A Conversation with Jim Blatt
Last week, I had the privilege of speaking with Jim Blatt, founder of Mortgage Returns, a fintech company acquired by Ellie Mae in 2015. The first question I asked him was, "What was the most important skill that helped you turn Mortgage Returns into a successful company?"
This is a question countless founders have asked their predecessors in attempt to gain insight into which skills they should cultivate. Jim's response was very straightforward as he noted that without a strength in sales, it is next to impossible to drive revenue.
It is very rare that entrepreneurs build viral products that sell themselves like Twitter or Calendly - which means that no matter how impressive your product is, your company will be unable to survive without the ability to consistently bring customers on board.
If you are a founder and sales isn't your strength, there are plenty of resources to help you, from books, to podcasts, to Youtube videos. Another route is finding a cofounder who is strong in sales and utilizing one another's strengths to compliment each other's weaknesses.
In Jim's case, he had no sales experience as a cofounder of Mortgage Returns, but he saw that there was a need within the company so he took it upon himself to fill this need within the organization. When I asked him how he was able to succeed with such little sales experience he gave arguably the most important piece of advice for any startup beginning its sales journey.
"It starts with you. You have to believe in your ability to add value. Once you know you can truly add value, convincing someone else is the easiest part."