Liz Wallace, Sara, and Mallory Holtman

What is good sportsmanship?  A recent ESPN article, titled Central Washington offers the ultimate act of sportsmanship, suggests it’s when you honor your opponent by lending a hand when they’ve earned a victory, a run or a touchdown against you.  (You really need to read the article; it’ll make you glad to be human.)

So how can I exhibit “good sportsmanship” in my daily life and in my business?

First, I acknowledge that each of my business competitors are honorable people who are just as passionate about their businesses as I am about mine.  Second, when someone asks me about a product that is clearly something that either Ron at Quilted First-Call Covers or Marty at Last Quilt offer that I don’t, I point it out to the customer.

A recent conversation with a customer went like this:

CUSTOMER:  I know we’ve gotten covers from you before.

ME:  Let me look in my files.

CUSTOMER:  Thanks.

ME:  Actually, it looks like you’ve never ordered from us.

CUSTOMER:  Really?

ME:  Is it possible that you ordered from Marty at Last Quilt or Ron at Quilted First-Call?

CUSTOMER:  That’s right!  We got them from that guy in North Carolina.

Interestingly, after checking out the competitor’s website, they called back and ordered because, they said “your stuff just looks better.”

Another conversation was about veteran-themed covers:

CUSTOMER:  The cot cover patterns on your website look great.  But don’t you have one that looks like the American flag?

ME:  We have the Old Glory cover, which is blue with gold stars on it.

CUSTOMER:  No, I mean one that has red and white stripes and a blue area with stars.

ME:  You’re thinking of our competitor, Quilted First-Call Covers.  We’ve opted to make a cover that suggests the flag without imitating it, as a way to honor those who fought for the American flag and in keeping with the Flag Code.

CUSTOMER:  Oh.

ME:  But if you really want one that looks a whole lot like the flag, you should check out their website at www.quiltedfirst-callcovers.net.

At other times, I’ve made a point to share the great products offered by another company.  Marty at Last Quilt makes a really great dressing table skirt.  She’s even got a patent pending on it!

And at just $195, she’s making it for much less than I could.  So if someone asks me for a drape, I send them to her!

At the end of the day, I know that we sell the best cot cover available.  Our lining is superior and our myriad styles offer a design for almost every taste.  Our darker patterns mean our covers show less dirt and require fewer cleanings which reduce material wear and mean longer useable lifespans.

On the financial front, our covers are a lot less expensive than the un-lined quilts sold by Last Quilt and in line with the pricing of Quilted First-Call.  In fact, our BASIC model cover, which has a standard FluidBlocker lining, is $10 cheaper than their regular cover with the optional lining ($150 + $50 for liner).

And being a good sportsman means that I don’t get mad when a competitor copies us.  In fact, when Ron started offering optional nylon lining and a rudimentary pocket, I took it as verification that the planning that led us to offer them first was spot on.

And we’re still leading the way toward a world of more dignified removals by offering the best warranty and money-back guarantee in the business.

All in all, being good sports has reaped us huge benefits.  And it should help keep us around for a long time.

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