I recently saw another agent who specializes in Short Sales suggest that not every agent who works Short Sale transactions has the ability to conduct them properly. I believe that this is only the case if they do not prepare themselves properly. Unfortunately many do not and try to navigate the Short Sale terrain without the right knowledge or a good map!
Short Sales are definitely a niche market and definitely require some sort of training, experience, guidance or mentoring to understand and work properly (assuming you have your client's best interest at heart). Any agent can get the training or guidance (you don't have to be a rocket scientist to "get it") but in my experience of nearly 4 years of Short Sale specialization, many just don't care to take the time away from other activities that take less effort and might result in more direct revenue generation. This is a business decision and I understand that we all cannot attend (or pay for) every training class on every subject. But that decision carries certain consequences which may require additional "tough" decisions as a result.
I liken it to a real estate HMO... any licensed agent can make a career as a primary care Realtor, but to be a specialist requires additional knowledge and training (unless to salvage the transaction you want to have to eventually use the defibrillator paddles on your client). Smart primary care physicians and smart primary care Realtors know when it is best to make a referral to a specialist who can help them and protect their best interests. My advice is that if you don't want to take the time to get educated about Short Sales (and they are time consuming and frustrating at times, so I can completely understand why someone would choose not to) then do the responsible thing and refer your clients to an agent who knows the rules and ins-and-outs of this type of transaction and collect your referral fee. Or, if you want to take the time to learn (and there is a considerable amount of time spent on most Short Sales), perhaps you could offer to refer the client to a colleague and ask them to allow you to "assist" or "shadow" them on the transaction - the experience you will gain will be invaluable if you want to do short sales by yourself in the future. It's a short sale WIN-WIN and the patient client will get the care he/she really needs to make the transaction as easy on everyone as possible!