Do you have a marketing strategy, a marketing system and a marketing technique?

By Raymond Schoeman

For a lot of people the word marketing is just such a negative word. Mostly generating emotions of fear and anger. Yet, you cannot run a successful laser clinic or salon without it. But for most laser clinics it is more of a bottomless pit devouring resources, instead of a flowing fountain supplying the clinic with satisfied clients.

Let’s start with a definition for marketing. I personally find that once something is defined it becomes more manageable. For me marketing is the sequence of events where you introduce your services or products to another person. Including educating people about it and making offers to people to acquire it. The moment payment occurs is the moment marketing changes to selling.

An analogy I use for marketing, is a house. You have three essential elements in a house; the foundation, walls and the roof.
Your marketing strategy is the foundation that determines the strength of your marketing efforts and holds everything together. Your marketing system is the walls, the method you apply to convert potential clients into clients. And your marketing techniques, the roof, are the ways you gain access to potential clients.
You stand on our rooftop to call out to people and invite them into your house where they can get to know you.

You can have a marketing strategy just like you can have a foundation without the other two elements. However, it’s not going to be worth much since it’s not doing anything.
On the other side, you cannot have a marketing system without the foundation of a strategy. And any marketing techniques are totally useless without the support of a method to convert leads to clients.

The sad reality is that 90% of salons and laser clinics have marketing techniques running without a marketing system or any strategy.

How do you develop a marketing strategy?

Your marketing strategy is the definition of what you are willing to offer to whom and under which conditions.

Example. My marketing strategy for Manscape (my laser clinic) is: I’m willing to do laser hair removal treatments on men that take pride in caring for their bodies, minds and souls. I will provide effective results, meaning that my clients will reach the level of hairlessness that I promise them for a fair remuneration that reflects the value I provide to my clients. I will do this during predetermined hours at a location that supports these objectives.

Thus, I know that I will be marketing to (1) men (2) that take pride in themselves (3) can afford my services and also want it. Because I have a physical location, my marketing efforts will be focused on the (4) surrounding area.
The technology I use do not allow me to effectively achieve superior results on (5) grey, (6) light blond or red hair.

My strategy is thus to market to (1) with these psycho-graphics (2), and income (3), geographic (4) and demographics (5) and I have further exclusions of (6).

How to tie it to a marketing system.

Your marketing system is the sequence of actions you will use to prove your value to potential clients to the point where they pay to have your service or product.

You introduce your potential clients to the different treatments that you can offer them and educate them from the perspective of a consumer. For this you need to capture their names and contact details. You also have to set up ways to communicate effectively with them. You need to learn their preferences and what it is they want to achieve and document it in such a way that you always have easy access to this information.

Thus, you need to set up an effective client relationship management system. This system allows for you to communicate with potential clients in a way that will prove the value your services have to offer them, client acquisition.
It also needs to allow you to interact with your existing clients in a way that will make them feel special to keep coming to you, client retention.

This system can range from simple to complex depending on your specific needs. It is also in your best interest to have as much of this system automated as you can. And then you have to feed this system with leads.

You need marketing techniques.

Your marketing techniques refer to the methods and channels you will employ to talk to people and convince them that it is worth their time to listen to what you have to say. This includes techniques like social media marketing and setting up a referral system; lead acquisition.

Your marketing techniques can be divided in two main groups; ‘pushing’ and ‘pulling’ marketing. Pushing marketing is when you interrupt someone with your marketing message, the most common example of this is social media marketing.

Pulling is when someone is actively looking for your marketing message, here the most common example is search engine (Google) marketing.

Irrespective of your marketing techniques, you need to remember that this step is not to sell your product, unless you use direct marketing techniques. It is to sell the opportunity for you to prove your value of your product or service to the prospective client. Thus, you need to find a way to make this potential client part of your marketing system as soon as possible.

A common pitfall.

If you run a Facebook or Instagram ad, the aim of the ad is to convince potential clients to give their contact details to you so that you can speak directly to them in the future. Or to directly buy from the ad in the case of direct marketing. NOT to get likes, subscribes or clicks. When you have the contact details you can follow-up and prove the value of your service or product at very low cost to you.

With this I mean you need to get an email address, telephone number or postal address as soon as you can. If you do not do this, you remain in the situation where you can only communicate to your audience via the platform you will always be in the unpleasant situation where you have to pay repeatedly to have your message conveyed to the same people. At very high cost to you.

