After purchasing a home, the second largest investment many of us make is likely to be the purchase of a new car from an auto dealership.

And while thousands of such transactions occur daily, apparently many car dealers don't know how to conduct business --and close the deal properly-- when their customers are women, according to Paul Eisenstein, from

It's hard to figure out why but listen to what Alice Hissler, a PhD scientist at Michigan University, said about her car-buying experience:

"When I started looking for my car, the first dealer I went to told me to come back when I could bring my husband with me. He clearly didn't think I was smart enough to do it myself."

Hissler is not alone. But that's changing rapidly as retail trade groups and female consumers spread reviews on dealerships and share opinions via social media to get the word out about which dealers insult their intelligence by being patronizing...

And, their economic clout is considerable. According to Delia Passi, former publisher of Working Mother magazine and founder of WomenCertified Inc., women now account for 51% of the cars purchased in the U.S. and influence 96% of sales.

WomenCertified has just published a new survey that looks at what dealers should do to satisfy women customers and identifies some of the best in the country.

"Car buying is often viewed as a male-dominated activity," Passi said. "Our goal is to identify and reward the dealerships that meet and exceed women's expectations for the car buying process and encourage the industry to better serve their needs."

To figure out how, the Wharton School of Business completed a study on the subject to determine exactly what women car buyers were looking for when shopping for a new vehicle. The best dealers, the study said, show a genuine concern for their customer and they're likely to listen as much as they talk. They clearly understand the specific needs and desires of each individual customer.

These dealerships are likely to make the showroom and service bay friendly places to spend time, especially for women who have children in tow. The top-ranked dealers offer good coffee, places to relax and even have designated play centers for children. Some will even provide transportation for customers who needs to make errands.

Ultimately, the successful dealers put themselves in the shoes of the woman customer and are less likely to make a woman feel pressured.

To see those dealers that scored high ratings with women car buyers, click here: