In addition the sales manager, the district managers, and the house executives wrote letters and telegrams of encouragement, and even made trips to the agencies that got under way too slowly.
The unique feature of the contest was the manner in which the ``sporting editor'' gave actuality to the contests by pictorial representations. One competition took the form of a shooting match. The house organ contained an enormous target with two rings and a bull's eye. When a salesman qualified with orders for $625, he was credited with a shot inside the outer ring and his name was
printed there. With $1250 in sales, he moved into the inner ring, and when his orders amounted to $2500, he was credited with a bull's eye and his name blazoned in the center space.
Another contest was represented as a balloon race between the different districts. Each district was given a balloon, and as sales increased, the airship mounted higher. On the balloon the name of the district leader in sales was printed, while cartoons enlivened the race by showing the expedients, in terms of orders, by which the district managers and their crews sought to drive their airships higher. Each issue of the house organ showed the current standing of the districts by the heights of their balloons. This conception of the selling contest was very successful. ``Going up--going up--how far are you up now?'' was used as a call, and it seemed to strike the men and inspire them. It became the greeting of the salesmen when they met, and irresistibly produced a feeling of competition and a desire to have the district balloon go higher.
Other ingenious fancies by which the contests were given the appeal and interest of popular sports was their conception as a baseball game, a football game, an automobile race, a Marathon run, and so on.
In providing prizes, the firm was rather generous, though the expense was never great. While the contest was in progress, all those who were really ``in the running'' had the satisfaction of honorable mention, with their photographs reproduced in the house bulletin. This honor and publicity was the chief reward received by the great majority of contestants, and was adequate. Minor prizes were offered on conditions, allowing a large number to qualify, and tempting virtually everybody to make an effort to win one. The value of the prizes did not need to be great, for each man was impressed with the idea that his comrades were watching him, that they observed every advance or retrogression. Success in the contest meant ``making good'' in the eyes of the other salesmen as well as in the eyes of his superiors.
_This desire for social approval and the spirited comment of the editor had a marked influence on the efficiency of many of the younger salesmen_.
These special contests were conducted chiefly during the ``rush'' seasons, when activity and efficiency of salesmen meant greater returns to the house. Because of their varied forms the contests did not become monotonous, and thus fail in their effect. During the three or four ``big'' selling months when special quotas were announced, an individual pocket schedule was mailed to each man, showing how much business he must close each day to keep pace with ``Mr. Quota,'' the constant competitor.
_The most industrious and ambitious men are stimulated by competition; with the less industrious such a stimulation is often wonder working in its effects_.
For many positions in the business world a hypothetical bogy should be created after the style of the quota referred to above.
To increase the feeling of comradeship and
Valuable prizes should always be given to the winners. This ``need'' may not necessarily be monetary.
Promotion should not depend upon success in contests, but such success may be well reckoned in awarding promotions.