Megan Probst: Digital Platform for Business Growth

July 21, 2022,
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Megan Probst: Digital Platform for Business Growth
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In this episode, Carlos talks with Megan Probst from The Probst Group, who specializes in luxury properties in Miami-Dade, Broward, and Palm Beach Counties. Megan is more than just an agent: she is a thinker, researcher, advisor, and connector, with proven networks and expertise that serve her clients beyond the physical home. The Probst Group functions like a one-stop concierge, providing relocation services and tips on getting settled, and utilizing the expansive technology at Compass to help with client support, marketing, staging, and more. 

In this fast-paced, tech-driven industry that can oftentimes feel a bit impersonal, Megan knows how to guide clients with the ease and confidence of a trusted friend.

Video Transcription

Carlos:My name is Carlos Concepcion and today I’m very excited to have Miss Megan Probst, owner of The Probst Group, a Compass luxury team that focuses on Lauderdale by the sea and the Fort Lauderdale luxury market. It is my pleasure to have you here today. Megan, please tell us a little bit more about you and how you started on the business.

Megan: Thank you, Carlos. And thank you for having me, as you said, we’ve been chatting for probably a decade now since the beginning when I started. My name is Megan Probst, I’m the principal of The Probst Group at Compass. I’m a founding agent for Compass South Florida.

It’s been a very exciting past six years with Compass. We entered the market and we’ve grown tremendously. Our team specifically focuses on Broward County and Miami Dade. We specialize in waterfront properties and new development, uh, projects as well. I’m actually a native of South Florida, having been here since I was four years old. I was actually born in Jamaica actually. That’s a whole other story, but my father was a real estate developer. So even though I tried to get out of the real estate, it was never on my mind. Always wanted to be a real estate attorney. I think that would’ve been the main direction I was focusing on. I had a really great experience after two years in New York in fashion industry. And then, I had a very positive relationship with an agent. And from that day forward, I got my real estate license and I’ve been full-time. So it was 2010.

Carlos: When was the time that in your career you saw the benefit of going digital? 

Megan: Actually from the get-go, I was very, very fortunate, I mean, of course, technology wasn’t where it was now, but I, my first broker, our office was in downtown. He was a very young dynamic real estate broker. His name’s David. Actually, we have a great relationship to this day, but he had a very interesting background because he was a real estate attorney. He had his mortgage background and he was a real estate broker and he was very young, uh, for starting his own brokerage. 

Our model was really focused on the University of Miami. And we had a very interesting model where we were working with the parents and the students at the University of Miami and showing them that if you purchase a property as a freshman, you can build significant equity over those four years and sometimes eight years. I still have many of those clients to this day that, instead of wasting on rent, were able to own a property and flip the property.

So we were very young and we were testing. We actually had a website of yours. I’ve always loved digital. I’ve always loved video. Um, and I’m just excited that it’s caught up now. 

Carlos: On the technical side, what were your main challenges once you went into something like digital for the business and a website, and did you ever think that the website could be like a potential pipeline for you?

Megan: Well, I think a lot of the websites, because I’ve had several throughout my career, have been more like a portfolio website, you know? So it’s just there so that people, you just feel like you have a resume and people can search you and it’s there. I had no idea the capabilities that you could really have to the extent, like now that I have, where you can really target like your objectives and really target the buyers that you’re working with.

You know, I love analytics. I’m a big nerd in that regard. So being able to like, we’re such a feeder market right now, and 80% of my business is a combination of past clients, and agent-to-agent referrals. And then, you know, we have 20% that is on Instagram and digital platforms. It’s probably a little higher now from the last three months.

This is where people are searching. The first showing happens online. It doesn’t happen inside of a property. And with COVID over the past two years, it really has surprised me that we’ve sold almost 50% of our properties digitally. I mean, virtual shows and local tours. So, I never thought that was really a possibility.

Carlos: I think a lot of agents still are not aware of the fact that you should represent your business on the internet the same way you have, or you do on the physical aspect of it.

And I mean, you have a lot of experience with other vendors, as you mentioned, and I don’t wanna go into that, but how do you combine your expertise and everything that you accumulated through the years? With these internet leads and with your business in general, I know that managing all of these tasks at the same time is low for a business owner. So what are the best practices for you on your day-to-day that helps you manage your team, the website, the lead flow, your sphere, and your social media? How do you handle those tasks?

Megan: I would say six years ago I was in the middle of my career and I didn’t have that excitement. I’m very passionate. I love to see, like, as startups have been for me from the get-go, even before real estate, I love to see something and grow and develop. So the market there was, it was kind of stagnant. It was like the same process. You know, the mailers would come in the mail and you would see the four sale signs. And I was just like this isn’t the career for me. And then Compass came into the picture. And I started seeing very modern, fresh marketing and digital, and it’s a technology firm as well, and the background, the story just called me. And when I went to their headquarters in New York and I saw what they were doing, that they had software engineers, I’ve never seen a company that actually has floors of software engineers and the top marketing directors from luxury brands that are assisting agents and then agent experience managers, and, you know, the products that they’ve rolled out in the past five years. So number one, I’m aligned with Compass for a reason. I’ve grown my business every year because of the tools that they provide.