Which statistics really matters?

In marketing there are only two numbers you need to know. The first is the amount that you have to spend on a marketing technique. For example, you pay x amount (spend) to run an ad on Instagram for 7 days.

The second number is the amount in turnover that can be directly attributed to the ad you have run. For example, the ad brought in z amount of new clients that spent a total of y amount (income). You would not have had y amount if it was not for the ad.

Any other statistics are worthless to you and is only part of the person’s, who is taking your money, marketing system.

If spend is larger than income, you know it was a failure and should not be repeated. However, if income is larger than spend, you have a winner. You can try to optimize your winner, but in most cases the best thing you can do is not to change it and just let it run until it is no longer a winner. There will come a time that it goes stale and you have to replace it.

Marketing is not a cost. It’s an investment.

Most people think of marketing as a business cost and is therefore willing to accept the losses. Marketing is actually an investment. And as with all investments you have a minority who really win big and a majority who lose all.

The first thing you have to do is to change your way of thinking about marketing. Next is to educate yourself on the subject. The minority of winners is those that make the effort to learn how to do it correctly and that will always remain a small group of people.

Marketing is one of few investments where the return is determined by your knowledge and skills. Not by any external factor.

How to failure diagnose when you’re not getting the results you’ve expected

By Raymond Schoeman.

Laser hair removal remains the most performed aesthetic laser treatment world-wide. For this reason it keeps attracting first-time laser owners and therapist to the industry. Many of these newcomers start with high hopes fuelled by empty promises from equipment sales people. Thus, the question; how do you proceed to discover and eliminate the problem when you find yourself in a situation that you do not get the results you’ve hoped for?

When I started out, I had the good fortune of having a business partner who was an engineer that specialized in system fault-finding. The skills I’ve learned from him made a huge difference in the clinic and helped me delivered the results I’ve promised my clients.

The first step and also the most fundamental step in any fault-finding exercise is the collection of data. The more complete and accurate your data is, the easier and quicker you will find your solution.

It is for this reason that you have to come in the habit of recording complete and accurate treatment data from day one. For each client, each treatment. But what information should you record?

For hair removal the minimum you should know for each treatment is:

  • A short description of the treatment area. You can record this once before the first treatment. Remember to make a note of any treatments where there are deviations.
  • A note on the comfort level of the client during each treatment. If the client is unusually sensitive during a treatment, note that.
  • A note on what the client experienced after the previous treatment.
  • The start pulse count and the end pulse count for each session. Make a note of any extras you may do.
  • The fluence used; and also any changes in fluence during a treatment with a reason why.
  • Pulse length and remember to note if you change the pulse length during a treatment and why.
  • The frequency.
  • If you have an adjustable spot size, the spot size you’ve worked with. Remember to note it if you change the spot size during a treatment and the reason why you’ve done that.
  • The use of any local anaesthetics during a treatment.
  • If your machine has different modes, note the mode you’ve worked in.

The most common reason for absence of results is the fluence — pulse length combination. You need a minimum level of energy on a specific area for a minimum period of time to get the desired results.

Pulse length is the easiest to correct. The thermal damage time for hair removal range between 200 ms and 400 ms. Therefore, you desire to work as near as possible to the 400 ms mark as you can. If your machine only allows 50 ms as maximum pulse length, you work on 50 ms and not 40 ms.

Fluence can sometimes be influenced by hidden factors, such as operators technique. Your client should experience a sensation during the pulse. This should remain tolerable for your client, a painful treatment is also a bad sign.

The sensation your client experience during the pulse is from the heat generated by the melanin in the epidermis and the hair shaft. In the absence of any sensation you will have disappointing results. If the sensation becomes intolerable or painful, you’re over treating and it can cause skin damage.

Factors that influence the fluence are:

  • Gliding or stepping speed. You may move the handpiece too fast, spreading the energy over too large an area.
  • Low pain tolerance of the client causing you to work on a too low energy level.
  • Leave too much space between spots. With a square or rectangle spot you need an overlap of 20% and with a circle you need a 50% overlap on average. Do not overlap with an IPL, but don’t leave space between the spots either.
  • Gel. Anything between the applicator and the skin has an influence on the light.

The first cross-check you can make, is to see if the pulse count matches the treatment area.

