November interview with GazetteNET

Source: GazettNET

Name: Lanie Delphin
Job title, company: Owner/matchmaker, Mass Match Dating and Matchmaking Service
When the business started: 2002

What you do?
Meet with clients, match them, coach them, do the business/advertising end and write articles

The market?
Singles 20s-80s from western Mass and neighboring communities in Connecticut, New Hampshire, Vermont and New York

How you reach out to it?
Radio, print, TV, chambers and word of mouth

What you hope clients say about you?
Clients have told me they are grateful that I charge a rate as affordable as Internet Dating and that I dont charge the thousands of dollars that similar personal dating services charge. Clients have thanked me for responding to them in a timely way. Some have kindly told me to take a break on a weekend or evening. To me, though, running a dating service isn't like selling a pair of shoes.

The concerns of clients are immediate and deeply personal, and I want to get right back to them. No matter where I am or what Im doing, Ill send off an email if I feel its important. Matchmakers cant really take a vacation away from email. And despite being thanked for successful matches that have led to marriages, and even many babies, being thanked for advice taken to heart has meant the most to me. Educating people so that they make good healthy choices for themselves and helping them expand their minds has been a mission. I am a born teacher, I suppose. People thank me for caring. No one thinks they are a dating expert.

Key to success?
Being persistent and working hard at building relationships. If you run a small business you need to give the kind of personal service that you wont usually get with larger companies. The Little Engine that Will. Someone said I was faster than Yahoo.

Challenges?
Competing with the big-box Internet sites, described by some as looking for a needle in a haystack. And if someone is upset with you, not answering in kind.

Misstep you learned from?
I wish I had had a business partner. All other mistakes have been opportunities for tweaking and evolving and thinking outside the box.
What others could learn from you: If you believe in what you are doing, do not give up. It takes a lot of time to build up a business and people will feel the passion you bring to it.

Who helped mentor you professionally?
My husband, friends and family, media representatives and clients. One of my radio reps helped me change the name years ago from Single Search Western Mass. Clients have suggested ways to improve the online registration form. I take all suggestions seriously but, in the end, have to trust my own instincts. My son, who does the website, has been an invaluable support and chief consultant in terms of technology. I couldn't have done Mass Match without him. Who else would answer my questions in the middle of the night?

Top goals for 2012?
To get more people in Mass Match so that more and more people will find the right one. The more clients, the better the chance for folks to find that special someone.

Advice for others seeking business success?
Listen to everyone because you can get stuck in your old ways. Be willing to change.

Parting thought?
If you run your own business, be prepared to work very hard. But in terms of tapping into your creativity, nothing will top it. And please, tell all singles to join Mass Match.

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"Dear Lanie,
We wanted to let you know that we are getting married tomorrow morning, May 1st, in Wellfleet at sunrise. It was through your efforts that we found each other almost nine years ago. Thank you so much for that."

Sarah and Ned, Springfield

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