Convert Your Conversion Rate
From PBNY Connect
It happens in a lot of jobs: You grow accustomed to a routine and plateau, turning out a good day’s work, but nothing exceptional. However, routine is the death knell of sales growth, so use these tips to rejuvenate your marketing and ramp up your conversion rate.
Build a Smarter Lead Pool
Generating a list of sales leads today is about as tough as finding a pigeon in New York City; from social media analysis sites to made-to-order call sheets, pools of potential clients proliferate. Still, after the initial boost in leads, new sources tend to leave marketers with the same conversion rate, showing that job performance hasn’t actually picked up; work has just become busier.
To modify conversion rates, marketers need efficient lead pools—more sources that will turn into sales-ready leads and less sources who hang up, delete, and don’t respond. And no, that’s not a pitch for a list seller with market-specific demographics.
For a more efficient lead pool, try:
- Impressing the public. Sign on with a nonprofit. Go green. Give charitably. Host a health walk. And when you do these things, do them with your marketers. Your sales team will encounter people who appreciate the efforts you make to better their community, giving them a favorable impression of your business and providing a desire for them to learn more about it.
- Becoming an information source. Don’t tweet about your award from a consumer report; instead, send out an interesting tidbit from your research department. If your product really is valuable, then it fills some hole. Send out information about that hole, and let your customers connect the dots to your solution. Of course, they might connect them more quickly if you have a sale, which leads to…
- Giving membership perks. Paying taxes for the customer after a large purchase. Sending birthday discount email. Making a monthly members-only clearance. Customers scour the Internet for these benefits, hoping to give away their contact information to a company they would likely patron. Membership perks build lead pools with jaw-dropping conversion rates because the leads come in sales-ready.
Sweeten the Deal
When some marketers finally have sales-ready leads, they’re like hounds on the scent; they can’t be slowed, can’t be redirected, and can’t be expected to do anything until the chase yields a result. This enthusiasm may churn out a fair number of sales, but it comes up a little shortsighted.
If clients enjoy the selling process—if they find not just the deal but also the making of the deal to be sweet—loyalty rates will increase, and ultimately, conversion rates will, too. Technology allows marketers to give clients a better buying experience, so sweeten the deal by:
- Offering a video test drive. By the time leads are sales-ready, customers are already interested in your product. This is your chance to show off. Give the test drive experience as a brief online video, and many customers who have new questions and increased interest will contact you through a clickable call to action. And it’s a break from the pitch, which, let’s face it, customers welcome.
- Supplying free samples. Prove your product meets clients’ demands, and leave them wanting (and, hopefully, paying for) more. This makes the sales meeting hands-on, gives clients something to take away, and shows that the seller doesn’t simply want to take their money. A caveat: Giving too much away means reducing sales, so make sample sizes big enough to prove your point but small enough to not risk competing with yourself.
It Ain’t Over…
One solid lead need not mean just one sale; on the contrary, a sale should mean more sales to and more leads from the client. Think of each sale as a supply station along a trail—it has significance in itself, but its key value is the push it gives you to go further. Once you’ve landed a sale, consider:
- Debriefing with your clients. How did they feel about the sales process? What motivated them to buy? Did they have any concerns that weren’t laid to rest? What did they feel set you apart from competitors? This feedback can reorient your selling around useful steps and help you eliminate wasted resources. And it will show your clients you care about their perspective, positioning you a valuable partner should they require more products in the future.
- Seeking customer referrals. Your customers likely know others with similar needs to their own. They may refer you based solely on the selling experience, but they will be more likely to if there’s a perk involved. Start a referral program, and boost your word-of-mouth advertising among the sales-ready demographic.
If you make 250 sales inquiries each week, what sales can you expect? Research firm Marketing Sherpa charted average business-to-business sales, not accounting for the time involved in each client interaction, and came up with these numbers.
Of 250 new client interactions per week:
- 62 percent generate no revenue.
- 95 turn into sales-ready leads.
- 36 perspective sales develop.
- 10 clients make a purchase.
That is, for every 25 new inquiries, the average business-to-business marketer can count on one sale, a 4 percent conversion rate.
A Houston, Texas, marketing firm tracked its cold calls and found that the average call lasted about seven and a half minutes. Putting those numbers together:
A cold-call marketer with a 4 percent conversion rate will spend 1,162.5 minutes each week making inquiries that go nowhere. That’s 9 hours and 22 minutes.
With these numbers, it’s understandable why some marketers plateau. Use the tips in the “Convert Your Conversion Rate” article to eliminate those wasted hours and track down some profit.
Gov. Andrew Cuomo said Monday afternoon in Piermont that New York State is now closer to replacing the current Tappan Zee Bridge with a new, $5.2 billion span.
