How do you tell people who you are without saying a word? Go out for coffee!

There’s a coffee shop in my neighborhood. It’s pretty famous around here. They just opened up two new stores in the city. They’re considered a big deal.

Except they suck. Regular coffee costs two bucks. They are always out of something. At no point does anyone in their employ know what kind of bagels they have that day. I asked the owner if Viennese coffee was flavored, and he told me that it wasn’t – it was just regular coffee from Vietnam.

I have never been there without at least 5 people in line ahead of me. People love this place. They happily fork over their two bucks (we won’t even get into what lunch costs) for a cup of acceptable coffee in a Styrofoam cup that dribbles.

Why? Because they like what it says about them.

You see, around here, if you don’t work during the day, there are two kinds of places to go for coffee. There are the places you go because you are unemployed and have nothing better to do, and there are the places you go because you have so much money you don’t need to work. This is one of the latter shops, and this is why there’s a lineup out the door.

Young mothers bring their preschoolers and sit on the sidewalk patio because it says, “My husband makes enough money that I don’t have to go to work.” Recently retired folks go there to lie about their golf scores. Home business owners go there to network and schmooze. That’s why I go.

When a potential client is introduced to me at this coffee shop, they are silently being told, “She’s doing well. She is successful. She has the time to come here when other people are out working.” The client trusts me. I go where he goes. I do what he does.

Is it worth it? In the last year, I’ve gotten over $8000 worth of business from clients I’ve met at my local café. Considering I go there about four times a week, at $2/coffee, I’ve spent about $416 to get over $8000, not including future revenues and referral possibilities. Plus I got coffee.

Roll out the clichés if you want. Like marries like. Birds of a feather flock together. You’re judged by the company you keep. Whatever.

What kind of company are you keeping?