It's not a new topic in the automotive industry -- women influence and even directly account for around 80 percent of automotive buying decisions, yet dealers still reportedly look over the woman's shoulders for a husband or father. Despite the industry's best efforts to recruit women salespeople to increase the odds of good communication, almost half of the auto dealerships in the country have no women on staff, and women only make up 8 percent of the sales force, according to the NADA. Dealers have also tried to make showrooms more female-friendly, including installing play areas for kids with toys and children's videos, yet complaints persist -- truth or mere stereotype, so what's a car salesman to do?

Enter AskPatty.com, a female-staffed online publication that seeks to educate women on vehicle buying and car ownership, while identifying female-friendly dealerships after showroom staff complete a training course on how to communicate with women. The training, conducted by Maddox Smye, includes an instructional course, a reading of How to Get Rich Selling Cars and Trucks to Women, and an hour-long test. About 225 dealerships have signed up.

AskPatty isn't all about bridging the gap between Mars and Venus, though -- it's a business as well. Training is $225 per person for 12 months, and dealers shell out $795 a month for certification. If it encourages one salesperson to alter his style, however, it might just be worth it in our book.

[Source: Detroit Free Press]