That's a wrap for Pantheon 2022! More than 2,000 contractors were in attendance this week at the historic Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum for three days of inspirational talks, hands-on product sessions, and a glimpse into the future of ServiceTitan.
ServiceTitan introduces Titan Intelligence to help contractors leverage industry data
ServiceTitan co-founder Vahe Kuzoyan introduced Titan Intelligence, a new way ServiceTitan data can help contractors, on Friday at Pantheon.
Leveraging the power of artificial intelligence and the data of ServiceTitan customers (with their consent), Titan Intelligence can inform and optimize decisions in contracting businesses based on data, in real time.
Still in its infancy, eventually Titan Intelligence will give data “superpowers” to every user of ServiceTitan.
“What’s different about Titan Intelligence is it’s not a separate product, or some one-off enhancement to an existing capability,” Kuzoyan said. “It’s a fundamentally new muscle that’s eventually going to add superpowers to every facet of ServiceTitan.”
The introductory capabilities include Smart Dispatch, pricing comparisons, automated Google ad optimization, and more.
“Titan Intelligence marries your data with external data and generates insights for your business,” Chief Technology Officer Anmol Bhasin said. “Data aggregation and this mashup of internal data with external data, this aggregate intelligence, we can come with data on how businesses like yours are pricing their services.”
This first step features a benchmark report, available to every ServiceTitan customer, that shows how their business stacks up with other contractors today.
Watch the keynote on-demand here:
Works Plumbing owners win Ford Raptor for referring contractors to ServiceTitan
Contractors like trucks. And now, Patrick and Margaret Besinga, co-owners of Works Plumbing & Rooter in Pacifica, Calif., have a brand new one for being the most proficient ServiceTitan customers at referring new contractors to the software.
Their custom-wrapped 2022 Ford F-150 Raptor is on top of the referral bonuses they already received – $500 for each contractor who sits for a demo, plus 10% of the annual cost of ServiceTitan once the referral is active on the software for three months.
The Besingas' team at Works Plumbing was watching via live stream, and some of the contractors they referred to the software sat in the front row at Pantheon with them.
“We refer future Titans because we believe in the product ServiceTitan can offer for all businesses,” Margaret Besinga told the crowd from the Pantheon stage.
» NBA legend, philanthropist, and entrepreneur Earvin “Magic” Johnson was our grand finale. In The Magic of Winning, Magic shared his incredible journey from NBA superstardom to one of the world’s most influential entrepreneurs. Magic has left his mark on businesses including Starbucks and the Los Angeles Dodgers, and he fosters community and economic empowerment through his investment firm, Magic Johnson Enterprises. It was an amazing end to Pantheon!
Matt Ballard: Selling for Superior Customer Experience
Successful, consistent add-on selling is not about pressuring your technician or customer. It’s about process and setting the technician up for success, according to Matt Ballard, the COO of Snowball Industries.
In his Pantheon 2022 presentation, Ballard encouraged empathy for this new generation of tradesmen who complete training either at a trade school or an apprenticeship and get out in the field, “Only to realize they are not being graded on how good they are at their skilled trade, but on how well they can communicate and sell things.”
Ballard’s remedy for this problem is mindset, product, and process.
In terms of mindset, he says make sure the technician feels empowered and understands the value that they bring to customers. That starts with training your company’s Customer Service Representatives. The add-on selling process begins with the phone call.
Ballard said, “What I like to do is help CSRs understand that if they can just start referring to the technicians as professionals, they’re going to set the technician up for greater success. (Then) it’s the technicians job to be professional in their evaluations and service recommendations.”
The second thing is product. Ballard said the product offering has to be simple. “I like putting products that are low cost that have a high perceived value in service vans.” He says there are items in any trade that fit this bill. For HVAC, it could be smart thermostats or surge protection.
Whatever the product it has to be able to fit on the van, be installed by one person and be able to be done the same day. “If we can check those three boxes, you’re going to be surprised at the success your technicians have at getting customers engaged in more of these add-on type items,” Ballard said.
The third key is process. That begins with the technician asking for professional permission. Ballard suggests: “Mr. and Mrs. Homeowner while I’m in your home today figuring out what’s happening with your air conditioning system, if I notice anything else of concern is it okay if I bring that to your attention?
“That professional permission makes the biggest difference at the end of the service call.”
Ballard said technicians don’t need to sell. You need them to be experts in diagnosing problems and presenting solutions — specifically using the ServiceTitan model of “Good,” “Better,” or “Best.”