The governor's announcement came hours after a unanimous vote by the New York Metropolitan Transportation Council (NYMTC) to officially incorporate the project into the council's plan.
"Today we are one step closer to building a new, safer bridge that will revitalize the Hudson Valley by creating thousands of jobs," Cuomo said at the 1 p.m. gathering in Flywheel Park.
More than 100 residents and local, state and federal lawmakers gathered downtown, overlooking the Tappan Zee Bridge to the north and local marinas.
After a brief speech, Cuomo signed a letter to U.S. Secretary of Transportation Ray LaHood, applying for billions of dollars in TIFIA federal loans to help finance the new span.
"The next step is going to Washington to get funding, so we can build the bridge and make tolls affordable," Cuomo said. "After over a decade of delay caused by political dysfunction, this letter demonstrates that we are making real progress towards constructing a stronger, transit ready bridge."
When asked what financing would be in place should the state be declined federal funds, Cuomo was terse.
"I'm an optimist," he said. "They're going to say yes."
Cuomo noted the importance of mass transit, a component local residents and officials have long been asking for.
"The future of transit isn't people getting into cars and driving," Cuomo said. "It's mass transit. Period."
The new span is slated to house a dedicated bus transit lane during rush hour.
The governor recently blasted the proposed $14 toll hike in 2017 as excessive, but did not cite a specific figure that he would like to see—he only advocated a decrease.
From the New City Patch (8/20/12) Cuomo said the sluggish push to build a new bridge over the past 13 years has been time—and taxpayer money—squandered.
"We decided to waste millions," he said. "We decided to put people through traffic and congestion and pollution. It was a failure of leadership, a failure of government."
NYMTC member and Rockland County executive C. Scott Vanderhoef voted alongside others this morning. Late last week, Vanderhoef and lawmakers from Westchester and Putnam counties announced their decision to vote 'yes.'
Vanderhoef said he is pleased to support the project on the heels of Cuomo's assurances that the new bridge is to include mass transit capabilities.
"The governor should be given great credit for making it transit compatible," Vanderhoef said. "I am very pleased to be supportive."
Vanderhoef also said the federal government should assist New York with the financing of the new bridge connecting Westchester and Rockland.
"This new bridge will be safer for our drivers and built to last, and include a dedicated bus lane on day one," said assemblyman Ellen Jaffee, D-Suffern. "It will be a major economic driver for communities across the region, creating approximately 45,000 jobs."
Cuomo said the state expects to hear back about federal funding in the coming months.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASEContact:
Vice President | Associate Broker
845-770-1205Paul.email@example.com PINCHUS "PINNY" MOROZOW JOINS RAND COMMERCIAL SERVICESNew City, N.Y. –
Rand Commercial Services (RCS), an independent and leading commercial real estate brokerage in the Hudson Valley, announced today the addition of Pinchus "Pinny" Morozow to their sales team in the
New City office.
Pinny specializes in multifamily and project developments with a strong background in residential and commercial construction.
“We are so pleased to have Pinny as an addition to our Rand Commercial Services team,” said Paul Adler, Vice President of Rand Commercial Services. “His breadth of experience and enthusiasm make him a great asset to the company.”
As a resident of Rockland County, NY Pinny specializes in all areas of Rockland County, Westchester & Orange County.
Pinny Morozow can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org About Rand Commercial Services:
Rand Commercial Services (RCS) is an independent, full-service commercial real estate brokerage that serves the Greater New York area. The firm specializes in repositioning and redeveloping properties to improve their returns in addition to assisting clients with more conventional sales and leasing. RCS has nearly 30 agents in Orange, Rockland and Westchester counties, and also serves New York City, northern New Jersey and Connecticut. The company’s Web site is www.randcommercial.com
Become a socially responsible company to stay ahead of the competition and find loyal customers.
April 2, 2012
It may seem like just buzzwords right now, but soon “social responsibility” is going to change the way your company does business. Why? In the next few years, if your company isn’t socially responsible, you’re going to be left in the dust.
“If you aren’t a socially responsible business now,” says Shel Horowitz, green/ethical marketing consultant and co-author of Guerrilla Marketing Goes Green: Winning Strategies to Improve Your Profits and Your Planet, “your market is going to leave you behind within the next few years. It’s going to become a rule of doing business.”
“When you have a socially responsible business plan, it’s putting you in line with the trajectory of how business is being thought about now,” says Summer Rayne Oakes, co-founder of Source4Style, an online marketplace that connects the fashion industry with sustainable materials from around the world. “Having a socially responsible business plan and being able to communicate that internally to your employees and being able to communicate it externally to your consumers, as well as your shareholders, is going to reduce risk.” Socially responsible businesses also tend to attract higher quality job applicants as well as a more loyal customer base, says Horowitz. “If you survive the screening process that they’re going to put you through, they will be evangelists for you,” he says.
