Stop playing the volume game with your aesthetic partner, and start asking these four questions instead.
Elite account status with an aesthetics brand is far from a vanity distinction.
In fact, the partner you choose, and the terms of that partnership, can make a world of difference to your practice’s viability, and how well you’re able to align your business with the brand you set out to create.
“If a brand partner is going to be right for your business, then first things first: they need to understand the underlying market dynamics that affect your day-to-day,” says Taryn Conway, Vice President of Marketing, Aesthetics at aesthetics innovator Revance, which offers an Elite Aesthetics Account program.
“We have strong data- and experience-driven first principles that inform our elite account program, including understanding the explosive potential in the aesthetics market, as well as the tough headwinds our partner practices are facing,” she continued.
“If a brand partner is going to be right for your business, then first things first: they need to understand the underlying market dynamics that affect your day-to-day.”
– Taryn Conway, Vice President of Marketing, Aesthetics at Revance
Does the partner you’re considering understand what you’re facing—and are their program terms set up to promote your practice’s success? Here are four questions you should ask to help you understand whether elite account status is worth pursuing with a new aesthetics partner.
1. Do they see you as a commoditized “distribution pipe” to your clients — or a partner?
Be wary of account contracts that treat your practice like a faceless cog in that brand’s distribution machine.
You can pick these contracts out of a lineup if you know what to look for: they often feel punitive, with time-based quotas that charge you a penalty if you fall short of moving a minimum number of product vials or boxes through your practice.
Instead, seek out agreements that treat your practice like a partner, giving you both the tools, and the terms, you need to grow your practice with their offering—terms that make each procedure as profitable as possible instead of locking you into a grinding volume game.
Revance uses its contract terms to promote its partner practices’ success. “We do not believe in creating a ‘hostage’ situation with our customers, who are all small business owners,” says Conway.
“Instead, we choose to partner with our Elite Aesthetic practices to grow their business together, leveraging a simple and transparent pricing model for our products and services that is resonating” with aesthetic practice owners, she added.
Revance gives their Elite Aesthetics Accounts the ability to order volumes that reflect demand in their local market. It’s a far cry, they say, from how other contracts are built, using Wall Street-targeted business metrics from a faraway corporate office to dictate how much product each partner practice “should” move every quarter.
In short, make sure your aesthetic partners offer terms that work for your business — and your timeline.
“We choose to partner with Elite Aesthetic Practices to grow their business together.”
2. Do they care about your practice’s profitability?
In an industry predicated on expertise and quality, your brand partnerships are missing the mark if your ability to be profitable is based on performing a nearly-unattainable volume of procedures at razor-thin margins.
Industry-wide, according to ASPS data, practice margins on neurotoxins have declined 11 percent in the last decade—and margins have cratered by 20 percent on dermal fillers.
One of the key dynamics driving this disappearing profitability? Manufacturers’ prices have far outpaced the rate at which practices can increase their consumer-facing prices.
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Make sure your partnerships, and the contracts that undergird them, allow you to unlock incremental revenue from each and every client who books with your practice. It goes back to seeking an ethos of partnership, instead of brands that treat your practice as a dispensable and commoditized “distribution channel” whose only value is in trading product for dollars.
“We focus on restoring consumer loyalty to individual practices, not merely driving purchases for our brands,” says Conway. “We are invested in, not indifferent to, our practice partners’ success.”
She noted that while many of their aesthetic competitors increased prices in 2021, just as practices could have benefited from grace in the midst of pandemic recovery, Revance held prices steady so practices could maintain healthy margins.
3. What are their core values? Do they believe what you believe?
And, really—do you even know what they stand for?
It might sound a little nebulous, but seeking shared values is about as brass tacks as it gets when it comes to creating favorable partnerships between your practice and a brand.
Does your practice prize your brand’s positioning as a premium, outcomes-focused provider that strives to create strong, enduring and value-added relationships with aesthetic clients who seek quality—and will pay a premium for it?
“We focus on restoring consumer loyalty to individual practices, not merely driving purchases for our brands”
If so, then aligning with an aesthetic partner whose terms don’t enable you to carry those values forward will lock you into a dangerous spiral.
