Sean Herdon and Wendy Atherton Are Selling A Luxury Lifestyle!
Written by Allison Parker
Photos by Kelly Klemmensen Photography
Most REALTORS® dream about tapping into the luxury market. In the Lake Norman area, two transplants from Boston are owning it. Sean Herdon and Wendy Atherton launched Winston Dane Keller Williams last August, focusing on white-glove service, deep analytics, and tech-savvy marketing tools that appeal to high-end clients. Their innovative business strategy is working. This husband-and-wife team finished 2020 with $7 million in sales, recently hired another experienced buyer’s agent, and is on track to quadruple last year’s volume.
“We study the craft of real estate,” Wendy says. “And our tech-forward and knowledgeable, polished approach resonates within the luxury market. From our logo design to our website experience, everything we do is based on appealing to high-end clients.”
Sean and Wendy moved to Charlotte in 2015 to continue their careers in Corporate America. She was the Vice President of National Accounts at Liberty Mutual, and he owned an IT recruiting company that placed people in corporations nationwide. In 2017, as they started to build a local investment portfolio, Sean got his real estate license to manage their deals. From there, he dabbled in real estate sales and soon realized it was similar to corporate match-making, but houses are a lot less fickle than people. By 2019, Sean became a full-time REALTOR® and was so busy that he enlisted Wendy. The following year, the duo branded themselves Winston Dane Keller Williams, a nod to the long line of immigrant entrepreneurs on both sides of their family.
“We operate with integrity and provide the best outcomes and services to clients regardless of their price point, but we are more active in the higher end of the market,” Wendy says. “The days of using signs and glossy brochures to sell a house are over. We take a luxury marketing approach and provide a luxury experience. By using innovative techniques and technology, we get our properties in front of the right buyers, and we promote aggressively to out-of-state buyers flocking to Charlotte. Two-thirds of our buyers are from out-of-state. We also excel at analytics and negotiations, presenting ourselves as consultants and educators, not just door-openers. Luxury clients expect you to know more than they do, and they already know a lot!”
Proud of the results they have achieved for their clients, Sean and Wendy are geared up for tremendous growth. They’d like to expand the team to include two more like-minded buyer’s agents this year. The right agent match would be someone who likes technology, works hard, delivers superb service, and is fanatical about attention to detail.
“With the number of leads we generate, a new agent should be able to sell a minimum of 24 houses in 2021,” Wendy says. “Neither Sean nor I had a client database when we started in real estate, so we built systems from scratch that make it easy to find an influx of clients. Now we’re cranking in quality leads like they’re going out of style.”
Their Director of Operations, Lanie, provides fantastic transaction support, and Wendy loves coaching agents on how to hit their numbers. “We are a Tom Ferry Coaching client,” she says. “We track metrics to see how we are performing and make any necessary adjustments to provide better income predictability. The Charlotte market won’t be this way forever, so we work hard to capitalize on every opportunity.”
That includes finding houses to sell that are off-market. “Twenty percent of our clients bought a home last year that we found for them that wasn’t listed,” Wendy says. “While we love using technology to generate leads, my husband is a master networker, and we are both very good at creating opportunities. We’ve made a lot of wonderful relationships in the Lake Norman area that have helped us dominate the luxury market.”
Sean is on the Housing Committee for the town of Cornelius, is a Rotary Club member, and both he and Wendy are active in the community. “We are selling the lifestyle here, and it’s our responsibility to do well by our community,” Wendy says. “We chose to move here because we wanted to live on the lake, and it feels good to help clients enjoy it as well. Being able to grab a glass of red wine and take the boat out for a sunset cruise on Lake Norman is truly a luxury!”