Convinced? Read on to find out five ways to incorporate socially responsible practices into the way your company does business.
1. Donate (Your Money and Your Time)
“Focus on community service. Don’t just condone it, normalize it. Work with HR or operations to make giving back easy for your employees. Arrange regular employee volunteer days, and don’t require that vacation time is used for them,” says Jonathan Hsu, CEO of Recyclebank, a website and online community that offers rewards for environmentally friendly actions. He also suggests enabling your team to make automatic paycheck donations to their charity of choice, and partnering with and donating part of your company’s profits to a public-facing charity. Some of the charitable programs Recyclebank has partnered with have included NatureBridge, Alliance for Climate Education, and MillionTreesNYC.
When choosing partner charities, we recommend focusing on organizations that are in tune with your company’s own core values and mission,” says Hsu. “We also suggest including one or two local charities, which will help all employees feel a personal connection to the group.”
2. Sweat the Small Stuff
Often the easiest way to kick off your plan of becoming a socially responsible company is to start with the small things that are easy to change, such as changing the tea and coffee in your break room to fair trade brands.
Once you’ve changed the little things, you can dig a bit deeper. “Examine the environmental practices of your local goods and service providers. Ensure they are transparent in communicating their own impact and strive to use materials that are eco-conscious and not toxic,” says Hsu. “Look at who is making the products that you are using as a business, and who is making the products that you are reselling as a business. What are their practices like? Are they paying a fair wage? Are they establishing good, safe working conditions?” says Horowitz.
“Get employees to contribute their ideas. You’ll probably find that they have better ideas than you,” says Horowitz. “Create a culture of collaboration; emphasize how you’re all in this together to make this company a participant in a better world.” Hsu suggests regular surveys or an open-door policy to encourage employee feedback and idea-sharing. “Great ideas come from all levels. Start a Green Team composed of a mix of employees, which is something we have at Recyclebank. When new ideas and programs are generated from this group, it encourages broader employee adoption.”
Also make sure you’re communicating your initiatives with partners and shareholders, as well as your employees, who can all help spread the word. And don’t forget your customers, too. E-newsletters and social media can be a great way to let people know about your initiatives, as well as find new ideas.
4. Get out of the Office
Oakes takes her team on monthly field trips to engage them firsthand on sustainable and local business practices. Recently, they’ve been everywhere from a recycling center to a textile arts center to a button factory. Ask your employees where they’d like to go, and incorporate volunteering into your office trips. “Some of the coolest companies I’ve seen are really supportive of their employees who are engaged in their own kind of volunteer efforts. It’s a brilliant opportunity,” she says.
5. Start from the Top
“As a business owner, it’s up to you to set the tone for social responsibility among employees,” says Hsu. “Make it ingrained in your corporate identity and fabric so it’s part of everything you do. This way, it won’t seem like a daunting undertaking but instead a part of daily operations.” In order to have the right company culture in place, says Oakes, a business must also have understanding from partners and shareholders. “And that’s not always easy to create,” she says. However, a small part of the team making strides to make your business more socially responsible can lead to big changes down the road, both for your company and the future of your industry.
“You can shift the culture in about two years, but it’s got to be two years of consistent, honest, committed, and sincere efforts,” says Horowitz. But at the end, he says, “You will have a cleaner conscience. You’ll be able to say, ‘We are doing right by the world.’”
HVEDC partners with Hudson River Ventures on strategic investments in Hudson Valley businesses
Fund targeting high-growth industries
NEW WINDSOR, N.Y. (April 26, 2012) - The Hudson Valley Economic Development Corp. (HVEDC) is partnering with an investment fund that will extend capital to businesses throughout the Hudson Valley.
Hudson River Ventures, LLC is a small business investment fund focused on the Hudson Valley. Founded by Sean Eldridge in 2011, Hudson River Ventures works to empower entrepreneurs and build thriving businesses throughout the Hudson Valley.
In partnership with HVEDC, Hudson River Ventures will make strategic investments, ranging from $50,000 to $500,000, in small businesses within its target industry sectors, including Food & Beverage, Tourism & Hospitality, Information Technology, and Biotech. HVEDC will help identify startup companies and existing companies who qualify for investment.
"In this current economic climate, small businesses are struggling to find capital. But there are entrepreneurs with bold ideas and growing businesses throughout the Hudson Valley that are smart investments, which is why I founded Hudson River Ventures," said Sean Eldridge, president of Hudson River Ventures. "I am thrilled to partner with HVEDC to invest in startup companies and existing businesses. Together, we will create jobs, strengthen communities, and build a more prosperous Hudson Valley."
