Tips and Tactics for Generating Sustained Quality Shadchan Attention
This Question was posted in the Yated Shidduch Forum (November 2015):
I and many of my friends have met shadchanim and yet rarely (read: never) hear back from them. We understand that they are constantly meeting new singles and it is not humanly possible for a shadchan to work on behalf of everyone they meet.
In light of this, what would you suggest as a tactful and effective manner to stay in contact with shadchanim on an ongoing basis so that they will remember me without being viewed as a nudge?
The Following was NASI's Response:
Perhaps by stepping in to a shadchan’s shoes, we can get a better understanding of the shidduch redding process - who they redd shidduchim to and which shidduchim they redd - and thus more effectively learn how to follow up with them.
As the questioner correctly mentions, shadchanim are constantly meeting new people and it is impossible for them to focus on every person they meet. So which shidduchim do they actually redd? Which singles do they actually choose to redd shidduchim to?
Surprising as it might seem, a large number of shidduchim that shadchanim redd are actually "handoffs,” where a third party (not necessarily associated with either side) approaches the shadchan and asks the shadchan to suggest an idea. It isn't relevant whether that third party has already approached both sides and they are interested, one side is already interested and the second side hasn't been approached yet, or this third party hasn't even mentioned it to either side. The point is that someone alerts a shadchan to a potential suggestion, and if the shadchan thinks it is a reasonable idea, they will be glad to redd it (especially if they have met/know either or both sides). That is a classic and common example of a shadchan redding an idea that the shadchan on their own would not have contemplated simply because it isn't possible for them to conceive suggestions for all the people in their database.
As an aside, a model is being developed whereby this concept could be greatly expanded upon by creating shadchan helpers/and advocates for singles who could do the legwork to come up with appropriate ideas from within a shadchan’s database and then have the shadchan redd the shidduch. The concept is very preliminary and much work needs to be done to see it to fruition as an appropriate and effective model.
Another scenario is when a shadchan redds a shidduch from a single that is part of the shadchan’s very small inner circle who, for whatever reason, that shadchan has made it their priority to try to marry off. In a database of hundreds and hundreds of singles, a shadchan can make a priority of eight, maybe ten, girls maximum. These “high-priority singles” may be the shadchan’s relatives, a best friend’s child, and, yes, those “horrible, rotten, money-hungry shadchanim” may also have a few very wealthy families who have promised, or from whom they are hoping to receive, a very large shadchanus that can help them pay their grocery/tuition/insurance bills, buy some clothes for their children, etc. By and large, it is a very small handful of people in their database on whom they actively focus on a personal level.
As such, we can wonder which other singles are being redd shidduchim.
The third and common shidduchim they redd are singles who are fresh in their minds. Shadchanim are constantly meeting new singles. When a shadchan meets a new single, they think about them while they are meeting them and for a few days afterwards. Not every single they meet do they readily have suggestions for, but those who they do are the ones they redd. The truth is that a single will never know if a shadchan redds a shidduch on their behalf unless it comes back with a “yes.” For various reasons - highly appropriate ones, I might add - shadchanim don't tell every person they redd a shidduch for that they did so.
One of the most prolific shadchanim in the country told me a while ago that he set up to go out on a first date seven new couples each week. That is, on average, one new couple each day! And yet, more than twice that number are the shidduchim that he suggests and one side or both sides aren't interested. Do you think those fourteen families for whom he tried will ever know of his efforts? And this is a well-known, well-respected shadchan who has a relatively easy time getting people to consider his suggestions. The vast majority of shadchanim have a much lower ratio of shidduchim suggested to actual dates that go out.
Continuing onward, after a few days - and at most a few weeks - it is simply impossible for a shadchan to keep track of and advocate on behalf of all the singles they have met, and they don't have the time nor inclination to sit down and go through their database and think about suggestions for each single, one by one.
It is a safe assumption that if a single has met a shadchan and hasn't heard from him/her in a few weeks, and certainly in a few months, the chances of the shadchan waking up one day and suggesting an idea for them is practically zero. Either the shadchan has tried a few ideas and didn't get anywhere or the shadchan didn't have any ideas readily available.
However, if the shadchan was reminded of that particular single at various intervals, then the shadchan will, at that time, try to think of any boy they recently met who might be a good idea for that girl. And if the shadchan has an idea, he/she will surely redd it.
As such, it is crucial when meeting a shadchan to ask what the preferred method of follow-up is (voice message, text, email, etc.) and at what frequency. And then stick to it. Don't expect the shadchan to return your call or text. Realize that the purpose of doing so is simply to remind them of your previous meeting and, hopefully, while being reminded, the shadchan, will at that time, think of ideas that come to mind.
Of course, once a shadchan has set up a particular single, it is likely that they will redd more shidduchim, provided that in the process of that suggestion, the single and the family interacted with the shadchan in a manner that encourages the shadchan to continue to work with them.
There is one more item that should be self evident. However, it has come to my attention that it is anything but.
Recently, a community arranged for a fantastic meet-the-shadchan event. It was arranged and run beautifully, with both singles and shadchanim feeling very positive about what took place and hopeful that it would generate significant shadchan attention for those young women.
At the event, the shadchanim expressed their preference that the résumés be emailed to them, as opposed to the paper résumés the young women brought along, as having a résumé in electronic form facilitates a shadchan’s ability to redd shidduchim and store the information in an organized manner. To that end, the shadchanim at the event requested of the young women they met to please email them their résumés.
The event took place on a Sunday. By Wednesday/Thursday, shadchanim told the coordinators of the event that more than half of the young women had still not emailed their résumés.
It should be obvious to anyone that if one meets a shadchan and the shadchan requests that a résumé be emailed, the résumé should be sent within a few hours of meeting the shadchan or, at the very latest (such as if one doesn't have computer access at home), the very next morning.
Just as important is to ask for receipt confirmation in the email just in case the résumé was sent to a wrong email address or went to spam. If no such confirmation is forthcoming, then send a brief text to verify receipt of the résumé.
It is crucial to understand that when meeting a shadchan, the first two or three days - maximum - are the prime time frame during which the shadchan is most likely to come up with ideas on behalf of the single they met. If you are off their radar during those first few days, then the chances of them remembering you at a later date and thinking of ideas are close to zero.
Not sending a résumé as soon as the shadchan requests one, is a surefire way to move right off the shadchan’s radar.
I am happy to share what we have learned over the last decade via input from tens of shadchanim, singles, dating mentors, and trial and error. Feel free to email firstname.lastname@example.org to arrange a presentation.
Director, NASI Project