By Nancy Friedman, Customer Service Expert, Keynote Speaker, President of Telephone Doctor Customer Service Training

A few years ago, one of my automotive clients came to me and said, “Nancy, we need a program on Selling to Women. Some of our guys just don’t get it,” he said. I replied, “Even some women don’t know how to sell to women.”

This topic became so much more clear to me recently when my husband and I went looking to buy a new car.

No names here. No need to embarrass anyone, but it was a great lesson on how NOT to sell to a woman. As a customer service communication expert it was great R & D. 

We walked in and asked for the salesman who was recommended to us by a friend. Good start I thought.

As he approached and introduced himself I said loud and clear to him, “I’m here to buy a car. Not him,” I said with a smile pointing to my husband, “me!”

I was hoping that would give him an edge; OK, a HINT. (Thought wrong.) The salesman immediately started talking baseball and politics with my husband. I snuck off and went to look at the cars in the showroom. He continued talking to my husband. Finally, I had to yell to him to come over and answer a question about the car I was sitting in.

Rather than nitpick item by item, let me explain some of the points the salesman missed:

* Not once did he ask what I wanted or was looking for in a car or why I was even looking for another one.

* Not one question was asked.

* Eye contact was minimal, if at all.

* Smile? Was way too serious.

* I had to ASK for his business card. He didn’t ask for mine in return.

* When I left and texted him & emailed him, he never answered.

* His attention was to my husband when I clearly told him I was the buyer.

The list goes on. We were looking at one high-end pre-owned and one 2016 new.

When we left, I got a handshake and a ‘talk’ from him on how important rapport building was (as though he had done his job). “That’s how sales are made,” he said and told me he’d be my friend forever. Wow!

I said, “Have a great 4th of July weekend.” He said, “thank you;” not, “you too.” Then he rushed off.

It wasn’t fun; it wasn’t good. He’s been selling cars a long time. This was not his first rodeo as they say.

Selling to women has many components; but let me cut to the chase.

* Listening skills – Pay attention! It’s an art, not a science.

* Eye contact – No head twirling. It’s very important to us.

* Smiling (show your teeth) – Critical! We like smilers.

* Firm handshake – No limp fish ones. OMG on that.

* A compliment – Say something nice. There’s not a woman around who doesn’t enjoy a compliment. (No need to hit on us; just a nice comment.)

He failed. No purchase was made. I decided to keep the car I had for the time being.

Remember that old saying, they’ve got to ‘buy’ you first? It’s true.

Don’t worry, we’re not ‘connected’ on linked in.

Ladies? Your experiences, please. Agree? Disagree? Thanks.

Nancy Friedman

Nancy Friedman

Communication and customer service expert Nancy Friedman, The Telephone Doctor, founder and chairman of Telephone Doctor Customer Service Training, is back in the saddle again. Well, back into live onsite programs, and still offering her ZOOM programs, in a cost saving manner. Whichever you choose, onsite or Zoom, you’ll be glad you did. The reviews are excellent, and audiences have loudly applauded her in either area. Sales, customer service and communication skills are her area of expertise, and she welcomes calls, texts, or emails. You can reach her directly at; through the website at, where you can sign up for her newsletters; or call/text directly at 314-276-1012 central time. Bring it on. Whether you need a keynote speaker or workshop/breakout speaker on customer service and communication skills, you’ll make a great choice.