“I guarantee you,” Ballard said, “if you have technicians that are consistently presenting three options to the customer that you are tracking and monitoring, their performance will be in direct relationship to the amount of options that they offer the customer.”
Enterprise Hub: Centralizing multi-location management
You asked and we listened. ServiceTitan is launching a central hub for enterprise tenants. The lack of a central multi-location management area has been the biggest operational challenge for these businesses. Until now.
Enterprise Hub will serve as a command and control across multiple ServiceTitan account tenants. This includes the ability to pull reports across multiple locations in one place, work from a centralized contact center, pricebook, and more.
Opening new locations, and acquiring companies are streamlined by simply adding each to Enterprise Hub.
“We already started in Q1 with roll-up reporting, basic user management, and multi-tenant single sign-on. We’re happy to announce that the centralized contact center is now open for beta,” said Paul Littlefield, Senior Director of Product Management at ServiceTitan.
Littlefield’s mention of a centralized pricebook coming to Enterprise Hub in Q2 2022 was met with applause from the audience.
Day 2 Recap
Ara Mahdessian: ‘It’s an absolute honor to host you’
ServiceTitan co-founder and CEO Ara Mahdessian welcomed more than 2,500 ServiceTitan customers to Pantheon 2022 Thursday morning with a simple message.
After an off-script moment that saw Mahdessian’s mother escort him to the stage, he got right to the point.
“It’s an absolute honor to host you here in L.A.,” he said, “in a setting that I think is fit for Titans. It’s fitting because this Coliseum has been home to several Super Bowls, and I’d like to think Pantheon has become the Super Bowl of the trades, where the best, most innovative contractors gather to learn from one another, to form and renew friendships, and to collectively push the frontier of what is possible in this industry to the next level.”
Mahdessian compared the annual revenue of the trades, at $1 trillion per year, to eCommerce ($870 billion) and the U.S. restaurant industry ($630 million).
“This level of impact, this level of importance, is only going to increase in the coming years,” he said.
With that, he welcomed the trades community to Pantheon.
“The amazing part about this community is that we function together, as one unit, looking out for one another,” he said. “I have never seen any other industry where friends, colleagues, partners, even the fiercest competitors, get together, help one another, mentor and network together.”
That, in its simplest form, is what Pantheon 2022 is all about.
Kat Cole: Constantly check the pulse of your business with the right question
Kat Cole was running Cinnabon when the Adkins diet crisis hit. Americans were cutting carbohydrates and sugar out of their diets, and her company specialized in “cinnamon rolls as big as your face.”
Cole, now chief operating officer at Athletic Greens, told a crowd of home and commercial services contractors in a keynote address at Pantheon that she fell back on a question she always asks, including of the employees closest to the action, when she’s in search of solutions.
When do we say no?
That question, in this case, got her the answer the company needed.
“It is a canary in the coal mine, an insight that is an easy way to ask,” Cole said. “When I asked that at Cinnabon, every employee said we say no when customers ask us for smaller portions.”
For Cole, the next step was finding a coalition of willing partners to test the concept, but many franchisees were resistant because they worried about losing revenue.
“Not only was a smaller portion a really smart solution to people who were like, ‘I still want a treat, I just don’t want it to be the size of my face,’” Cole said, ‘it was also a lower price point, of course. Something half the size and half the ingredients could also be half the price. But the franchisees were afraid of trade-down.”
But it worked. A lower price point rarely led to trade-down from existing customers, and it attracted an entirely new set of buyers.
“We ended up rolling out what is now called the MiniBon, a smaller cinnamon roll, and grew top line by 6 percent when traffic was declining 20 percent,” Cole said.
The lesson for contractors? Don’t let fear of doing the obvious thing paralyze your ability to adapt your business, even in good times.
“Listen, learn, lead,” Cole said. “The key to all this is staying close to the action.”
Tommy Mello: Why your next great hire might be at QuikTrip
Tommy Mello’s company, A1 Garage Door, is on pace to do $150 million in revenue this year, with 450 employees – a number that has grown from 150 at the beginning of the pandemic in 2020.
In an industry where the labor shortage can be acute – nearly everyone in the overflow crowd raised their hand when asked if the shortage had affected them – that growth stands out. His apprenticeship program graduates 20-30 technicians a month.
How do Mello and A1 Garage Door do it? Through, he said, having a plan with real goals, a broad net cast for new employees in unusual places – think the clerks at Quick Trip – and a set of traits he looks for.
“I don’t want anybody with experience, and that’s hard to believe because I know most of you say I need a guy with skills, and they’re just not out there,” Mello said. “Hence the phrase, hire for attitude. We’re trying to get the best attitudes in the industry, and give them the skills.”