"Corporate executives in the Hudson Valley have been telling us that access to capital is their most critical issue as they try to grow their business," said Mike Oates, President and CEO of HVEDC. "Sean and Hudson River Ventures is a most welcome addition to the tools available for economic development in our region. HVEDC is thrilled to be Hudson River Venture's partner. Sean will not only bring needed capital to our market but will also provide business expertise that will help position our region for growth."
To learn more about how to apply, contact Mike Oates, President and CEO, Hudson Valley Economic Development Corp., at email@example.com or 845-220-2244 or visit www.HudsonRiverVentures.com.
Sen. Charles E. Schumer: "Hudson River Ventures, in partnership with Hudson Valley Economic Development Corp., will be a new and unique catalyst for small businesses to grow and expand in the Hudson Valley all while creating new local jobs in this new economy. Sean Eldridge and Hudson River Ventures have a vision of helping Main Street businesses, tourism, food & beverage and high-tech ventures, which is exactly what we need in New York and I look forward to partnering with them and HVEDC to help create jobs and expand economic opportunities throughout the Hudson Valley. By creating this new investment and development fund, Sean will leverage public-private partnerships and give new and expanding Hudson Valley businesses all the tools they need to succeed and I look forward to working with his fund to strengthen the economy and the Hudson Valley and all of New York State."
Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand: "The investments made by Hudson River Ventures will help strengthen the regional economy by focusing on growing industries in the Hudson Valley. Investments in existing companies and startups in key markets including biotech and innovative technologies would create opportunities for sustained job growth."
Westchester County Executive Robert Astorino: "The Hudson River Ventures Investment Fund will provide a wellspring of financial resources to entrepreneurs thirsty for new sources of capital. We applaud Sean's efforts to invest in the Hudson Valley, and fill the widening gap between private industry's growing need for additional funding and government's ever-shrinking pool of public monies available for investment."
Rockland County Executive C. Scott Vanderhoef: "We wish Hudson River Ventures much success, and hope that they make significant investments in the lower Hudson Valley, particularly Rockland County. Last year 500 new jobs were created in Rockland, and in the coming months we look forward to working with successful organizations like Hudson River Ventures to encourage continued investment in companies that seek to expand or start-up in the county."
Dutchess County Executive Marc Molinaro: "The Hudson Valley has long been a leader in attracting entrepreneurs and innovation, and Hudson River Ventures will help ensure our region remains a leader."
Orange County Executive Edward A. Diana: "We welcome the opportunity to work with Hudson River Ventures as they contribute to advancing the region's economic attraction and retention efforts."
Ulster County Executive Mike Hein: "The business community of Ulster County and the entire Hudson Valley will be augmented by Hudson River Ventures' efforts to grow entrepreneurship, strengthen local companies and help create more jobs."
Putnam County Executive MaryEllen Odell: "Hudson River Ventures is affording 'entrepreneurs' the opportunity to grow or build a business in the Hudson Valley Region, by supporting their contribution to private public partnerships, we hope this will enhance economic development and, therefore, create jobs in the region.
Sullivan County Partnership President Allan Scott: "With access to capital becoming ever more challenging, we welcome Hudson Valley River Ventures as an integral partner in helping our regional growth industry sectors to grow and expand."
Scenic Hudson Ned Sullivan: "Across the country, job creation is hampered by cautious financial institutions and cash-strapped government agencies. Sean Eldridge is boldly stepping into this arena with the vision, courage and resources to revitalize the Hudson Valley's economy by investing in sustainable small businesses - with the most capable and effective partner - Mike Oates and HVEDC."
About Hudson River Ventures LLC: Hudson River Ventures, LLC is a small business investment fund focused on the Hudson Valley. Founded by Sean Eldridge of Garrison, N.Y., in 2011, Hudson River Ventures works to empower entrepreneurs and build thriving businesses throughout the Hudson Valley. Learn more at: www.hudsonriverventures.com.
About Hudson Valley Economic Development Corporation (HVEDC): HVEDC represents seven counties in Hudson Valley. This public-private partnership markets the region as a prime business location to corporate executives, site selection consultants and real estate brokers. HVEDC also helped start the branding and promotional effort for NY BioHud Valley. For more information on Hudson Valley Economic Development Corporation or to review available business sites, visit www.hvedc.com or call CEO Mike Oates at 845-220-2244.
WHITE PLAINS – Construction industry association executive Ross J. Pepe briefed members of the Hudson Gateway Association of Realtors on Feb. 28 at the HGAR offices in White Plains on the plans being advanced by state and federal officials to build a new $5.2-billion Tappan Zee Bridge.
