Since the great bulk of sales are made to retail merchants, the possibilities of each territory are determined by reckoning the total population of all towns containing three retailers rated by commercial agencies. For normal months there is a standard quota, a little above the monthly average of all agencies the previous year, reckoned against their total urban populations. In ``rush'' months, this quota is advanced from fifteen to forty per cent, as the judgment of the sales manager dictates. If general and trade conditions lead him to believe, for instance, that the month of May should produce
$1,000,000 in orders, while the sum of the usual quotas is $800,000, he calls for an over- plus of twenty per cent. The territory containing one per cent of the total urban population of the country, as reckoned, would then be expected to make sales equal to $10,000. This would be the agency quota for the month, and the first and most important task of the agent would be to secure it.
_Because all quotas, both normal and special, are figured on the productive population of the territories and standings may be calculated by percentages, it follows that all agents are on terms of equality_.
This is essential in a contest for individual leadership as well as in team or organization matches. For at least eight months of the year, there is such a competition for the best selling record in the entire force. Variety is given to these contests and the interest of the men sustained by changing the terms of the competition. One month the chief prize will be given to the salesman who secures his quota at the earliest date; next month the
award will be for the individual who first obtains a fixed sum in orders, usually $2500; leadership the third month will go to the man who gets the highest per cent of his quota during the entire period; again, the honor will fall to the agent whose net sales total the greatest for the month.
_Further changes are rung and the inspirational effect of the contest immensely increased by enlarging the conditions so that every third or fourth agent is able to qualify for the month's honors and a prize_.
Here, for instance, besides the prize for the first agent selling $2500, there will be prizes--like hats, umbrellas, and so on--for every man who closes $2500 in orders before the twentieth of the month, with the attendant publicity of having his portrait and his record printed in the house organ which goes to every agent in the field and every department and executive at the factory. Before leaving the individual contests, mention should be made of the ``star'' club of agents who sell $30,000 or more during the year; the presi-
dency going to the agent who first secures that total, the other official positions falling to his nearest rivals in the order in which they finish.
The team and organization contests are usually carried on simultaneously with the individual competitions. These range from matches between the forces of the big city offices, like New York, Chicago, and St. Louis, upward to district contests in which each team represents from thirty to fifty salesmen and finally to international ``wars'' where the American organization is pitted against all the agents abroad. Challenges from one district to another usually precipitate the district competitions; once a year there is a three months' general contest in which all the districts take part for the championship of the whole selling force.
_To announce contests is a simple matter; to organize and execute them so that they are of benefit is much more difficult_.
Unless the interest of the men is focused on the contests, they are not worth while. To
make them successful the firm under consideration utilized the following devices:--
During the contest the house organ appeared often and was devoted almost exclusively to the contest. In it the record of each salesman was printed, his quota, his sales to date, and other pertinent information. The sheet was edited by a ``sporting editor,'' and great tact and skill were displayed in giving the contest the atmosphere of an actual race or game.