At Twenty Over Ten, you probably know by now that our clients are what we love most about our job. When you get to work with amazing people and firms every day, we realize just how lucky we are. As a part of our “Financial Advisor Website Show Case” series, we had the chance to catch up with Andrew Tapparo, MSF, president and founder of Tapparo Capital Management. Want to hear what he has to say about the web development process? Keep reading to find out more!
First, how did decide to start Tapparo Capital Management, and what was your biggest motivator?
I’m a classical career switcher, I used to work at a large corporation. My undergrad background is in engineering which is what I started working as. Later, I moved into corporate strategic planning but I wasn’t really happy working at a big corporation, plus I had a love for investments. I was also the person that everyone came to, like “how should I invest my 401K?”
That was an eye-opener, that maybe I should be doing that, instead of what I was currently doing. So, I went back to school part-time and received my master’s degree in finance, and after that, I decided to leave corporate America and start my own practice. That was the birth of Tapparo Capital Management, which was in 1997.
At the time, I knew I didn’t want to be a stockbroker or a salesperson, I just felt there were too many conflicts of interest in that type of business model. I had seen people who had been taken advantage of people, by selling things that paid them the highest commission, but it wasn’t necessarily the best thing for people.
When I started, I remember my brother-in-law telling me that he had a friend who was in this business and he suggested that he go meet him. I went to his office in downtown Boston and met with this gentleman about financial planning and investment advising. He said something to me, that really hit me. He said, “do you like sales?” He went on to tell me that in order to be successful in this business, you had to love sales and be a good salesperson. I remember leaving and thinking that was not what I wanted to be, so I set up my practice as a fee-only advisor, and I am still that to this day. I don’t believe in the sales mentality, I am about helping people.
One of my biggest motivators was that I didn’t like the confines of working in corporate America, and I didn’t look forward to going to work every day. What I do now, I love what I do, and I can’t wait to get into the office every day. It reminds me of an old saying, “If you find something that you love to do, you’ll never work another day in your life, that’s where I am now.
As you know, marketing is becoming more and more important in the financial industry as advisors gain clients with inbound marketing tactics. What is the best piece of marketing advice that you ever received?
I’ve been in this business as a financial advisor for 22 years, and my marketing was always happenstance. I’ve had a website since the beginning, but I treated it as an online brochure. To be anybody, you had to have a website because people went to the web to find out about you. They wanted to see that you had a website.
I’ve been active on social, LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook for a while now. What I’ve been doing there is providing people with information as a way to be top of mind for them. I don’t go out there selling myself, but more providing information. You want to be thought of as the person that provides the information so when people need something, they will think of you.
For marketing, I stumbled over Twenty Over Ten, but when I started watching Samantha’s videos and reading all the blogs, that was an eye-opener for me. You seem to be marketing your business like I do mine, by providing all these people with information, and that really hit home for me. I take a lot of that information that I get from your website and from Samantha. As a non-marketing person, that has been perfect for me. I would tell people that if you are looking into marketing, then poke around on the blog at Twenty Over Ten, you’ll learn a lot. I wish you guys were here in 1997, it would have been a lot easier.
Utilizing tools on your advisor website is pertinent to stay ahead of the competition. What would you say are the top 3 tools that you use on your website or in your workspace?
I use Calendly on my website. I just set that up, so it’s something I learned from Twenty Over Ten, that you should have an online appointment mechanism so that people can book directly with me. I’m looking forward to seeing what that can do.
The other tool, I really like it at my practice, and that’s my Riskalyze subscription. On my homepage, people have the ability to find out what their risk score is. It’s been an eye-opener for me, when I stumbled upon Riskalyze, being an engineer and understanding risk and what it means to me mathematically, is very clear.
The old adage of the younger you are, the more risks you should be able to take, and the older you are, the more conservative you should be, it is not always the way it is. The risk number questionnaire has been great in helping me to design portfolios that line up in clients’ expectations and what they truly feel.
That’s on my website both for clients to use but also to use for inbound marketing. So, if somebody comes into the website and sees the Riskalyze piece, then they have to enter their name and email address before they can use that tool.