What does he look for? A potential $1-million-a-month producer in every class, and 17 traits from Perception Predict, a test that compiles psychographic data. Those traits: Control, desire to compete, extraversion, gentleness, materialism avoidance, honesty/humility, internal locus of control, positive psychological capital, Proactive personality, selling self-efficacy, sincerity, social desirability, success motivation, trust, a type-A personality, and zest.
“Can they have a conversation? Eye contact, body language, can they smile when they talk,” he said. “Some guys I meet in the industry, they’re just bitter. They’re cocky, primadonnas. It’s really hard to bring them in because they have all those old habits.”
When he finds the right person, the next task becomes retention, and that comes from focusing on coaching, recognition, and “really love on your people.”
That includes incentivizing them, $1,500 per referral, to find other great employees.
“If every one of your employees found one great person a month, just one, when they go get a haircut, go to the barber, see a busboy, go to my favorite place in the world, QuikTrip, what would happen to your company?” Mello asked. “It would double!”
And, labor problem solved.
Ellen Rohr’s advice on compensation plans: Fix your mess, before it’s too late
Ellen Rohr, President at Zoom Drain, builder of business empires and author of best-selling books, has worked with compensation plans for 30-plus years, so she has learned a lot and, she said, made some big mistakes.
She asked the crowd at a Pantheon breakout session/personal Ellen Rohr dance party to assess the mess they had at their company regarding payroll.
A few raised their hand when she asked who among them had a pay and compensation method that was pretty sound. A few more put their hands up when she asked who had to make a few tweaks, but were almost there.
“So the rest of you are a hot mess?” she asked. “Oh, this is great. Excellent. I’m glad we have some hot messes out there!”
She went through the ways a pay system can go sideways, including having family members involved in the company, rewarding the wrong things and, at an extreme, not being profitable.
Then she outlined a way to fix it.
In short, follow Occam’s Razor: Keep it simple.
Among the ways to do that: Invite technicians to the table when discussing any changes to their compensation, make it simple and transparent, and make sure you explain the why.
“I believe in a transparent, fair, standardized way to pay,” Rohr said. “And when you make it transparent, you impose the fairness.”
And, with luck, clean up your mess.
Trey McWilliams: Why you should get rid of your sales team
Can you grow your business by eliminating your salespeople? That’s what Trey McWilliams, Chief Operating Officer of McWilliams & Son Heating, AC and Plumbing in East Texas did.
McWilliams implemented “call by call management” in 2021. “Our goal was to remove white-collar jobs out of the business,” McWilliams said.
It’s working. His business has 110 employees and is growing.
Call-by-call is an internal management structure meant to maximize success for field technicians by providing on the spot, multi-level support in any and all areas required to achieve exceptional results on every call.
“It’s not for everyone and I’m not trying to sell you on this—I just want to share how it helped us in a big way,” McWilliams said during his Pantheon session. McWilliams' business saw a solution to a common problem: technician hiring. Pay and experience limited his ability to hire and keep field technicians.
By eliminating the layer of salespeople with a call-by-call manager and better supporting technicians, he can afford to grow faster with more, hire-paid technicians.
“I learned from other shops how they implemented different management structures and we landed on call-by-call,” McWilliams said. “So, 95% of our technician hires have no industry experience.”
Instead, McWilliams hires people with solid soft skills who are successfully employed, but looking to earn more. The call by call manager provides individual attention to technicians and provides technical and sales support. As a result, technicians earn more. And by going outside the industry, the candidate pool is much larger.
McWilliams is committed to call by call management going forward.
ServiceTitan harnessing the power of aggregated numbers
It’s all about the data.
ServiceTitan’s SVP of Commercial and Construction Sendur Sellakumar and VP of Customer Experience Tom Howard dug into the statistics that are fueling decisions for contractors in the trades today — and heavily teased Friday’s Product Keynote by ServiceTitan president Vahe Kuzoyan.
ServiceTitan has published several “data dives” about recent trends in the industry — from setting “the perfect diagnostic fee” to a new study about what makes technicians churn. Howard joked that he just wants it to be in ServiceTitan, “Just tell me who is probably going to quit!”
But the power of aggregated data is something that hit home for the contractors at the LA Coliseum, when Howard dug into a key takeaway about tech churn. “The No. 1 indicator of technicians quitting? It’s drive time,” Howard said. “Technicians who drive more than 50 minutes for more than 20% of their jobs are 27% more likely to churn.”
