As to encouraging competition with departments of rival establishments, the diversity of business makes general statements un- illuminating. Even where such a course is possible, some managers reject the practice as unwise. They believe that it is not best to recognize other houses or to consider them in this particular. A few firms report that they are able to stimulate their men successfully in this way, even though the conditions for such a contest are difficult to handle. Of those who utilize competition a few houses employ no handicaps to put their men on the same level and make success equally possible to all.
_The principle of handicaps is so manifestly fair that organizers of contests can hardly afford to neglect this essential to the widest interest and participation in the competition_.
If the little man in a country territory doesn't feel that he has a fighting chance to equal or surpass the man in the big agency, he makes no attempt to qualify. And the purpose of every contest, of course, is to get every man into the game.
Touching monetary rewards for the winners, there is practical unanimity of opinion. The winner should receive a prize in cash or its equivalent. Usually the effort is to distribute the prizes so that all who excel their average records receive compensation and recognition for the additional work. In many instances unusual increases in sales or output are rewarded by a higher rate of compensation.
_That success in contests should influence promotion was generally agreed. The knowledge and energy shown are indications of capacity to occupy a better position_.
The contest merely reveals such capacity; the promotion might well follow as part of the prize for the winner or winners.
Public commendation of winners in com-
petitions is held by many firms to be bad policy. There is fear that such commendation might render the participant conceited and unfit for further usefulness. A majority of firms, however, give the widest possible publicity to such commendation. This, indeed, is the reward most generally used and apparently most keenly desired by employees. Reproduction of photographs of the winners in the house organ with an account of their achievements is the commonest acknowledgment of their success, though posting the names of the winners in various parts of the establishment is the method employed by smaller houses.
_Many important houses use competition as part of their regular equipment for handling and energizing men_.
Particularly is this true of manufacturers and distributors of specialties, patented machines, trade-marked goods and lines, and wholesalers whose travelers are selling in territories where conditions are generally the same. Several firms of this sort make con-
scious and elaborate use of the instinct of competition in their ordinary scheme of management.
A concrete and typical illustration of its application to selling is afforded by the experience and the undoubted success of one of the largest specialty houses which distributes its products direct to the consumer. The sales force numbers about 500 men, and executives of wide experience declare that the organization is, of its size, the most efficient in the United States. Analysis of this company's methods is most illuminating and suggestive because every phase of the instinct of competition has been exploited to the advantage of both the house and its employees.
The medium of competition is a series of contests--monthly, quarterly, even yearly which bring into play all the motives urging individuals to maximum effort and industry desire to beat bogy, ambition to win in individual contest with immediate neighbors and against the whole organization, team spirit in
the matching of one group of agencies against another group, and finally organization spirit in the battle of the whole force to equal or surpass the mark which has been set for it.
_The first and basic contest here is that of the individual salesman against his bogy or ``sales quota_.''
This quota, the monthly amount of business which each agency should produce, has been worked out with great care and has a scientific foundation.