No one really likes to negotiate. It can feel awkward and uncomfortable, or make us think we’re being too pushy or rude. But negotiating doesn't have to be any of those things. When I worked selling furniture, we were often willing to give customers a better price—but only if they asked. Don’t let your fear of negotiating cause you to pay more for high-ticket items than you have to. Here are eight tips to make it easier to get the best deal:

1. Assume the best

Before negotiating, know what you want to pay for the item and be optimistic that you will get it. The clearer you are on your goals and the more confident you are when pursuing them, the easier and more successful your negotiation will be.

2. Be friendly

Some people have the misconception that you have to act tough or stern to get a good deal, but that really isn't the case. Salespeople are more inclined to go out of their way or to give you a good deal if you are friendly to them. Use their name and treat them like an acquaintance. Just be yourself. Not only will you feel more comfortable (and confident), you are likely to get a better deal.

3. Ask open-ended questions

If you ask a question that could have a yes or no answer, you are more likely to get a no. So instead, ask open-ended questions. For example, don't ask, "Do you have any additional discounts?" because even if they do, you obviously aren't aware of them and they may not be as inclined to clue you in. Instead ask, "What is your repeat customer discount?" or "What are your teacher discounts?"

4. Don't fear silence

A lot of people are uncomfortable with silence—especially around strangers. But when negotiating, remind yourself that the salesperson's silence probably means he/she is considering your request or considering what to counteroffer. If you interrupt their thought process, you probably won't get as good of a deal.

5. Listen carefully

Along with allowing silence so the salesperson can consider your request, listen to what they have to say. This benefits you in two ways: first, it shows respect, and salespeople will be more willing to work with people who are respectful. Second, they'll probably tell you why they can't meet your request. For example, if you ask for the sales price on an item that is not on sale plus free delivery and another freebie, the salesperson might say "I can't give away anything for free. My regional manager is here." You would be surprised at the number of people who do not really hear what this means. In this case, the salesperson is basically agreeing to what you are requesting, but they can't do it while the regional manager is in the store. So, the correct follow-up would be something along the lines of, "When would be a better time to finalize the sale?"

6. Don't offer a price range

Some people think they are being too pushy when they request a flat price, so they use a price range believing this makes them seem more flexible. But when you say you'd like to pay between $800 and $900, the salesperson hears $900 and won't negotiate further.

7. Be specific

Also, when you do state the price, remember to specify if you want it to include tax, delivery and any other fees. You may assume it does, while the salesperson thinks your offer is only for the price of the item. Depending on how much your item costs, the sales tax could be quite high, and some stores charge $100 or more for delivery.

8. Shop the end of the month

If you can, try to shop towards the end of the month. Most salespeople work on commission, and they are trying to meet certain goals for the month. The salesperson will be more inclined to give a great discount if he/she is close to their goals at the end of the month. Keep in mind, most salespeople are paid on delivery of the item, not just the sale of the item (so don't shop on the last day of the month unless you know you can take it home that day).

8 Tips to Help You Negotiate a Better Price