One other tool, that I do use is a program called Evernote, which is a great tool to keep snippets of any ideas or write a note, you can clip a webpage and save it for later. You can search on the words in there, so it’s easy to find stuff. You can put receipts in it, client information, make different notebooks, tag different things if I want to see different ideas. It can be used on your desktop, your phone, it’s a multi-platform type program.
Everyone has something that they just can’t live without. What is the one thing that you could not do without at work? It can be work-related or just a necessity that helps you to get through the day!
The first thing I do every single day is turn on my portfolio management CRM system, that’s the hub of everything I do. It’s a company called Advyzon that does my portfolio management and CRM system. It’s the first thing I turn on before everything.
People get involved in the financial industry for many different reasons, and one we hear a lot is that they enjoy helping people plan for a better future. Do you have any quick success stories that you would like to share?
I always saw myself as a “Numbers Person,” not necessarily the person that liked to meet face to face with people. The more that I got involved with clients, the more I found that was the most rewarding. Early on, I was meeting with a client and sitting at their kitchen table and when the meeting was over, they both looked at me and said, “Thank you so much, we don’t know what we would have done with you. We feel like we’re finally on the right path to getting where we want to go, so thank you.” That’s what this all about, just having people look to you and say thank you, we couldn’t have done it without you.
If you could sum up your firm in one sentence, what would it be?
I always think of myself as just a normal person, not Wall Street. I always wanted to have some sort of tag line that didn’t sound cheesy. I always thought of myself as “The Financial Advisor for the Rest of Us.” There are many people out there who have been hardworking and have saved their money and just want honest straight-forward advice and guidance. I’m just trying to be the financial advisor for the rest of us.
We love hearing feedback from our clients so we can improve our process. Do you have any suggestions that you think would have made your site development process easier?
As you wait to click the link to see the first pass of your website, you think, “What am I going to see?” When I clicked that link I was like “Wow, this is perfect. There were some minor changes that we had to do, more so in a couple of the pictures. Leah was great because I have a shutter stock account, so she let me go through and pick some pictures. A complaint about my old website was that it was so wordy and clunky, When I saw my first Twenty Over Ten website, it was like a breath of fresh air. The images were first and foremost and the words were kept to a bare minimum. You just want to go to a website, see what the person can do for you and get some basic information that would lead them to the phone call or an email.
The other thing that came up in discussions in design and copy were, “What do you like as a person? Outside the business?” I said I have a fond affection for road trips and wanted the images to portray a “New England feel.” I love to drive and see the country. So, they came up with that type of feel, and Leah did a great job and some of the pictures that I tried to get were of roads and things like that. They were fantastic. I really don’t have any complaints, to me it was smooth and painless. As I said, I had a website, I wasn’t in a rush per se. I didn’t really have anything bad. Leah was outstanding. This is coming from somebody who is not a creative person, and I still draw stick figures. I am just in awe of people who do what you guys do.
I am in awe of everything that you guys do.
– andrew tapparo, tapparo capital MANAGEMENT
What is the best piece of advice that you would share with other advisors who may be considering building a new website?
Work with somebody who understands you and your business. When I worked with Leah, she just seemed to get me. It’s like we had been friends for years, and she understood everything. Work with a website design company that gets you, who can take what I said and put it into something beautiful and useful. Know what your niche is, you should have a niche and who you are trying to attract. I love the advice that comes through on your blogs. You want to be able to solve a problem. If you can position your website to be a solution as to why somebody is looking for a financial advisor, I think you will do well. You got to work with a company that will listen to you and who will “get you.”
Where do you see the financial industry headed in the next 5-10 years?
They always talk about Robo-Advisors and how we don’t need financial advisors, and I beg to differ. I think having a website and having a person behind that website that clients can talk to is important. With a Robo-Advisor, it is just a cookie-cutter approach to something, and I think more than that with tax laws advisors are going to be important. Hopefully, through my Twenty Over Ten website, I’ll be able to cut through that noise and show up in searches against those websites and can offer the personalized service that they can’t. I think it’s going to be the individual advisors who can build a customized plan for somebody and navigate the tax laws and the things that are unique to their particular situations, something that a computer on its own can’t do. I look at what I think could be impacting me as a solo investment advisor.
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