Women decide or in some way influence most of the car and truck purchases in the United States — more than 80 percent, according to some estimates.
But talk to women about their auto-buying experience in showrooms, and you’ll find that many aren’t thrilled.
Salespeople who ignore the woman when a man and woman are looking for a car came up last month when Times-Dispatch readers voiced their customer-service pet peeves.
So what’s a male-dominated industry like the car business to do?
Enter AskPatty.com, started by a couple of entrepreneurs who thought they could make money straightening out the problem.
The site educates women about all things automotive, with female experts who write articles and answer questions on repair, maintenance and car buying.
AskPatty.com certifies dealerships as female-friendly after they have passed a course on how to communicate with women. A check of the Web site found no dealerships in the Richmond area that are certified.
To be certified, members of a dealership’s sales team must read a book on how to communicate with women, “How to Get Rich Selling Cars and Trucks to Women,” and take a training course. Then they must pass a 134-question test, which takes about an hour to complete.
The Web site gets about 20,000 visitors each month. About 50 dealerships have signed on for certification services. Dealerships pay $225 per person for 12 months of training and $795 a month for the dealership certification.