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Get Smart with Three Productivity Apps for Sales

GordonMangioneToday’s post is by Gordon Mangione, CEO of Tipbit.


Selling is about wearing out shoe leather. Great sales managers understand this. Long before there were computers or smartphones – maybe even before there were landline phones – the sales manager’s credo was, “Don’t let me catch you in the office too much.” Marking time behind a desk was no way to be productive and close deals.  

With his handy shoe phone, spy detective Maxwell Smart from Get Smart would have been a great salesperson.

The pressure is even greater today to be productive when on the go. As we see a consistent global shift toward mobile platforms for all of our business activities, sales productivity increasingly means being able to stay on top of an endless stream of social media, email, content, and other online-information feeds. Try these three apps to help you save time and become more productive on the road.  

Tipbit is a “smart inbox” app for your mobile email. It integrates email, calendar, and social context and combines all of that with personal search. Tipbit keeps you from toggling among too many apps. For instance, without leaving your calendar, you could find an email with attached documents that were relevant to a specific meeting. Tipbit automatically delivers relevant content to you. If you want to be up-to-date on a key customer before a sales meeting, use the app to review your recent email correspondence, the customer’s social-media activity, and any files in Dropbox that are relevant to your specific meeting.

Cloze is a great tool for keeping up on industry news and competitors without the overwhelming deluge of information. Cloze sorts and manages a selective feed from your social-media platforms, autofiltering all of it according to your specifications. You can prompt it to give you a feed of your professional contacts, selected based on such criteria as company and region.

Newsle tracks colleagues and potential clients in the news,  allowing you to avoid the “buzz” of social media and bringing you “real” news. Newsle doesn’t ignore social completely, however. You can still tweet, post, and search within the feed it gives you, but Newsle gets rid of the “fluff” that can plague social-media platforms. It also auto-imports your contacts from the social platforms you plug into it and allows you to follow public figures to keep track of mentions in blogs and articles.

As a sales professional today, you’re lucky to have your smartphone. Try these three apps to save time that you would have spent searching, filtering, and parsing information yourself. After all, in a mobile world, the adage that a great salesperson is never behind a desk rings truer than ever. These tools will keep you organized and in touch, even when you’re wearing out the shoe leather.

What apps do you use the most, and why? Share your tips and thoughts in the comments section. 

Get ready for the Real Time Economy

In this five minute video, Seth Godin shares the latest busines trend. On one hand, the time gap between need and satisfaction is shrinking, on the other hand the market has become more tribal. The consequences of this trend are: 

1. To become the top choice in the real time market, we need years of preparation 

2. To capture the real time expectations of our customers we need real time technology tools (real time analytics) 

3. To insure relevancy in real time we need to subscribe to the right connections. 


How Much Value Do You See in Social Media?

Today, the combined market value of Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter is more than $162 billion. That’s a huge value for companies whose customers create content that their friends, followers, and connections avariciously consume (often while they probably should be doing something else).

Last week, Dave Kurlan, the author of Baseline Selling, wrote an interesting blog post about how salespeople don’t get traction with social media. One passage struck a chord:

“It's time that we stop expecting sales to increase as a result of CRM, social selling tools and email.  They are great tools, but none of them replace actual selling, and even worse, all of them serve as distractions, false safety nets and busy work that must be completed before salespeople are caught up and can get on the phone.”

Kurlan’s findings are based on compelling information. He states that there is a lack of correlation between the use of social-media tools and key sales metrics. (Note: Kurlan’s company, Kurlan & Associates, has more than 1,400 Twitter followers.)

Kurlan’s source can’t be brushed off; the information is drawn from more than 10,000 sales assessments from more than 200 industries. 

As the daisy chain of CRM-related apps expands dramatically (many companies now use 15–20 different "sales-productivity enhancing apps"), salespeople are spending more time with information that's either pushed to them or they access at will.

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Salespeople find social media interesting at first, but they often get lost in the execution.


Social media can turn into a subtle thief of time, demanding our attention and luring us away from the path that would move the sale forward. It is easy to think that social-media tools were created to tickle our egos, and when I hear people brag about the number of Twitter followers, LinkedIn connections, and Facebook friends or “likes” they have, I begin to wonder if salespeople are paying more attention to growing their social-media metrics than their customer base.