If you have a square or rectangle spot size of 2 cm2 and you need to treat an area like axilla, 7 cm x 16 cm = 112 cm2, you need a minimum of 68 pulses. You divide 112 by 2 and add 20%.

With a circle of 18 mm diameter you have a surface of about 2,5 cm2. With this you have to divide 112 by 2,5 and then add 50% = 67 pulses.

When you use the gliding (or pain free) technique it is possible that you have a sufficient pulse count, but that you concentrate the pulses on the outer boundaries of your treatment area, with gaps in the middle.

Given that you’re using a suitable machine, this simple cross-check solves the problem in 80% of cases. The next step is to get advanced training beyond how to operate your machine. It is the only way that you will be able to provide superior results to your client and grow your business to the fullest.

How to get the most out of laser tattoo removal

By Raymond Schoeman

Laser tattoo removal is growing fast, following the popularity of tattooing. Yet, the general perception remains vague and sci-fi like. It even seems a certain perception developed among the younger generations; having a tattoo is no longer the commitment it used to be since it can be ‘zapped’ away at anytime.

Although it is completely possible to remove a tattoo without any scarring or shadows, it takes a much greater commitment than most people realize. I think a great part of this has to do with the mass of YouTube videos showing entry-level equipment creating a spectacular reaction during the first treatment, ‘frosting’.

‘Frosting’ is a shock reaction the body has during a treatment. Since most tattoos are black, you do not need a lot of energy for the first treatment to have a spectacular ‘frosting’. Even though it doesn’t make for good results, it does make good YouTube videos.

You can compare ‘frosting’ in tattoo removal with shedding in hair removal. If you exceed a certain fresh hold energy level, you will have shedding — but not permanent hair removal.

With tattoo removal you have to know how to choose the right wavelength to eliminate the colour you’re working on. Since black absorbs all colours of light, it is the easiest to work on, and have some results on any wavelength you may use. Other colours are not so easy.

The general rule of thumb is that you need to use a wavelength as far away from the wavelength of the colour ink you’re working on. If you work on green ink, which reflects between 495 nm and 570 nm, you will be best served with a laser of 1064 nm.

When you work on red ink which reflects between 620 nm and 800 nm, you rather want to work with a laser of 532 nm. Although 1064 nm is even further away from 800 nm than 532 nm is from 620 nm, you need to keep in mind that red also reflects infrared wavelengths, and will therefore reflect more of the 1064 nm than the 532 nm.

For successful treatment you need as much absorption and as little reflection as possible. But wavelength is not the only parameter that makes for a successful treatment.

For tattoo removal you need to create a photoacoustic reaction. This means that you have to create a shock wave to break the ink particle apart. For this you need a minimum fresh hold energy combined with an extremely short pulse length. Nowadays, you have the choice between nanosecond and picosecond lasers.

For the most effective treatment course, you need a combination of nano- and picoseconds. In the beginning of your treatment course you will need longer nanosecond pulses to break up the larger ink particles. Later on you need to switch to shorter picosecond pulses to refine this process.

You can compare this process to that of a sculptor. He will start with a block of stone that is larger than the figure he wants to create and first has to remove all the excess. For this he uses a heavy-duty chisel. Once the stone is ready to create the figure, he switches over to a finer tool. If he chisels with a fine tool against a big block of stone he will have to work a lot longer because he is only breaking small bits off at a time.

You also have to ensure you have enough energy for a successful tattoo removal treatment. If you under treat, you may still have ‘frosting’ but will have no long-term results. The energy determines the ‘punch’ you will deliver to the ink particle. And if you do not hit hard enough you will not break it apart.
The output energy is one of the greatest factors influencing the price of a machine. For very good reason.

You cannot do tattoo removal with a long pulse laser that causes a photothermal reaction, as you will cause severe damage to the tissue surrounding the ink particle. The concept behind tattoo removal is to create a reaction where you break the ink particle apart without spreading heat to the surrounding tissue.

With a long pulse laser you use the ink particle as an element to create heat that will spread and destroy the surrounding tissue – leading to severe scarring.

How to optimize your laser hair removal results without buying a new machine

To be able to optimize laser hair removal, we first need to have a look at the science and mechanisms that make laser hair removal possible.

For hair growth to stop you need to destroy the dermal papillae, located at the base of the hair follicles. The dermal papillae play a crucial role in hair growth cycle by inducing follicle development from the epidermis to produce hair fibre.

