When concrete contractors involved in residential or decorative work tell me they need more sales, my first question is: "What is your current cycle time for your sales process?" Most admit they don't know.

To increase sales, you must decrease cycle time-that period between the initial customer contact and the formal close of the sale. Though many factors affect sales, speedier delivery of estimates is the single best way to increase sales. The old clichT, "the early bird gets the worm," often still applies. If you are first, you have the opportunity to close the sale for those customers who value fast response. Here are 10 guidelines to help companies achieve faster cycle times and increase sales.