The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People

Habit 5: Seek First to Understand, Then to Be Understood


Donncha can work with startup businesses to review their Sales and Business Development processes. I have worked with several business promoters at the startup stage who felt uncomfortable about taking responsibility for Sales. Lots of people starting a business lack confidence that they can deliver the Sales needed for the business – they have great passion for the business but just don’t like having to make the sale. They are looking for an independent voice who is experienced in both Sales and Marketing to help them. The solution is a mix of training and hands on one to one mentoring to: discover the optimal customer profile; clarify the correct route to market; generate Sales leads; and craft a Sales pitch to include follow up customer documentation. These are critical components in establishing a Sales process and system that works.

Sales is not easy

Sales is the lifeblood of every business. But delivering on Sales targets is not easy. Consumers are more sophisticated, competition is more fierce, retailers and other third parties are more demanding, the internet is both an opportunity and a threat, and commercial customers are taking greater control of their buying processes and expect greater value.


This is a scenario that features in my ‘Skills of Selling’ workshop to illustrate the importance and power of a Sales Pitch.

You get a call late on Friday afternoon from a company inviting you to attend a meeting with their 3 key decision makers on the following Wednesday to pitch for a significant account.

You have been chasing a meeting for months.

They tell you that they will be meeting with four of your closest competitors

Q. Will you win the business?

Source: The Jelly Effect, Andy Bounds


‘Skills of Selling’ Workshop : How it works?

I design and deliver bespoke Sales training workshops. Every business is different but we can all learn from other business, industries and sectors and also from best practice in the area of Sales. I see Sales as being comprised of both Skills and a Process. After working with me, you and your team will:

• Understand your customer and have reviewed your Sales Process and made changes so that everyone is focused on helping the Customer to buy.

• Have assessed your personal approach to Sales and undertaken a ‘Listening Exercise’ and discussed how to ask and answer questions during a Sales meeting.

• Have worked with the Marketing team to brainstorm marketing expenditure and projects to ensure that marketing activity is focused on Generating Leads.

• Have set agreed targets for Sales and put in place the resources to achieve the targets.

• Have formulated a plan for Sales – please click here to download template for a one page Marketing & Sales plan.

My training workshops are about imparting knowledge, facilitating discussion, and helping the client and the team to form a cohesive plan (and think differently if that is what is required). Some of my favourite ‘tools’ to facilitate this type of assessment include: Elevator Pitch, FAB [Features, Advantages, Benefits], USP [Unique Selling Point], and the Sales Pipeline Report.

Sales Experience of Donncha Hughes

My training is based on my direct Sales experience and what I have learned from working hands on with clients.

• Sold licenses for Business Challenger, a SaaS business plan review tool, to Enterprise Ireland. I was heavily involved in product development by Averian Consulting Ltd.

• Expert in Tender Document preparation

• Managed a Direct Mail Campaign and Sales follow up (phone and direct Sales) for a client (professional services)

• Sold ‘shared incubation space and associated services’ to startup promoters and filled LIT’s Enterprise Acceleration Centre within 2 year target. After 4 years 3 companies had exited the Centre as HPSUs (High Potential Start Ups) and created over 30 jobs (Episensor, Resourcekraft and Emutex). Subsequently other businesses also gained this status to include Clodium and ManageCO2.

• Developed LEAP brand for Limerick Institute of Technology and created pipeline of startup promoters applying for the programme.

• Event management to include securing Sponsorship for several big events to include the Mid West Entrepreneur Showcase.

• Met Sales targets for IBEC Mid-West (worked for 7.5 years) both in terms of number of new businesses and value of new membership subscriptions.