Step into a world where leadership is rooted in love, service, and authentic connection. In this empowering episode of “Here We Grow,” Valve+Meter founding member and Vice President of Brand Experience at MAX Service Group, Matt Tyner, takes us on a transformative journey filled with insights, wisdom, and practical strategies for success as a mission-driven servant leader.
But Matt’s wisdom doesn’t end there. Hear Matt’s story about how reaching out to a competitor shaped new opportunities for growth and collaboration. Explore the revolutionary concept of leading through love and service, and witness firsthand how these principles invite others to give you permission to lead. You’ll come away feeling inspired to unlock your full potential by being service-oriented in your relationships.
Tune in to “Here We Grow” and be part of the journey toward a future where love, service, and leadership converge to create remarkable growth and purpose-driven success.
To learn more about the podcast and Marcia Barnes’ book Here We Grow: The Marketing Formula to 10x Your Business and Transform Your Future, visit https://mathbeforemarketing.com/podcast/.
- Embrace the Power of Love, Service, and Leadership: When these principles guide your business, there is no limit to what you can achieve.
- Cultivate Authentic Relationships: Trust and loyalty are the keys to long-term success.
- Data-Driven Growth is Key: Use data to drive your marketing efforts and measure results for continuous improvement.
- Focus on Operational Efficiency: Operational efficiency will help you exceed revenue expectations while maintaining your core identity.
Marcia Barnes [00:00:00]:
You. Sometimes I think we mistranslate the feelings or thoughts we have in moments of stress. When you’re in a confrontation, you might feel that you deserve the treatment you receive. This is when you have to pause and assess what is going on. Ask yourself if you’re really wrong or out of line. Is this something you really need to give credence to or hear? Is this constructive criticism, maybe in the form of shouting? Or is it bullshit? Figuring out where that tension lies and getting good at discerning it is a skill that is irreplaceable in anything business raising children, leading groups, and personal relationships. I recently got into a business situation with a bully. My team was delivering strategy to a client who began bullying all of us within five minutes of the start of our presentation.
Marcia Barnes [00:00:48]:
I intervened and tried to be graceful while holding my authority. The man knew the value of my team and the experience I brought to the table. He was in his sixties and getting ready to hand over his $16 million business to his son, which is understandably stressful. But after trying to diffuse this tense situation for about 70 minutes, I had to stop the meeting. An earlier version of myself would have said that I probably deserve what this client is giving me. It’s okay if he bullies me because I can handle the stress, but I’m very aware that my team can’t. The body reacts when someone bullies you. The brain releases cortisol, which fogs your mind.
Marcia Barnes [00:01:26]:
So now you’re not able to do your best. Strategic thinking, presenting, or communication. All of that gets blurry when you see somebody else being bullied. The physical response is worse. That’s the empathetic nature of the human condition. When my team saw me get pushed by the client in the first five minutes of the meeting, they were making mistakes in their delivery throughout the presentation because the situation impaired their brains from working the way they should. Another leader might have blamed the team for giving a bad presentation. That was not the case.
Marcia Barnes [00:01:58]:
I knew it and named it for what it was. So I stood up for my team because they did the best they could under the conditions that were forced upon them. I am not a toxic leader, and that means I will not bring toxic relationships into my business and expect my teams to deal with the fallout. Beyond this being a moral imperative for me, it results in turnover from the stress and pain caused by these relationships. My team saw all of this unfold before their eyes and thanked me for standing up for them. One of the team members, a woman in her late 20s, said, I’ve never seen another woman, or a man for that matter, step up like that and just be point-blank candid with the truth. It really gave me a very good view of what good looks like. That young woman will take this experience with her and it will strengthen her throughout the rest of her career.
Marcia Barnes [00:02:46]:
She will be a conqueror, not a victim.
Here We Grow Narrator [00:02:56]:
This is Here We Grow, a show for growth-minded leaders looking for transformational impact. Hosted by Marcia Barnes. In all areas of life, success ultimately comes down to our relationships. In this episode of Here We Grow, we speak to Matt Tyner, vice president of Brand experience at Max Service Group and a founding member of Valve and Meter where he served as the vice president of marketing. Matt recounts how his dedication to fostering positive relationships with both his colleagues and clients helped him see his way through times of uncertainty.
Marcia Barnes [00:03:31]:
So today at Valvin Meter we wanted to spend some time talking about and kind of digging a little deeper on marketing in times of uncertainty. And my guest today on this topic is my good friend Matt Tyner, the vice president of Brand at Group, Williams Comfort Air, Jarbo Plumbing, Thomas and Galbraith, all the worlds between them now Buckeye in Columbus, Ohio and marketing in times of uncertainty. If you look at the last few years between COVID and economy and all the changes, it certainly is a healthy, rich topic for us to talk about, isn’t it?