Jill Konrath (16,800 Twitter followers), the author of SNAP Selling,  explains in a recent video, "What You Need to Know About the Rise of Social Selling", that social selling is about four things:

  1. Building a strong online brand
  2. Gathering sales intelligence
  3. Making connections
  4. Sharing good stuff 


Jill Konrath talks about the rise of social selling. When will we hear about the fall of Facebook?

George Dans, author of the book Just Close It!, shared his reluctance to keep up with Facebook; he’s thinking about shutting down his connection to more than 1,600 friends (he has 43 Twitter followers). Dans spoke at our last Sales 2.0 Conference, and I am willing to bet that he’ll soon follow through with this plan. I personally love Twitter (5,800 followers) and LinkedIn (3,400 connections), but like George, I don’t see Facebook’s ROI in business. 



George Dans believes that there are too many “likeaholics,” and he thinks of quitting Facebook.

Award-winning sales blogger Anthony Iannarino  (more than 31,000 Twitter followers) frames the issue of social media in a different light in his blog

“The new tools are amplifiers. They amplify what you already are. If you’re a pitch machine, always pushing how wonderful your product, your service, or your solution is, the new tools will amplify the fact that you are all about you. It takes something negative and amplifies it, making it even more negative than it already is.”


Anthony Iannarino has more than 31,000 Twitter followers - a big megaphone for his blog that’s read by 45,000 salespeople.

Koka Sexton, a social-media guru and marketing manager at LinkedIn, says in the following YouTube video that “social selling is just being able to leverage social networks in a way that accelerates your deal cycles, as well as gets you more connected with your network in a way that can open new opportunities.”


Is there a LinkedIn study that refutes Dave Kurlan’s claim? Is social selling something that helps social-media companies more than salespeople?

The fact that Koka Sexton has 30,000 Twitter followers and this video got only 123 views makes me wonder if social metrics matter.  We know that the combined market value of LinkedIn, Twitter, and Facebook is more than $162 billion, but what value are these companies creating for their customers? 

We love to invest in dreams.

At the heart of social media is the dream that connections can turn into relationships, and relationships are the foundation of business. The reality of the digital economy is that we are working for two businesses: one is our business, and the goal of that business is to create customers. The other business is to serve and interact with the software products in the cloud that we need to deploy in order to attract, engage, sell, and service our customers.

And here is the challenge with all things in the cloud: the more we train our minds on the cloud, the less traction we have under our feet to move sales forward.

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Let's Stay Positive On Social Media

Since my wife, Laura, and I founded Selling Power in 1981, it was our objective to create a positive platform for the professional sales community. So imagine my surprise when this tweet from a sales consultant appeared on my timeline: 




The 18 characters “Totally disgusting!” sounded like an alarm. But what’s alarming is the complete inaccuracy of the tweet and the harm it caused to us. After working diligently for over thirty years to serve the professional sales market, I was – and am – alarmed that anyone would send such a thoughtless and malevolent message. But that’s the downside of social media.

That tweet was fired off prematurely. At the time, the conference speaker line-up and the agenda was still a work in progress. Of the final 26 speakers, our sponsors selected 14 and of the 10 remaining speakers that we selected, 5 are women.

In the years we’ve been publishing Selling Power, we’ve reached out to the sales community to cover every innovation and tried to keep ahead of the market. One of the areas we began covering back in the mid ’80s was women in sales. We profiled or interviewed many who’d made a significant contribution either to sales or to motivating others to succeed, including (and here I list only a few because to list them all would take up the rest of this post) Mary Kay Ash, Venita Van Caspel, Meg Whitman, Anne Mulcahy, Danica Patrick, Maria Sharapova, Mary Lou Retton, Jackie Joyner Kersee, Oprah Winfrey, and many others. We also profiled many women sales managers and reps who were doing well in the field. In fact, we wrote our first cover story on women in selling in 1983. Who else was doing that?