One method of destroying the dermal papillae is with heat and some forms of light work very well to create this heat. The dermal papillae do not absorbed the light directly. The light is absorbed by pigments in the hair and skin, melanin. These pigments absorb certain wavelengths of light and convert it to heat. The heat then spread outwards from the hair (and skin). Thus, the hair serves as an element.

You can compare this with an element in a water boiler. It takes electricity and convert it to heat. The heat then has to spread over the complete volume of the boiler for long enough to get hot water at the outlet.

The hair itself is not the target, it functions as the element that needs to heat a certain surrounding area over a minimum threshold temperature for a minimum period of time. To achieve this we have to get three parameters right.

The first is wavelength, the easiest of the three. The light needs to be in a wavelength that melanin absorbs. Most equipment come standard in a wavelength proven to be absorbed, between 600 nm and 1100 nm.

The second is energy. But, it is not just energy. You also need to consider the surface you divide the energy over, fluence. It is needed to apply enough energy (light) over a given area to have sufficient conversion to heat. If you do not have enough heat at the spot here the dermal papillae are located, you will not destroy them. Keep in mind that only a small portion of the heat that you create reach the dermal papillae. Most of the heat will be spread over the epidermis and the hair shaft, and dissipate over the length of the follicle.

The biggest problem here is that the same melanin that sits in the hair is also present in the epidermis. However, you do not want to destroy the epidermis or the tissue surrounding the epidermis. Therefore, skin cooling is of utmost importance.

The third parameter is time. The dermal papillae need to be heated for a minimum period over a certain temperature before it will degrade and die. Originally it was thought that the thermal relaxation time (TRT) was the most important influence on the pulse duration. TRT is the time it takes for the hair to lose half of the heat that was generated. The TRT for hair range between 10 ms to 100 ms.

However, lately it has been accepted that the thermal damage time (TDT) is of more importance when it comes to hair removal. TDT is the time required, for the entire target, including the primary chromophore (e.g. melanin) and the surrounding target (e.g. hair follicle), to cool by about 63%. The TDT for hair range between 200 ms and 400 ms.

Thus, general rules of thumb to optimize laser hair removal.

You have to realize that the treatment will have a severe impact on the epidermis. For this reason it is of the utmost importance to ensure sufficient skin cooling during a laser hair removal treatment.

You need to use a fluence that will ensure the desired reaction. A low fluence will have no results and in some cases may stimulate hair growth. The easiest way to find a starting point is to begin with the manufacturer’s recommendation and then increase the fluence in small steps until you reach a level where the client feels it as a “snap”, but it is still well tolerated.

Lastly, you need a long pulse length. Given that the upper range of the TDT is 400 ms, you want to use a pulse length equal to that or longer. Even if you prefer to use the TRT as main reference it still requires a pulse length of 100 ms. General rule is that you use the longest pulse duration available to you for laser hair removal.

Realize that these rules of thumb are not set in stone, but will be sufficient in 95% of cases.

Using LED and low-level laser in your salon or spa

LED and low-level laser devices have become a common sight in almost every salon and spa, especially LED devices. But it’s not always an integrated part of the treatment menu. Many owners of these devices are still unsure or uncomfortable on how to combine LED therapy with classic treatments.

The great thing about LED therapy is that there is very little that you can do wrong. In most cases, the worst that can happen is that you don’t get any results.

LED, low-level laser and chromotherapy all fall in the same category of light-tissue interaction, all these devices stimulate a photochemical response. A photochemical response is one of the four mayor light-tissue interaction responses commonly utilized in the aesthetic industry. This is when the light is absorbed; and then start, enhance or stop a biochemical reaction already present in the body.

This class of therapies is nowadays called biomodulation. It is a collective name that refer to LED-, low-level laser-, cold laser-, soft laser- and general (cold) light therapies. Many of these therapies have been seen as hoax or “pie-in-the-sky” therapies due to a lag in knowledge and understanding of them.

We now have thousands of academic research papers available on biomodulation and the knowledge pool has grown considerably over the past years. Although biomodulation has an influence on various chemical pathways in the body, it is best known in the aesthetic industry for the enhancing effect it has on Adenosine Triphosphate (ATP). Justly, it is a significant property of this therapy because every chemical reaction in the body depends on energy.

