Linda Blumenfeld on networking during a pandemic
Networking today looks a lot different than it did in early 2020. In the COVID-19 era, business after hours, and other large gatherings are off-limits for the foreseeable future, and there aren’t as many opportunities to meet new contacts in person.
LINDA BLUMENFELD, owner of LBL Marketing in Wilmington, says you can still maintain your connections—and cultivate new ones—at a safe distance. And, like many small business owners, Blumenfeld has adapted.
“I’m a social butterfly and enjoy connecting people,” she says.
For Blumenfeld, making those connections has shifted to Zoom, email, and the phone. To help others with the transition, she created a workshop entitled, “The Building Blocks of Networking in the New Normal” and has facilitated it at a variety of locations including small business centers and the YWCA Lower Cape Fear.
Blumenfeld teaches participants how to be confident when approaching people.
“Warm referrals are very important,” she says.
Warm referrals aren’t just a lead. It’s introducing people you know to new people. This invites them to think about and consider all the different people they know – and to see who can possibly benefit from the services you offer.
“The more people you meet, the more they can help you and educate you,” Blumenfeld offers.
Her workshop also covers where and how to find resources and recommends reconnecting with contacts safely – coffee outdoors, for example – or volunteering in the community as a way to grow your contact list. “Always follow up with a thank you,” she says.
Blumenfeld earned a degree in marketing and has worked in retail, event planning, and advertising sales. She credits a mentor for teaching her everything she knows.
“She carried around a box of business cards and helped connect people,” Blumenfeld says.
As some professionals continue to work from home, Blumenfeld has a few pieces of advice.
“Get started early,” she says. “And, be sure to eat lunch.”
On hectic days, support local businesses and order takeout. “Work with your family – your team – to plan your week in advance,” she says. “Share the duties.”
Blumenfeld also recommends seeking out new ideas to keep the momentum going.
“Keep learning. Embrace technology and new trends. Get more creative about how to help others in your business. Change up the norm,” she says.
For Blumenfeld, getting outside and watching less news helps her motivation.
“We have to have a positive mindset to succeed in business. And that takes a strong mind, body, and soul,” she says. “Keep smiling behind the mask.”
To view more of photographer Terah Wilson’s work, go to terahwilson.com.
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