or so it seems.

Often, the price even on these types of goods is set based on the owner’s overhead.  Everyone knows a local store cannot compete with an Amazon on price for obvious reasons.  But the same goes even in the local market.  Rent, employees, insurances, etc. may be higher in one locale versus another.  A relatively new business has less room for marginal error than an established place.  Advertising percentages are different for a large chain when compared to a local boutique.

But bargain shopping seems to be in our nature.  Even though we may enjoy the atmosphere of a local store, we are still drawn to that lower price.  We take “pride” in saving money, even bragging about it to our friends.  But what actually happens to that “saved” money?  Do we invest it?  Buy something that we really needed or gift it?  Make a charitable contribution?  Usually no.  Most of the time the money saved isn’t even accounted for at the end of the month.

When shopping for an intangible item—such as a procedure, a service,  or an experience—the bargain shopping mentality falls apart.   We will take Botox for an example.  This bargaining often occurs before the procedure, as if  Botox is a tangible purchase, and can be compared to Botox down the street.  But Botox in a bottle is useless to a consumer.  The knowledge of how to prepare, correctly assess and treat, and follow up are the intangible items you are purchasing.  If you could get the same results everywhere, perhaps you could bargain shop, but that usually isn’t the case.  And to add to that—what is your experience before, during, and after your treatment?  Are you just another number, a few more dollars in the provider’s pocket?  Or are you made to feel safe and confident you are receiving the best treatment available?  

This is what you are paying for.

The training and re-trainings that we have received, the constant study and practice of aesthetic medicine, the volume of procedures we do—all go in to why we deliver such a high level of care to our clients.  And we do this with hopefully in a friendly, accessible atmosphere that fosters a wonderful experience for every client we see.  It reminds me of a story about someone asking the price of a painting.  The price of the painting doesn’t reflect the amount of oil paint, brushes and canvas.  The price reflects the huge number of hours a painter puts into his craft to develop the insights and skills to deliver the piece of art you see.  

So, what you are paying for is the experience, dedication, and training to not only do the job right, but I dare to say, be the best.  if you are a “bargain shopper”, you will likely save a few dollars here and there.  But do you want to trust your face and skin to a “bargain provider”?  You often get what you pay for.

-Dr. James Ross, MD