Okay, I don’t usually watch The Millionaire Matchmaker. I only happened to catch it last night because (and I’m totally stealing my co-worker Craig’s lame excuse here) I lost my remote somewhere in my house last night, thus crippling my efforts to change the channel and forcing me to watch it. If you’re not familiar with this Emmy-worthy show, it’s about professional matchmaker Patti Stanger‘s adventures in finding love matches for single millionaires.
Anyway, somewhere between scenes of awkward date #1 and awkward date #2, it occurred to me how much Stanger (baby doll dresses and generous use of bronzer aside) is like a headhunter. After all, what recruiter can’t relate to the pressure to deliver the best matches possible to a customer in hopes that one of these candidates will be become its happily-ever-after?
Stanger’s often faced with the dilemma of trying to match up men who are a far cry from the Jonas brothers with their hearts desires – that usually being tall, leggy models who are decades their junior and way out of their leagues. (Seriously, one 40-something bachelor described his ideal woman as “Cindy Crawford, 20 years ago.”)
But whereas Stanger has the luxury of using a “tough love” approach to give her clients a reality check about how prospects actually see them (“I’m like, ‘Who the hell do you think you are? You’re not Brad Pitt meets George Clooney. You’re not a big wheeler-dealer on TV, loaded and gorgeous. Get over it,’” she recalls telling a client last year); you’re likely forced to take a softer approach.
Think about it: Could you ever get away with directly telling a client, “You’re not Google meets Zappos! Get over it!”? Or what about, “You ask stupid interview questions!”? Not likely, I’m guessing. (A part of you wishes you could, though, right?)
At the end of the day, when all cuss words have been said and spray tans done, Patti finds the best possible match she can for her clients. Now, these matches don’t always turn out to be the Giselle Bündchen lookalikes these men initially want, but they’re often, Stanger believes, what these guys need (say, a woman who would tolerate a stripper pole in her boyfriend’s living room, perhaps?) – that is, if these men are sincere in their stated desires to find long-term love with women with whom they have common interests.
And maybe it’s her tall stature or the overpowering shine from her raven hair, but when Stanger yells talks, her clients listen (for the most part). She gets to give her clients “emotional makeovers” (see above George Clooney reference) as well as physical ones to sufficiently position them to woo prospects and transform a first date into a lasting relationship.
But (as much as you might be inclined to at times), you can’t exactly walk into a client’s office and tell him that his bleeping company culture is the reason he can’t retain a bleeping employee for more than six bleeping months (exclamation point).
So how do YOU overcome the dilemma when clients ask for the types of candidates they want (but whom you know won’t be interested/affordable/possible to retain) and the types of candidates you feel they could attract (though they might be less than ideal)? How do you keep your more, ahem, difficult clients happy?Related