To sell its products, Herbalife (HLF) uses a global network of 2 million independent distributors. They know their local market and they’re close to customers.

Herbalife’s Los Angeles-based executive team maintains ongoing contact with key distributors in 75 countries. The top brass brainstorms with them to support their success.

“We make better decisions when we have input from the field,” said Des Walsh, president of Herbalife, which sells weight-loss and other personal care products through its distributors. “We have 2 million highly intelligent members who have great ideas.”

Walsh contrasts this model with a traditional company that employs its own sales force. Such organizations, he says, have “a limited pool of new ideas and they are often top-down.”

Logo from Herbalife

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