Would you trust a local dealer to help you put

together a modest system. (think $10k). Let's say you got tired of the whole "system building on my own thing." If you had a good local dealer, would you go take a chance on them and say "I want speakers, an amp and preamp (or integrated) that will sound good in a small to medium size family room." "I already have my sources." What's your take on this?
A good dealer will attempt to determine what you are looking for (not what they like best) and also take your room and any other external constraints into consideration.

But in the end they cannot hear what you hear so there needs to be room for trial and error along the way.
Like many have said there are dealers of all types and proficiency. May I suggest a method to the madness that ought to help you suss out the good from the bad local dealers and in the process also will help you start formulating what you like/look for in a system. If you have multiple local dealers (many are not fortunate to have such a luxury), I would call in advance and ask to talk to the store manager or even owner and explain to them that you are starting out researching/auditioning equipment and that you want to put together a 2-channel (or HT) for around $10K. Describe your room and your listening preferences and let them know that you are serious about making the purchase but that you are seeking their professional advice as to what combination of gear could work given your preferences and the size.shape room you intend to place the system in. Let them know that you would like to listen to a few combinations and that you would not be making a decision immediately following your audition but rather you would like to research the components after you listen to them and maybe listen to other gear following such research. Let them also know that you would like to establish a long term relationship with them as long as you feel you are getting good advice/service. From their reactions, you will immediately start to get a sense for who is open and willing to accomodate your requests and who is a waste of time to deal with. Those who show interest and willingness to let you audition multiple gear combinations on multiple visits without high pressure sales tactics, you ought to cultivate that relationship becuase they are generally showing an interest in establishing a relationship with you and not looking for an immediate sale (as per Elizabeth's scenario). If you only have one or two dealers in your area and they don't fit the criteria above, I would find out if there are any dealers within 3 hours driving that may fit the criteria above.

When you go audition equipment, bring music from different genres and music that you are familiar with. If you are just starting out and don't feel like you know what to listen for, pay attention to one and only one thing - are you getting emotionally immersed in the music playback (tapping your toes, closing your eyes, etc...). If you are not, and finding yourself just looking around in the room and being distracted by other gear etc..., then you should move on and listen to something else. Also if you call in advance and figure out what gear you will be auditioning ahead of time, you can read reviews before hand and try to see if what you read mirrors what you heard during the audition. This way you can start formulating for yourself what your likes and dislikes are and how this translates to audiophile terms/descriptions used in reviews which will start giving you a vocabulary with which to converse with the dealers. [You can also buy Robert Harley's Intro to High end Audio book which walks you through audiophile terms, different types of gear and what to listen for].

Finally, I totally agree with Al that you should start with selecting the speaker first and working your way back. I recognize that this is way more intensive than just showing up at a dealer and asking them for a reco but this process while more time consuming will help you establish a working relationship with a good local dealer, will help you start define what musical attributes you look for most in gear, and will make you a better listner and will likely result in a system that you will enjoy for many years.

Sorry for the lengthy response but hopefully this was of some help. What ever you decide to do, good luck and enjoy the journey. I found the exploration/research/auditioning process to be super fun. I hope you do too.
Some dealers already do this sort of thing- have pre-configured system options at a price point, and you can swap stuff in and out. Audio Systems here in Austin offers that. Obviously you'll want to listen and see if it works for you. Pretty hard to beat having a good relationship with a reputable local dealer. I am not affiliated with Audio Systems in any way.