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Here’s what you can expect as a licensed partner at Engel & Völkers Switzerland: an interview with new licensee Niki Thomet

In 2019, Niki Thomet took over the Lake Zurich-Thalwil-Zimmerberg licence. In an interview with Engel & Völkers Switzerland, he describes his initial experiences as a licensed partner, the challenges he’s faced, his happiest moments and his goals for the years ahead.

Nyon - Niki Thomet, Lizenzpartner Engel & Völkers Zürichsee Thalwil

Engel & Völkers Switzerland:

Hi Niki. For several months now, you’ve been our new licensed partner for Lake Zurich-Thalwil-Zimmerberg. What’s it been like for you so far?

Niki Thomet:

As a licensed partner at Engel & Völkers, I’ve found exactly what I was looking for: great customers, excellent market potential and a strong E&V platform with a local, global and regional presence. I previously worked in international business at a major corporation for over 20 years. I’m now gladly able to draw on this experience in the expat-focused region of Zimmerberg. The combination of being an entrepreneur and benefiting from synergies within Engel & Völkers is a really exciting business model that has already brought me a great deal of success and personal job satisfaction since I started.

Engel & Völkers Switzerland:

Are there any highlights you enjoy looking back on as a licensed partner that you’d like to share with us?

Niki Thomet:

The highlight for me is the way I came to Engel & Völkers. As is so often the case in business, my personal network led me to the master licence. The discussions and negotiations regarding succession for an existing licence were positive and convincing from the outset. Of course, it’s the people you want to work with, not the logo on the business card. I’d like to take this opportunity to thank Peter Frigo in particular. He gave me the sense that E&V was the right place for me from our very first meeting.

Engel & Völkers Switzerland:

Engel & Völkers has had a presence in Thalwil and the surrounding area for years. You decided to take over an existing licence. What made you decide not to start out from scratch as a licensed partner?

Niki Thomet:

My belief in the market potential of Zimmerberg on the left bank of Lake Zurich, my experience managing an international client base, and my existing network in our expat-focused region. I also recognised the potential of team members such as Zahida Amini and was convinced from the outset that a good mix of established senior agents and new leadership would bring valuable synergies.

Engel & Völkers Switzerland:

Do you see further benefits in developing an existing licence as part of succession planning?  

Niki Thomet:

Of course. I previously built up a small start-up in Singapore from scratch and underestimated how much time, energy and money it takes just to get up and running. If you already have leadership and management experience, succession planning for an existing licence lets you focus on customers and growth from the outset.

Engel & Völkers Switzerland:

Yet you’ve already made a great deal of changes. What were the reasons behind this?

Niki Thomet:

I redesigned the team, marketing and processes with the aim of establishing a customer-focused organisation. It’s important that we listen to customers, understand their needs and manage them proactively and professionally. When I started, four agents had assigned themselves around 14,000 customers so I received complaints because of bad customer service about five times a day. These days, each agent only actively manages around 300 to 400 customers, we also work in teams of two to ensure a professional deputy. Basically, all topics are organized and discussed as a team, by that the lone-wolf mentality was abolished.

Engel & Völkers Switzerland:

Evolutionary thinking is a must nowadays. Where do you see particular potential for your licence? What are your goals for the years ahead?

Niki Thomet:

Our market in the Zimmerberg region is extremely fragmented, with lots of small real estate agencies and only a few established brands like Engel & Völkers. Our goal is to boost our market share and become the strongest real estate agent in the region with our customer-focused, team-based approach to consultancy. We’ve already got the right people – now it’s about investing in marketing and getting our business development activities off the ground.

Engel & Völkers Switzerland:

In order to get to know the company, the brand and the system, you have participated in various training modules in Switzerland and also at the head office. How has this experience been like for you?

Niki Thomet:

Every Swiss master licence event and training course in Switzerland and Hamburg has been rewarding for me, as they help me get to know our people, our system and our business better. I benefited a great deal from this exchange and would like to keep up regular attendance at these events and training sessions.

Engel & Völkers Switzerland:

The master licence also tries to support new licensed partners as best it can. What’s your experience of working with the master licence?

Niki Thomet:

The master licence is always there for us whenever and wherever we need it. As I mentioned, I used to work at a big corporation, and sometimes I was frustrated there by the deluge of emails and inefficient processes. Engel & Völkers pursues a flat hierarchy, which makes working with the master licence very efficient. For the most part, information is supplied to us from above in a selective, targeted way, and if we have urgent queries, Tom Frigo and his team are always on hand. I think it’s important for us to intensify collaboration between licensed partners even further, especially as our customers would like to work with us across licence regions.

Engel & Völkers Switzerland:

Thank you for the fascinating interview, Niki! We wish you and your team a successful end to the year and the stamina to achieve your big ambitions.

Are you looking to become a licensed partner?

Enter the world of Engel & Völkers and become a licensed partner. Our unrivalled brand strength, first-class network and unique system platform will give you the best possible start to succeed as a licensed partner. Engel & Völkers not only offers you user-friendly tools to simplify your day-to-day work – we also offer practical seminars, coaching and webinars on the most important processes in our in-house academy. Apply now and write your own Engel & Völkers success story as a licensed partner with us.

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