Matt Tyner [00:04:07]:
Yeah, it’s been interesting. We’ve had a phenomenal last three, five years of really good growth. I think the industry, it was a surprise that COVID was going to be a blessing to our industry, but ultimately it was. People were at home, they were using their systems, they were using their plumbing a lot more. And that obviously kind of had downstream impacts on our business and had a positive impact overall.
Marcia Barnes [00:04:30]:
So that uncertainty, flipping that one into positive results. But we were all panicked there for.
Matt Tyner [00:04:35]:
A minute, for sure. I remember when we first started hearing that there was going to be the shutdown and all that fun stuff and we were like, what are we going to do? Maintenance is not a requirement. Yes, the service and replacement, those qualified as services that can still be rendered within the home. So we were good there. But it’s like maintenance and that’s a big part of our team. And our company is the maintenance division. Then those are our lifelong relationships with our clients and those we hold extremely valuable. So it’s like, what do we do with these team members? What do we do with these vans? However, been blessed to be surrounded by a lot of good people in the company.
Matt Tyner [00:05:10]:
It’s like, okay, well, how can we use this to benefit? And one of the ideas that we actually had were grocery deliveries. So we repurposed our maintenance division to be able to and we sent out messages to our clients of if you have groceries that need to be picked up at Kroger, if you have at Meier, wherever, let us know. Send us a message, send us the pickup number. We’ll go pick them up. We’ll deliver them to your home. We equipped our team with masks. They still wear their shoe booties. They had gloves, hand sanitizer in each vehicle that we mounted in the back of the service vans or the maintenance vans and just utilize that.
Matt Tyner [00:05:41]:
I look back on it and, yeah, that was super cool to be able to do, but it caused us to have a shift in our mindset of we’re not just an HVAC company, we’re service company. And at the end of the day, what we do is we serve people and we serve them well.
Marcia Barnes [00:05:57]:
Matt Tyner [00:05:57]:
And they can get HVAC service or replacement from anyone, but it’s that experience that they get from.
Marcia Barnes [00:06:04]:
And, you know, a lot of folks might say, brilliant marketing to shift into the grocery delivery and all that. I know you guys well enough to know that came from a very authentic and genuine spot. And I talked to so many people out in the community who needed that delivery, and that was good to see you guys out there on the it.
Matt Tyner [00:06:24]:
Was it was a series of interesting phone calls, interesting story. We kind of thought of it as Caitlin was in the delivery room with Maben, our youngest. It was right when COVID really had shut down at the hospital, so I was the only one there. And I still remember being on the phone with Josh Huck and talking, know, what can we do with these? Hey, here’s an idea. Let’s run with this. And Caitlin looking at me. She said, the doctors are coming in for the delivery. Get off your phone.
Matt Tyner [00:06:53]:
And it was, Fair enough, fair enough, I’ll do that. But yeah, it was a cost to us. It wasn’t like, hey, yeah, this is going to be a genius marketing plan, or anything of that nature. It was just, how can we still give our team ours and still perform some type of service to our clients and our community?
Marcia Barnes [00:07:12]:
Right? Yeah. We talked about in my episode with Steve Kosgrove Wicks Pies, and how they just kept the factory going, kept everybody in their jobs, took that out of their pocket after losing 65% of their restaurant business during that season.
Matt Tyner [00:07:27]:
Marcia Barnes [00:07:28]:
I write in the book about curveballs, when you get curveballs, and I have a process to get through that, and one of the steps in the process is to serve, and then another one is to give, to step back out of the crisis and go, okay, what can I do to help someone else? And I felt like as I was watching that happen, that you guys were tapping into that energy. You’re right. It just really gels you as a team. It gets your mind off of the thing that might be scary for a bit to help somebody else. Very healthy way to react to those curveballs. Yeah.
Matt Tyner [00:08:01]:
And what was cool then, it blossomed into other things like, okay, let’s have coloring book contests for kids. They’re at home, right. They need something to do. Let’s create branded coloring pages and have a contest and give away bikes, do whatever we can. Because at the end of the day, without this community that we’re lucky to serve and that they allow us to serve them, without them, we’re absolutely nothing as a company. And it was a blessing in disguise to just be able to sit back, witness it, learn from it. And then, now how do we continue this servant mindset continuing throughout the business?
Marcia Barnes [00:08:38]:
Right. And you are our friend Kurt Merlau used to call a corn fed handspanked Hoosier.
Matt Tyner [00:08:46]:
Marcia Barnes [00:08:47]:
So you have that community experience embedded in you. Small town Indiana. Ellwood. Grew up in a family of four. Talk to me about the path from there into today.
