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Tracking Important Dates


I use Outlook. I’ve spent money on Act!, Top Producer (the old one and the new one), I borrowed an Agent 2000 disk and promptly deleted it. Outlook is easy. It does pretty much everything I need it to; and what it doesn’t I’ve worked around. So I ended up back where I started.I know some agents believe that we shouldn’t give closing gifts or call our clients on their birthdays. I’m not one of them. I not only call clients on their birthdays I sing to them – horrible singing voice and all.

I get everybody’s birthday – kids, pets, whatever – anniversaries – I’ve got the COE anniversary – have you tried to find a card for that? – if they’ve got a special date I want to know it and acknowledge them for it.

Then I had to figure out how to track all that info. Back to Outlook. I wanted to add it to my calendar but I didn’t want it to show up during my scheduled day. Ready?


Click on New Appointment
Type in the Subject.
See where mine says “bday” even though it’s a wedding anniversary? That’s so I can print a shopping list without search for birthdays, anniversaries, COE dates separately.
Set the Reminder for several days in advance so you can get the cards, gifts or set time aside to call and sing. Here comes the good part:

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Click on Recurrence
Set the Start and End Time for 12:00 am and the Duration for 1 day.
Recurrence Pattern for Yearly.
Verify that No End Date is checked and you’re done. You’ve got your reminder there for next year.

Written By

As a lifelong resident and local Realtor, Vicki has established herself as a respected member of the San Mateo County real estate community. She’s known for her wit, sarcasm, and her personality that shows through in her posts. You can find her spouting off at Twitter, here at ag, and her personal blog, San Mateo Real Estate



  1. Vance Shutes

    May 29, 2008 at 7:30 pm


    I’ve been using Top Producer for years too, and like you, I find Outlook much easier to use. Thanks for tip on how to set those recurring reminders for special dates. But I’m curious why you wrote “See where mine says “bday” even though it’s a wedding anniversary? That’s so I can print a shopping list without search for birthdays, anniversaries, COE dates separately.” How is it that you print such a shopping list?

  2. Tyler, The Wealth Creation Guy

    May 29, 2008 at 7:30 pm

    I’m also an outlook user. You could use Plaxo and it would act as a backup for your calendar. (Just a tip). It also automates e-mails to let you know your contact’s birthday is coming up.

    Great advice Vicki. Some people avoid this stuff just because it’s too hard to implement. You’ve displayed how quick and easy the process can be.

  3. Paula Henry

    May 29, 2008 at 7:36 pm

    Vicki – I hear about more amd more agents who use Outlook. The only drawback I see is synchronizing with others on my team.

  4. Dan Connolly

    May 29, 2008 at 10:21 pm

    Paula, I have been using Outlook 2003 with business contact manager It can be synched with a thumb drive and the backup function. I am not sure if that would work with basic Outlook but it’s worth a try!

  5. Bill Lublin

    May 30, 2008 at 2:40 am

    I love when I find posts that let me use the programs I already have more efficiently – You are spot on! Thanks for the tip 🙂

  6. Chris Griffith

    May 30, 2008 at 5:27 am

    I recently had to wrestle with my Treo 755 and Outlook because I had too many reoccurring appointments and it was stopping my system from syncing. (i use outlook over TP and Act) Anyone else have this issue? When I googled it TONS of others had it too.

  7. Ken Smith

    May 30, 2008 at 10:40 am

    KISS method is normally the best. We have tried all sorts of high end solutions for tracking everything also and find simple solutions are normally the best. Found Google calendar actually takes care of everything the same as outlook, but also allows us to share between team members or keep items private.

  8. Vicki Moore

    May 30, 2008 at 3:08 pm

    Vince – That’s how I sort all those that I need to buy a card for – anyone having a birthday, anniversary etc. So periodically I want to print a shopping list for cards. I go to my calendar then Tools – then Find – I type in “bday” – Search in Calendar. Click Find Now. And THEN! Up pops my shopping list. I print it and off I go to Hallmark.

    Tyler – Plaxo is great because everyone who belongs inputs their birthday, then Plaxo gives you an alert when that birthday is coming up.

    Paula – I haven’t tried that. I would imagine there’s a way. Let me get back to you on that one. Did you see that Ken uses Google calendar??

    Bill – Yeah!

    Chris – Haven’t heard of that one. Anyone else have input to help Chris??

  9. Nick Bostic

    May 30, 2008 at 3:18 pm

    I have seen too many people have their entire databases of 1k+ people be destroyed (or duplicated endlessly) by Plaxo, so I personally avoid it like the plague.