Pepe, president of the Construction Industry Council of Westchester & Hudson Valley, Inc. and the Building Contractors Association based in Tarrytown, said that if all goes according to plan a Design- Build contracting firm will be selected this summer and a Record of Decision reached by the end of August or early September with construction starting shortly thereafter. The project calls for the construction of a new bridge that would support mass transit at a future date.
Approximately 50 members of HGAR attended the joint session of HGAR’s Commercial Investment Division and its Legislative, Legal and Political Affairs Council.
After the session was completed, the Legislative, Legal and Political Affairs Council met to discuss the Tappan Zee Hudson River Crossing Project and approved a policy statement in support of the new bridge plan.
HGAR in its policy statement noted, ”Considering that building a new bridge is now among the highest infrastructure priorities at both the federal and New York State levels, that we have the commitments of the Obama and Cuomo administrations to commence the project, and that there is serious consideration of fundraising options by those parties, it does not make sense to risk all that by tacking on an untold number of years to plan and review the transit options. Our preference as an organization is that the project stay on its current fast track and in transit-capable mode.”
The Legislative Committee stressed that its position in support of the expedited plan “is not to be interpreted as a less than enthusiastic endorsement of the mass transit component, but rather a pragmatic seizure of an opportunity that may not reoccur. We do in fact strongly support mass transit, and we urge that every effort be made to start planning for it right now, so that a final configuration could be in place when the bridge construction is completed, if not sooner.”
The committee noted that prior studies have amassed a tremendous amount of information concerning a mass transit component on the new span. The committee stated, “The Federal Highway Administration and the New York State Thruway Authority and Department of Transportation should assist local governments in the I-287 corridor with program grants and other resources to complete the corridor study as a separate project. County governments in the corridor could perhaps be the coordinating entities; Westchester and Rockland both had advisory groups for the former project. In short, we recommend that there be two tracks, the mass transit capable bridge, and the mass transit redesigned I-287 corridor. Neither must wait for the other, the need is too urgent.”
Developments on the Tappan Zee Hudson River Crossing have come fast and furious. In fact, later in the day of the HGAR session was the first of two public hearings on the recently released Draft Environmental Impact Statement on the new bridge project that found no adverse environmental impact. The Feb. 28 public hearing was held at the Palisades Center in West Nyack. On March 1, a session was scheduled at the Westchester Marriott in Tarrytown.
Proponents of the project were expected to be out in force for the project that is expected to create more than 10,000 construction jobs and thousands of other jobs. Also predicted to have large contingents at the sessions are those that are pushing state and federal officials to have some form of mass transit (bus rapid transit or commuter rail) be part of the bridge project upon completion. Among those mass transit advocates are Westchester County Executive Robert Astorino and Rockland County Executive C. Scott Vanderhoeff.
On Feb. 7, the New York State Thruway Authority and the New York State Department of Transportation announced they had selected four design-build consortiums as qualified bidders for the new bridge project.
State officials reported that a request for proposals (RFP) would be issued to the four bidders in coming weeks. Thruway Authority officials noted that a total of five design-build partnerships expressed interest in the new Tappan Zee Bridge project, but only four were deemed qualified based on what they said was a “thorough multiagency technical review.” The identity of the firm not deemed qualified was not released.
The four groups that will be sent RFPS for the project are:
Hudson River Bridge Constructors
(a group including Dragados USA, Inc., Flatiron Constructors, Inc., Samsung C&T, E&C Americas, Inc., and Yonkers Contracting Company, Inc.)
Kiewit-Skanska-Weeks Joint Venture
(Kiewit Infrastructure Co., Skanska USA Civil Northeast Inc., and Weeks Marine, Inc.)
Tappan Zee Bridge Partners, a Bechtel/Tutor Perini Joint Venture
(Bechtel Infrastructure Corporation and Tutor Perini Corporation)
Tappan Zee Constructors
(Fluor Enterprises, Inc., American Bridge Company, Granite Construction Northeast, Inc., and Traylor Bros., Inc.)
In relation with the new bridge project, the New York State Department of Transportation announced that Trevcon Construction Company, Inc. of Liberty Corner, NJ was the apparent low bidder at $17.9 million for test pile installation across the Hudson River as part of the Tappan Zee Hudson River Crossing project. Work has already begun on the pile project.
Pepe explained that the design of the new bridge would either be an arch style or “cable-stay” with two towers. Both design options would be a twin span (two decks) each featuring four 12-foot traffic lanes (for a total of eight lanes), a left shoulder and emergency access, a right shoulder, and barriers along the decks’ edges. The left and right shoulders would serve as disabled vehicle lanes. The left shoulder would also provide emergency vehicle access. A bicycle lane would also be provided.
