IMG_7266Have you ever wondered how gift giving affects your clients? The benefits of giving business or corporate gifts are plentiful. These days, giving gifts as Entrepreneurs, REALTORS and Small Business owners to clients are no longer seen as “nice to” but rather as a business imperative. Gifts help businesses to create goodwill, strengthen relationships, enhance your company’s image and create an emotional connection and positive perception of your brand.

Here are a few dos and don’ts for gift giving for the holiday season or any time of the year. There is a distinction between promotional gifts and corporate gifts. Both are valuable marketing tools for specific purposes in business. Promotional items are typically branded items of a lower cost, used as giveaways in large quantities as an extension of advertising efforts. Corporate gifts, on the other hand, are typically higher value items which are given with the intention of showing gratitude and strengthening relationships. They increase brand loyalty and encourage recipients to interact favourably with your brand.

IMG_7273If you are giving a gift to an existing or potential client, do find out what their company’s gifting policy is first. Banks, auditing firms and multi-national companies have strict rules around gifting. Feel free to ask your client upfront if they have a “No Gifting” policy, then at least your client will know that the thought was there. They will probably give you suggestions on what are acceptable ways to show your appreciation. Don’t go overboard with lavish or intimate gifts.

Your heart might be in the right place, but a gift that is excessive or a little too personal can make your recipient feel uncomfortable. Avoid outlandish gifts like jewellery. Try to stick to gift baskets, chocolate and sweets, coffee or wine and their accessories if in doubt. Don’t guess how to spell your recipient’s name. Getting their name wrong on a gift is a no-no. Instead of having warm, fuzzy feelings, your recipient will feel embarrassed or think that you are careless. That’s the opposite of what you are going for. Finally, do have your gift professionally wrapped. Great presentation increases the excitement of receiving a gift. Professional gift-wrapping also adds to your message of how much you value your recipient.

Don’t be shy to add a personal note and a gift card too!

Donna Hartrick,
My Shopping Diva



Having been in the real estate industry in one way or another for over 18 years, I can tell you that Realtors® should be viewing an assistant as a business partner and not an employee. A great administrator wears many hats and can ensure that you get back to your income producing activities. You didn’t get your license to sit at a desk all day did you? No. So hire an administrator, better yet save yourself more money and hire a Virtual Assistant (VA).

More Brokerages are going paperless these days and thank goodness! You know how many forms a Realtor® has to fill out from the beginning to the end of a transaction. A lot, too many if you ask me and most of my Realtors®! And more are being added every year. Of course, we all know that they are a necessary evil in today’s world.

90% of a Real Estate Administrator’s job can be done remotely. No need for overhead costs so you save money. Most Real Estate VA’s are experienced and very efficient in what they do which also saves time and money. Another important note is that a local VA should be versed in your Province/State’s real estate law, ethics and regulations which are very important. Having a Real Estate VA, who knows what is legal and what is not could save your license.

A Real Estate VA can handle the four key components of your business that will free you up to be in front of clients or on the phone.


A Real Estate VA can help manage every aspect of the listing process, short of having the clients sign the paperwork (Unless you hire a licensed Real Estate VA).

  • Installation of your sign, book the photographer, home stager, virtual tour company.
  • Coordinate showings, open houses.
  • Input the listing into MLS and upload to websites and social media.
  • Ensure that all the listing paperwork is pre-filled and ready to go for when you take it to the client for signature.
  • Enter listing into Database and update and monitor accordingly.
  • Make sure your clients have all copies of the paperwork for their files.
  • Create feature sheets and just listed cards and coordinate with your printer.
  • Call for feedback on showings and pull weekly reports for the seller. The list goes on.


Real Estate VA’s can also take on the important task of overseeing the transaction from conditional to close as a transaction coordinator.

  • Schedule follow up calls for 30, 60 and 90 days after close.
  • Ensure all documents are signed and that all necessary parties in the transaction have copies.
  • Submit all paperwork to Mortgage Broker.
  • Assist with organization of moving day.
  • Keep in touch with the clients, provide any information such as movers, lawyers, and other important numbers they may require.


The amount of marketing that a Realtor® uses is a personal business choice. Most Realtors® market themselves inadequately. Usually because of poor time management, lack of time, skill or will to do it. VA’s can ensure that you are always putting your best foot forward in the market and that you are well represented and received.

  • Manage your database and all follow-up systems.
  • Create Pre-listing, CMA and Buyer packages/presentations.
  • Just Listed, Just Sold, and other related direct and email marketing.
  • Feature Sheets, Open House Invites and all other marketing related to your listings.
  • Website management and lead tracking.
  • Social media management and more.


Administrative management is where the day to day running the business comes in. Your VA can ensure that your business, regardless of whether you are out with Clients or on a dock at the cottage, runs smoothly. Some of the key items include:

  • Management of all supplies and equipment in the office.
  • Overseeing all administrative tasks for the business.
  • Operations management and office manual creation. Every business needs an operations manual.
  • Create and manage lead generation, follow up and buyer/seller plans in the database.
  • Hold you, the Realtor®, accountable for your lead generation. Help keep you moving forward and focused.

A Real Estate VA, as I said earlier, is a business partner, not an employee. They are an independent contractor just like you and know what it is like to be their boss. A Real Estate VA should treat your clients as though they were their own. I view myself as a direct representation of my Realtors® and guard their reputation in the business, your VA should do the same. A VA is an invaluable piece in your arsenal to building your real estate business.

Are you ready to take your business to the next level?