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GQA calls industry to shape sales qualification

At the recently held Glazing Summit it came to light that the fenestration industry would like to see a sales qualification introduced. The great news is that one already exists, and it is about to come up for review. GQA Qualifications who wrote the document is about to offer the industry the opportunity to get involved.

Martin Sadler, EQA/Technical Officer at the fenestration industry’s leading awarding and qualifications-writing body explains why he is calling for industry members to get involved in the process.

Firstly, an admission: our Level 3 Sales in a Fenestration Environment Qualification has not been widely promoted. It is now up for review, and we are very keen for employers and employees skilled in sales to come forward and shape the qualification to suit their needs. We are after input from people in both the residential and commercial sectors.

At the Glazing Summit a key theme of the day was collaboration. And helping to drive better collaboration are the requirements of the Building Safety Act. Here is a reminder of why. The Building Safety Act overhauls the regulation of construction products and higher-risk buildings in the UK. Fenestration industry companies must ensure they are equipped to deal with the Act’s edicts. Whilst companies must act to avoid potential pitfalls, they do not need to be unduly daunted, because there is plenty of professional support available such as that offered by GQA. We can all work together in order to help prevent mis-selling – one of the key requirements of the Act – plus of course incorrect installation and site practice.

Employers need to get to grips with the Act’s underlying need for strong onsite and offsite training regimes underpinned with proof of learning. Having companies’ training courses assessed for consistency, structure and quality of outcome is how GQA can help companies mitigate confusion or the mis-selling of their products in the market. It is through accredited training and the acquirement of vocational qualifications that we can help drive standards up in the industry, and make sure that companies do not fall foul of the requirements of the Act.

Now, more than ever, salespeople have to be able to prove that they have the right skills and technical knowledge. This is not just to avoid mis-selling because it is an embarrassment, but because it will land companies in trouble with the law. A fit-for-purpose sales qualification will therefore form an important part of this picture. And collaboration in order to achieve this is needed as soon as possible.

Our current Level 3 Sales in a Fenestration Environment Qualification is aimed at those who are involved in negotiating and closing sales within the Fenestration industry. Candidates for this qualification need to understand the appropriate legislation and Building Regulations that have to be explained and observed when discussing products and services, and certainly this area must be updated in light of the new requirements of the Building Safety Act.

The qualification has two distinct pathways: one for those involved in Business-to-Business sales, and the other for those who handle retail/domestic selling of fenestration products. There are ten mandatory units and a group of optional units. The latter allow employees with specific responsibilities and duties from companies of all sizes equal opportunity to complete the qualification. The units are made up of the key areas those working in these job roles need to know and the tasks they need to be able to do to carry out the work appropriately and effectively.

Mandatory units currently cover areas such as the supply chain, products, services, contracts, the laws and ethics of selling, sales presentations, profitability, handling negotiations, buyer behaviour and aftersales to name but some. We can let anyone interested have the full list of both mandatory and optional topics for their comments.

There are no formal entry requirements for learners undertaking this qualification. However, GQA’s approved training centres ensure that learners have the potential and opportunity to gain the qualification successfully. A portfolio of evidence is compiled as part of the assessment process carried out by GQA’s approved training centres.

We are open to suggestions on any changes to the current content. So please feel free to contact me. In the New Year we will be convening meetings to discuss the current qualification. By getting involved now, companies can shape a sales qualification to suit them and the new fenestration landscape.

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