From The Complaint Department: How To Use The Haters, Complainers And The Perpetually Offended To Your Advantage

By Robin Robins

Country music singer Jason Aldean has seriously poked the proverbial BLM racist bear with his new hit song, “Try That In A Small Town,” which is being harshly criticized for containing racist themes and undertones in the music video, being pulled from Country Music TV and causing a moment to have him cancelled, deplatformed and his music banned from radio stations and bars across America.

What’s really funny is that nobody cared about the song when it was initially released earlier this year. It failed to get any traction with fans and never ranked higher than #35 on the country music charts – UNTIL the video was published. Since then, and with the ensuing controversy, it shot up to #1 on the charts, selling 228,000 copies in a single week, making it the second-largest sales sum this year to date. His social media following blew up from a meager couple hundred followers to a height of 4.1 million.

Aldean’s video for “Try That in a Small Town” has been surrounded by controversy, support, and…lots and lots of views. (Video/YouTube)

There is NOTHING more powerful than a common enemy paired with a good controversy.

Daymond John pointed out that the most successful rap artists USED their haters to their advantage for profit, NOT by caving in and cowering to their demands, but by fueling their unhappiness and using them as a common enemy. Right now, the Dems are doing more to put Trump in as president by the onslaught of attacks than if they just ignored him. The Republicans are doing the same with AOC. The haters trying to cancel Jason Aldean simply drove his success and did more to promote the video and song than to get it taken down.

For the first few years of starting my business, I would go out and speak at SMB Nation, ASCII and other industry events to PITCH from stage to generate sales for my services. While most other speakers have a goal of getting a standing ovation, I wanted silence at the end of my presentation because it’s impossible to fill out an order form and clap at the same time. Of course, every once in a while someone was seriously offended that I had the audacity to SELL something in my presentation and would write a long, rambling complaint letter to the event host.

The first time it happened was at an SMB Nation event with over 200 people in the room. ONE noisy person aggressively complained to Harry. A few others grumbled. Funny enough, the person who complained the most ALSO bought the program. Did I stop doing it? That would be the professional speakers association recommendation and what most people would have done. I never considered backing off. Instead, I leaned in and changed my presentation (the close) to call out the fact that I’m attempting to sell you as a POSITIVE. A line from my speech: “You should never take sales or marketing advice from someone who is too timid or too inept to sell YOU on THEIR services. It reveals a lack of confidence in their services and a major flaw in their ability to sell. If they can’t sell YOU on their services, why would you ever trust them to help you sell YOUR services?”

I’m sure you get LOTS of complaints in your MSP business.

It is my observation that most businesses don’t truly understand what you do, the difficulty of the task, the complexity of the work or the real value you deliver. Therefore, they complain rather than compliment. They find fault, constantly. Don’t allow these people to disrespect you.

You have to remember there are people out there who are ALWAYS offended by something. They walk around looking for something or someone to complain about. What they all have in common is a childish, desperate need to feel important. They possess unhealthy motives and mechanisms for getting attention and having a sense of power. Their narcissistic, immature worldview demands that the earth spin on its axis around them, everyone changing their speech and actions to appease their needs, their demands and their whims.

In their bestseller “The Coddling of the American Mind” Greg Lukianoff and Jonathan Haidt write about the demonstrably negative mental and behavioral effects of things like trigger warnings, sensitivity training, and social justice agendas on today’s college campuses. (Photo/Cover)

In YOUR business, you will run into these people. No matter what you do, no matter how good a filter you have. Like a cockroach, they’ll find a way in. It’s extremely important that you don’t let them control you, causing you to second-guess yourself and change your plans, pricing or mode of operating. Resistance to their demands and inability to control you WILL make them even madder and noisier. They will try to control you by using cancel threats and promises of writing bad reviews and telling everyone not to do business with you. There’s a perfect word to describe them: Bullies.

If you’re doing marketing right, you are certain to get complaints. Peers and competitors, of course. But beyond that, other people, many of whom aren’t even paying clients and never will be. If you NEVER get complaints, your marketing is too benign, your sales too timid. Marketing needs to evoke sufficient EMOTION to create action. A prospect needs to be compelled to respond. Sales is NOT about presenting a prospect with what you do and letting them choose – it’s about directing their choice to buy what they should buy that will help them, even when they resist and don’t want to do what’s in their best interests.

My #1 rant is a controversial one regarding the Bud Light debacle.

Therefore, by the very nature of what we’re doing, your marketing and sales approach SHOULD offend some. You know you’ve got it right only when somebody complains about you stepping over some imaginary line they have drawn that only they can see. My best articles – the ones that get me the most views and leads – are the CONTROVERSIAL ones. Not the “how to write a good sales letter” instructions or the industry news. The ones that evoke a strong emotional connection.

To be clear, I’m not suggesting you be offensive just for the sake of being offensive. Pick your battles wisely and make sure you know your audience. But you cannot be too timid and thin-skinned either. If you let every nasty gram cancel you, you won’t get anywhere fast.

Never offending means never being noticed. By anyone.

Got a hot tip for us? We’d love to hear from you. Email us your ideas, thoughts, and questions at [email protected].

There’s no doubt about it: Robin Robins has helped more MSPs and IT services companies to grow and prosper, liberating them from stagnation, frustration, drudgery and low incomes. For over 20 years, Robin has been showing MSPs and IT services firms how to implement marketing plans that attract higher-quality clients, lock in recurring revenue streams and secure high-profit contracts. Her methods have been used by over 10,000 IT services firms around the world, from start-ups to multimillion-dollar MSPs. For more information and a FREE copy of The MSP’s Ultimate Guide To IT Services Marketing And Lead Generation, go to


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