This is a very rarely talked about piece of golden advice: Calibrate your clients' expectations. Why? Because in today's hyper-informative environment, clients have a tendency to hear lots of conflicting information. The neighbor, the friend, the family member, the internet, the dog; everyone has an opinion of how real estate works. There are dozens, if not hundreds of details in the typical transaction that we real estate professionals grind through in order to complete the task. Some of these we control, while many others we do not. This is a key distinction, and the reason for this particular topic.
Consider this: Disappointment is the by-product of reality being inconsistent with expectations.
In this context, "calibrating expectations" means having an open conversation with your buyer or seller and teaching them how you expect the transaction to flow, where there may be hidden speed-bumps, where there are possible problems (appraisal anyone?) and so on. It may be a bit more involved, but the reward is immense. Authority, respect, and trust are essentially the by-products of a well executed calibration. Beyond that, the client will understand that you know your way around a transaction, and just as importantly, that you are not a magician. I have found great success in this area by using a simple flowchart. Give it a try and let me know how it works for you.