Top producer Paula Jones was enticed by a Keller Williams offer that seemed too good to be true. It was. Find out why she came back to RE/MAX after just six months away.
By Deborah Kearns // Photography by JasonMcD.com
When Paula Jones first joined RE/MAX, she felt like she’d graduated to the big leagues. Already one of the top-producing agents in Abilene, Texas, she knew her career could rise even higher.
It did. After that 2002 move, Jones kept building her business. Her production went through the roof, but at the same time, the demands and the pace – always available, always on the go – wore her down over the course of 17 years.
In 2015, the Chairmans Club member, Lifetime Achievement award winner and Hall of Famer needed a change. She wanted greater balance in her life, and more time to visit her elderly parents or grandchildren. She decided to build a capable team to take some pressure off, but she wasn’t sure where to start.
That’s when Jones met a Keller Williams recruiter who promised her she’d have the tools and resources to build a profitable team – if she left RE/MAX. So she did.
Jones says it was the biggest mistake of her career.
It wasn’t long before Jones began to regret her move.
“[The recruiter] told me that joining Keller Williams had changed her life, and I believed her,” Jones recalls. “She told me she had time for her family, because she had a team that took care of her clients when she wasn’t there. She said she’d help me build a team just like hers, too. She was full of reassurances – smiles and confidence galore – so I put my trust in her.”
Two months later, the recruiter was gone, and Jones felt lost.
She hired a buyer’s agent – a former client that she very much wanted to work with – who wanted to make the move from an independent firm to Keller Williams with her.
Then came a second blow: The majority owner of the Keller Williams Abilene Market Center recruited Jones’ buyer’s agent to become a salaried team leader, effectively hiring her away from Jones.
“It was an impossible situation, and I felt forced to say that it was OK, even though I felt hugely betrayed,” Jones says.
Yet another lofty promise – to reap the rewards of profit-sharing – was shattered soon after. Jones found out after her move that she’d have to recruit a new Keller Williams agent in order to take advantage of profit-sharing.
“At the time, I was selling about 100 homes per year; I was far too busy taking care of my buyers and sellers to be concerned with recruiting other agents under me,” Jones says. In addition to servicing so many clients, she was saddled with new rules and meetings she was required to attend. She’d lost the autonomy she enjoyed in running her own business under the Balloon.
Over the next few months, Jones became increasingly disenchanted with her move. She was miserable. Even her clients noticed.
“I was still with Keller Williams in March 2016 when I listed a client’s very nice home,” she says. “This man had quit his job, and one day, while visiting with him, he said to me, ‘Paula, life’s too short to work somewhere you aren’t happy.’”
Talk about a wake-up call.
That same day, Jones met with Margie Peck, Broker/Owner of RE/MAX Abilene, and told her she was miserable.
“Margie smiled and said, ‘Well, why don’t you just come back home to RE/MAX,’” Jones recalls. “I was so happy. Now, I’ve been back for 18 months, and I’m loving every single minute.”
Poised for success
Jones is thriving in the winning culture Peck has built at her brokerage.
“RE/MAX agents are professionals, with professional leadership in a professional atmosphere,” Jones says. “Since returning, I’ve had a huge weight lifted, and I feel like I can breathe again.”
Her clients are happier, too, Jones adds. A builder she’d worked with exclusively stopped working with her when she switched to Keller Williams, telling Jones she just wasn’t the same there. Now, he’s back on her client list.
“The RE/MAX name alone carries a lot of weight in Abilene … and everywhere else.”
Now, Jones is focused on developing her team of three new agents and keeping her clients happy. She’s found a deeper satisfaction and confidence now that she’s back with RE/MAX – where she belongs.