Our company, Selling Power Inc. employs more women than men. Over 2/3 of our staff are women. My wife is the editor of Selling Power magazine, one daughter is the editorial director and another daughter is VP of Sales and Marketing and she also runs our Sales 2.0 events serving over 2,000 sales leaders in four different locations in the US and the UK. I don’t have the slightest bias against women, and I would not want my daughters or wife to be discriminated against. The ratio of women to men running our Sales 2.0 events is 90% to 10%. 

Staying Positive

It’s easy to fly off the handle, tap out 140 characters, besmirch someone’s good name and efforts, all in order to get some attention or a reaction. After all the hard work we have done to support the entire sales expert community, it’s dissappointing. And does no good for the sales community. We’re about building, not tearing down. We’re about staying positive in the face of adversity, not dragging people into a  muddy bog.

Within days of Jill’s first tweet, a number of women sales trainers, consultants and authors joined her crusade, not knowing that the conference agenda was incomplete, and not knowing that our hands are tied when our sponsors decide who in their company, or of their customers, would be best suited to represent them and provide useful insights to the audience. 

Jill Konrath founded the group of 30 women sales experts some time ago with the goal to “share news.”


In the past we have offered a number of Sales Shebang members free passes to our events and shared their expertise with our Selling Power audience in print and online. Two Sales Shebang members have previously spoken at our events, and a third is joining us at the upcoming event.

Clip_image004  Clip_image005

I have had the privilege of contributing and working with some of the most amazing women in America like Oprah, Hillary Clinton or Mary Kay Ash and I deeply appreciate their contributions to our world.

Do we withhold our support of women for any reason? 

Jill Konrath admitted in her email that she’d held a grudge against Selling Power magazine because seven years ago, we researched and featured the top earning sales keynote speakers and all of them were men. Jill wanted to see us feature more women sales speakers. Any magazine subscriber can go online and within minutes find that Selling Power has written about Jill Konrath and her work at least ten times in the past ten years. (Search “Jill Konrath” on

What’s really behind all this brouhaha?

Jill Konrath is a respected thought leader in the field of selling. She has written books that have helped thousands of salespeople improve their professional skills. We also share her view that not enough women get promoted in corporate America and we agree that we are going through a period of equalization. As more women move up to sales management, American business will grow, sales will improve, and the power of women will rise. I applaud her vigilance and I’m glad we were able to correct the initial misperceptions that started this whole tweet-o-rama.

So here is the happy ending. A 140-character peace offering from Jill Konrath that was tweeted yesterday:


I think the US Government should take as an example how regular people can figure out how to reach across the aisle to resolve differences. We need more thoughtful, positive resolutions in this world where it’s easy to tear things down, but difficult to build something of value. That’s what we’ve always tried to do at Selling Power and that’s what we’ll continue doing in the future.

I’d love to hear your thoughts.

P.S. I hope to see you at the Sales 2.0 Sales Performance Management Conference in San Francisco, Oct 16-17. It’s not too late to register today. As a way of thanking you for reading all the way to the end I am offering you this special discount code SPMCircle to get 50% off.

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The Brits Boast about Their Content-Marketing Prowess - But Not So Fast...

The Content Marketing Institute (CMI) and the Direct Marketing Association (DMA) have recently published their report, “Content Marketing in the UK: 2013 Benchmarks, Budgets, and Trends.” According to this report, marketers in the United Kingdom believe that their content-marketing effort is more effective than that of their peers in the United States and Australia and that they are leading the way in this regard. 

Their belief appears to be supported by CMI and DMA’s findings that marketers in the United Kingdom currently use “a wider range of content-marketing tactics than their international counterparts” and plan to increase their content-marketing budgets by a wider margin.

CMI and DMA report that content marketing is nearly universally adopted in the United Kingdom:

  • Ninety-four percent of all UK marketers use it.
  • B2C marketers in the United Kingdom using content-marketing strategies total 97 percent.
  • UK B2B marketers using it total 95 percent.

In contrast, according to the report, B2C marketers in North America and Australia are less likely to use content marketing than their B2B peers.

The margin by which content marketers in the United Kingdom intend to increase their budgets as compared to marketers in North American and Australia doesn’t seem to be so impressive, however:

  • Sixty-four percent of UK marketers say they will increase their content-marketing budget within the next 12 months.
  • More than half of marketers in North America (54 percent) say they will increase their content-marketing budget.
  • In Australia, 61 percent of marketers intend to allocate more funds to content marketing.

