I just read Peggy Chirico's post "I Don't Take Referrals!" and I must say, I'm amazed at how quickly many of the commenters there have jumped on an agent who chose not to accept a referral, calling him names without knowing his circumstances, all while claiming "I never turn down a referral!"
Is it possible that the agent in question has a business plan that he's committed to, that works for him, that doesn't include paying out referral fees?
Maybe he's got enough business that he's happy, and he's not interested in growing anymore?
I can tell you that personally I do take referrals, but I'm choosy. I only take the ones that actually stand to compensate me for my time and experience. I will not take referrals that end up draining my resources (time & money). I've had agents call me to refer an $80,000 listing, expecting a 40% referral fee. If I were to take such a referral, I'd spend more money to market that property than I would gross after the referral, broker split, and taxes. That's not even taking into account the time I'd have invested in getting it sold.
In the time I would've spent on that resource-drainer, I would instead work my client base and generat 2-3 other full-commission transactions.
I also recently had a local agent try to refer me a referral, if that makes any sense. By the time all was said and done, I would've ended up paying 2 referral fees, totaling 50% of the commission. Again, not worth my time.
Many facctors have to be considered when deciding whether or not to accept a referral; referral fee, sales price, how needy the client is, current market conditions, your hourly rate, etc.
When I was a new agent, without much already going on, I was much more willing to take on referrals, and when the market slows, I become more open to them as well. But when the market's cruising along well, and I have a pipeline full of full-commission clients, why would I take time away from them to make less working with someone else?
Any agent who's not taking these things into account, but instead just jumping up and yelling "YES" when they're asked if they'd like a referral, may need to re-think their business plan. Not ALL business is profitable business.
Many times, the referring agent may be well-intentioned, but actually harm the client by restricting the receiving agent with hefty referral fees. Personally, if it comes down to it, I'd rather not receive a fee and know that my client is getting a top-notch experience, than to take a referral fee and know that the receiving agent may not put forth as much effort, due to a minimized commission.
So, what say you? Are all referrals to be taken?