Matt Tyner [00:09:00]:
Oh, wow. I was extremely blessed to have two phenomenal parents to really help me shape who I am. My mom was always having us try new things. I was very involved in the music side, and I think that really helped me from a creative perspective. But then also my dad was always there step along the way. He was always at the baseball practices, basketball practices, so on and so forth. And I just remember that level of support that they always gave me. And at the end of the day, they’d do anything for anyone and always had some sort of service capacity in which they were doing it, whether it was at church or in the community, at the school, whatever.
Matt Tyner [00:09:37]:
So it really kind of links a lot of that back to that experience and just being blessed to grow up in a small town of a lot of people that support you and that you know, everyone’s name and you’re able to connect with them and know them on a personal level. And I just think that has given blessings. Tenfold, but from there, went to Butler University. Loved my experience there. Just phenomenal business school. Really enjoyed learning business. I joke. I was probably almost kicked out.
Matt Tyner [00:10:04]:
I got a 2.5 GPA my freshman year. Learned a lot of new things, tried a lot of new things, and had a nice sit down with my dad at Pizza Hut. Thank God he took me in public to tell me, like, hey, we got a letter from Butler saying you’ve got a 2.5 and you probably need to get that fixed pretty quick. I was like, okay, lesson served.
Marcia Barnes [00:10:24]:
What kind of GPA was you used to seeing?
Matt Tyner [00:10:27]:
I was always three, five plus in high school, I was not a 2.5 student.
Marcia Barnes [00:10:31]:
Matt Tyner [00:10:32]:
But what really stuck with me is once I got into business school and got into those topics that I was passionate about, that it was easy aside from some accounting classes, but that’s why I’m a marketer.
Marcia Barnes [00:10:45]:
Matt Tyner [00:10:47]:
But it really just helped me grow as an individual, both personally and professionally. And I just absolutely loved my time there. But then I got blessed to be in the home services industry. And I love this industry. Just so many good people, salt of the earth, people that genuinely want to serve. And started at Delta Faucet Company doing a year long internship there. My senior year of college, they had a hiring freeze. Surprise, it was 2010.
Marcia Barnes [00:11:11]:
Oh, wow. There’s a period of uncertainty.
Matt Tyner [00:11:13]:
Right? Here we go again. So they had hiring freeze, but someone recommended me to the VP of Sales and marketing at Habig or a local distributor here in the Midwest and went there for work, was a territory manager on the carrier side. Ended up going then to work @hvac.com. Not what it is today. Now it’s contractor commerce and really worked there of kind of thinking of new ways to approach some things within the industry. But that’s when I also really dug into more of the marketing side from a consumer perspective and learned a lot. Learned a lot there. And then ended up going work for a contractor in Cincinnati, Lexington.
Matt Tyner [00:11:48]:
Loved that. That’s where I got my love for the contracting side, the consumer side of it. Loved it. And then we found our ways, our paths crossed. There was an introduction, I believe, from Jim Brown. He reached out to me on Twitter and said, hey, I have someone that you need to talk with. And that was you. And that’s how I ended up here at Valvin Meter.
Matt Tyner [00:12:05]:
Marcia Barnes [00:12:05]:
Yeah, you really helped us with the founding of the company. And certainly there was a lot of uncertainty in that period of time, too. We just started the business with 14 team members, and we were out there working to get accounts in and deliver results for those. Tell me about what appealed to you about Valve and Meter then. Because it’s been six years, six and a half years, and it’s always interesting to me to go back and see what you remember about that start and the uncertainty.
Matt Tyner [00:12:42]:
I think what I remember about it is I’ve got a lot of things that I’ve taken away from that experience, whether it be the professional side like math before marketing and really digging into things, test scale, things like that. But really more so than that was a lot of the relationships that we had and the value of relationships within business and really how to approach things genuinely. And love on people and love on people well. I’ll never forget the main thing that sold me was when I saw what the LLC was named, Love Serve Lead LLC. I will always remember that. And if these are the principles in which this business wants to operate, I want to be part of that because I can’t see anything going wrong. If you love people well and you serve them and you lead them right, yeah.
Marcia Barnes [00:13:30]:
The construct behind that to kind of tease that out. Our holding company is named Love Serve Lead LLC. And so all of our team members get a paycheck from Love Serve Lead, LLC. Every payroll. And then we DBA is valve and meter performance marketing. So the Love Serve Lead concept comes from where I’ve always seen that I get the best results is when I love people well, that creates in me a desire to serve them. And when I love and serve well, people give me permission to lead them. And if I have permission to lead a team member, an account, something I’m involved in in nonprofit board work, when they give me permission to lead, that’s when transformation begins.