Sellakumar and Howard also teased the arrival (coming soon!) of Dynamic Pricing in ServiceTitan, where contractors can automatically update their prices when vendors change theirs.
Unlock value in your company with creative advertising ideas
An all-female panel shared how they’ve enhanced their companies’ cultures by including their team members in some creative advertising ideas — from TikTok videos to billboards celebrating customers — and how other ServiceTitan users can do the same.
Cassie Pound, the co-owner and president of Quality Heating, Cooling & Plumbing in Tulsa, Okla., says their most recent creative advertising idea was really a manifestation of the company’s core value — Serve People.
“That’s the heart and soul of our company,” Pound said. “We want to serve our customers. We want to serve our community. We want to serve our team members.”
So Pound came up with the idea of taking out a handful of digital billboards with the company logo that features three people each week — customers, team members, family — for birthdays, anniversaries or other accomplishments and the words, “We love to celebrate you!”
It's grown organically into a social media presence because those celebrated people take pictures with the billboards and post them and they get shared again and again. It was supposed to be a 30-day campaign and now it’s extended through the rest of the year, Pound said.
“Our team sees we didn’t have ‘Serve People’ painted on the side of the building for no reason. We did it because we genuinely love our community and we want to continue to celebrate them.”
Stephanie Postell, owner and COO of Anchor Heating and Air LLC in Charleston, S.C., says her company leveraged ServiceTitan by changing up the technician profile pictures during breast cancer awareness month.
“Our dispatcher is a breast cancer survivor and so in October during a company meeting we let her share her story, which was incredibly impactful, and then at the end of the meeting I had a pink tutu. I had a sash. I had pink glasses and all of my technicians took a picture with something pink on and I changed their bio pictures. Talk about the stuff we got back. Our customers were already laughing and talking when the guys got there, so then it breaks the ice and they can see what our culture is.”
In Oklahoma City, Leslie Harpole is the Co-Creator of Champion Plumbing and her company has had a lot of success elevating its visibility by using unique video content on TikTok. Not only are she and her husband featured — but their technicians are, too.
“Guys constantly take pictures and videos of their jobs,” she said. “They especially love their really dirty jobs — lining jobs and sewer jobs. They just love to show their work. They’re super competitive with each other.”
Crystal Williams, Founder + Marketing Strategist for Lemon Seed Marketing in East Texas and the moderator of the panel, said in her experience, once you get the ball rolling, it just rolls faster and faster and you really will grow a company based off of that.
“I think there’s power in working for someone that does the billboard campaign,” she said. “There’s power in your team being able to say our owner’s all over TikTok.”
Williams also pointed out that none of these creative approaches cost a lot of money. “We’re talking about organic social media things here,” she said. “None of this is something that they went and put a lot of money behind.”
Rather, time, planning and consistency are the keys— and the rewards they unlock are huge.
Dan Antonelli: Branding is reaching the 8 of 10 who have no idea who you are
Dan Antonelli is the president and chief creative officer of KickCharge Creative, a New Jersey-based branding agency that specializes in helping home service brands redefine themselves and stand out in all the right ways.
Antonelli knows that creating a stronger brand is a challenge that almost every business owner faces. He quoted data collected from Google that stated, “8 out of 10 people have no idea who you are.”
He then asked a key question that business owners should be asking themselves: “How do I become visible to my community?”
Apart from covering the basics of branding, his presentation at the Pantheon convention posed questions that business owners should be asking themselves when considering their brand and a rebrand.
“How do I deliver my message in a unified way?”
“Is this gonna take us to where I want to go in the future?”
“Is my brand delivering what I want to deliver?”
Antonelli presented some real-world examples of companies that profited highly from rebranding. He showed everything from website rebrands that showed an increase in ROI, to creating a truck design so daring, that 80 calls alone were attributed to the van design over just a few months.
Antonelli also welcomed special guest Tom Howard, VP of Customer Experience at ServiceTitan. Howard shared a personal story of the success behind one of his own businesses' rebrand. During his rebrand, he learned the value of creating a strong brand voice in every marketing channel available and stated “The brand isn’t just a logo.”
He also mentioned how he utilized ServiceTitan Marketing Pro to help reach out to customers.
While branding a business is important from a marketing perspective, it’s easy to overlook some of the other massive advantages: A successful rebrand can make you look good, but a business with a strong brand can also be more competitive and more profitable.
Ismael Valdez: Call your office manager and raise prices 10 percent, right now
In a jam-packed session tent, Ismael Valdez, CEO/Founder of Nexgen Air in Southern California covers what fuels his company's rapid growth. The answer? His team.
