Mixing with the best

Often the key to business success can be found in networking. We learn from a seasoned expert how making connections makes all the difference.

Frankie Snobel is a cocktail enthusiast who has turned her passion for tippling into a successful business: Tipplesworth. But even with a decade of mixology experience earned in cocktail bars and events around the world, the self-styled 'Lady Tipplesworth' acknowledges that much of her company's success comes from networking.

The business itself is all about providing customers with a high-end gifting experience. This is based on a complete luxury cocktail kit, supplied in its own bespoke case, with all the essential tools of the trade. With the mainstreaming of the exotic beverage offering a clear gap in the market, the timing was perfect for the company to announce its arrival. But as with all new businesses, making a grand entrance is not always easy. Opportunities have to be made and taken.

First contact

With just a few prototypes to hand, Tipplesworth was not yet fully up to speed when Snobel met her first important contact: a 'mover and shaker' in the global drinks distribution industry. “We clicked straight away,” she comments. “She is an innovative person and saw an opportunity to connect me with other people in the industry.”

Invited by her new 'patron' to a gin-tasting at a London distillery, Snobel found herself “schmoozing” with the good and the great of the drinks industry and in particular the head of PR for prestigious retailer, Harvey Nichols. “I thought 'this is the perfect opportunity to see if they might be interested', having emailed them before but getting nowhere.”

Following up

A post-event realisation that the contact had not been properly engaged was redeemed on the tube-ride home. The head of PR fortuitously fell into the same carriage and Snobel, having spotted her, made her move. After presenting her case in transit, abetted, she admits, by a little Dutch courage, the next day the shop's buyer called. A meeting followed and soon after Harvey Nichols was Tipplesworth's first ever customer. It could so easily have gone by the wayside.

“When I sent them an email before, it wasn't even read. But through meeting in person, it opened up the doors,” Snobel observes. “If you can speak to someone and they can see the passion in what you do, it will have a far greater impact.” Indeed, Snobel's first choice for pitching is always face-to-face. “I'm a reflection of the brand and it becomes a lot easier for me this way to make an impact.”

If you can speak to someone and they can see the passion in what you do, it will have a far greater impact.

Frankie Snobel, founder of Tipplesworth

Getting out there

In helping to reach the right people, organised trade events, such as the Enterprise Nation Go Global trade missions, can be beneficial in sharing knowledge and experience, says Snobel. Indeed, she notes, you never know who you are going to meet nor who's going through the same problems as you and who may have already found a solution.

Whilst she says most of her major commercial partnerships and orders have come “through someone opening up a door”, Snobel's apparent luck in making the right connections is, in reality, something she has created. “I'm all for putting myself out there,” she explains. “I'll make sure that anyone I think might be able to help knows that I need their help.”

I'll make sure that anyone I think might be able to help knows that I need their help.

Frankie Snobel, founder of Tipplesworth

Politely persistent

Of course, confidence helps here. “If you want something from someone, ask for it,” she advises. “There will be a whole lot of rejection and many people will not want to open a door for you. But there are many that do want to help.” What is needed, she continues, is “a very thick skin”.

Be warned though: having made a connection, an overly-gentle follow-up rarely works, advises Snobel. “You have to tailor your approach according to who you are speaking with, but always be polite, persistent and enthusiastic.”

Thought leadership from HSBC

You are leaving the HSBC Commercial Banking website.

Please be aware that the external site policies will differ from our website terms and conditions and privacy policy. The next site will open in a new browser window or tab.

You are leaving the HSBC Commercial Banking website.

Please be aware that the external site policies will differ from our website terms and conditions and privacy policy. The next site will open in a new browser window or tab.