He also noted that the expedited project is being advanced under the “Design- Build” process, which was passed by the New York State legislature last year, where the private sector competes to offer the most innovative, cost effective designs for the new bridge. Rather than the state mandating a specific bridge design and construction method, qualified firms are now competing on their respective designs for the replacement bridge. The designbuild process permits an expedited construction schedule compared to traditional state contracting, and offers significant cost savings with less risk to state taxpayers of design changes and resulting cost overrun, state officials have said.
In October 2011, President Barrack Obama announced that the Tappan Zee Bridge project was one of 14 megaprojects across the nation to be fast-tracked in an expedited approval process. The project team, which includes the Federal Highway Administration, the New York State Department of Transportation and the New York State Thruway Authority (the owner of the bridge that connects Rockland and Westchester counties), are now working on the environmental approvals and design for a new span to be built just to the north of the existing structure. The project team issued a Request for Qualifications to interested contractors in November of 2011.
The Federal Highway Administration, which is now spearheading the project, rescinded the prior environmental studies that were underway, which included a number of designs for a new span as well as bus rapid transit and commuter rail to be possibly incorporated into the project. Cost estimates ranged from $8 billion to $16 billion for a full build-out that included commuter rail in a more than 30-mile study area that began in Suffern and ended in Port Chester. Instead, the new fast-tracked study now involves a little more than three miles from Nyack to Tarrytown, and is focused solely on building a new bridge that “does not preclude transit in the future.”
“Until last October, it would have been a safe bet that a new crossing would not be started or built for at least a five to 10-year period,” Pepe said. “The (prior) process that was engaged had reached nearly a decade with little movement to success.”
He charged that the prior study involved a 30-mile area and included bus and commuter rail options with little financing available to fund the nearly $20 billion project.
The expedited plan could allow a groundbreaking for this project to be held prior to Election Day in November.
Pepe said that under the new plan the state has been or will be applying for approximately $3 billion in federal (TIFA) loans and TIGER grants. The balance of the project will be financed via traditional bonding (likely to be issued by the bridge’s owner The New York State Thruway Authority) and toll increases. State officials have also said that pension fund and other private investment could be possible.
The New York State Department of Transportation has hired Jeffrey A. Parker Associates of Philadelphia to provide financial advice and analysis on the financing of the new span. A report on financing options is expected to be released soon.
Pepe later in the day was part of a press conference orchestrated by ReplaceTheTZBridgeNow. org, a statewide coalition of major employers, transportation professionals, civil engineers, and labor organizations representing more than 300,000 employees and 15,000 employers, in support of the expedited bridge plan.
In a press statement, Pepe said, “Based on the assessment of the project’s limited funding opportunities for the foreseeable future, the decision to exclude the complete build out of a mass transit program was a wise decision. Based on the reality of the funding that is now available, the new Tappan Zee Hudson River Crossing Project will not preclude the planning, design, construction or consideration of future transit modes through the TZ corridor. In other words, the final bridge design will not preclude future transit operations
With the "recovery" moving forward (slowly), folks are getting back into prudent investing. Prudence demands that investors diversify their portfolios (cash, stocks, bonds, gov't T-Bills, & real estate). Real Estate is a staple that belongs in your investment portfolio.
As a commercial real estate professional with Rand Commercial Services, I would be foolish not to encourage people to take a serious look at moving out of their rental properties, and buying a home while prices & financing are at historic lows. House prices are expected to rise slightly in 2012, but bargains are still abundant. Contact a licensed broker - using a broker will actually save your time & money.
Ask your broker about distressed inventory in your neighborhood. Nobody would be a better owner/investor or landlord than you - WHY? Because you already have a vested interest in making that property work!
Remember-the rental market is hot, and if you own a desirable property purchased at a low price; renting it out could provide a very profitiable return on your investment.
When the "for sale" market heats ups, sell on the upswing, don't wait for the top of the market; you'll get burned. Use the money to pay for college or reduce debt. On the commercial front, the "recovery" is lagging behind the residential comeback. 2012 will be a very interesting transitional period for commercial markets.
More to come about: retail, office, industrial and multi-family real estate investments next time. The face of Commercial Real Estate in Rockland is Changing.
Four finalists for the Tappan Zee Bridge rebuilding contract are collaborations of engineering and development companies that range from local entities to multinational corporations.
The finalists were announced Feb. 7 by the state Thruway Authority and Department of Transportation (DOT). Contractors submitted statements of qualifications that were reviewed by technical evaluation teams representing the Thruway Authority, DOT, Metropolitan Transportation Authority and Federal Highway Administration.
The four finalists are:
- Hudson River Bridge Contractors, a group including Dragados USA Inc., Flatiron Constructors Inc., Samsung C&T, E&C Americas Inc., and Yonkers Contracting Co. Inc.
