Sales snobbery and comfort zone regrets

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Mark Woolaston is the New Business Director at McCann Bristol

Biggest fuck up?

My main regret is not stepping out of my ‘comfort zone’ sooner. I allowed my preconceptions of the working world and the paradigms I had about my own career to manifest as a mindset. The mindset was that only working for a company with significant resources would help me progress in my career.

Part of that mindset was, thinking a move could give me the progression that I craved. It happened on a few occasions where I made the mistake of leaving a role to get the progression that was promised, being met with unrealistic expectations and a lack of support only to be stuck with another thankless task.

How did I fix it? By taking a few risks, moving into sideways roles, going freelance and eventually becoming a business owner. I learned that allowing [mostly unqualified] others dictate how you should do your job will never yield any progress. And NOTHING is more important than your own mental health.


The vilification of “sales” not only as a role but also as a function. Creative industries are full of immense snobbery about “the S word”.

The irony is sales are generally the ultimate goal. Especially when you work in an industry that is geared towards encouraging people to spend money on stuff. It’s not a dirty job, it’s just very tough.

What’s a sale: the exchange of a commodity for money. Is it evil? No. So, stop the snobbery! Help each other. Support the sales team!

One other thing, I’ve been faced with the highest wankiness; paid-for networking groups. Yep, you know the ones where you pay a fee and get breakfast (which you also pay for). Then you are compelled to recruit more people to do business in this little cult-like group. While they give you homework to encourage business with people in the same puddle-sized fishpond with dead fish floating on top of it.

The procedures and rituals stink of a pyramid scheme. Name badges and forced applause for referring people. Someone, somewhere, is sitting on all of this money, laughing like a video game boss from the 90s.

If you want to network, go to free/sponsored/casual events. Build your own network, run your own events, and add some value. It will take time.    

Useful advice 

Don’t ever be afraid to ask for something you want. You won’t always get a “yes”. But if you don’t ask, the answer will always be “no”.


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