Marcia Barnes [00:14:15]:
Matt Tyner [00:14:16]:
What a phenomenal concept to be able to take now. Right. How many employees have walked through the door here at Valvin Meter and whether they’re still here? They’re not. All of those realms of influences and the sphere of influence now has grown because they’ve taken that with them.
Marcia Barnes [00:14:30]:
Matt Tyner [00:14:30]:
And just that construct was really powerful to me, and I’d say even more so than the marketing side of it.
Marcia Barnes [00:14:37]:
Matt Tyner [00:14:38]:
It was just really serve and serve well.
Marcia Barnes [00:14:40]:
Right. And then we hit a little problem, as a lot of startups do. So 2019 or 18, it was 18 or 19. Somewhere in there, we got a setback with losing a couple of a major account and being so tiny. That sent a period of uncertainty through our PNL, and so I had to cut some top level folks. I was top heavy on my leadership team, and you were in that group. And so I think this is something valuable for us to discuss on the podcast because it has taught me a lot about where I want to be when I need to let somebody go. You had, of course, tons of people coming at you, wanting them to go to work.
Marcia Barnes [00:15:23]:
A lot of good opportunities were popping up, and then they just all kind of got shaky at the same time, and your severance period of time was coming, and you were getting nervous, and I was getting nervous. And so I picked the phone up and I called Jacob Huck over at Williams Comfort Air, and I said, in some markets, I know we’re competitors, but I really need you to trust me on this. I’ve got the guy that your business needs to do digital marketing. You’re behind on digital. Your current marketer doesn’t understand it. You’ve got to talk to him. They hired you. Tell me about how things have gone at the Wrench Group for you since that moment in time.
Matt Tyner [00:16:04]:
Yeah. So we’ve had a phenomenal journey.
Marcia Barnes [00:16:06]:
Matt Tyner [00:16:06]:
I think when we started there, we were about 56 million in revenues. Now we’ve added a location, being Columbus, Ohio. We’ve grown the current locations. We’ve doubled the business in size and more importantly, in team. So we’re able to influence more families and serve more families. And it’s just been an incredible journey. Lots of learning, lots of failing, but also a decent amount of success along the way as well. But that whole situation coming out of Valvin Meter was a blessing in disguise, really, because it gave me my mindset reset, which big for me personally, but then also put me in the hands of some thankful for introductions from you.
Matt Tyner [00:16:48]:
Put me in hands of some good leaders and a good company and one that was operationally sound that it was time to pour on some fire onto the marketing side of things and see things grow responsibly. Because I think that’s the key. We didn’t do it irresponsibly. It was something we’re going to do controlled growth, we’re going to know how to handle this growth and we just need you, Matt, to be able to help bring some of that. But it wasn’t easy out of the gate. There’s a lot of trust that needed to be earned across the organization and there were a lot of new things, new words being tossed around from a marketing perspective. And I think whenever changes happen, there’s a lot of uneasiness but ultimately just had to gain that trust of the team and show them what we can do as a group.
Marcia Barnes [00:17:30]:
Right. Recently I had a colleague that I had worked with prior for many years who was at a different business here in the city and he was let go based on some economic changes for the business he was at. It was very abrupt. There was a couple of weeks of severance and he’s scared to death and he’s got a family to support and reminds me a whole lot of you, he’s so great at what he does. I actually wrote about him in the book. That’s how much he’s a standout. So he let me know and then myself and a couple of other folks made calls, connected him. I got him four interviews.
Matt Tyner [00:18:07]:
Marcia Barnes [00:18:07]:
And he got an amazing offer at the three week mark. Oh, nice on that. I say that because not say, look at me, I did this so many times in business there’s going to be times when things don’t go the way they’re supposed to and we need to change course on headcount and we got to let some people go. As a business person that has to do that sometimes we have a lot of shame and guilt in that and so we tend to be hands off. But what I found is if you get abundance thinking around that and helping those people get placed somewhere else is a very healthy thing to do. Good stewardship of people.
Matt Tyner [00:18:50]:
Marcia Barnes [00:18:51]:
Yeah. And you’ve actually hired some folks that had previously worked at Valvameter too on your team?
Matt Tyner [00:18:56]:
Yeah, we’ve got three that I worked with at some point in Valve and Meter that’s part of the team. And again, I’m a believer if you know good people, take them along the journey with you and help support them and guide them.
Marcia Barnes [00:19:10]:
Yeah, absolutely. So you land at Williams Comfort Air Max group. You’re running digital marketing. There’s a current marketing leader in place. You’re both on this ground of uncertainty of how that’s going to go. How did you manage that, being able to go in and be effective with results and relationships when you’ve got this tension between you and the current marketing leader?