- Kiewit-Skanska-Weeks Joint Venture, including Kiewit Infrastructure Co., Skanska USA Civil Northeast Inc., and Weeks Marine Inc.
- Tappan Zee Bridge Partners, including Bechtel Infrastructure Corp. and Tutor Perini Corp. in New Rochelle.
- Tappan Zee Constructors, a group including Fluor Enterprises Inc., American Bridge Co., Granite Construction Northeast Inc., and Traylor Bros. Inc.
Several companies among the finalists have worked previously on the Tappan Zee Bridge, including Tutor Perini, which is currently in the finishing stages of a deck resurfacing project.
The four groups were selected on the basis of several criteria, including prior experience with projects of this scale, past performance records, a familiarity with design-build construction projects, financial capability and environmental compliance records.
The next step will be for each of the finalists to submit a design-build proposal to the state after it issues a formal request for proposals, expected in late February or early March.
Representatives of the four finalists could not be reached prior to press time.
The state Legislature last year authorized the use of a design-build procedure, which enables prospective developers to submit design plans rather than having the state mandate specific design and construction methods for public works projects. The legislation allows projects like the Tappan Zee Bridge to be expedited, reducing the risk of delays due to design changes.
Ross J. Pepe, president of the Construction Industry Council of Westchester and Hudson Valley Inc., called the announcement of four finalists “a major step forward to advance the replacement of the aging Tappan Zee Bridge” and touted the design-build procedure for streamlining the bridge planning process.
The state and federal agencies coordinating the process have not disclosed more details regarding how the estimated $5.2-billion bridge project will be financed.
Gov. Andrew Cuomo in his executive budget proposal outlined an economic development plan that includes billions of dollars in infrastructure funding from state authorities and private funding sources.
ALBANY – New York State and federal transportation agencies are committed to an aggressive approval timeline that could end in the start of construction of a new multi-billion dollar Tappan Zee Bridge by the late summer or early fall of this year.
On January 24, the New York State Department of Transportation and the New York State Thruway Authority jointly released the Draft Environmental Impact Statement for the Tappan Zee Bridge project. The DEIS concluded that there would be no adverse impacts with the construction of a new span that would not preclude a mass transit component in the future.
While a host of business and political leaders commented favorably on the expedited plan by the Obama and Cuomo administrations to build a new span, a number of local politicians, including Westchester County Executive Robert Astorino and Rockland County Executive C. Scott Vanderhoef have repeatedly called for mass transit to be included in the initial construction of the new bridge. Proponents of the expedited plan argue that including mass transit now would add years of delay and billions of dollars to the cost of the project.
Major highlights of the DEIS report included: the construction duration is anticipated to range from 3 to 5½ years, and the construction cost is anticipated to run from $3.5 to $5 billion. Using the Design Build project delivery method, a construction duration of 4½- to 5½ years was assumed, and the construction cost was estimated at $4.64 billion (in 2012 dollars). The total number of construction job generated by the project is estimated at 14,094. Over the estimated five-year construction build-out, the project would directly generate an average of 2,819 fulltime workers per year.
“New York has spent a decade talking, studying, and meeting about how to replace this vital bridge,” said NYSDOT Commissioner Joan McDonald. “But under Governor Cuomo’s leadership we have been able to make significant progress in building a new Tappan Zee Bridge. The governor’s expedited timeline has accelerated this project, which will create jobs and generate much needed economic development opportunities in the Hudson Valley. At the same time, the study does not rule out mass transit options. Now that we understand the environmental effects of reconstructing the bridge, it is time to start laying out real construction plans.”
Thomas Madison, executive director of the Thruway Authority, added, “The completed DEIS represents the remarkable team effort that is quickly becoming a hallmark of the new Tappan Zee Bridge Project. Leadership from Governor Cuomo and support from President Obama have enabled the Thruway Authority, NYSDOT, and the Federal Highway Administration to work in a focused, collaborative way to meet this critical deadline and maintain project momentum.”
The agencies announced that comments on the DEIS will be accepted until March 15, and public hearings will be held in Westchester and Rockland counties in late February. New York met the January 19 deadline to submit the DEIS to the federal government, state officials said. The replacement bridge will have eight traffic lanes as opposed to the current seven, and feature two breakdown lanes that could also be used to accommodate transit or other transportation purposes, state officials said. Additionally, unlike the current structure, it will include pedestrian and bicycle lanes.