Social media use is universal:

  • Twitter, LinkedIn, and Facebook are the most widely used social media by all marketers everywhere.
  • Overall (including in the United Kingdom), marketers use an average of four social-media platforms…
  • whereas North American B2B marketers leverage the reach of five platforms.

It appears that, despite the overwhelming adoption of content marketing and their intent to allocate more funds to advance their efforts, the two biggest challenges that UK content marketers face (delivering enough content and producing engaging content) are not new, nor are they specific to UK marketers.

While this research is an accurate reflection of the past, it ignores the emerging trend of employing emotional intelligence in marketing. I see more and more smart companies quietly changing their approach about content from logic to emotion. B2C companies are at the leading edge of this trend. Red Bull has done a great job of encouraging its customers to fly through the air (by base jumping, kite boarding, flying in wing suits, etc.) to drive its slogan “Gives you wings” into reality. Red Bull saved millions in marketing dollars by capturing and distributing content generated by customer advocates.

Here is another example: Joseph Tripodi, chief marketing officer of Coca-Cola, stated in an interview that Coca-Cola’s customers generate seven times more content than the company generates. Tripodi is less excited about impressions of a metric and more excited about customer expressions. He said that of the 140 million online mentions of the brand, only 20 million were created by his company. As of yesterday, Coca-Cola had 61 million likes on Facebook.

Traditional corporate content creators tend to get carried away with painting an embellished picture of reality (which often fails to lead to customer engagement). Companies are far better off investing less in content and giving their customers a paintbrush and canvas (via social-media platforms) and encouraging them to paint the true picture: the image of the brand as it is reflected in their hearts and minds.

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12 Tips: Making Your Sales Relationships Work

At a past Sales Leadership Conference, during a private dinner organized for all speakers, we discussed sales relationships. While everyone there agreed that relationships are vital to creating sales, the consensus was that there is no formal body of knowledge that explains how relationships are formed, what makes them grow, what causes them to fizzle, and what leads to the creation of value. One speaker called relationships “the soul of business.” Below is a summary of the excellent ideas – and there was no shortage of them – shared by 18 sales leaders who continually contribute to the selling profession.

1. Good salespeople bring positive energy to a relationship. We can choose to be energy givers or energy takers.

2. Trust hinges on the willingness to deliver on promises. Once trust is lost, relationships cannot survive.

3. A relationship’s value depends on the customer’s perception of value, not on the salesperson’s definition of value.

4. To the customer, the top value drivers are integrity, authenticity, and consistency.

5. Effective relationship builders are willing to listen to better understand customer challenges. They ask questions that lead to consultative conversations, which open doors to greater opportunities.

6. The salesperson’s courage to resolve the difficult situations customers face enhances relationships. One speaker called this “the ability to put oneself in harm’s way.”

7. The quality of the relationship with the customer is determined by the quality of the relationship between the sales manager and salesperson. Sales managers exemplify a company’s corporate culture.

8. Relationships are enhanced by the salesperson’s ability to communicate in compelling and creative ways. One sales leader explained how he uses video email prior to a customer visit and follows up with a video email immediately after the call. Video email is six times more effective than standard email.

9. Relationships demand a long-term investment. Without it, there is no ROI. One of the speakers shared that “there is no return on ignoring [the customer].”

10. There is a difference between a transaction and a relationship. Transactions create one-time value; relationships create long-term value and a stable business foundation.

11. Relationships grow through differentiation and the willingness to contribute beyond what is expected. “There is no traffic jam on the extra mile,” commented another speaker.

12. Good salespeople use smart social-media strategies to enhance customer relationships. They make it their business to stay connected to their customers through Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn.

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The Three Elements of an Effective Social-Business Strategy

Paul Greenberg defines social business as “the company’s response to the customer’s ownership of the conversation.” After taking the audience’s pulse at a Sales & Marketing 2.0 Conference back in 2011, I realized that Greenberg’s definition was already a traffic light behind Main Street. The rapid rate at which companies integrate social media into their business operation is astonishing. Search Engine Journal predicted that by 2012, 43 percent of companies would be using social media. Today, more than 80 percent of companies use social media for recruiting. One company represented at the conference reported that 20 percent of its new leads come from its social-business strategy. Another company reported that leads created through social media are three times more likely to close than leads generated by marketing.