Apart from the enhanced energy production, it also has a strong anti-inflammatory working and stimulate collagen and elastin. It is the combination of these reactions that makes biomodulation such a powerful force in the fight against ageing.

The most important parameter to look at when thinking of buying a LED or low-level laser device is the wavelength. Biomodulation is very wavelength sensitive and the most common and effective wavelengths that you will encounter in aesthetic treatments are blue (at 415 nm), red (at 633 nm) and infrared (at either 810 nm /840 nm / 940 nm). This does not mean that other wavelengths will have no effect. These wavelengths are just the most researched and documented.

The next two things to consider when looking at equipment goes hand in hand. The output energy, for biomodulation it is usually given in mW. The second thing is the design of the unit, or the usability.

As mentioned earlier, biomodulation is a non-thermal reaction. Meaning that no heat gets created because of the light. It is possible that the area treated warms because of the chemical reactions being stimulated. The moment heat is generated by the light, biostimulation is disrupted by the body’s response to get the heat under control.

A natural conclusion is then to think that you really need very little energy. Depending on your definition of little, this may be true or not. Studies have shown that you still need to convey around 4 J of energy to the treatment target to have the best effect. More energy will start to diminish results and less may lead to under-treatment. The output energy of your device will therefore determine how long a given area needs to be treated.

If your clients expect a short treatment session, then a stronger unit will do the trick and reduce the treatment time. On the other hand, if your clients expect an extended pamper session you will be better served with a device with a lower energy output.

When we look at usability, we refer to how practical a device will fit into your salon or spa. Do you need a device that requires very little operators attention or can be completely ‘self-service’ by the client? Or will you be better suited by a device that needs to be held by a therapist the whole time?
Both types have pro’s and con’s, it depends on your needs. Also, important to know beforehand is; will you use it mostly on large or small treatment areas?

Biomodulation can be combined with almost any other treatment. That said, there are a couple of simple rules you need to adhere to for the best results:

  • It must be used over clean skin. Everything you put between the light and the skin has an effect on the treatment outcome. Something like a serum where all the ingredient molecules are under 500 daltons is not a problem to use during light treatment. This is because it will be absorbed quickly and have a small effect on the light. Anything thicker becomes a block or reflector for the light.
  • Textiles block the energy almost completely. You cannot treat through clothing or any other form of dressing.
  • If you want increased absorption, it is best to apply the product / mask directly after biostimulation of the area.
  • If you want for the energy to ‘hang around’ in the area for longer, you can combine biomodulation with cold therapy.
  • To get the energy to spread and effect as large as possible area, it is best to combine biomodulation with a form of warmth therapy.

What to look out for when you buy a laser for tattoo removal

In this article we will look at a couple of the most important points to pay attention to when buying a laser for tattoo removal. There are three main areas you have to be certain about before buying a machine.

Pulse length.

Lasers suitable for tattoo removal are machines that have extremely short pulses. The pulse length on these machines are measured in nanoseconds or picoseconds. To put this in perspective, you need 1 000 000 000 nanoseconds to make 1 second. You also need 1 000 picoseconds to make 1 nanosecond; or 1 000 000 000 000 picoseconds to make 1 second.

Tattoo removal lasers are very aggressively marketed by Chinese manufacturers as picosecond lasers. But are they really picosecond lasers? Keep in mind that you need 1000 picoseconds to make 1 nanosecond. Thus, if you see that a machine is marketed as a pico-laser with a pulse length of 1000 ps or 2000 ps (it goes in steps of 1000), it is actually not a pico-laser. It is a good old Q-switch capable of 1 or 2 nanoseconds.
If the machine has a pulse length between 1 ps and 999 ps, it is a true pico-laser.

This brings us to the question; which of the two, pico or nano, is the better option?
There is actually no better default machine, it really depends on your requirements. That said, you will be best served with a combination of pico and nano pulse lengths.

Nanosecond lasers break the ink molecule up into larger pieces than picosecond lasers.

During the treatment course you need to break-up the ink molecule. It is easier to break one large molecule into smaller, but still relative large pieces as an in-between step before you start with the micro work.

You can compare it with a sculptor who takes a large stone to start with, and then first remove big pieces with a heavy-duty chisel. After he has removed most of the access he will switch over to a smaller finer chisel to start the sculpting.

