Professor Teaches That Great Salespeople Build Relationship

Dr. Howard Dover knows that sales can be a tough sell.

Dr. Howard Dover

Dr. Howard Dover

"We've gone to buy a car, or we’ve had someone telemarket us, or we’ve had someone knock on our door, and many of us have not had a positive experience,” Dover said. “We perceive what sales is, and we don’t want to do it. I don’t want to do that kind of sales either.”

Dover joined the Naveen Jindal School of Management faculty in the fall to launch the Professional Sales Concentration. He is a clinical professor of marketing and focuses on teaching practical skills.

Soon after joining UT Dallas, Dover got a familiar response when he encouraged a student to take one of his new sales classes in the fall.

“I told him that sales isn’t something I want to go into,” said the student, Monica Raofpur. “I had a horrible perception of sales.”

Dover listened, then he made his best pitch.

It worked: Raofpur shifted her schedule to enroll in his class. Later, she took two more of his courses.

“The way he [Dover] teaches sales is, you have to build relationships with your clients,” said Raofpur, who graduated in May. “If they don’t trust you, they’re not going to come back.”

Dr. Howard Dover

TITLE: Clinical professor, marketing

RESEARCH INTERESTS: Use of technology in sales and online shopping

PREVIOUSLY: Assistant marketing professor, Salisbury University

Dover said that corporate sales positions require intelligence and an ability to understand and respond to customers’ needs.

“I tell students, you’re going to be a consultant who’s going to solve a client’s problem,” Dover said.

Dover made his own first sale when he was a kid when he sold discarded junk mail to a neighbor. After his mother scolded him for selling trash, he moved on to selling tickets for puppet shows.

These days, Dover, who earned a PhD in marketing at UT Dallas, is a salesman for his own program.

Members of UT Dallas’ new Professional Sales Team finished strong in the World Collegiate Sales Open, with two students placing in the top 10 (Raofpur placed ninth). Dover has built ties with corporations, taking students on tours of Lennox Industries and introducing them to officials at McAfee.

McAfee hired one of them and aims to recruit up to four more this year, said Alfred Arias, the company’s senior director, North America.

“Dr. Dover allowed us to think outside of our traditional new-hire cadence and introduced us to a new batch of bright, independent and progressive candidates who possessed a great deal of relevant experience and untapped energy,” Arias said.

Dover has helped several students land good jobs.

Raofpur had six job offers before she graduated in May. The alumna, who accepted a sales position with Oracle, said she was shy and lacked confidence before she took Dover’s classes.

“I’ve transformed into a confident happy young sales professional,” she said. “It’s amazing to see the change in me. It was the best decision I have ever made in my life.”

Media Contact: The Office of Media Relations, UT Dallas, (972) 883-2155, [email protected].

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