While individual social-media tools add little value and offer no ROI, a social-business strategy leads to quantifiable results. Here is my definition of social business: the alignment of content, conversations, and collaboration with the company’s business strategy.

On a tactical level, a social-business strategy relies on three core elements:

Content. Ownership of a product or service is always preceded by ownership of the related content. Content is a currency that companies share to earn interest in the marketplace. Good content leads to better conversations. Good content educates customers. Good content catches customers. For example, at HubSpot, all salespeople are asked to create and maintain a blog. The results: more traffic to the company’s Website, higher search-engine optimization ratings, and unprecedented sales growth year over year.

Conversation. In the world of social business, the sales pitch has been replaced by a fluid conversation between equal partners. The focus is on situational fluency. If the prospect has already completed 80 percent of the fact finding in the purchase process, it’s the salesperson’s job to deliver the remaining 20 percent within the allocated time frame set aside for the conversation. In their one to many conversations, smart companies have shifted their strategy from thought leadership to community leadership. Good community leaders set conversational boundaries that prevent members from going on rabbit trails or engaging in Wild West behavior. It takes a well-managed community with clear boundaries to close more business.

Collaboration. Social CRM tools have given companies the opportunity to collaborate across the organization, eliminating silos while maintaining a steady focus on business at hand. Smart companies extend the collaboration pipeline to include their customers. By elevating customers to the status of equal partner, companies can co-create their future.

While the benefits of transforming a company into a social business are clear, what’s not clear is the path to get there. While the Internet has the potential to replicate on a screen our mind’s agility, the number of available tools to create an effective social-media strategy is staggering.

Success doesn’t depend on choosing the right program like Facebook, Twitter, or LinkedIn, but on business leaders’ embracing the fact that social media isn’t a choice, it’s a mandate for business survival.

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What's in a Next-Gen Sales Pro's Toolbox?

1d912eeToday's blog post is by Jacco van der Kooij, sales leader at Harmonic Inc



Traditional focus: internal tools that power the sales process

Over the last decade, marketing and sales processes have been very focused on understanding and managing the transactional part of the business. These include processes that focus on lead generation, demand generation, opportunity creation, demo/trial conversion, closing, order processing, account management, and so forth.

We call it “a process,” which is pretty accurate considering the striking similarities to a production line at a car manufacturing plant, where robots make sure all cars look 100 percent the same.


What tools did we deploy to help our clients and facilitate the role sales plays? 

So what happened to the sales professional in the field? Well, most of us still tap out a couple hundred emails a day on our smartphone while accumulating frequent-flyer points traveling to a client to deliver an in-person death-by-PowerPoint experience. Or if the client’s lucky, we just drown him or her in white papers.

SaaS created a demand for NEW sales tools.

Fast forward to SaaS solutions. With its lower ASP, traditional selling simply became too expensive. Hundreds and perhaps thousands of small companies needed a new class of tools that could help them make transactional sales at a fraction of the cost (no travel), at a higher quality (engaging), and 24/7 (online).

After a couple of years, these tools have matured, and together with key developments that make them compatible with the iPad, they are now ready for deployment in the more complex B2B sale. The one who masters new tools first wins first.

New tools are externally focused on client experience.

It is important to recognize that, unlike CRM tools, the new marketing and Sales 2.0 tools were not built or designed to fill the requirements of a few large corporations. Instead, they were born to fill the needs of hundreds of small, often start-up companies. Most of the smaller companies flourish as they lack irrelevant processes and focus on the client.

These businesses live and die by a great and personal client experience. The very same tools that SaaS companies have used to scale their success are now changing the way we do business. Not only are the solution and consultative sale impacted, but the strategic sale is impacted also. Below is an overview of the tools I’m using these days, and I’ve separated them into categories.