Wavelength

The wavelength(s) of the machine determines which colours of ink you can remove. The principle is quite simple. Just as with sight, light falls on a leaf and the green part of the light is reflected, leaving us to see the leaf as green.

If you have green ink, the spectrum of green range between 500 nm and 565 nm. Thus, if you irradiate it with 532 nm the light will not be absorbed, but will be reflected and you will have no results. You have to use a wavelength “far” away from the green range to get results; something like 1064 nm.

You have to decide between a single or multi-wavelength machine. And if you decide on a multi-wavelength machine you have to decide between a multi-cavity laser or a multi-handpiece laser.

If your clients mostly present you with a black or dark blue tattoo it may be best to invest in a machine that can only do this one colour, and do it very well. You will then buy a single cavity single handpiece machine.

Should you wish to remove a range of colours, you will either need multiple single-wavelength machines, or a multi-wavelength machine.

Looking at multi-wavelength machines you will find that you have two distinct classes of lasers. Some lasers have multiple cavities (light generation capability) and can switch between cavities as is needed. These machines are usually very expensive.

Other machines have wavelength converting handpieces. The prices of these machines are much better digestible. The catch here is that you lose a lot of energy during the conversion.

It can be to such extreme that you have 800 mJ on handpiece one, and on handpiece two that converts to another wavelength you only have 400 mJ. This can get even worse; with handpiece three you may only end-up with 200 mJ.
In some cases it may be to such an extreme that multiple handpieces only enhance the manufacture’s marketing and not your results. This is a pitfall many people step into.

Energy

Once you know which wavelength(s) you want on a machine; and which pulse lengths. It is time to look at energy output. The output energy in tattoo removal lasers are usually given in Joules, or millijoules (J or mJ) and not in Joules per area (J/cm2).

You will find that the very expensive machines will be around or above 2 J. Where entry-level equipment gives something like 600 mJ.
A 600 mJ machine can cost anything from USD 2500, whereas a 2 J machine will be over USD 80000.
The output energy of a machine is the most important factor that will determine a machine’s usable. Usable: being able to remove a tattoo.

With tattoo removal you need a machine that can give sufficient energy. Tattoo removal clients do not come to you to lighten their tattoos. They either want it totally removed without scarring or removed to such an extent that another tattoo can be placed over it without a visible ghost tattoo.

If you want to run a professional laser tattoo removal clinic that provides value to your clients, we can only recommend that you stay away from entry-level tattoo removal lasers. You will not be able to fulfil your promises to your clients and only end-up with a bad reputation.

The actual cost of a diode laser

Diode lasers have become very popular over the past years and it is understandable why. They are affordable, easy to use and quite low in maintenance. But, is there more to the cost calculation than what meets the eye?

Diode laser modules have made huge stripes in recent years and the stability and life expectancy of a diode has improved greatly. That said, diodes still have a limited life expectancy.

Although you nowadays find more manufacturers telling potential customers that their diodes can last for twenty million pulses, it is still difficult to find one willing to put a guarantee on paper for more than fifteen million pulses.

Fifteen million pulses are still a lot, and should last more than the machine’s lifetime. Is it not? On average, it seems that fifteen million pulses will last you about 6 to 7 years in practice. In this scenario we refer to a single wavelength handpiece and not a triple wavelength handpiece.

Keep in mind that a manufacturer can only optimize the handpiece for one type of diode module (one wavelength) at a time and adding more wavelengths to the handpiece will lead to a reduction of the expected lifetime of the handpiece.

This brings us to the question; what is the cost of a new handpiece? It greatly varies from manufacturer to manufacturer.
In general, you can look at 30% to 40% of the cost of the machine to replace the handpiece. A triple wavelength laser can push this up significantly over the total lifetime of the machine, because of the reduced optimization for the diodes that is possible.

The good news is, that it is presently a great time to negotiate if you’re looking at buying equipment. We recommend that you try to negotiate for the inclusion of a second handpiece with the purchase of a machine.

Does this make the total cost of owning a diode laser more than that of owning a solid state or other type of laser? No. You will most probably incur costs to replace the laser medium at some stage during the laser’s lifetime. But the ownership cost of a diode laser is not per se that much lower than another type of laser, as some marketing brochures will like it for us to believe.

