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Keep Your Friends Close and Your Enemies Closer Part 1


Guest articles > Keep Your Friends Close and Your Enemies Closer Part 1


by: Daniel Milstein


When starting a new company it is beneficial to learn from your competitor's model. Throughout your career you will learn from your competitors and become a stronger salesperson because of it.

When I started the Golden Rule office, we were definitely the underdog, and were committed to outperforming both small and large firms in our market. Even when there were only two of us, we worked hard to make better deals, be more innovative and work harder than the 'big boys.' I remembered the phrase 'Keep your friends close and your enemies even closer,' which had been popular when I was growing up in oppressive Russia, and for a while that was part of our overall business philosophy. I did not want to alienate any other mortgage banker or broker, never knowing whether one day we might have an opportunity to work together in some way. As Golden Rule became better known and we were no longer the same small fish in the big pond, I developed a broader view of competition. For instance, I had an even greater awareness that to succeed at the highest level in this and any other business, you have to be ready to run a marathon rather than a relay race against some very experienced people, many of whom would love to see you fail.

While establishing our own model, I became a student of what other firms were doing. During my career, I have learned a great deal from competitors, some very successful and others that struggled, including those that were forced to shut down during the lending industry crisis. I have gained insights about effective marketing techniques, operational strategies and additional areas by reading industry publications, mystery shopping, and talking to my counterparts at other companies. Of course, I also observed how to avoid the missteps that others made.

You never know when an alliance will fall into place. When developing your own sales model in the beginning of your career, observe what other firms strengths and weaknesses and adjust your plan accordingly.


Daniel Milstein is the bestselling author of ABC of Sales. For more information, visit:

Contributor: Daniel Milstein

Published here on: 10-May-13

Classification: Sales


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