1. Infrastructure 

  • iPad mini in a Moko case is my preferred “delivery” tool and “consumption” device. For content creation I use a Mac to develop engaging content that wows clients.
  • Because I move back forth between devices, I need everything to be in the Cloud, allowing me to instantly share with my clients.
  • I use an iPhone with an additional PhoneSuit battery pack with service through Verizon, because I need a hotspot to connect into my AppleTV. I never depend on clients' networks.
  • I also use AppleTV connected through HDMI to a projector or TV. I use the screen sharing to show Websites and apps and to play YouTube videos.
  • SalesOpShop is my network place to exchange ideas and learn from others.
  • I really appreciate SFDC and love Chatter. My main issue is with how it is deployed by most companies.  You can file that under "Using a Ferrari as a Lawnmower."


2. Social-Media Tools That Provide Scalability 

◦ I use SlideShare to present business ideas and share points of view.

◦ I like InMail for contextual cold calls andleveraging shared connections.

◦ I distribute a personalized newsletter relevant to my market (technology within media and entertainment).

◦ I use Twitter as a newsletter and feed with approximately three messages per day. In the morning, I prefer to send out stats; in the afternoon,I like to send out photos; and at night,my tweets are of a social nature.

◦ I use TweetDeck on my PC and HootSuite on my iPad to monitor for content that may be of use to my clients.

◦ BufferApp loaded on all my devices and in my browsers serves as a workflow system for my status updates and tweets.

  • I have a WordPress blog that serves as my FAQ resource and provides a reference site for my clients.
  • I use YouTube for relevant videos. Sometimes a little “kapow” can change a block of text.
  • Pinterest – I’m still figuring things out on this, but I do love it.
  • I use Google+ to share very specific information targeting the engineer.
  • And yes, I disconnected from Facebook (which goes beyond the scope of this post).

3. Other Cloud Tools

  • Evernote is my notebook. I never thought I would use it so much.
  • is my public file-sharing system. I can then upload docs and share them in a Twitter feed or LinkedIn update.
  • I use abunch of Google tools (e.g., Google Voice and Google Docs).

4. Content-Creation Tools

  • I use Prezi for remote whiteboard sessions and creating super-engaging content.
  • SlideRocketis my tool for holding virtual Webinars and tracking viewer stats in detail.
  • I use WeVideo to create simple online videosand Apple iMovie for more complicated ones.
  • I still use PowerPoint but drastically less. It is more of an API to other platforms.
  • I license my visual artwork via iStockphoto.


5. Communication Tools

  • I use for instant online meetings, and it allows me to very easily share my desktop.
  • I use Skype on all my devices for multiparty, international video conferencing.
  • I’ve also started to use VSee. It' superior in many respects, such as in high-definition multisource recording.
  • Google Voice is my screening service.

What tools are you using, why did you choose them, and what do they do really well for you?

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The Queen's Wave and the Sales and Marketing 2.0 Conference in London - Part II

Clip_image006Prince Philip showed off a snappy salute while The Queen inspected her launch. 

Clip_image007The Queen was happy to be on the water…

Clip_image008where she could show off her royal wave.

Clip_image009Makes you wonder if she uses a personal wave coach! 


What's interesting is that The Queen's wave speaks louder than her words. It reminds me of John Lennon's insightful comment, "Her Majesty's a pretty nice girl, but she doesn't have a lot to say."

BMW, the owners of the MINI car, have cashed in on the urge to copy the royal wave and created a Facebook page, where people can upload their own wave, which will be showcased on a virtual royal balcony…a nice nod to a world that's moving up to 2.0. 



Based on my personal observation at The Queen's Diamond Jubilee, England is still very much 1.0.

That's why we're welcoming a group of British Sales and Marketing VPs to our first European Sales and Marketing 2.0 Conference in London on Thursday, June 7. If you are a sales or marketing leader and happen to be in London this week, please join us. Face paint optional.  


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The Queen's Wave and the Sales and Marketing 2.0 Conference in London - Part I

I went to London a few days ahead of our Sales and Marketing 2.0 Conference. On Sunday, people were celebrating The Queen's Diamond Jubilee, thanking The Queen for 60 years as their royal Monarch. 

Clip_image002Revelers wear their national pride on their faces…

Clip_image003and on their heads.  

Even young children look British and toot British. 

The Duchess of Cambridge and a white-gloved Prince William stole the show. 

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