As a broker, I would encourage all buyer's & seller's to take some time to become educated as much as possible about the process and about researching us, the agents & brokers. Don't rely on very old ideas of the process that worked 25 years ago or assume that you can do this without any help. Get the best help and the best information possible. Find an agent who you can trust and rely on and then listen to their advice. It's great to ask questions and challenge your beliefs, but sometimes what your Uncle Bob did in the 80's isn't the right strategy for 2014.
Research your agent. Read their answers here, their blog posts, find out if their clients are truly happy with the results they've provided them. Most agents are friendly, nice people, that doesn't mean competent or reliable. Find the best representation you can, even if it costs more than someone else, you may come out far better for it in the end.