Nearly a decade ago, my husband and I went to a car dealership to purchase a vehicle for me.  I knew the exact model, accessories, color and budget to meet my needs.  This was a result of my online research, conversations with family and friends along with test-driving several different brands.  When we walked into the showroom to negotiate a sale, I was excited.  My checkbook was in hand and all that remained was negotiating the price.

So what happened?  First, the salesperson greeted my husband and asked for his name while briefly shaking my hand.  Next, he steered my husband over to look at the latest car models.  Then, as my husband and I emphasized that the vehicle would be for me, surprisingly, the salesperson kept “selling” my husband and ignoring my presence.  Needless to say, the dealership did not land my business.

Perhaps my car-buying experience would have been different if that person knew the following facts: Women buy more than half of the new cars in the U.S. and influence 80 percent of all car purchases; women control over $20 trillion in world-wide spending; and women account for 85 percent of all consumer purchases.

Tapping into the women’s market is relatively easy.  I’ve spent nearly half my career specializing in marketing to women.  During that time, I’ve seen hard-hitting research, successful case studies, effective product development, game-changing customer service and ongoing marketing to this unique segment.

For CEOs or others who hope to have women as loyal customers, I wanted to share three considerations.  Your number one priority should be establishing and maintaining a conversation with women.  Women are highly engaged in their purchasing decisions.  So it’s critical to provide them with multiple opportunities to interact with your company and products.

Women also are connectors.  They connect with brands that are meaningful.  They connect with each other by sharing stories about great customer service or poor experiences.  That’s why companies that know how to “connect” with women are able to grow their customer base.

Lastly, women comprise a special community within the marketing world.  This community spans different ethnicities, geographical locations, income levels, etc.  They are diverse as individuals.  However as a community, women are powerfully aware of how companies treat them, products developed with them in mind and messages created for them.  Smart marketers understand this concept of community and harness its power.

The women’s market does not require female salespeople, special pink products or entirely new outreach efforts.  It just requires a strategic decision to align business activities around the wives, sisters, daughters, granddaughters and other women who account for 85 percent of all consumer purchases.