The Scoop: During the COVID-19 pandemic, traditional ways to meet new people (i.e. bars, clubs, and singles events) were put on hold, and matchmakers across the U.S. have been busy filling the gap. Susan Trombetti, Matchmaker and CEO of Exclusive Matchmaking, told us that 2020 was a record-breaking year for her business. The professional matchmaker saw a significant uptick in singles who emerged from quarantine with serious love ambitions. Susan draws from years of experience to offer dating advice and pair her clients with like-minded partners.

When the COVID-19 pandemic hit the U.S. in 2020, millions of singles were confined to their homes, no longer able to meet up for in-person dates. A climate of widespread stress, uncertainty, and isolation seemed poised to doom their dating prospects — but it actually served as extra motivation for love-driven singles.

Exclusive Matchmaking was on the frontlines as dating patterns and relationship intentions shifted during the pandemic. CEO Susan Trombetti said matchmaking sales initially lagged in March 2020, but by the summer, she was onboarding a record number of clients in major cities in the U.S. and abroad.

Photo of Susan Trombetti

Susan Trombetti is the chief executive of a premier matchmaking company.

The matchmaking office saw a wave of singles looking for a serious and lasting relationship that could weather the ups and downs of life. That wave has remained strong going into 2021.

“It was a good year for matchmaking,” Susan told us. “A lot of people realized that they wanted love and figured out what they wanted in a relationship. Relationships sparked, ignited, and took off. People took a hard look at what they wanted.”

The last year has sparked changes within Susan’s matchmaking company as well. Susan has adapted to the times with her private coaching sessions. Susan’s dating coaching covers a lot of core lessons about dating and relationships, including how to make a good impression on a video date.

“This year, I’ve discovered a lot of singles need coaching more than matchmaking,” Susan said. “My clients often come to recognize there’s something they’re not doing in virtual or in-person dating, and that’s keeping them from finding love.”

A Successful Matching System for Like-Minded People

Susan has worked with highly successful and educated singles across the U.S. Some of them have tried matchmaking before, and others are new to the process. Susan told us the last year has been a good time for singles to try matchmaking and save themselves time by weeding out unsuitable partners with the help of a well-connected matchmaker.

“I find professional, good-looking, upscale individuals, so the only thing left for you to figure out is if there’s a spark. When you’ve removed issues that could go wrong, that’s the only thing left,” she said.

Women can sign up for Susan’s matchmaking services for free, but they are not guaranteed to get a date. Susan works with male clients who are often looking for a specific type and must approve all dates before the matchmakers arrange a meeting.

Photo from the Dr. Oz Show

Susan’s dating expertise has earned her a national reputation.

Before taking on a new client, Susan arranges a consultation where she can get to know the person and determine if the matchmaking services can help him or her. These consultations are an opportunity for singles to identify what they want in a partner and what they need in a relationship.

Susan told us the story of one woman who had never been in an exclusive relationship and came to Susan for help. “She was unable to articulate her need for exclusivity and marriage,” Susan explained. “Once she learned how, she was engaged after 5 1/2 months. He was her first match.”

Susan also offers private coaching sessions that can be valuable for clients who are successful in their professional lives but may need some guidance in their personal lives. The coaching sessions can pinpoint what’s been holding clients back from love. Do they work for too many hours? Are they unable to state their needs in a relationship? Can they let go of their false beliefs about love?

If a single person isn’t sure whether they’re interested in matchmaking, they can also meet Susan first before committing to working with her. She offers a dating advice service that allows potential clients to ask her love-related questions for a flat fee.

“You could ask why guys cheat, or why you’re always friend-zoned. It’s a good way to connect with me if you’re not sure if you want matchmaking,” she said.

How to Prepare for Virtual Dates

Exclusive Matchmaking vets dates on behalf of clients, even if those dates aren’t part of the matchmaking database. Investigate Your Date is a premium, standalone service that conducts background checks on the client’s potential matches, typically from online dating sites or apps. Susan does a thorough investigation to uncover deceit and catch catfishers, kittenfishers, cheaters, and other liars in the online dating scene.

Susan developed the Investigate Your Date service to support singles who are a looking for the real deal.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, singles have had to change their dating routines to meet social distancing requirements. Sometimes that means nixing a first date at a coffee shop or bar and opting to form a connection via video date.

Virtual dating has become the new normal for singles who have reservations about meeting face to face, and many dating experts have predicted this trend will continue long after the pandemic has ended.

“If you’re dating online, you should do virtual dates first. I thought that even before COVID made it popular,” Susan said.

Still, this new form of dating poses challenges for singles and can lead to bad connections or miscommunications. Fortunately, Susan can offer sage advice for making a great first impression on a virtual date.

Exclusive Matchmaking logo

Exclusive Matchmaking can coach and advise singles through modern dating challenges.

First of all, Susan recommends dressing the same as you would on a face-to-face date — but perhaps skipping the shoes. Women should still put on makeup, and men should still shave. “You need to look your best on the date. Don’t be in your jammies on the couch,” she said.

Susan advises women who choose to wear makeup to make sure it’ll translate well on video. They may want to add a bit more color to make sure it pops. She suggests doing a screen test to see how the makeup appears through the video.

Lighting is another important aspect of video dates. Singles can and should move around their space until they find the best and most direct light to highlight their face — no backlighting or shadowy images!

Susan said the most successful video dates often involve some sort of activity to keep the conversation from falling flat. For a first date, it could be something as simple as a trivia game or cocktail hour. Couples who have been together a little longer can get even more creative and do cooking dates or movie dates over video.

“I love House Party or the Netflix Party app where two people can watch the same movie,” Susan told us. “I’ve also seen people send their date a bottle of wine via Postmates, or have dinner or flowers delivered.”

Susan Trombetti Strives to Make Love Possible

The last year has rocked people’s lives and given singles the opportunity to reconsider their dating habits and goals. The services at Exclusive Matchmaking have been there to help clients navigate virtual dating, long-distance relationships, and other romantic challenges.

Susan said she has seen a dramatic shift in her client’s priorities since the pandemic began.

“This year, daters know what qualities are important, not just what looks good on paper,” Susan said. “Pre-COVID, people may have cared where you went to school or the job you had. Now, they care less about those things. More important was are you going to have their back? Are you going to go the distance with them?”

As a professional matchmaker, Susan is part of the solution helping clients get what they want and make their dating dreams come true. She said she’s encouraged to see many of her clients putting greater focus on character and substance over looks — and finding more satisfying relationships as a result.

“Before COVID-19, you may have met up with someone who didn’t look like their photo, but now if you go on a date in person, they may not look like their photo, and they’d give you COVID. You need to date them long enough virtually to gauge their honesty,” Susan said.

In this environment, the only missing piece is actually meeting a compatible partner — and Susan can take care of that by recommending the most desirable matches.

“Couples often tell me that they marvel at my foresight to match them perfectly,” said Susan.