Chris Yano: A Blunt Assessment of What Your Digital Marketing Plan Needs 

Michael PersingerMay 13th, 2020

Chris Yano doesn’t mince words. A former race car driver who runs a digital marketing consulting business that works solely with the trades, Yano comes at you fast.  And nothing gets by.

Yano, CEO of Ryno Strategic Solutions and co-host of “To the Point” podcast, shared his strategies, fast and furious, with ServiceTitan’s Jackie Aubel for a webinar in May 2020

His company focuses on lead tracking and reporting, because he believes those are key to success for digital marketing for HVAC, plumbing and electrical companies, and anyone else in home or commercial services. 

“I believe it is what has made us not just a vendor, but a great partner for the trades,” Yano says. 

He shared tips on ways to track marketing in the home and commercial services industries—and what your program should look like. These are the top takeaways. Buckle up. 

Here are the top takeaways:

1. If you’re not tracking everything—even tiny details—you don’t KNOW.

If there’s anything we have learned during the Covid-19 pandemic, it’s to make sure you know what’s going on with your company. “What this has done is put a microscope on some of the things that you can fix moving forward,” he said.

And if your agency isn’t helping you track data, it is doing you a disservice, Yano says, because decisions on how your business spends marketing money depend on lead tracking and reporting. If your business hires someone to help with marketing, they should be sharing all the details about all your leads. And if they don’t?

“There is something in there that they do not want to be transparent about,” Yano says “Something is off.”

2. Not all leads are created equal. Don’t let the cost be equal, either.

Yano says he’s frustrated by the way some other marketing companies define leads. 

“I get sick of hearing, ‘my cost per lead is $28,’” he says. “Is it like a contact form that is submitted or a call that’s submitted, regardless of whether it was a new customer or a repeat customer? That’s not how we determine a lead.” 

If you don’t have time to separate new customers from repeat in the reporting, your agency should be doing it for you, he says.

“It’s not that difficult to do,” Yano says. “The reason people don’t do it is bodies.” 

3. Software that listens to keyword triggers is not accurate enough.

Ryno, which employs more than 100 people, listens to every call, categorizes each call, tracking date, time, location of caller, CSR name, booking status, objections, a call transcript and more. 

“I’m not willing to sacrifice the cleanest data ever to save money,” Yano says. “It’s just not worth it for me.”

That level of detail identifies problems and training opportunities, and lets businesses solve problems. 

4. Someone from your organization has to listen to every call. No exceptions. 

If a trade business owner can’t listen to every call, assigning someone to do that is essential. Purchase a call tracking number, then have a human being listen to each call.

“I don’t mean like every other call or every third call, I’m talking every call,” Yano says. “You have got to know what you’re spending your money on.”

Listening to every call requires a lot of time, and Yano says he understands. The payoff is worth it.  

“Listening to your phone calls every day is not awesome,” Yano says. “I know because I have done it. But it’s a key component to the success of this thing. 

“There is no substitute for human beings listening to your phone calls.”

5. You should never, ever, guess on what your return is on marketing dollars.

If a company is paying an agency to bring in customers, it should expect information beyond the numbers. Statistics on SEO, pay per click and direct mail are good to have. But knowing what’s behind those stats is better. 

“I need to know from search to sale how we’re doing if I’m going to truly know how my team is doing,” Yano says. “This is what you should expect from your agency. It will allow you to make very good decisions. You need facts down to the dollar.”  

Using ServiceTitan makes that easier, Yano says. “Then we can see all of our data on the front end and what you actually closed on the back end, to make that return on investment really easy to find,” Yano says. “Then it’s very transparent on exactly what is happening.”

6. You deserve call data that doesn’t leave you guessing. 

If you have 270 calls in a month, it’s important to know exactly what they were. 

“If a human being listens to every one, I know that 150 were repeat callers,” Yano says. “If someone called in on the first (of the month) and said they would call back on the fifth, and they call back, that is not classified as two leads, it’s classified as one. 

“That’s now what you get with a lot of agencies.”

How many brand new, bookable service leads were brought in? How many calls were miscellaneous, like a caller looking to talk to an employee? 

Every call, Yano says, has to be classified. Referral leads should be taken out of the equation. Solicitations. Missed calls. Parts calls. Calls from a direct mail campaign. 

“We need to know what the purpose of every call was,” Yano says. “This makes it crystal clear what revenue came in from these leads, because everything you need is attached to that lead. There’s no guessing, and that’s the way it should be with all digital marketing. No exceptions.”

7. There are a number of ways to track leads. Use them all. 

Call and lead tracking can be done through dedicated call tracking phone numbers (ALWAYS use local), internet domain extensions, coupon codes, unique offers and more. But everything you do marketing-wise should utilize tracking. 

“A call tracking number is a call tracking number, and they’re super cheap,” Yano says. “It’s like going to the gym. Getting there is 60 percent of the battle, maybe even 90 percent of the battle. But you’ve got to have somebody actually listen to it and utilize it.”

8. If your CSRs suck, it’s your fault. 

Once you are holding your agency accountable for lead volume and listening to your phone calls what’s next? You have to make sure your CSRs are on point. 

“If your CSRs suck, it’s your fault,” Yano says. “It’s on you. Put something in place for it. Getting the phone numbers is half the battle. Listening to the phone calls is a big step in the right direction on figuring out what’s actually working. But the phone number is going to roll to your company, and somebody is answering that phone who has to sell that lead. They’ve got to get it done.”

If they don't, maybe they just don’t know. Listen for coaching opportunities in call recordings.

“The best thing you can do is have them listen to their own phone calls,” Yano says. “Will they cringe? Absolutely they’re gonna cringe. And so will you when you hear a bad call. But it’s not a negative. You’re trying to fix the problem.”

But remember to equally give praise for good calls. “There are a lot of calls that go right,” Yano says. 

The bottom line

Using tracking numbers is the first step. Listening to calls is essential. But holding your agency accountable is huge, Yano says. So is knowing your return on investment, owning the issues and making the changes that need to be made. 

But demand transparency, and data, on every lead, so you can accurately calculate the cost. 

“You’ve got to know,” Yano says. “You have to know 100 percent where you stand.” 


ServiceTitan is a comprehensive home and commercial services business software solution built specifically to help companies streamline their operations, boost revenue, and achieve growth. Our award-winning, cloud-based platform is trusted by more than 100,000+ contractors across the country.

Ready to learn more about what ServiceTitan can do for your business? Contact our team to schedule a demo today.

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