Matt Tyner [00:19:39]:
I think at times tension can be healthy because it forces everyone to get better, think differently, and improve. I also think that we all have our own journeys that we’ve got to really embrace and follow. And there were a lot of things that I needed to learn from the traditional side of things. She had done a phenomenal job helping build the company to where it was.
Marcia Barnes [00:20:01]:
They had brand recognition. Absolutely sitting. As much as I hate that green, and we can cut that out if.
Matt Tyner [00:20:07]:
You want, it’s fine that green is noticeable, and everyone associates it with our brands. And so there were a lot of things that were done really well. The question was, okay, now how are we going to take this kind of a step further? Right. We’re seeing growth, but it was kind of the same growth every year. How can we expedite some of that? Because at the end of the day, if our idea is serving more people, one way to do that is through the families that we employ one of their family members on our team.
Marcia Barnes [00:20:36]:
Matt Tyner [00:20:37]:
So it was an interesting one. I had to learn a lot from the traditional side because digital was always my background.
Marcia Barnes [00:20:44]:
Matt Tyner [00:20:45]:
I had very little kind of familiarity with the traditional side of it, but learned it ended up being promoted to the director of marketing and now the VP of brand experience. And yeah, right now I’m blessed to be able to serve the teams that answer the phones, get the right tech to the right call, the ones that are driving the calls into the call center, and then what that experience is afterwards, and kind of the follow up mechanism and all that fun stuff. And it’s grown me professionally, haven’t forced me to grow professionally through that. Am I perfect? No. But I can tell you I’m going to work hard to try to serve them as well as possible.
Marcia Barnes [00:21:23]:
Right. Yeah. When you got there, the call center did not report to you. You remembered what I taught you?
Matt Tyner [00:21:31]:
Marcia Barnes [00:21:32]:
And I actually think we had a conversation about it where I was telling you until I had at Defenders where we went from 2 million to over 400 million until I had sales reporting to me as just the marketing department. I didn’t have enough leverage or influence to be able to get the processes and expectations and key performance indicators to support. Answer the phone. Right. So what’s that looked like for you? How did you talk the business into doing that? You got a lot of buy in over there over the first twelve months. That was unusual in that scenario.
Matt Tyner [00:22:10]:
So it’s building the relationships and earning the trust, right. Those are two things that I’ve kind of identified and kept with in this. You got to build the relationships. At the end of the day, we’re all doing business with people, and we’re all serving together for a common goal. So building those relationships and then also the trust component of it. And trust comes in the form of a lot of different things, and one of those being results. And that was one thing that helped me in the growth here at Max Service Group, really was getting the results from a digital perspective, driving leads that were needed and helping transform some areas of our business to be able to have everything needed to build the businesses in a way in which they wanted to build them. And then it all comes data.
Matt Tyner [00:22:51]:
Right. It comes down to, okay, well, if we have this abandoned rate in the call center, we know the funnel downstream, what that’s going to look like? And we know if we don’t answer these calls, it could be an impact of several million dollars to the business.
Marcia Barnes [00:23:03]:
Matt Tyner [00:23:04]:
And then just really offering up my help to say, hey, I think I have a little bit of background that can help with this, and then just trying to lead the best way possible to do that. But everyone always focuses down funnel and forgets kind of that entry. Right. It’s like everyone’s marketing, marketing, marketing, and then they forget about everything that happens before the sale.
Marcia Barnes [00:23:25]:
Right. A lot of the accounts you and I worked on together at Valve and Meter, we would get the folks in as a client and just be shocked that 65, 70% of calls being answered, lead ROMs not being replied to. And that’s enough in a $5 million company that’s spending eight to 10% of market revenue on marketing. Not that I believe you should do that. I’m just saying if you’re missing answering 30% to 35% of your calls, that’s enough to pay for your marketing.
Matt Tyner [00:23:51]:
Marcia Barnes [00:23:52]:
So that’s always sad to see that we always test the client with a call into the call center before we’ll take them on. So I end up testing your response times a lot with folks who are wanting to look at you as a competitor. And you guys are so fast. You’re faster than anybody that I see across the country three times in a row now, we’ve had you at 1 second.
Matt Tyner [00:24:14]:
It’s that speed lead, right? And you have a whole white paper and book on it.
Marcia Barnes [00:24:20]:
Well, yeah, you have to put that together. You did the study.
Matt Tyner [00:24:23]:
And that is so important because we realize there are big national players that do have call centers put in place. Systems, processes. And with technologies these days, the smaller mid sized companies can compete.
Marcia Barnes [00:24:38]:
Matt Tyner [00:24:38]:
They just got to understand that they need to compete.