“I was able to recruit really good people,” Valdez said. “People not only want to make money, but they want to enjoy work and be recognized.”
He goes on to explain that great employees recruit other great people to build a strong culture.
“Getting your team to synchronize unlocks the ability to grow,” he said.
Nexgen is one of the fastest-growing service companies in the nation, growing from $0 to $57 million in 6 years—and on pace to break $100M next year with over 400 employees. The turning point in growth was becoming more profitable. How’d he do that? He raised his prices.
Valdez half-jokingly told the crowd, “Pull out your phones right now and text your office manager to raise your prices 10% right now. I dare you.”
He goes on to explain that once he got over the fear of raising prices, he was able to hire more and pay everyone more. That’s when things took off.
“Running a flawless operation fuels growth,” he said.
Valdez and key managers do this by watching every posted customer review. Customers don’t lie and this is the best way to understand how operations are flowing.
Valdez goes on to explain that the entire team gets bonuses dinged for every one-star review they can not overturn. That incentive forces the teams to synchronize and that in turn, spreads throughout other areas of the business.
Keith Mercurio touts the value of authenticity, self-awareness in leadership
If you’ve ever wondered what it means to be a good leader, Keith Mercurio would be the man to ask.
Mercurio, Senior Director of Industry & Executive Success at ServiceTitan, gave his session attendees the ultimate tools for becoming better leaders.
He did this by focusing his talk on the ethical influence model—a four-quadrant model that takes into account self-awareness and awareness of others to, as he said, become the "leader you've always dreamt of being.”
"It's in the awareness of self where we must begin,” Mercurio said as he dove into his presentation.
He also spoke of the role self-awareness plays in becoming a better leader. To do this he introduced the “Triangle of State.”
"State is a transient version of your identity," he said of the model, which consists of taking into account one’s focus, language, and physiological actions as a leader.
After he explained the three corners of the “Triangle of State” he inspired the audience to create their own leadership mantra. He then directed the audience to share their mantra with each other—leaving many in the audience excited and optimistic about their newfound approach to leadership.
Regarding awareness of others when leading, Mercurio told the audience that being authentic and genuine when asking questions is key.
"Leaders ask because they are curious,” he said. “They genuinely want to know what their people think. Then they listen, they listen with curiosity."
Pantheon 2022 Opening Night: Straight fire for the best contractors in the trades
It was lit, and we’re not just talking about the L.A. Coliseum’s Olympic cauldron.
Opening night for Pantheon 2022 in Los Angeles featured wows from the crowd of ServiceTitan customers and future customers getting their first glimpse of the historic venue and a rise in expectations for what is to come once Thursday’s speaker sessions and keynotes begin.
Think chicken tacos, pork belly skewers, a bottomless open bar, and selfies with industry celebrities ServiceTitan podcast host Jackie Aubel and the Blue Collar Nerd.
And, for the first time since 2019, an in-person gathering of the best contractors in the U.S. and Canada centered around one goal—improving their businesses, one networking relationship and one bit of imparted wisdom at a time.
“This is our first time at Pantheon and this so far is well exceeding our expectations,” Ashley Owen, director of operations at Precision Garage Door in Spokane, Wash., said. “I didn’t really know what to expect, but this is above and beyond anything I could have probably thought of. For sure.
”Just walking in here and seeing the setup, it’s like wow, this is cool.”
And the expectations were only raised, said Ryan Harris, co-owner of Harris Plumbing, Heating and Air in South Jersey.
“I want to learn more about what features I’m missing, because I know there are tons of them,” he said. “That’s what I hope to come away with.”
He’s at his first Pantheon, having seen his company grow tremendously in three years on ServiceTitan—from three trucks to 50-plus.
“I don’t know if I credit it all to ServiceTitan,” he said, “but definitely the visibility, the tracking, the ability to see if guys are creating multiple options in real time, has helped us get to that point.”
Could he have done it with another software?
“You could have, but I don’t know if it would have been easy,” he said. “ServiceTitan definitely makes it easy.”
Now, if, as expected, #Pantheon2022 lives up to the setting …
“It’s really impressive,” Harris said. “This is a nice setup. The venue is perfect, as long as it doesn’t rain. But it usually doesn’t rain in California.”
Bookmark this page and check back all week long, and after Pantheon, for full recaps and extensive coverage!
Contributing to this post: Mike Persinger, Andrew Nicoletta, Deborah Goldman, Marco Martinez, Natalie Koch
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