Richard Clayman, Founder of Cloudwalker Videoworks, found using video is the fastest way to get a prospect to trust you and get your messaging right.
Building a career in the movie industry, Richard discovered a simple, but effective way to stand out from the competition.

In this episode of Growing Your Firm Podcast, David Cristello and Richard Clayman dig into:

  • What a prospect is actually thinking when they first find your business
  • The fastest way to get a prospect to trust you and want to work with you
  • Ideas to make your accounting firm different than the one down the street


Building a unique company:

Richard Clayman, Founder at Cloudwalker Videoworks, specializes in helping accounting firms and other companies get their messaging right through compelling corporate videos.

He started off with doing Los Angeles Rams games (before they moved to St. Louis) when he was just 21. Immediately, he was struck by the power of production and video.

Still in his mid-20s, he became head of production for a company and got to work with all the top networks. He oversaw classic shows such as: “All in the Family,” “The Jeffersons,” “Facts of Life,” and many more. As the years progressed, he produced for a variety of companies and wrote scripts for theater and film.

On the side, he ran acting workshops and did acting himself. One rehearsal, he played a lawyer, a role he felt confident he nailed. As he strutted onstage, the director stopped the rehearsal and told Richard essentially, “Your non-verbal communication isn’t projecting your character correctly.”

He couldn’t just “be a lawyer.” He needed to be an individual who happened to be a lawyer.

The light bulb flickered and Richard formed the idea to create a video production company for corporate professionals.

What a prospect first thinks when they hit your firm’s site:

The idea for Cloudwalker Videoworks was important because you, as an individual, must garner trust before you can become a professional to the prospect.

We are all in the attention business” — Richard Clayman

Richard worked in movies which is all about attention (hence, the crazy, thrilling trailers). Although not coming from a suit and tie corporate-type environment, Richard knew he was better than others at creating interesting videos.

Coupled with his script-writing abilities, he could grab attention with videos he creates for businesses.

A client first hits your site because you grabbed their attention, the next step is to build trust. When a prospect first encounters your business, they aren’t thinking about

What services do you have?” That comes second.

First, they think “Can I trust this company to help me in the best way possible?” The WHO is more important than the WHAT.

Are they tough enough to tell me the good and bad? Are they human enough for me?”

That’s why they say “first impressions are everything.” You must project trust. But, that’s only one piece of it.

To build trust, you must be an individual, and that’s the fastest way to starting a conversation.

The fastest way to build trust:

Clients don’t want to work with the smartest people, necessarily. They would rather work with someone who they feel is a trustworthy HUMAN. When a prospect evaluates an accounting firm, they will most likely sign with the firm who has the staff the client best gets along with and relates.

This is why Richard created his company. He found too many accounting and firm professionals who wished to just project a “professional” image. Well, everyone projects themselves, most of the time, as a “professional.”

If you want to build trust, you need to differentiate yourself from the preconceived notion already going on in a prospect’s mind. A prospect expects an accountant to be a dry, numbers driven, person. They expect a lawyer to be fast-talking and opinionated. A car salesmen to be pushy and not a good listener.

When you present yourself as a human, an individual with your own likes and dislikes, a prospect will be attracted to you.

It all boils down to self-awareness. “How does a client see you?” Are you merely an accountant? Or, do you have other pieces to you?


Richard had a lawyer client. Most lawyer videos talk about “closing the case, getting it done, etc.” Those are standard, but the client needed to differentiate himself.

The lawyer projected a “normal lawyer” — clean cut, very intelligent — but, to differentiate himself, the video starts with him talking about gardening with his daughter in his spare time.

Suddenly, he isn’t in the “standard lawyer” pile anymore. He’s the intelligent lawyer who loves gardening with his daughter. He’s now become a real human.

Being a professional remains important, just add more to yourself on top of that.

Ideas to make your accounting firm different

We talked already about how you can’t just act the stereotype of your profession. You need to be different.

Clients need to feel comfortable with you to open up their personal life and struggles (including their finances), when you come across as more human and a “suit,” it changes the dynamic of the relationship.

Start with making your office your own personal “portrait” of your life. Put up things you like to do, pictures of your favorite movies, sports teams, etc. This makes the client more comfortable. Also, it makes the accountant feel more at home while at work.

On top of that, make sure you understand the lives of your clients. Answer the “unarticulated questions” they have in their mind. For example, when you walk on a car lot, you’re thinking to yourself “I want to walk off this lot with a car under budget, but I really want.” Every question you then ask is around this thought process. If a car salesmen addresses these two pieces to you, you feel more comfortable.

Assess who you are and what is true for you and reinforce that over and over. Look at the counter-balance — how are you different than the accounting professional down the street? You do the same tasks, sure, you do them better, but that’s not what the client wants as much as someone they trust and see as an individual.

How are you different and portray that to your clients?

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  3. What is the Trusted Business Adviser Mindset for Accounting Firms

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