Marcia Barnes [00:24:41]:
Matt Tyner [00:24:41]:
Because that speed to lead is critical because I know if I’m going to take a lead from one of the Lead Gen Partners, I know it’s probably going to also go to three to five other people. It’s up to me now. Now it’s a race.
Marcia Barnes [00:24:51]:
Matt Tyner [00:24:51]:
And I want to make sure we have a van in their driveway before anyone even calls them.
Marcia Barnes [00:24:56]:
Matt Tyner [00:24:57]:
And that’s how we’re able to show that sense of urgency. And we just put a priority on it. We have a team that’s dedicated to it because we know that that is a need. Whether it comes from lead gen partners, website forms answering in the call center, we really drive towards that less than 1% abandoned rate. And that is just core to who we are.
Marcia Barnes [00:25:14]:
Right. Yeah. When you were at Valvin Meter, you had the team as you collaborated with a couple of other people, I believe we studied 450 home services businesses across the country. We submitted a web form lead onto their website, and then we measured the amount of time that it took to get a return response. So when you say about say that you want to be in the driveway before anybody else, sometimes it’s not that hard because 40% of folks never responded to the lead form. The average length of time that it took was 6 hours and 40 minutes.
Matt Tyner [00:25:48]:
I have three appointment windows in that time frame. I can get there.
Marcia Barnes [00:25:52]:
Right. And 5% of the companies responded within five minutes. So I just said, you guys are coming in, like, under 1 minute. I said 1 second before, but I meant 1 minute. You guys are coming in under a minute every time I test you. I think there was one time it came in at 20 minutes. I picked the phone up and called you and said, hey, Matt, check this lead.
Matt Tyner [00:26:15]:
We’ve got a problem if it’s 20 minutes.
Marcia Barnes [00:26:17]:
Yeah, but 20 minutes is I run maybe 20 of these tests a month.
Matt Tyner [00:26:22]:
Marcia Barnes [00:26:22]:
And we very rarely see anybody under five minutes.
Matt Tyner [00:26:25]:
Marcia Barnes [00:26:25]:
Yeah. Every once in a while we will, but yeah. Going from there, let’s talk more about operational excellence and that flywheel. Marketing is bringing in leads. We’re getting the phones answered now. What do we need from the sales team to really help you hit your goals on your results in marketing?
Matt Tyner [00:26:43]:
Yeah. So sales and service are critical. They have a part in this entire funnel in the journey of that customer through completion. And you got to build that value.
Marcia Barnes [00:26:52]:
Matt Tyner [00:26:52]:
Got to build that value and talk about the value, because I think oftentimes we get, okay, well, here’s your price. See you later. And it’s like they’re going to get that same or maybe less, maybe more price from someone else that’s going to come out. Right. Average consumer is going to get anywhere between three and five quotes on a new system. It’s not the system that’s not. What we’re selling. And as an industry, we’ve got to disconnect from that.
Matt Tyner [00:27:18]:
It is not the system that we’re selling. We’re selling a solution, but we’re selling our service.
Marcia Barnes [00:27:22]:
Matt Tyner [00:27:23]:
Because that solution can even be done by competitors. But that level of service we provide, that’s what others can’t do. And we’ve got to talk about that. We’ve got to talk about and this is as an industry, not even just us. We’ve got to talk about what we’re doing in the community, right? We’ve got to be talking about things that matter to people, not just in the moment of discomfort, but throughout life and talk about what we’re doing in the community. We need to be talking about how we back things up from a craftsmanship perspective and a warranty perspective, because if we’re installing these mechanical pieces of equipment correctly, they have a lifetime, right? They have a lifetime to live, and it may be 1215 years, but they are designed, if installed correctly, to operate over that lifetime. And so we shouldn’t be concerned if we’re doing everything on our side. We should be able to back it up, but then talk about the team, how we have.
Matt Tyner [00:28:15]:
I think for a period of time, specifically at Max Service Group, we were scared at times to talk about how big we have grown and how many team members we have and so on and so forth. And to me, that doesn’t make sense. Yes, you want to be local, but big companies can be local. Big companies can be involved in the community because ultimately our teams live in those communities, whether it be our Cincinnati branch, Louisville branch, columbus, Ohio here, whatever. They’re still living and they’re still serving those local communities. Talking about how you’ve been able to grow a business and be successful in service and letting people know we have 600 and some employees that are ready to serve our clients on a daily basis, that’s not a bad thing.
Marcia Barnes [00:29:01]:
Matt Tyner [00:29:02]:
And I think we need to shift our mindset as an industry and not constantly present ourselves as a price.
Marcia Barnes [00:29:08]:
Matt Tyner [00:29:08]:
But present ourselves on the value and celebrate what we’ve built, because the client is part of that journey and part of that success as well. So let’s thank them for it.