A host of politicians from the region expressed their support of the DEIS and expedited plan in statements included in the state-issued press release, including: Rep. Nan Hayworth, Rep. Nita Lowey, Rep. Eliot Engel, State Senators Suzi Oppenheimer and Andrea Stewart-Cousins, Assemblywoman Ellen Jaffee, Assemblymen Robert J. Castelli, George Latimer and Kenneth Zebrowski, Westchester County Board of Legislators Chairman Ken Jenkins, Rockland County Legislature Chairwoman Harriet Cornell, Yonkers Mayor Mike Spano, and Christopher St. Lawrence, supervisor of the Town of Ramapo.
Marsha Gordon, president and CEO of the Business Council of Westchester, said, “Today’s Environmental Impact Study takes us one step further towards completing Governor Cuomo’s bold plan to aid in the reconstruction of the Tappan Zee Bridge which needs to provide a cohesive transportation network for the region and north-east mobility. Today’s announcement provides a concrete timetable for when improvements will begin, and how the new bridge will differ from its antiquated predecessor. This project also provides thousands of job opportunities for the region and state.”
Al Samuels, president and CEO of the Rockland Business Association, said, “For too long the Tappan Zee Bridge has been rapidly decaying and government has done nothing. The Governor’s Environmental Impact Study demonstrates significant progress in rebuilding one of New York’s most essential bridges. The governor’s expedited plan to replace the obsolete Tappan Zee Bridge, generates much needed job creation and economic development in Rockland and Westchester. It is clear that anyone who opposes the Governor’s plan is directly opposing jobs in the Hudson Valley. I commend Governor Cuomo for his bold plan which will facilitate safer and faster transit to help rebuild our economy.”
NYSDOT and NYSTA are currently reviewing statements of qualifications that were submitted by prospective contractors as of a January 10 deadline. A short list of qualified bidders will be identified by the agencies on January 31. The project team is scheduled to publish the final Environmental Impact Statement, which would include the selection of the bridge design, in June 2012. It will announce the selection of the Design/Build contractor by July 2012 and reach a Record of Decision, execute the Design/Build contract and issue a Notice to Proceed to the winning contractor by August 2012.
In October 2011, President Obama announced that the Tappan Zee Bridge project, which had been mired in more than 10 years of study with no end in sight, was one of 14 mega-projects across the nation to be fast-tracked in an expedited approval process. At that time, the Federal Highway Administration, which is now spearheading the project, rescinded the prior environmental studies that were underway, which included a number of designs for a new span as well as bus rapid transit and commuter rail to be possibly incorporated into the project. Cost estimates ranged from $8 billion to $16 billion for a full build-out that included commuter rail in a 35-mile study area that began in Suffern and ended in Port Chester. Instead, the new fast-tracked study now involves a little more than three miles from Nyack to Tarrytown and is focused solely on building a new bridge that “does not preclude transit in the future.”
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Marketing Messaging: 6 Strategies to Turbo-Charge Your Website
Posted By susanne On January 8, 2012 @ 1:05 pm In Best Practices,Business Development,Coaching,Marketing,Real Estate Technology,Real Estate Training
With the arrival of a new year, now’s a great time to look closely at your website and evaluate what worked well in terms of bringing you the results you wanted as well as what didn’t work throughout the last 12 months. Here are six strategies that you should incorporate into your website to hit the ground running in 2012.
1. Make sure you have a strong MLS search tool on the front page of your site. Having an interactive search tool where the visitor can choose a specific town, price range and even property type can be a powerful way to compel them to want to click-through and access listings. Having an IDX-integrated search on the home page eliminates the need for buyers or sellers to click-through three or four levels just to view homes.
2. Double check that you are the point of contact on every listing when the visitor searches the MLS. If you are driving people to the MLS search, don’t forget that the name of the game is lead generation. Make sure they can ask for more information easily, schedule a showing or even share the listing with a friend in a matter of seconds, all while positioning yourself as the point of contact and keeping an eye on the activity.
3. Have specialized buttons right on the front page so that visitors to your site can get information for what they are specifically interested in. For example, take a look at http://hollimccray.com and you’ll see buttons dedicated to one-level living and for properties close to the downtown area of Knoxville.
4. Have a built-in blog within your site. Notice that I didn’t say HAVE a blog as your website like http://markspain.com/atlanta_real_estate_blog. Instead, take the time to create a blog that can be integrated within your site. This way your website has components for lead capture through search engines and your blog is working to add content and build relevance for the search engines. Make sure your visitors have the ability to retweet your information as well as share it on Facebook and other social media channels.
5. Have social media-share features on every single page in your website. People want to see information and then they want to “like” it or share it on their Facebook wall or on their Twitter account.
6. Have built-in email campaigns so that you can easily send specific emails to targeted groups. For example, let’s say you come across a great foreclosure deal and you want to let your foreclosure buyer pipeline know about it. Have the tools so that you can email the entire group within moments to let them know about the new listing.
Tricia Andreassen is the CEO/founder of Pro Step Marketing.