Who wouldn’t want a career in matchmaking?!
Bringing people together and being instrumental in their pursuit of happiness must feel good right? Annabel Hannam is 47, happily married with 2 daughters (20 and 16) and after working with one of the country’s leading matchmaking companies decided to launch INTRO. As part of our ongoing Ladies At Work feature we wanted to find out more…
INTRO is a new type of matchmaking and introductions agency. In today’s world of speed-dating, apps and on-line services, INTRO’s approach is distinctly different and seems to be far more effective.
“Really, it’s a simple formula – it’s about the personal touch. We take the time to get to know each client individually. So, when the ‘matching-magic’ happens, there’s a far greater likelihood of a date and of long-term success. It’s definitely a more successful and effective approach and we’re persistent, our clients have a guaranteed number of introductions….no matter how long it takes.”
Intro’s main office is at the exciting new Colony HQ development in Wilmslow – this stunning yet private environment is the perfect place for Annabel and her team to meet new prospective clients. It certainly has the wow factor.
“I saw the North West – Manchester and Cheshire in particular – as the perfect area to launch a modern matchmaking agency. It’s a very dynamic part of the country and crucially there are a lot of single people, Manchester is the singles capital of the UK with more than half of the adult population unattached!”
Annabel has always worked with people. From helping manage professional tennis stars, running an outreach service for the Citizens Advice Bureau, working in HR roles and photography (she still keeps a hand in with this one). The common theme is people … understanding their motivations, interests, aspirations and insecurities. “Matchmaking was a natural progression from this, and a job where my whole purpose is to make people happy is an amazing job to have!”
The matchmaking idea is tried and tested – over centuries in fact. The principle of matching two compatible people using experience and understanding is tremendously effective. INTRO has taken this concept and modernised it for the 21st century – to fit with a much more diverse and dynamic community. Success rate? “Well at INTRO we never give up! As far as we’re concerned, an INTRO client is an INTRO client until they’ve met their match!”
Internet dating clearly works for some people – most of us know someone who met their partner on-line – but for every success there are undoubtedly a lot of people who remain disappointed with the results of many internet and app services. In fact, this was one of Annabel’s main motivations for INTRO – she saw an ever-increasing number of people who were looking for a modern, effective alternative to internet dating.
“My favourite aspect of this business is meeting people and getting an insight into their ideal partner, which makes it such an enjoyable process for me and my team when it comes to matching clients. It can be exciting when you realise that you have a couple who could be just perfect for each other!”
“We’re finding people from their thirties upwards are joining INTRO, having tried internet dating and found that it just doesn’t work for them. At INTRO we meet all our clients face-to-face and check their ID so all our members know that anyone we introduce them to really is who they say they are, actually looks like their profile photograph and is genuinely available. Men are often slightly more reserved at the beginning…perhaps social conditioning makes them more reluctant to ‘open up’ about their aspirations. Having said that, once we’re underway with the matching process, men are generally full of enthusiasm and eager to meet up with potential dates.”
So what exactly does running a matchmaking agency involve day to day?
Well, like most people now the day tends to start and end with emails. As I travel around the area quite a lot – and spend much of the day meeting with clients – an hour or two at the start and end of the day for emails and admin works well. Most days will be a mix of interviews with potential new clients (as it’s key for us that everyone who joins INTRO has been through a face-to-face meeting and application process) and profile selections. Profile selection involves myself and the team looking through the database to select potentially suitable matches, which we then show to the clients. Hopefully they like the look of our selections and we can get some dates arranged! It’s not too hard to juggle, but often I’m meeting people outside of working hours, which can make for long days. This is one of the reasons why we’re so keen on events – from country walks to a gin masterclass – as these can fit more easily into our clients’ busy lifestyles.
Has branching out been a difficult process?
I’d say the main obstacle really has been building an understanding of what INTRO actually is… people now are focused on on-line dating and apps, so the idea of a personal, lifestyle service, with real people and face-to-face conversations takes a little explaining. What’s great is that clients quickly see the benefits and it’s a bit of a revelation!
Do you have a fairytale happy ending from your matched repertoire you could share with us?
Well, confidentiality is key for us! But yes, I’ve seen some great relationships formed and enduring over time and any match feels amazing, both for INTRO and obviously for the clients involved. The best stories are the simple ones and keeping in touch with people as they grow closer together and share their lives is hugely rewarding. It’s particularly satisfying when a client has taken a bit of persuasion from us to meet up with someone we have suggested as we feel they would be a good match and then they hit it off – one couple are still together months later, booking holidays together and generally having a fabulous time. That’s a great feeling.
One comment we’ve often heard is “I wish I did this years ago”. So our advice is always why wait? There’s nothing to lose in having a conversation and seeing if matchmaking is right for you.
INTRO is based in Manchester and Cheshire. Their experienced consultants have the expertise to match you with genuine potential partners. They get to know you as a person and meet with you for a face-to-face chat, so they can fully understand what you’re looking for in a potential partner. They also offer a guaranteed minimum number of introductions. They call it ‘Modern Matchmaking’ and are introducing people across Manchester, Cheshire and the North West right now.
INTRO is offering readers one month’s membership FREE OF CHARGE – inclusive of a personal profile. To claim this exclusive offer please mention Ladies Pass It On when contacting INTRO.
T: 0161 468 2727