Marcia Barnes [00:29:17]:
Right. I’ve been impressed with what you folks have been doing on skilled. This is a skilled trades environment.
Matt Tyner [00:29:23]:
Marcia Barnes [00:29:24]:
And people who are licensed and trained for skilled trades, they’re scarce in the marketplace to scary levels. And yet you guys have spent invested time and resources in talking to high school students about a journey into skilled trades. You’ve created training and development programs to help them experience a life in the trades. And there’s some real benefits to that. I’m not saying you don’t need to go to college, but you don’t need to go to college to be in skilled trades and have a fantastic career.
Matt Tyner [00:29:51]:
A phenomenal career.
Marcia Barnes [00:29:52]:
Yeah. So what are you seeing on that front of how you’re bringing folks in that are going into skilled trades that are new to it?
Matt Tyner [00:29:59]:
Yeah, so we’ve always had a program. It was just never branded, per se, but for years we’ve had a program of, okay, someone enters as maintenance tech. One goes to two, service tech one, two, three. Right. It’s all mapped out. They know what they can get paid at the various levels. They also know then what their skills and expectations are at those different levels, and we can dispatch to them. But we’ve recently made it more intentional in creating Max University.
Matt Tyner [00:30:25]:
Right. Max, for everyone that’s on the podcast or listening to it, max is the little guy that’s on all of our trucks.
Marcia Barnes [00:30:30]:
Matt Tyner [00:30:31]:
Our mascot. So we have Max University, and we’ve gone through our first class in which they go through I think it was almost three months of training, a lot of that being how we treat our clients because we have to treat them well and serve them well. But then also the technical side of it, okay, here’s what we do in maintenance. And because we realized maintenance is the feeder program, any home services company will agree that’s where we can get team members in, get them bought into the culture, get them understanding our systems and processes, and then moving them into more of the technical roles because we can teach people the technical side. We have some phenomenal, technically sound individuals within the company that can fix anything they go to, and they also can happen to train folks as well. So we’ve got that. We need people that are going to believe in our culture, believe in our mission, and have conversations with clients on how to help them be more comfortable within their home. So yeah.
Matt Tyner [00:31:24]:
Max you. We started here recently and kind of went through the first class there, and it was just a phenomenal experience to see because the camaraderie coming out of that with these team members that are young and not the energy and the stickiness they have to us and that we have to them is just phenomenal to see. And I love seeing the client reviews coming in about how well they’re serving our clients and community.
Marcia Barnes [00:31:47]:
That’s lovely. My opinion is, in marketing, we will deal with more uncertainty than any other business unit.
Matt Tyner [00:32:01]:
Marcia Barnes [00:32:01]:
So what we need is we need operational excellence from the rest of the business unit so that it supports trying to take some of the uncertainty out of that marketing front. If we don’t have that, we don’t have good Barnes at sales, operations, finance, then what happens in businesses like that is they just point everything back to our problem as the marketing department.
Matt Tyner [00:32:22]:
Yes, that’s a common thing.
Marcia Barnes [00:32:24]:
We deal with that.
Matt Tyner [00:32:25]:
Right. We eventually become used to it. But I think a lot of people discount on the operational efficiency, and I think specifically last three years of growth we’ve seen in the home services industry due to the Pandemic, I really think a lot of people were able to out revenue some of their operational inefficiencies. And I think what we’re seeing now is those are catching up because you can’t out revenue it right.
Marcia Barnes [00:32:48]:
The current state of the industry is we had heavy price increases the last three years, so it gave businesses a false sense of growth when they really were just raising their prices. We had favorable economic conditions for the last five years. We’ve had hot summers for five years straight. And now we’re in a period where the summer has been mild, the demand is not there, pricing is not increasing at the rate that it has been before. In that set of uncertainty, what do you think people need to be paying attention to that own these HVAC businesses?
Matt Tyner [00:33:20]:
Got to get back to the basics, right? And I know a lot of people are saying that within the industry, but it’s true. You’ve got to dial in the operations side of it because if you’re not going to be able to outperform your revenue and you’re still wanting to get this number, you’re going to be getting it through your operational efficiency side of it, through the financials. And I think that’s where a lot of people really need to dig in and understand because we even saw it within our business, we were growing, growing, growing. And now we’re not growing as much. Still growing, but not as much. And now it’s like, hey, here are some things we stopped doing when we were through that period of growth. We need to get back to that, right? Because that was a core of our identity or our DNA as a company and really coming back to those things and really driving into that because marketing is going to capture the intent that’s out there. Right, but if the intent is low, the intent is low.