“In our case,” says Conway, “we don’t believe in driving consumers to aesthetic treatments through coupon and discount programs—something that our competition heavily relies on for all consumer promotions for their brands.”
The reason? While coupons and discounts might be an expedient way to drive footfall for price-conscious consumers, “they do not deliver practice loyalty—they drive purchase to a specific brand.”
Here’s what’s at play. Consumers have many choices for aesthetic treatments in this market. Lasers, toxins, and fillers are plentiful and non-differentiated in the consumer’s eye. And when products are non-differentiated, coupons are one of the go-to ways many manufacturers attract consumers.
The problem is that this way of attracting consumers has nothing to do with the outcomes injectors provide vis-a-vis the coupons they endorse. Coupons attract deal shoppers who learn to buy only when there’s a promotion and are disincentivized from considering the level of skill, outcomes, and experience at your practice when deciding where to book follow-up treatments.
Carefully consider whether a brand’s terms on incentives like coupons are conducive, in the long term, to your building the practice you want to create. Are you truly driving loyalty to your practice? Or are you driving repeat purchases for a manufacturer’s brand instead?
4. Do they empower you to be truly cutting edge?
We know that aesthetics is an incredibly exciting and dynamic growth market—the site of enormous innovation and technical excellence on the part of practitioners, where being known as one of the best still provides a marked business advantage.
So ask yourself: “Am I selling old technology to my clients?”
“We’re prioritizing products that position our practice partners to be innovators for their own clientele,” says Conway.
And in the filler market, the Revance Aesthetics RHA Collection offers the only HA filler technology innovation to hit the U.S. market in the past 15 years.
“We knew that injectors across the country wanted new hyaluronic acid filler technology,” Conway continued. “So we’ve delivered that with products like The RHA Collection, which is the first and only designer HA filler that is FDA approved for dynamic wrinkles and folds.”
Next, ask yourself whether injectors’ techniques in administering the latest procedures deliver the most optimal possible results to your clientele. Your aesthetic partners should offer training that empowers you and your staff to be best-in-class providers of their product and service innovations.
“We’re prioritizing products that position our Elite partners to be innovators for their own clientele.”
“To date, we’ve trained over 2,500 injectors through our world-class live and on-demand needle-to-skin training curriculum led by industry-renowned trainers across the globe,” says Conway.
Trainees laud the program for teaching techniques they can immediately use in their practices. One recent training attendee credited the program for being “by far the most valuable training I’ve attended—truly applicable clinical and injection insights I can use tomorrow.”
Lastly, is your partner seeking ways to use their marketplace position, resources, and expertise to help your business grow?
With OPUL, their first-of-its-kind relational commerce platform for aesthetics, Revance is helping their customers move from one-and-done transactions to more meaningful relationships, deeper insights into their businesses, greater recurring revenue, and higher consumer lifetime value. Practices are quite literally buying it, with more than $500 million in processing volume already achieved from their initial launch in 2021.
Here’s an extra credit question: would the elite account partnership you’re seeking choose to decline your business if your practice didn’t align with their values? Because if a brand is genuinely focused on alignment, shared values, and practice success when formulating their elite partnership programs, then exclusivity should actually run both ways.
“The prestige market for aesthetics is comprised of expertly created products and services that are available exclusively in select practices who produce an exceptional consumer experience and outcomes,” says Conway, adding that manufacturers who take a more aggressive approach to injector programs are flooding the market with new injectors, putting downward pressure on price.
When considering practices for their Elite Aesthetics Account program, Revance reviews the practices’ public-facing websites and marketing to understand whether they’re in alignment with the company’s values.
“We want to work with aesthetic business owners who want to be part of a ‘prestige’ market, those focused on providing superior results and outstanding client experiences—and we have and will say ‘no’ to customers who portray an environment of heavy discounting, as well as overdone or unnatural-looking results.”
If a brand is willing to decline a contract with your practice based on principle—well, they may just be worth a second look.
Revance Aesthetics is building the prestige market for aesthetics comprised of expertly curated products and services that are available exclusively in select practices who produce exceptional consumer experiences and outcomes. For more information, visit us at www.revanceaesthetics.com/elite.