.local sales talent: key to foreign success

Including a story how I've learned it the hard way.

We buy what we know. This trick was taught to us by evolution to instinctively reduce the risk of things going wrong. Once, it helped us survive; today, it can help us sell. Let me tell you story, how I’ve learned it the hard way.


But first, let’s consider two examples. Try to be as honest as possible 👇


Example 1: You pick up a phone and receive a call from a person barely speaking English with a strong Russian accent.
Example 2: You receive an email in your language signed by “Abishek Devarukhkar”
Question: Which of these sales people will gain your instant trust? Or will you rather set up a mental barrier they must overcome for you to even listen to them? Again, be honest 😉


These people might be excellent salespeople and might even have an outstanding product, but… I think you get the point. Their starting position is different compared to when a local from your bubble contacts you.

The reason is simple, you have at least one thing in common. You both speak the same language and, probably, come from the same country, so you can relate to them from the first moment.


Local vs. Non-local

From the perspective of the person being sold to, it’s entirely clear that it’s harder for non-locals to sell in any market. However, when it comes to selling, we tend to idealize reality.

That’s why Czech and Slovak companies attempt to sell in Poland using broken English and in Germany with salespeople who sign their names as “Honza Novák”. And then they wonder why it doesn’t quite work abroad.

I’ve literally encountered responses from companies that have built successful businesses in Czechoslovak conditions, saying, “We tried it in Poland, but it didn’t work there,” or “Germany isn’t working for us. Nobody wants to even talk to us.” And so on.

For heaven’s sake, when you were building your business, did you use a sales representative with a name that our people can’t even pronounce? I guess not.


Anyway, here’s my story learning it the hard way. 


How We Expanded to England from Slovakia

I don’t want to make fun of other companies. It was precisely because I made this mistake in an entirely extreme way that led to the creation of today’s .out of spacetime. After building the digital agency Hype, we decided to conquer the big world and start an agency in London. Without the help of locals. From Slovakia.


.marek didak of .out of spacetime goes to london


After a year of trying, we not only failed to sell a single substantial service but also struggled to even meet with the English locals. And if, by some miracle, it worked out, after five seconds, you could see them mentally checking out. In their heads, it was, ‘I’ll let these Eastern Europeans talk, and then I’ll say I’ll think about it.’


It didn’t work for us, despite us consistently working in sales. Despite us being experienced in marketing. Despite speaking English fluently. Despite London being multicultural, and we thought that not being locals or natives wouldn’t be a problem.


A Bright Moment

The funny thing happened when we teamed up with John, a local salesperson. He was expensive as hell but we wanted to give it a try. Soon enough, he arranged our first client introduction, and after the initial meeting, we closed a deal. Suddenly, we had an entirely different position, an entirely different perception. That’s when it hit me. We could exhaust ourselves, but without locals, it wouldn’t work for us.

Below, I talk about it in a short video.


That’s how the idea of connecting companies with local salespeople across Europe was born. Today, we have hundreds of people in our portfolio from various EU countries, primarily DACH (Austria, Germany, and Switzerland) and Poland, but also Spain, France, Hungary, and the UK.


From Slovakia to Austria and Hungary. And three other countries.

One of the first clients who believed in us in this regard is Etarget, for which I’d like to give credit and publicly thank them. In 2023, through local salespeople, we sold their innovation in brand awareness advertising (in the simplicity of interactive banners) in Hungary and Austria. In 2024, we’re expanding this cooperation to Poland, Spain, and Italy. And it works. Because of locals. Because of professional salespeople who know what they’re doing. Because our key area is remote sales management, and thus, we can manage them even when each of them is in a different country.

In short, you can never understand the market better than a local, and you’ll never be able to sell better than a local sales representative. To an Englishman and a German, you’re an Eastern European. To a Polish, you’re a stranger.