I’m often asked how RICS members and their firms can get maximum benefit from their relationship with RICS. Especially at the time of year when we are all paying our annual fee - how can Swiss members make sure we get the best value out of our membership?
A good example
In Zurich we have a good example of a company that is making the most of many of the RICS opportunities. SPG Intercity Zurich was one of the first in Switzerland to become “Regulated by RICS” and mention this in their mandate letters, website and on their business cards. They have also adopted the Real Estate Agency and Brokerage standards and this again is mentioned in relevant correspondence with clients. Along with the RICS logo, which is included in all company publications, it makes it quite clear to clients how committed they are to the high professional standards and excellence of service that comes with the RICS name.
So how can you make RICS membership work for you?
Use your letters and the logo - Individually, qualified members can use the RICS logo on business cards and other print and online materials. It is eye-catching and increasingly well known – it’s a good way to stand out from the crowd. But almost more important than the logo is the use of MRICS or FRICS alongside your name in every situation. Not just signing letters, but in writing an article or in a press interview. Always use these magic letters – they are the key to opening doors and winning new business. Also don’t forget, the more these letters are seen, the better they are recognised by everyone and the more they are then looked for by clients. The RICS spends a lot of time and resource promoting the brand, but you can do your bit as well.
Firms or departments within firms can use the logo if they are involved in “surveying activities”. This means any real estate, construction or land related activity. If a complete firm wants to use the logo they must have one or more MRICS / FRICS director(s) or partner(s). A department within an organisation can also use the logo if there is one MRICS /FRICS director or manager.
To find out more go to the web page on using the RICS logo where you can read the rules in detail and download the logo.
Become Regulated - As members we are all Regulated by RICS as an automatic part of our membership. However, the firms we work for can ask to become Regulated and thereby gain an additional marketing advantage. Clients, particularly from outside Switzerland, looking for local advice may well choose this additional assurance about a firm’s standards and quality. Becoming Regulated is free and involves initial registration and then yearly reports. To find out more go to the help and advice on how to regulate your firm.
Are you a valuer?
All RICS members offering valuation services should consider become a registered valuer. In some countries this is now compulsory for members undertaking valuations, for example in the UK, Netherlands, France and Spain. At the moment it is only voluntary in Switzerland. It is an independent quality assurance process which assures clients that the Registered Valuer:
- Applies the 'Red Book' valuation standards
- Is committed to openness and transparency
- Is an expert in their field, delivering credible and high-quality reports.
Find out more about how becoming a Registered Valuer might help you win more business.
RICS issues other standards and guidance such as the Real Estate Agency and Brokerage Standards (REABS) which many members have also taken advantage of to promote their firms particular expertise. Many Swiss firms have adopted the REAB standards as representing best practice in the market and promote it through all stages in the mandate process. Including reference to REAB in your mandate letters will show your potential client that you are operating to the highest standards. This wins business. The requirements of REAB are usually normal, best practice for our members but it is a useful reminder to everyone involved to have these actions clearly stated in writing in the contract between a seller and their broker. Firms in Europe who have adopted the REAB standards are listed here.
There are many more ways of using your RICS membership to benefit you and your business.
Learning – Go to the RICS Online Learning Academy (OLA) to find out what classes are available in a wide variety of topics and a wide variety of languages.
Networking – Locally, regionally and worldwide you can access events where you can meet other members face to face and go on-line to meet virtually. We have regular afterwork drinks and events in Geneva and Zurich and less regularly in Bern and Basel. These are in addition to our annual conference and annual meeting which brings members together from across the country. Workshops and other educational events happen depending on the topic, often in association with one of our accredited courses. Details are sent to all members and reported in our quarterly newsletter. There are also many Linkedin, Twitter and Facebook opportunities. In Switzerland we regularly Tweet and our Facebook stories have a high hit rate. Our LinkedIn group exists but needs to be more active, so get involved and add a story or discussion topic.
The RICS website has a Global Members Directory which allows you to connect to members anywhere in the world with any specialism. So if you need an FM expert in Beijing or a valuer in Spain, use the directory to find the right person. But remember also to update your profile so people can find you and know what you do. Check out how much information there is on your profile. To see an example of a good profile check out our Chairman's profile.
Add "making the most of my membership" to your goals for 2016. If you need any help or further advice contact me in the RICS Switzerland office at any time.
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