Taking the Basketball Out of B2B

In this ALSD Member Highlight, meet Lois Mueller, Director, Premium Suite Sales for the Golden State Warriors.

This transcript has been lightly edited for content and clarity.

Briefly explain your background. 

My background is anything but linear, so I almost have to ask how much time you guys have!

My name is Lois Mueller. I'm the Director of Premium Suite Sales here at Chase Center, home of the Golden State Warriors.

I cut my teeth in hospitality 12 years ago, but I'd say it was about 10 years ago that it percolated into the premium experience. I started a concierge program at Triumph Mountain Properties in Vale, Colorado. We would curate experiences for anyone who rented these homes in the mountains, and this was white glove service. As soon as they landed and walked off the private jet or plane, I would handle their entire reservation from in-home ski fittings to dinner reservations to dog sledding tours to private events, you name it. That then led to me create my own business, which was boutique co-working spaces in mountain communities.

Then I found my way to the Bay Area in the middle of the pandemic of 2020.

I moved to the Bay Area and began to fully immerse myself in the culture, and asked myself, what is this tech scene all about? I worked for a B2B company that used artificial intelligence as well as behavioral science to help sellers and marketers in their path for that B2B sale. That's where I was introduced not only to the 49ers and the Warriors, but also ALSD where you and I met. I had the curtain pulled back on the sports world in this organization and I went from selling to the Warriors to being sold to. And as we just said, I started two months ago to the day of this interview as the Director of Sales.

With your background in mind, how you define hospitality and a premium experience? 

In the past it would have been the curation of unforgettable moments, which I still, to my core, truly believe. That is a part of the premium experience. But now I also think it's the curation of long-term deep-seated relationships and bringing longevity to the experience as well.

What's something new that the team has implemented recently that has had positive returns?

In the B2B sales cycle now, what we're focusing on when it comes to Chase Center long-term leases is that partnership, is the longevity of the opportunity. It's how you curate these relationships.

This might sound strange, but what I'm focusing on is removing basketball from the conversation. We want Chase Center to be bigger than basketball.

When it comes to long-term leases, how do we look at the value outside of it? We own our building and so we want to talk about the opportunities for suite holders and partners to use their suite on dark days. We're focusing on other events because we know the workforce has changed. Offices are now hybrid, if not fully remote. So, how can we unite the community in the Bay Area, have Chase Center as that focal point, and then really look at long-term opportunities through that lens?

Tell us more about experiences and creative meetings with clients.

At Chase Center's inception, we focused on ease of access. How do we get fans, businesses, partners to the site? And then how can we piggyback the premium side of that once it's implemented? [Experience] is always a focus point in meetings. It's always a topic of conversation, curating those unforgettable moments is something that will always be a part of Chase Center.

How do you see buying and selling habits and cycles evolving now?

It is more of a process looking at the long-term lease opportunities because it is from a real estate point of view. So many workplaces went to hybrid, went to fully remote, and so that's kind of a sticking point. But that being said, I've seen the sales cycle become faster.

I feel more companies will get you to the correct decision maker more quickly versus saying, “Oh you know what, let's involve so and so and this person, and we also need this individual over here.” They're more like, “Okay, we just got knocked on our head. Everyone else did. Who do you need to talk to get the results faster?”

As sellers, we know that sometimes a quick no is as much appreciated as a quick yes. I've just noticed an accelerated sales cycle with my time not only in the B2B company that I worked for (which uses behavioral science and understands buyers and sellers), but also here at Chase Center.

When I started [at Chase Center], very quickly, I was like, I am surrounded by all A sellers. Kudos to Paul [Ratner] and Nana [Yaw] because everyone that I've been introduced to and worked with so far is just incredible. They're all motivated. They have a sense of community and unity and lifting one another up and they understand relationships and that it's not just a quick sale, but looking at the longevity of their conversations and the impact.

How is your venue or team enhancing the premium experience now and moving forward?

We have to look at the inner workings of the organization and how we’re enhancing the experience. For us, that is focusing on our in-house communication. How can we go from ticket sales to rentals to suite leases and sellers and services on site and make that process more seamless? We're really aware of our in-house communication processes to make it more seamless for our guests.

I want to touch based on zip code diverse mentality. We know how businesses have changed. We're working harder to better understand where businesses get their revenue. What their objectives are for the next few years? How can Chase Center be a beacon for that or assist in that?

Then we're looking at events that perhaps aren't Bay Area specific. We have the NCAA Tournament coming to town in March, and that's been a great talking point with companies and tech in Silicon Valley and here in San Francisco because we're we know a company’s workforce might be all over the place, but we know that they also went to universities across the United States, so could this opportunity be a unifier for their team.

How do you show your employees some love without necessarily being in the office? Could Chase Center provide that?