If you’re considering hiring the services of a professional dating agency, here are 8 Surefire Tips to help you find that special one:
Know the basic most important rule: Meet your matchmakers in person! Don't sign up if you have not met the person who will be matching you. Make sure that you matchmaker is employed full time by the agency - a quick check on LinkedIn will settle this very important point!
Beware of monthly membership fees or bundles of 5, 10, 15 presentations. Some agencies will charge you a monthly fee for their services. Though it may be tempting at first glance, it is not in the member’s best interest. Monthly membership fees don’t incite the agency to match you quickly. The more time it takes to introduce you to the right person, the more money they make. Know the difference between a presentation and a match. A presentation is a submission of a profile that you could likely refuse - this counts! Make sure that you are guaranteed real ''meet in person'' matches!
Trust your gut. Most agencies will conduct a short telephone interview to qualify candidates before offering a face-to-face consultation. A reputable agency will never pressure you to commit to their services over the phone. If the telephone interview leaves you feeling doubtful about the agency, trust your gut and decline the consultation.
Do your research. Prior to your meeting with the agency, do your due diligence. Who works there? Are the individuals mentioned on the site full-time employees or are they simply affiliated with the agency and wanting to sell you something that you don't necessarily need (i.e. coaching, personal styling, sex therapy.)? Do they have a professional presence online? Do they target the profile you are looking for? How many years have they been in business? Do they have a good reputation? Make sure online reviews are from trusted sources and not from the agency itself. Check their credentials and track record with known bodies such as the OCCQ (formerly Better Business Bureau).
Keep it local. Does the agency have a strong local presence based in your city? Do they have a permanent office with matchmakers and other employees? Beware of agencies with a bare office space. You can’t trust an agency that doesn’t commit locally. How can they understand your needs? How can a matchmaker find the right match for you if she has never met you and the other members? Pictures and a phone call are no substitute for meeting the matchmaker in person, regardless of how many years of experience she possesses. And beware of the agencies with a lone employee who is receptionist, sales person, office manager and matchmaker. Or worse yet, the ones that don’t even have an office and offer to meet you at a location of your choice, like the local coffee shop. Finally, we understand that this process is one that you wish to keep confidential hence our office doors do not show our name or what we do.
Prepare for your meeting. Know what you want, what you are looking for in a partner and in a relationship. You have to keep an open mind, but if you are not clear on your goals no one else can figure it out for you. Prepare your questions and get the answers you need to make an informed decision. And remember, no matter what they tell you, it is as much a process for you to qualify them as it is for them to qualify you. You are building a relationship with the agency and you have to work together to achieve success.
Ask questions. The goal of the meeting is to put you at ease so that you feel confident about your decision to move forward with the agency. What are the services they offer? What are their policies and methods? Do they have human matchmakers that meet with you or do they use computer software? Do they have qualified coaches who can guide you, and is this service included in the price?
Refuse to be pressured. A reputable agency will help you make an informed decision by answering all your questions. If during your consultation you mention that you want to think about it and the consultant puts pressure on you or becomes rude, end the meeting. Some agencies will attempt to manipulate you emotionally, emphasizing that if you do not sign up NOW, you will remain alone for the rest of your days. They cite your inability to meet a serious partner on your own thus far as proof positive. Hiring a professional matchmaking firm is NOT a last resort. It is a personal decision to enlist a professional with the expertise to assist you, much like you would a financial advisor, accountant, or consultant.
There is much to consider when making such an important decision, but the effort is well worth it!