Steve Ward, CEO of Master Matchmakers, has built on his mother’s (JoAnn Ward’s) success of finding love for prospective clients for over 20 years. These Palm Beach, Florida-based matchmakers have staff, members, and clients throughout the country and are able to offer local matchmaking services nationwide thanks to their investments in information technology which allows them to quickly and easily verify and background check people online before sending them out on dates. This one-of-a-kind mother/son duo has worked with celebrities, C-suite executives, and some other industry leaders to find the love of their lives, and Steve was kind enough to share how he has been able to give ‘Guaranteed Matches’ to his clientele.
Steve, what was it about the business of love that attracted you?
I never intended to become a professional matchmaker. I only wanted to make my mom’s life easier by adding some information technology to her business. In 2002 she had a rudimentary website and nothing close to a database. She worked out of filing cabinets and manilla folders with profiles and Polaroids attached with chicken scratch, handwritten notes from her session. Now our clients can log in to a secure portal, update their photos, profile, and preferences, communicate with their team, view and provide feedback on matches, prove their identity and authorize a background check as well as sign up for and pay for service. By bringing our business into the 21st century we were able to syndicate our service nationwide.
What separates Master Matchmakers from other matchmaking services?
Typically a high-end matchmaker would charge you more money to expand your search. If you’re open to dating in more than one area they need to enlist their resources in each area and compensate those people accordingly. We’ve been able to centralize our database and distribute our workforce remotely so the more open our clients are, the more options we have for them. We also provide pre-match coaching and post-match feedback loops to help improve the efficiency and efficacy of our matchmaking. With our information technology and mainstream media success, I think our service is second to none.
Now to the money, what is the range of packages you offer? What was the highest?
We are proud to be able to offer a bespoke matchmaking experience to suit the needs and fit the budget of each of our clients. When we are working with a young professional who doesn’t need ‘all hands on deck’ and is fine with a more junior coach and one primary matchmaker, we could offer them fewer introductions than we might like to bring the cost down to about $3,000. We have other clients who want my mother and I personally to steer the ship and chart the course for them, with more than enough introductions to find someone worth pursuing something serious with. If they are extremely particular and truly looking for one-in-a-million, we would charge as much as $75,000 for as much service as we could offer.
Love is a matter of the heart, how have you been able to ‘guarantee matches’?
In my opinion, the most difficult part of meeting someone today is being able to believe what you see. We aren’t your typical online dating service. On most dating sites what seems too good to be true usually is. We don’t embellish. We don’t exaggerate. We don’t deceive or mislead our clients or members in any way whatsoever. It always comes back to haunt you. We guarantee our members and clients can rely on the information we provide or we’ll discount the effort and credit you a match. Because our service doesn’t expire at some point in time, we are obligated to continue making matches until we’ve fulfilled our promise or our client no longer needs our service. As far as I’m concerned, that’s more than any other matchmaker has to offer.
Personally, what brings you the most joy in your job?
What I enjoy the most is the teamwork involved in making matches and bringing love into people’s lives. In some cases, as many as six people on my staff can take credit for a serious relationship, a marriage, family, and children. It takes someone to earn a person’s trust and bring them into our service. Someone else is usually put to task with advocating for and coaching the client. Then at least one matchmaker has a hand in introducing them to someone. I enjoy the fact that we’ve learned to manufacture love, and that’s no easy feat.
Why do matchmakers get a bad wrap?
Most matchmakers have a hard time being honest with a client about how realistic they are, how eligible they are and how accountable they are for their success and failure in their love lives. We don’t. Many singles who hire matchmakers are single for good reason and no amount of matchmaking or tough love is going to make a difference. And if they don’t get the positive outcome they expected when they signed up they will make their voice heard online. We go to extraordinary lengths such as recording our calls with prospective clients to ensure that they get what they paid for. Most matchmakers would be terrified to record their calls for fear of reprisal. In the words of Tip O’Neill, “If you tell the truth the first time you won’t have to remember what you said.”