But I would say number one is your CRM, is a great opportunity to start on the right foot where you can organize and tag your database. Your CRM  is tagged to your website and it’s tagged to everything you do on a digital platform.

We also have a business tracker where I know where our lead pipelines are similar to the website backend. So I think you need to have a CRM and you need to be able to track the sources of your leads and you need to track where your buyers are in the process. Definitely, because that’s what your hot sheet is like, who needs the attention the most, and how you can get them from points A to B, C, D.

Carlos: Well, coming from you, that’s extremely important for our listeners and our viewers. How do you decide what are the right tools? You have such an amazing company that you work with, Compass, which is at the forefront of sales and innovation throughout the nation. But at the same time, you’re working on your brand as an agent, which is important to you and to your team. And you’re providing your agents with these other technology tools that are out there, right?

Megan: Yes, absolutely.

Carlos: If you were a new agent today, with all of the experience that you have with all of the vendors that you work with, what would you recommend a studying agent to look for when they’re in the beginner stages of trying to represent their brand? 

Megan: If you’re starting off as an agent, you definitely don’t do it alone. Um, especially in this market right now. I forgot the stats, but the top search engine for careers was real estate agents. You know, people think now, because you work from home, real estate is an easy career.

It’s so dynamic and there are so many steps. I wish I had this chart that I found the other day and it shows all the steps that no one sees behind the scenes of working with a buyer or seller. There are so many, it’s so intricate. And if you’re an agent starting off, align yourself with a team, that was the best decision I made.

Really having a mentor, who’s there for you throughout the steps because I learn something every day in this industry. I wake up and I’m like, wow, that was an interesting day, you know? So have a team, have someone who does training and support. And in terms of digital, I would say really be careful with what you put out there because once it’s out on the web it’s there, you know, and it’s not going anywhere. So really think about who you want to be, your voice, your brand, you know, like I think a lot of people don’t take a lot of time to really say “What’s my focus? What’s my voice? And then really have a nice mix of content that you’re feeding.

Not everyone wants to just hear about just listed, just sold, they wanna hear more about, which is what I try to bring to the table is the lifestyle, the development. You know, really what it’s like to live here in South Florida, and I’m obsessed with South Florida. 

Carlos: That’s perfect. That brings me to my next question. What is going on in your market? What are some unique opportunities that The Probst Group sees in the Florida market?

Megan: So I’m very passionate about South Florida. I love to travel, but every time I come home, there’s no place like South Florida. It’s a very exciting time here because it’s no longer a heavy focus on residential development. We’ve always had cranes up in the sky. Um, developers have been acquiring land for many years, but now what you’re seeing is hospitality groups that are moving here for the first time that are international hospitality groups. You’re seeing hedge funds that are opening offices. I mean, we have Microsoft Blackstone, they’re not only moving their headquarters here, but they’re also moving their entire employees. So this seasonal market that we once had in south Florida, it’s now a year-round destination and home, you know, we always thought during COVID, maybe this exodus from the Northeast Midwest was just gonna be like a temporary boomerang thing. But a lot of people are here to stay and they’ve moved, their kids are in the schools down here in South Florida, they’ve made friends, they’ve started to let everyone know that they’re here in South Florida. And I have many clients who have made that relocation.

Carlos: Do you see any particular market that is more likely to move down? Do you see any spiking activity from any particular market outside?

Megan: So we’ll always have the Northeast. I mean, we’re a little Manhattan here and especially in downtown Brickell, but, um, I just got back from Boston. We had a really wonderful, mini-retreat there in Boston. And I was really excited because I had never visited Boston and we have so many clients and they’re lovely. So Boston, Chicago has been really at the forefront the past year, and then we’re starting to see California. California was very hesitant for a while. They typically wouldn’t make it all the way to Florida, but that’s been a strong market, and most recently Canada has been very, very strong. They’ve always loved Broward County, but they’re really starting to focus on Miami, you know, Toronto, Quebec, Montreal.

So I’ll be making a visit hopefully at the end of June to Canada. Never been.

Carlos: That’s amazing. Megan, I wanna say that it’s been very, very interesting for me talking to you, especially after the amount of time that we have, you know, we’re together. And if there is anything else that you would like to share with the viewers that are seeing this show, anything that you wanna share about, you know, anything, any additional piece of information that you wanna share with.

Megan: I would just say right now it’s a very interesting time in the market. It’s very important to work with a professional agent that has relationships. I’m on the board of realtors for the Miami association. And we’re the largest association with 55,000 members. There are a lot of agents who are not full-time. So it’s very important to align yourself as someone who has relationships, and who knows how to navigate. We have a huge shortage of inventory right now, and a lot of demand. So we have a lot of intricacies with the sellers trying to figure out what they’re going to do with their properties and buyers trying to navigate this market.

Uh, so there’s a lot of great tools that have been rolled out, you know, to help our buyers and sellers. Make sure that you do research, and on the flip side of things, I have to talk about the new development. In residential, we have incredible iconic projects that are coming, Waldorf Astoria, and The Ritz Carlton.

I’m very excited about that, we’ve aligned ourselves with some of the best developers here. So if anyone is interested in information on new development projects, the next cycle is happening. So I’d say by 2025, our skyline is gonna look very, very different.

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