As with everything you do have some benefits as well as drawbacks and it is not different with diode lasers. A great benefit of a diode laser is that you will never have the risk of a damaged fibre, since the diodes are in the handpiece. The drawback to that is that you will have a bulky and heavy handpiece to work with.

The most important thing to remember is that you have to compare apples with apples. If you compare a diode laser with a Nd:YAG solid state laser, comparing the wavelength and the output energy directly make no sense.

You need to compare the machines´ ability to provide the same results, operational difficulty or ease, possible treatment types, durability of the technology and total cost of ownership.

How to grow your client list without having to sell all the time. Part two

With this article we will carry on from where we’ve stopped last time. Have you had the opportunity to implement some or all of the steps discussed in the previous article? If this is new to you, remember that implementing anything new takes time and some discomfort. It is because you’re doing something that you’re not used to.

Remember the ten times rule when you implement something new. You have to do it at least ten times before you can say yes it works, or no it doesn’t work. You will also not do it exactly the same way over the first couple of times, because you still have to find a way of doing, that work for you. Without further ado, let’s continue with step 5.

Step 5: Defuse feelings of anticipated regret.

“I know I’ll regret it if I do it …” You need to take your client to a future point in time after she has instituted your solution. Show her for a brief moment it is possible that she could regret it. But then paint the more likely scenario that your solution will give her what she wants.

Step 6: Framing your proposal.

The chance of being permanently blind after eye surgery one is 20%. The chance of full recovery of sight after eye surgery two is 80%. Which surgery do you want to have? Of course surgery two — except they are the same. Think carefully of how you want to frame your proposal.

To be frank, the way you frame your proposal is more important than the proposal itself. It is very common for therapists to exaggerate negative points to their solution in name of transparency. If you do this, you need to apply the same scale of exaggeration on the benefits of your solution. Else you still do not enable your client to make an informed decision.

Step 7: Propose.

Propose a solution that will lead to the desired outcome. But first, offer an alternative choice that is inferior for some almost obvious reason. Then offer your option and move forward with certainty that the person has accepted it.

When you propose a solution to your client, you make it absolute clear how the solution is applicable to her and her unique situation. You don’t just refer or tell of it in a way that makes it existence known. You tell your client how it will solve her problem.

Very often we find that therapists will do a lot of work to introduce a solution to their clients. But they will never actually propose it to their clients out of fear to be rejected. It is important that you learn the distinction between being rejected as a person, and proposing a solution that is not accepted.

The first is about you as a person. If someone rejects you as a person, she will not become your client to start with. It is extremely rare that you will be rejected as a person.

The second is about the solution you offer to your client. My grandmother used to say “another man’s book is always close”. This means that you will never know every detail in another person’s life, even if you think you do. It is completely possible for a client to reject your solution for a reason she doesn’t want you to know. This doesn’t mean she rejects you as a person or will not accept another solution you may propose for a different problem at another point in time.

Step 8: Solve obstacles that exist. In advanced.

Most of this should be eliminated in step 4 and 5. Professional service providers know their trade and their clients and will know beforehand most of the questions a client may ask. Pre-answer every possible question you can think of before your client thinks about it.

Pre-solve all possible obstacles. But do not solve them too quickly, or you make the client look foolish or stupid. Nobody likes it to look foolish or stupid.

Step 9: Keep on repeating your offer until the answer is yes.

On average, you will have to make your offer seven times before your client says yes. Keep in mind that accepting a solution is a process your client has to go through.

It starts about learning of the solution; to understanding it; to growing use to the idea that it may work for some people; to accepting that it may work for her; to believing that it will work for her; to finally taking the step to implement it.

For some this process may be quick and for other it may be slow.

Step 10: Validate later.

Know that after your client has said yes, she will experience regret. You must validate your client’s decision. Not immediately after she accepted your solution, but the next day and the next time you see her after that.

How do you validate your client’s decision? You congratulate her on having the treatment or buying the product and then remind her of the benefits that will follow.

Understanding how to convey a solution effectively to a client, and doing it, will allow for you to create a positive change in more people’s lives. This will inevitably lead to a more fulfilling career and all the other benefits that come of having a fulfilling career.

How to grow your client list without having to sell all the time. Part one

People frequently decide on a career in the service industries because they don’t see themselves selling goods to others all the time. The beauty industry is very well known for therapists who provide excellent service to their clients, but do not think of selling a product that can improve their clients’ lives.

