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"Selling" RadControls to your clients

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TonyG
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TonyG asked on 07 Apr 2010, 12:08 AM

We have many clients who ask us to write new software for them.  Some of these clients have their own development people.  I enjoy and advocate using Telerik RadControls for all projects.  But now I need to sell Telerik to my clients as well as my own products and services - and compete head-to-head with the ASP.NET Toolkit freeware.  I'll tell you what I have done.  What do the rest of you do?

For the uninitiated client/prospect, I have had to essentially put together my own marketing materials for RadControls.  I have to explain why we choose to use this kit over freeware/default ASP.NET components.  I cite benefits like outstanding support, faster development, more built-in features, a much more attractive final product, and a much better end-user experience.  I invite clients and prospects to an online demo where I take them on a tour through the telerik.com demos.  I show them screenshots of existing projects and profile features of RadGrid, the calendar, windows, rapid skinning, and other "sizzle".

The only downside to using RadControls is the cost. If my clients want to maintain the code produced for them, they will need to purchase RadControls and ongoing maintenance.  That's no big deal unless they have a team of developers and no major need for  RadControls.  Another "truth be told" reality is that RadControls require a lot of time and patience to learn - that actually makes initial development more costly, though I believe the rewards are worth the investment.

So I need to pitch my for-fee, "takes some time to understand" toolkit against free and open source tools used by the other 90% of the world.  That's sometimes tough.

Since we're here, I often also feel as though I'm providing free Marketing for Telerik when I may not get anything but a development gig out  of it.  After all of my extra sales effort I don't even get a commission from product or support fees.  Sure, the points are nice but hardly commensurate with the effort, and quite frequently people will just go and purchase software later without telling anyone - Telerik may have sold a dozen licenses based on my free marketing for them without me or anyone else here getting a single point.

So how do you other developers "sell" this, and does anyone else care about this last situation?

Thanks for your time.

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Albert Shenker
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Iron
answered on 08 Apr 2010, 07:18 PM
Here's my 2 cents:

My development world seems a little different than yours in that the vast majority of clients I deal with couldn't care less which set of tools I use to create their products. They only care about the functionality/appearance of the work and its cost (and of course if my work will function in their internal systems, to the extent it has to). On rare occasions, a client has asked about open source since it is such a buzz-word. In those cases, I explain the pros/cons, and rarely do these outweigh the benefits of using a toolkit like Telerik. After all, open source requires a learning curve too, and can be an even steeper one. If I were making use of some obscure component set, I would be a little worried that my work would be virtually unmaintainable. However, Telerik components are one of a handful of well-known and etablished product lines. Its probably difficult to find an ASP.net developer today who is completely unaware of Telerik, and finding one who is familiar with the product line (at least enough so to maintain pre-existing code), is probably no chore either.

That being said, for those clients that have internal resources and may choose to maintain my work themselves in the future, I do broach the Telerik subject. In these cases I don't really need to have a lengthy and elaborate sales pitch. If the project is large enough and attractive enough, I might make some extra effort to get them to use Telerik controls, but if its small, I don't bother trying to convince them. I mean, I certainly mention that there is an available technology that would help their developers do a better job in the future (after some training and experience), but I certainly don't feel the need to go all out, particularly if the project i am contemplating is small. As a developer, I am always looking to advise clients on the best way to do things and IMO in many cases, this includes implementing Telerik controls. However, I have found that trying to transform an established organization from the outside is rife with difficulties for both the client and myself.

As for referring Telerik Products, I do feel it would be beneficial for Telerik to provide some sort of official referral program. So, when someone purchases a license, they are able to enter a referral code and that person gets some real benefit. A program like what exists at most web hosting companies would probably work (ie the referrer getting som percentage of the sale). Ideally this would be real money telerik would send out periodically (monthyl, quarterly, whatever), but discounts toward future purchases might work as well, particularly if the referral percentage were higher because of this). Yes, this would still require the purchaser to enter the referral code, and if they make the purchase at some point in the future after your sales pitch, there's no guarantee they would do so. However, I'm nost sure of a way this could be avoided, short of you purchasing the product for them and charging them directly. This alternative would probably create more headaches than it is worth.
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Donna
Telerik team
answered on 13 Apr 2010, 08:50 AM
Hello Guys,

Thank you for your commitment to our products and for sharing your thoughts.

We offer incentives for referring new clients to Telerik. If one of your clients purchases from us they just need to reference that you have referred them upon purchase (either by providing your account e-mail address or client ID) and we will award you with 10000 Telerik Points. This is the equivalent of $100 that you can apply to any Telerik purchase.

Tony, we certainly appreciate your work in spreading the Telerik name. You're right when you say that great tools are worthless, if you can’t use them. We know our customers need to get their teams up-to-speed as quickly as possible with the components they choose so that their projects are enhanced- not hampered- by components. To help you do that with Telerik, we provide a number of unique resources:  

I hope this answers your questions. If I can be of any additional assistance, please let me know.

Best wishes,

Donna
the Telerik team

Do you want to have your say when we set our development plans? Do you want to know when a feature you care about is added or when a bug fixed? Explore the Telerik Public Issue Tracking system and vote to affect the priority of the items.
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TonyG
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Albert Shenker
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Donna
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