    Regarding sharing appointments, there isn’t a perfect way in Outlook that I have discovered unless you are running on an Exchange server. Google Calendar works great. Google does have an Outlook Calendar Sync (link). It DID work great for me (and a couple of other people on a shared calendar), then randomly stopped working. It’s a known issue, but no word on when it’ll be fixed. It’s worth trying though. Basically, create a Google calendar, share it amongst everyone you want to share with, load the sync on everyone’s computers, tell it to sync the specific calendar and viola!

    Let me know if it’s working for you so I can go cry to the Google Gods to ask why are they punishing me.

  10. Ken Smith

    May 30, 2008 at 3:37 pm

    As a side note we don’t download anything into Outlook. The calendar has everything we need so no need to try and make Outlook and Google work together. Even if they are supposed to any little update can cause issues so why chance it.

  11. Jim Gatos

    May 31, 2008 at 5:30 am


    I used to use Top Producer (first I started with 61, then the online 7i), UNTIL 4 years ago when I realized that Top Producer and all those “proprietory” real estate solutions are like a “narcotic”, bagging you with expensive 1 year subscriptions that won’t allow you to think, be innovative, and independent. If Top Producer goes up in price and you are technologically not knowledgable, it’s like gas; the price of gas goes up and you still pay.

    I used Outlook for awhile but Outlook 2000 is not going to be supported by M$ (Microsoft) next year I heard, so I downloaded Mozilla Thunderbird, and along with with a couple of extensions, including “More Functions for Addressbook”, the Lightning” calendar extension, and “BirdieSync” a $30 or so program, I can do everything I used to do with Outlook, for a cost of … $30!.. Thunderbird and all the other extensions are free. I have a totally compatible Mail and calendar program that sync with my Windows Mobile Phone, and I don’t have to worry about getting outdated. My info can be exported easily and so on and so forth. No more ball and chain from Top Producer for 97% features that I never used anyway. But that’s another post for you, LOL…

  12. Gail Robinson

    May 31, 2008 at 9:57 am

    Vicki, Thank you for sharing this. I’ve tried TP8i, ACT, and even been a beta tester for an add-on to Outlook 2007. I was hoping that Business Contact Manager would provide a good solution, but it just created more problems and I use Outlook 2007 without BCM now. How do you ask for birthday dates and anniversary dates? I just can’t imagine how I would ask for this info. I’d like to do it, but it seems so personal to ask for this from people I don’t know and from those that I do know, it seems like a strange time to ask for the info. How do you explain why you want the info? Thanks.

  13. Vicki Moore

    May 31, 2008 at 11:38 am

    Jim – Good points. With the new Top Producer 7 you’re paying monthly for ever for a lot of functions you probably won’t use – I didn’t use them either. Thunderbird sounds like a great option. Thanks for another post recommendation! I can always use those.

    Gail – I also used the Business Contact Manager and deleted it too! I hated it. Oooo, you’ve gotten a clue of my next post! I’ll be explaining how and when I ask for those things – so be sure to look for it coming up. It’ll save you from giving a bottle of wine to someone who doesn’t drink! Another faux pas I’ve made. 🙂

  14. Matthew Rathbun

    June 2, 2008 at 9:49 am

    Just my 2 cents on TP. I had it for a year. I paid up front and used it for about five months before realizing that I needed to hire an assistant just to run it. Not worth the money for what was my business model.

    I feel that way about any tool. Agents typically used about 10% of their computer and software and spend countless dollars and hours trying to use systems that are typically nothing more than a fancy database that can done on a spreadsheet and contact management that can be done on outlook.

    A good idea before you buy is to really look at home much the assistants, support, education and time will cost to you to learn a new systems.

    I teach Outlook for Realtors all the time and I’ve yet to be asked about a task for agents that we couldn’t find on OUtlook or Excel.

  15. Jennifer in Louisville

    June 2, 2008 at 6:03 pm

    Its almost like an AA meeting. Hi. My name is Jennifer. And I use Top Producer. 🙂

    I’ve not looked into Thunderbird. Going to have to check it out. Nifty tip on Outlook – probably should spend more time playing around with it. Thanks.

  16. Judy

    October 9, 2008 at 6:05 am

    Sounds like we have a lot of recovering TP Users here. As it so happens I’m considering joining the “former” user of TP group. How did you export all of your TP contacts into Outlook. Is it step 1 to infinity or pretty easy to do? Thanks!

  17. Vicki Moore

    October 9, 2008 at 11:54 am

    Judy – I don’t remember exactly how I did it, but I know I did. I’m sure TP support will help you. Or the “help” button. Sorry I couldn’t be more help.

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