Matt Tyner [00:34:11]:
And there were so many factors involved in the last three years. I mean, heck, we had government programs that were getting to HVAC. The cash for clunkers in the HVAC industry was coming to maturity at 1015 years. So all those systems were coming into market, the houses that were built after the housing crisis. Now we’re starting to get to the fruition or get to the age that systems need to be replaced. And it was a really good time, but now we’ve got to get back to doing our jobs, right? That’s going to be uncomfortable for some. Some will understand how to handle it, some won’t, right?
Marcia Barnes [00:34:42]:
We deal with a lot of small home services companies, like three to five to 8 million, some that are larger, and they’ve kind of been in this abyss of the demand was high, the pricing was going up, giving the false sense of growth. And then on the skilled trades front, the bigger companies like yours, when it gets hot, they’re going to overflow or really cold, they’re going to overflow on capacity and then that goes to the smaller dealers. Right. But you don’t have much overflow happening this year, so that’s going to create a problem for these smaller dealers. So I think you would agree we’re going to see some folks that have not been keeping their marketing up to date or systems improvement or getting those phones answered. It’s going to be problematic from a marketing perspective if I’ve not brought my marketing up to date, if I’ve not been doing things consistently to move with the pack. What should I be thinking about right now?
Matt Tyner [00:35:35]:
Know your numbers. First off, you got to know them before you can correct them. So really digging into that, either it’s you as a business owner, whoever owns the marketing function in the business, if you’re partnering with a marketing agency, understand those numbers and hold yourself the agency internal team, whomever accountable to really making sure that we’re driving as much as possible. But yeah, it’s going to be a very interesting time. I’ve kind of talked about this for the last probably eight to ten months. Our job now as marketers is going to be building trust because as things weaken economically when we had the 2008, it was a housing bubble, there was someone to blame for what happened.
Marcia Barnes [00:36:19]:
Matt Tyner [00:36:20]:
For what we’re experiencing now. There are so many variables that have come into play and if we do happen to go back into a recession or anything of that nature, it’s going to be a lot of things that happened to cause that and people aren’t going to have someone to blame and say that’s what caused it. So there’s just going to be a lot of uncertainty within people and within their mindset. Our job as home services contractors and from marketers in home services, I really believe over these next two, three years is making sure we are telling the story of trust so that our clients know that they can come to us when they need the services.
Marcia Barnes [00:36:56]:
That’s a great point. Yeah. Now I write a lot about transformation and here we grow and I know you’re a transformation guy and I’ve been able to watch that in you over the last several years. Talk to me about when have you seen somebody really go from here to there that transformational story that you’ve observed and say there’s somebody that’s got it going on.
Matt Tyner [00:37:18]:
Yeah. So I hope he doesn’t fire me for saying it’s. Actually, it’s actually my boss, Greg Wells. He’s the president of Max Service Group and he hasn’t always been president. I think now it’s been two years, I believe, and it’s been really cool to sit back on the leadership team perspective and be able to see Greg’s growth professionally. He started in the company and the safety side of it in managing fleet and safety, then grew into director of sales. So he was leading our sales organization and then into the President’s role. And it’s been really cool seeing someone that’s not a natural extrovert come into a position but be able to lead outgoingly because he approaches it from a perspective of genuine empathy and genuine care.
Matt Tyner [00:38:08]:
And I think that’s been cool to be able to watch him flourish in that role and really lead people and lead them well through not only the last several great years, but also through this year that it’s been tougher being successful, but it’s tougher. It’s taken a lot more work to be successful and it’s been cool to be able to witness that and see how he’s able to lead people through that journey.
Marcia Barnes [00:38:33]:
Right? Yeah, that’s great. I’m like you, but outside watching and it’s exciting what he’s doing over there and how he’s grown into that position and of course, has a lot of great leaders around him too. But yeah, that’s that’s perfect, the way that you’ve seen him that way. One of the things that I think these businesses should be doing is coming to Valve and Meter to get a free marketing assessment. You talked about knowing your numbers, get somebody who knows what they’re doing to look under the hood, especially on your digital marketing to make sure that you’re up to date on the current practices.
Matt Tyner [00:39:05]:
Absolutely. 100% agree.
Marcia Barnes [00:39:07]:
Yeah. Matt, we’re super appreciative of you stopping in with us today and talking through marketing in times of uncertainty. I love our relationship and I appreciate everything you’ve done for us here.
Matt Tyner [00:39:18]:
Absolutely. I appreciate it. And thanks for having me on.
Marcia Barnes [00:39:20]:
Here We Grow Narrator [00:39:21]:
Thank you for joining us. For here we grow this show is proudly brought to you by Valve and Meter Performance Marketing. Be sure to check out the show notes for exclusive content that will help you become a transformational leader. For more, visit mathbethformarketing.com podcast.