The reality is that part of a superb service to your clients, is to introduce products and other services to your clients that will improve their lives. The good news is that you do not have to be a salesperson to do this. All you need to be is a problem solver. And introducing solutions to clients is a learnable skill.

When you follow the ten-step plan, describe below you will never again have to sell a client anything and yet you will grow your client list to be a prosperous resource.

Step one: Context matters.

This is more subconscious than conscious. You need to represent the image your client has in her head of a problem solver for the specific type of problem she needs a solution. If you think a bit about it; will you be comfortable to consult a doctor who wears a blue overall and has some dirt under his nails? Even if the overall is spotless, and he wears the highest quality of gloves when he touches a patient?

The answer for 99% of people is NO. They will rather go to an inferior doctor who wears a white coat and has clean finger nails.

This is just an exacerbated example, but the same is true for your clients. This does not mean that you have to be another generic puppet. The contrary, you should always add something to the picture that reflexes your uniqueness. Just make sure that this something does not shatter the image your client has in her head.

Do the magazines in your waiting area tell about the latest celebrity scandals or the latest aesthetic procedures? Does your outfit say this is a professional that values what she has to offer? Or it is not really what it should be, but maybe I’ll get a new one next month?

Step two: Know your outcome beforehand.

Your desired outcome must be mutually beneficial for both you and your client. If you feel forced to provide a service at your expense, it will show and your client will not feel appreciated. If your client feels forced to accept a solution, you will not see her again.

Most people will say no to a solution the first time. Having to make a decision in itself is another thing you add to her already overfull plate. Show her how easy it is to make the right decision.

Step three: Empathize.

You cannot convey a solution to your client if you don’t have empathy for her. Empathy is not sympathy. Empathy is the ability to comprehend what your client feels without being cough up in her emotions. It allows you to look past the problem and see the solution. Then it allows you to present the solution to her in a way she connects with it.

Step four: Defuse resistance.

Your client is probably so focused on the problem that she has a difficult time seeing the solution. It is a normal first reaction to say no to anything new. At this moment she is unsure if it is not just adding to her overfull plate.

It is your responsibility to educate her and guide her to understand the solution you have to offer. You can do this by telling her how you felt at first when you learned about this treatment or product and how it proved to be a good solution. Remember people will not go searching for what you have taught them.

With this I’ll end this post. Next time we will continue with the rest of the ten steps. Try introducing as many as possible of these steps into your client interactions over the next week, and please let us know if it was useful for you.

The four photo-biological reactions you will encounter as laser therapist

Photo-biological reactions are the interactions between light and biological material (tissue). What happens when the light energy is absorbed by tissue?

The four most common types of photo-biological reactions you will encounter during aesthetic laser treatments are: photothermal reactions, photoablative reactions, photochemical reactions and photoacoustic reactions.

A photothermal reaction is when the light energy is converted into heat. For the aesthetic treatments based on photothermal reactions, it is not the light that is responsible for the results, but the heat generated from the light.

Most common example of this is laser hair removal. The light is absorbed by melanin and then converted to heat. This heat dissipates to the surrounding tissue where it is responsible for the destruction of the dermal papilla. Most vascular and pigmentation treatments also fall in this category.

Photoablative reactions are mostly associated with CO2 or Erbium:YAG skin peels. During this type of treatments the light is absorbed by the water molecules in the top layer of the skin. Because of the high energy contained in the laser beam and short pulse length the water molecule evaporates and in the proses ablate the top layer of the skin.

Due to water being the primary target and the abundance of water in the skin, you have an extremely limited penetration depth.

Photochemical reactions are caused by very low-energy levels. It is the activation or deactivation of biochemical pathways present in the body. The most common reaction you will encounter is the stimulation of adenosine triphosphate (ATP).

Photons of the correct wavelength have a direct working on the electron chain in the mitochondria, which leads to the increased production of ATP. Biomodulation is also well known in would healing and sports injury rehabilitation.

Important to remember with biomodulation is that very little energy is required and a too high level of energy will lead to a decrease in effectiveness.

Photoacoustic reactions are the magic behind laser tattoo removal. This is when an extreme short and energy rich pulse causes an acoustic explosion. The ink molecule is then broken-up into smaller pieces that the lymph system can remove in the weeks following the treatment.

Due to the extreme short pulse duration, there is no time for heat to build up and transfer to surrounding tissue.